NewsSpecial WireAbduction of Iran dissidents in Iraq may signal new...

Abduction of Iran dissidents in Iraq may signal new policy

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Iran Focus: London, Aug. 10 – Two members of Iran’s main opposition group have been kidnapped in Baghdad by Iraqi security forces, the Associated Press reported from Baghdad on Monday. The People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, or Mujahedeen Khalq (MeK), identified the two as Hossein Pouyan and Mohammad-Ali Zahedi and said they were abducted by Iraq’s Interior Ministry Special Forces on … Iran Focus

London, Aug. 10 – Two members of Iran’s main opposition group have been kidnapped in Baghdad by Iraqi security forces, the Associated Press reported from Baghdad on Monday.

The People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, or Mujahedeen Khalq (MeK), identified the two as Hossein Pouyan and Mohammad-Ali Zahedi and said they were abducted by Iraq’s Interior Ministry Special Forces on Thursday in Baghdad’s central neighbourhood of Karradah. The news agency quoted an Iraqi Interior Ministry official as saying that he had no knowledge of any such abduction.

The MeK statement, quoting witnesses at the scene said the abductors were in two Iraqi police vehicle and belonged to the Interior Ministry’s Special Forces.

“The Iraqi Interior Ministry and its special forces are responsible for the safety of the two abducted persons”, the MeK said in the statement.

The abduction of Iranian dissidents in downtown Baghdad is seen by some analysts as a possible indication of a new approach to Iraq by the Iranian government.

“We know that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been supplying the insurgents in Iraq with more powerful bombs. These abductions could be part of a pattern of a more aggressive approach to Iraq by the ruling hard-liners in Iran”, Timothy Banks of the London-based Gulf Intelligence Monitor said. “The Iranian media are full of stories of the U.S. being stuck in the Iraqi quagmire and this makes the Revolutionary Guards feel they could operate with greater freedom in Iraq”.

The abductions are the first known cases of terrorist incidents targeting members of the MeK since July last year, when the United States recognised the status of all the group’s members in Iraq as “protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention”. One of them, Hossein Pouyan, was a political refugee in Italy.

The MeK said it had obtained information from Iran showing that the Ninth Badr forces, an Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group with close ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, had transferred the two men to the southern Iraqi city of al-Amara on the border with Iran. The opposition group called on the Multi-national Force in Iraq to take “decisive and immediate action” to ensure the security and safety of the two abducted dissidents.

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