Published March 16, 2013
TIRANA, Albania – The Albanian government says it is offering asylum to 210 members of an Iranian opposition group that currently live at a former U.S. military base near Baghdad.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha made the announcement Saturday after meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf, the U.N. envoy in Iraq, Martin Kobler, and other officials. He said the offer is made for "humanitarian reasons."
Iraq's government is eager to have the group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq , out of the country. The group opposes Iran's clerical regime and carried out assassinations and bombings in Iran until renouncing violence in 2001. It fought in the 1980s alongside Saddam Hussein's forces in the Iran-Iraq war.
The U.N. says over 3,000 MEK members live at the former U.S. base. They refuse to leave Iraq.