BAQUBA, Iraq - Iraq moved a second group of nearly 400 Iranian dissidents on Thursday from a base founded under Saddam Hussein, part of its efforts to expel them and resolve one of the last diplomatic issues following the withdrawal of US troops last year.

The People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), which calls for the overthrow of Iran's clerical rulers, took refuge at Camp Ashraf, 65 miles from Baghdad, during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

The fate of several thousand residents has been uncertain since the withdrawal of US forces in December. They provided protection for the group after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam but Iraq's Shi'ite-led government, which has friendly ties with Iran, wants them out.

The Iranian dissidents are now being moved to a "transit site" at a vacated former US military base in Baghdad, where the United Nations aims to help them find places to settle as refugees outside Iraq.

Police in Baquba, capital of Diyala province where Camp Ashraf is located, said 395 Iranians were driven out towards Baghdad in 18 buses.

The convoy was surrounded by Iraqi security forces, who were also deployed in force along the route to Baghdad. Reporters were not permitted to approach the dissidents.

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