Iranian exiles in Iraq say U.S. failing to help wounded

BRUSSELS, July 27 (Reuters) – An exiled Iranian opposition group criticised the United States on Wednesday for not doing enough to help victims of clashes at a dissident camp in Iraq.

Camp Ashraf, some 65 km (40 miles) from Baghdad, is the base for the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran, the PMOI, which mounted attacks on Iran before the U.S.-led removal of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The future of the camp’s more than 3,000 residents is uncertain since the United States, which says the group is a terrorist organisation, turned the camp over to the Iraqi government. Baghdad plans to close it before the end of this year.

More than 30 people were killed in violence between residents and Iraqi security forces in April. Rights group Amnesty International says the residents are subject to harassment by the Iraqi government and are refused access to basic medicine.

A Paris-based representative of PMOI said U.S. forces should have done more to protect the camp.

“The U.S. has provided very little help to the wounded people,” Mohammad Mohadessin told reporters in Brussels.

“Of the total 345 wounded just seven were transferred to the U.S. army hospital near Camp Ashraf.”

Washington has proposed to move Camp Ashraf residents temporarily to a new location in Iraq but they rejected the plan, saying it would lead to a “massacre”. They have called for U.N. protection with the help the United States and the European Union.

In Brussels, Mohadessin said the United States could easily provide help.

“It is simple for the United States to allocate 30 or 20 soldiers,” he said.

A former FBI head, present at the group’s news conference, said plans to settle camp residents in Iraq were not “rational”.

“It would be like somebody … suggesting that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto relocate and disband as a religious organisation. It is not practical, it is offensive.”

 

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