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Bahrain denies offer to host Iran dissident group

Foreign minister says report was baseless, lacked credibility

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 10:14 February 4, 2013

Manama: Bahrain’s foreign minister has denied online reports that Manama was ready to host members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) organisation, the Iranian dissident militant group.

“The report is baseless and lacks credibility and I am not at all aware of anything related to it,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa told local Arabic daily Al Watan.

Websites claimed a United Nations official in the Iraqi capital Baghdad said that Bahrain had informed the US administration it was willing to host elements of the Iranian exiled opposition group currently staying in Camp Liberty, a former US base outside Baghdad, Al Watan reported on Monday.

MEK was taken off the US terror list in September after the US State Department said it had not committed terror for more than a decade.

The militant group had also complied with a US requirement that more than 3,000 of its once-armed members leave their Camp Ashraf base in the eastern province of Diyala in Iraq near the Iranian border and move to Camp Liberty.

The Iranians condemned the US decision to delist the group, saying that it was an “irresponsible move that is against the international and legal commitments of the US.”

MEK, as a guerrilla movement, fight Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the 1970s, but could not agree with the new Iranian regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when it came to power in 1979.

The group ended up teaming up with Iraq to battle Iran in the 1980s and won the protection of Iraqi former leader Saddam Husain.

However, the group was disarmed after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and had difficult relations with the new Iraqi leadership.

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