U.S. and Iraq in talks over PMOI

June 21, 2008 at 3:13 AM
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BAGHDAD, June 21 (UPI) -- A Shiite lawmaker with the United Iraqi Alliance said Friday Baghdad is in negotiations with U.S. officials over the fate of an Iranian opposition group.

Jalal al-Saghier said the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began talks with American counterparts to determine the fate of the People's Mujahadin of Iran, known as the PMOI or MEK, headquartered in the eastern city of Ashraf.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Tuesday the Maliki administration voted to classify the PMOI as a terrorist organization. The United States has been accused of using the group as a proxy for counter-terrorist operations in Iraq.

On Thursday, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council said the U.S. backing of the group ran counter to government decisions to expel the PMOI from Iraq.

Saghier said the United States can play an influential role in the PMOI issue and reminded Washington of its pledges to honor issues concerning Iraq's sovereignty, Voices of Iraq reported Friday.

The PMOI opposes Iranian influence in Iraq. It also seeks the overthrow of the Iranian government.

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