Hundreds rally in Baghdad against Iranian exiles

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2011 5:05 AM
Hundreds rally in Baghdad against Iranian exiles

Hundreds of demonstrators in Baghdad are urging the government to abide by an end-of-year deadline to expel Iranian exiles from Iraq and close their camp here.

The Iranian group won refuge in Iraq decades ago under Saddam Hussein's regime and set up home at Camp Ashraf in eastern Diyala province. But after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, they became an irritant to Iraq's new Shiite-led government, which is trying to bolster ties with Iran.

Iraq is to close Camp Ashraf at the end of December. U.N. efforts to extend this date have failed.

Friday's demonstrators in Baghdad demanded the Iranians be evicted because their group _ the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which seeks to overthrow Tehran's clerical rulers _ is considered by some to be a terrorist organization.