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MKO 'not be allowed to operate in Iraq', says UK

The British government Tuesday denied that there had been a special deal by the US to allow the Mujahedeen-e Khalq terrorist organization (MKO) to keep its arsenal of weapons in Iraq, IRNA reported from London.

"The MKO will not be allowed to operate in Iraq," a Foreign Office spokesman told IRNA. He said that he understood 'US forces were in the process of bringing the MKO under control'.

Britain's denial follows reports that members of the exiled terrorist group had moved within 15 kms of the Iranian border. The advance comes two weeks after the US was reported to have agreed a ceasefire with the MKO, allowing the group to retain their arms.

The Foreign Office spokesman insisted that the MKO was still a terrorist organization proscribed by both the British and American governments.

Britain was continuing to 'act firmly against all terrorist organizations as part of the war against terrorism', he said, but he was unable to specify how the US were intending to bring the MKO under control, saying he could not comment on a operational matter.

The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) last week accused the US and UK of double standards by giving tacit support for the MKO terrorist group.

"This continuing blind-eye shown by the US and the UK governments towards MKO activities within their borders and in US-administered Iraq exhibits not only a shameful lack of consistency but a complete deficit of ethical motivation," the commission said.

Jeremy Binnie, Middle East editor of Jane's Sentinel Security Assessments, said that US CENCOM had confirmed the ceasefire with the MKO but doubted if the terrorist group would be used as a 'proxy force' against Iran by the US.

"The US would be opening itself up to accusations of double standards," he told IRNA, warning that there would also be 'international repercussions'.

Binnie said that in any event, the MKO did not prove very successful as a 'proxy force' against Iran and that the terrorist group would 'not be a great dividend for the US'.

... Payvand News - 5/7/03 ... --

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