Iraq says raid on militant group's camp wasn't Iran's idea
Los Angeles Times / Liz Sly
Reporting from Baghdad -- The Iraqi government refuted suggestions today that Iranian pressure had prompted a raid on a camp belonging to an Iranian opposition group, saying that Iraqi security forces are merely seeking to extend sovereignty over all Iraqi territory.

The Mujahedin Khalq (MEK), a militant group that has long opposed the Iranian government, claimed that seven of its members died in clashes with Iraqi security forces after Iraqi police attempted to enter its camp in Diyala province Tuesday to open a police station.

"The Iraqi government is determined to establish its sovereignty over all positions and facilities that were under the control of foreign forces," government spokesman Ali Dabbagh told reporters. "The government wants to open an Iraqi police station inside the camp to impose the rule of law and establish the rule of the state."

Dabbagh said Iranian citizens in the camp would not be forced to return to Iran, where they fear they would be punished..

Camp Ashraf, as the facility is known, illustrates the complex relationship that has emerged between Iraq and its two biggest allies, the U.S. and Iran. The camp dates back to the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein invited the MEK to establish a presence in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.

The U.S. military inherited control of Camp Ashraf after the 2003 American-led invasion in which Hussein was ousted, and U.S. forces disarmed the group. Though the U.S. brands MEK as a t... >>>
recommended by Majid Zahrai