Letter: Saddam's Iranian mercenaries

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The Independent Online
Sir: Hossein Mir Abedeni (letter, 7 September) denies that forces of the People's Mujahedin of Iran were involved in the recent fighting at Arbil and adds that "for years the Iranian Resistance has emphasised that in no way has it or will it ever get involved in Iraq's internal affairs".

The People's Mujahedin of Iran has a history of conflict and rivalry with Kurds opposed to the Baathist regime in Baghdad, especially the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by Jalal Talabani.

As a former member of the People's Mujahedin, I can testify that immediately after the second Gulf war (March 1991), the Mujahedin military force, which is entirely funded and equipped by the regime of Saddam Hussein, went into action against rebellious Kurds alongside the Iraqi Republican Guards. On 14 March 1991, a sizeable Mujahedin force attacked PUK forces near the town of Koi Sanjaq, razing nearby villages to the ground and killing many civilians. Maryam Rajavi, joint leader of the Mujahedin, issued a communique ordering Mujahedin troops to "run over" fleeing Kurds with their tanks.

In May 1993, a Mujahedin platoon infiltrated the outskirts of Sulaymaniyah and seized 13 PUK peshmergas. These peshmergas were then handed over to the Iraqi Mukhabarat secret police. Their fate is unknown.

It is evident that since the Mujahedin presence in Iraq is dependent on the survival of the Saddam Hussein regime, the Mujahedin are willing to act as mercenaries for this anti-human regime.

HUSHANG PIRNIA

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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