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U.S. warns Iraq against eviction of foes of Iran
Deadline for closing camp of 3,400 nears
A senior U.S. official Wednesday warned Iraq against using violence to evict unarmed Iranian dissidents from a camp north of Baghdad by the end of the month, as a top member of Congress accused the State Department of moving at a snail’s pace to prevent what he called a possible massacre of the residents of Camp Ashraf.
“There is no doubt that the situation is serious. We are worried about the possibility of violence, and we are working flat out to ward it off,” Daniel Fried, special adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Camp Ashraf, said at a House subcommittee hearing.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs oversight and investigations subcommittee, snapped at Mr. Fried after he said the State Department is working at an “intense pace” to persuade the Iraqi government to extend the deadline.
“Maybe it’s an intense pace for a snail,” the California Republican said.
“Yet the exercise of a sovereign right does not obviate the need for care and restraint,” he said. “We expect the Iraqi government to refrain from the use of violence.”
“At the same time, the camp leadership must respect Iraqi sovereignty and refrain from acts of provocation, as we seek to resolve this matter,” he added.
Mr. Rohrabacher warned of the consequences of not preventing what he said was the imminent massacre of the camp’s residents by Iraqi forces.
“Why are we, the United States, being an accomplice to this crime? If they are deported or subjected to another massacre, the blood in the sand will also stain the Gucci shoes of the U.S. State Department,” he said.
The MEK, also known as the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran, was responsible for terrorist attacks in Iran in the 1970s that killed several U.S. military personnel and civilians, according to the State Department.
Camp Ashraf’s residents surrendered their weapons in 2003 as part of a cease-fire agreement with U.S. forces.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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