Saturday, April 9, 2011
Iran praises Iraq for deadly raid on exile group
BAGHDAD – Iran's top diplomat on Saturday praised Iraqi authorities for launching a deadly raid on a camp of Iranian exiles considered terrorists by Tehran.
Iran's lone voice of support against a chorus of international criticism of the crackdown was another sign of the closer ties between the neighboring countries since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, who started the 1980-88 war between the two nations.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the Iraqi army was right to storm Camp Ashraf, located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. The sprawling desert settlement is home to about 3,400 members of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which seeks to overthrow Iran's leaders and is considered a terrorist group by Tehran.
Iraqi army forces stormed the camp before dawn on Friday after the exiles provoked soldiers.
"Under the Iraqi constitution, no terrorist group can use the Iraqi soil as a base to operate against neighboring countries," Salehi told a press conference in Tehran.
Therefore, he said the raid was legally necessary, and "needs to be praised."