UN urges Iraq to move Iranian dissidents to new camp

By REUTERS
February 15, 2012 22:55

 
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UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Iraq on Tuesday to speed up the transfer of Iranian dissidents at a camp near Baghdad to a temporary facility which the dissident group has compared to a prison.

Camp Ashraf, 40 miles (65 km) from Baghdad, has been home for 25 years to the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran, or PMOI, an Iranian opposition group the United States and Iran officially consider a terrorist organization.

The current Iraqi government has never concealed its desire get rid of the camp. Under pressure from the United Nations and European Union, Baghdad extended its deadline to close Ashraf late last year from Dec. 31, 2011 to April 30, 2012.

But Ban is now urging Baghdad not to wait until April. "The Secretary-General believes that the time has come to start the relocation process without further delay," Ban's press office said in a statement. "He urges the Iraqi authorities and the residents of Camp Ashraf to continue to cooperate and complete the process in a peaceful manner."

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