PARIS, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- French officials signed a declaration condemning the Iraqi move to relocate Iranian dissidents from their enclave in Diyala province, an opposition group said.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, a Paris-based umbrella organization representing Iranian dissident groups, said 2,172 mayors in France signed a declaration in opposition to a decision in Baghdad to expel members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran from their Camp Ashraf enclave.
Baghdad last week said the PMOI would be relocated from Camp Ashraf first to Baghdad and then to a desert outpost in the Shiite south of the country.
The PMOI opposes the clerical regime in Iran. Washington lists the group as a terrorist organization for its violent methods of opposition. The group surrendered to U.S. forces in 2003 and now claims its policy is based on peaceful dissent.
Iraqi forces stormed Camp Ashraf when U.S. combat forces pulled out of major cities to their military bases earlier this year. Several residents died during the raid.
The French opposition statement reminds Baghdad that PMOI residents are considered "protected persons" under international law and calls on the Iraqi government to abandon its relocation campaign.
Iraqi officials said they would not forcibly expel the residents of Camp Ashraf but stressed the government would "find suitable solutions" for those who choose to stay behind.