Agence France Presse
April 22, 2003
NICOSIA (AFP) – The leader of the Iraqi-based Iranian armed opposition, the People’s Mujahedeen, welcomed a “ceasefire agreement” he said had been reached with US forces.
In a statement received here by AFP, Massoud Rajavi said: “We welcome the signing of a ceasefire agreement with the US forces … although, we have not been firing at anyone and were in fact not a party to this war.”
The statement gave no details of the accord, and a People’s Mujahedeen spokesman in Paris was not immediately able to provide any.
Separately, the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera reported that a deal had been reached and that talks were still underway on the future of the group in Iraq (news – web sites).
Rajavi said in his statement that “our presence in Iraq was conditional upon our independence. From now on, we will try to secure an understanding and agreement on this very basis.
“The Iranian Resistance has not been and is not involved in Iraqi affairs.
“Our only concern has been and will continue to remain the illegitimate regime ruling Iran. Thus, we have not had and will not have any hostility towards, or quarrel with, any group or current in Iraq, whether Shiite, Sunni, Kurd or Arab. For this reason, we welcome any understanding and friendship.”
Last week, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks said at the US Central Command in Qatar that US-led forces were trying to organize a ceasefire with the People’s Mujahedeen.
“There’s work that’s ongoing right now to secure some sort of agreement that will lead to a ceasefire and capitulation,” Brooks said.
Contacted Tuesday on the reported deal, officials at Central Command said they had no information.
The People’s Mujahedeen has been labeled a terrorist organization by Iran, the United States and the European Union, although it says it targets only the military and other elements of Tehran’s clerical regime.
The group was given sanctuary by Saddam Hussein (news – web sites) in 1986, when he was in the thick of a bloody war with his neighbour, after being driven out of Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
In his statement, Rajavi remained defiant against the Iranian government, and welcomed demonstrations by Iranian exiles in several cities around the world Saturday to protest reported Iranian attacks on Mujahedeen bases in Iraq.
“In a series of savage attacks,” he said, “the mullahs and their mercenaries killed scores” of Mujahedeen. In some cases, they decapitated or mutilated” them and “also wounded 50 more.
“Our struggle has been and remains only with the mullahs’ illegitimate regime. If the mullahs deny this Resistance’s righteousness and the Iranian people’s vast support for it, they could immediately test their chances against the Iranian people and Resistance by accepting a free election for a constituent assembly and presidency under the supervision of the United Nations (news – web sites).”
As to what he said was a reward offered for his capture, Rajavi said: “My life is not any more precious than the 120,000 Mojahedin executed by the regime so far.”
On Monday, the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards demanded that the United States extradite Rajavi, whose whereabouts are unknown, to show it was sincere in combating terrorism.
“We know that the US has listed the MKO (People’s Mujahedeen) as a terrorist organization, so in order to prove it is sincere in the war against terrorism, the US has to hand over the MKO’s leader to us,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.