Iraq plans to extradite members of an Iranian armed opposition group who have "Iranian blood on their hands," Iraq's national security adviser said Friday during a visit to Tehran.
"Among the members of this group, some have the blood of Iraqi innocents on their hands (and) we will hand them over to Iraqi justice, and some who have Iranian blood on their hands we can hand over to Iran," said Muwafaq al-Rubaie.
He was referring to the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), the armed wing of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
"The only choices open to members of this group are to return to Iran or to choose another country," Rubaie told a joint news conference with Said Jalili, head of Iran's national security council.
"We are acting under international humanitarian regulations and international laws. These people will themselves choose where they want go."
Plans to close Ashraf camp
His words were translated from Arabic into Farsi by an official Iranian interpreter.
Rubaie said that 914 PMOI members had a "passport or residence of a third country" and could leave Iraq for these countries.
On his return to Iraq, he would, he said, discuss with the ambassadors of the United States and a dozen European countries to see if they would accept PMOI members.
The Iraqi government announced on Dec. 21 it planned to close the Ashraf camp north of Baghdad and close to the Iranian border, where around 3,500 PMOI members are held under a kind of house arrest.
On Jan. 1, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki went further and said he would expel the PMOI from the country.
The United States said last month it had received assurances from Baghdad that PMOI members would not be expelled from Iraq to countries where they could face persecution.
Despite being listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, the PMOI has many supporters in the U.S. Congress and British parliament.
Dropping PMOI from terrorist list
EU officials said EU foreign ministers are expected to drop the PMOI, from its terror blacklist following a European court's ruling that it had been wrongly included on the list.
France said it had filed an appeal to a EU court in a bid to keep the PMOI on its list of banned terrorist groups.
"Our appeal was filed the day before yesterday," Foreign Ministry spokesman Frederic Desagneaux said.
The Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance ruled last month that the EU wrongly froze the funds of Iran's and violated its rights by not justifying why it was placed on a terror list.
It was the third such ruling by Europe's second-highest tribunal.
According to a draft document, the EU will adopt a new blacklist -- a move which is necessary each semester -- as the current one expires next month.
But it will also say: "Following the judgment of the Court of First Instance ... (PMOI) has not been included in the lists of persons, groups and entities."
The decision will come as a so-called "A point" at the meeting.
"A points" are usually rubber-stamped without discussion as the details have already been ironed out by ambassadors, but nations could technically still raise objections.
Founded in 1965 with the aim of replacing first the shah and then the clerical regime in Iran, the PMOI -- now led by exiled Iran opposition figure Maryam Rajavi -- has in the past operated an armed group inside Iran.
Group members fought alongside Iraqi forces in the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran and then settled in Iraq.
It was the armed wing of the France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) but it renounced violence in June 2001.
Over the last weeks, its supporters have held regular rallies outside the European Council building where the talks will take place.