Iraq opens refugee camp to diplomats

Sep 11, 2012, 10:20 AM EDT

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's government has given foreign diplomats a rare look inside a refugee camp housing Iranian exiles, as Baghdad seeks international help resettling them in another country.

Baghdad's Shiite-led government considers the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq a terrorist organization that is living in the country illegally. The government organized Tuesday's visit to Camp Liberty outside the capital, where 2,300 members of the group live, to speed their departure.

The MEK is an opposition group to Tehran's clerical regime and cannot return to Iran. They were given sanctuary in Iraq by Saddam Hussein decades ago.

Many say they consider Camp Liberty a prison, and are reluctantly leaving their longtime residence in another Iraqi settlement, Camp Ashraf, a virtual mini-city with many amenities.

Several diplomats offered cautious support for Baghdad's efforts to settle them outside Iraq.