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Iran exiles say last convoy to move from Iraq camp


AFP: An Iranian opposition organisation said that a final convoy of 680 of its members will leave Camp Ashraf on September 12 for the new Hurriya transit centre near Baghdad. PARIS (AFP)— An Iranian opposition organisation said that a final convoy of 680 of its members will leave Camp Ashraf on September 12 for the new Hurriya transit centre near Baghdad.

“Around 680 Ashraf residents will be ready to move from Ashraf to Camp Liberty (Hurriya) on September 12 and they could start loading their belongings from tomorrow (Saturday),” Maryam Rajavi, president of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which includes the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, said in a statement.

Earlier this week the United States welcomed renewed efforts to relocate the residents of Camp Ashraf which has housed members of an exiled Iranian opposition group for years.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland noted the “safe arrival” last week of a sixth convoy of about 400 residents of Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya, a former US military base once known as Camp Liberty.

A US official who asked not to be named said the camp could be completely empty “before the end of September.”

Iraq has been locked in a dispute with the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran over plans to relocate them to Camp Hurriya.

Camp Ashraf is located 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. Hurriya is just outside the Iraqi capital.

Under a December 2011 agreement between the United Nations and the Iraqi government, Baghdad was due to transfer the refugees from Ashraf to Hurriya.

About 2,000 of the refugees have been transferred but the relocation of 1,200 others stalled in early May.

In early August, the NCRI said evacuations had resumed.

Rajavi said that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) had assured that the September 12 convoy “has to be prioritized and Iraqi officials should not obstruct the transfer.”

She also stressed US State Department assurances that Washington “will take the appropriate measures” to ensure the safety and essential humanitarian needs of the transferees “of the last convoy which will move to Liberty on September 12.”

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