WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is warning an Iran opposition group that time is running short to vacate an encampment inside Iraq.
Daniel Benjamin, the department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said Friday that the group, known as the Mujahadin-e-Khalq, should not assume that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will decide to remove the group from the U.S. terrorism list. She is under court order to make a decision by October.
Nearly 2,000 members of the group have made the move out of Camp Ashraf, but Benjamin said that 1,200 to 1,300 remain. None have left since early May, and the Iraqi government has set a July 20 deadline for them to vacate Ashraf entirely.
He said completing the relocation will be a "key factor" in Clinton's decision.
The MEK has insisted that the Iraqi government meet numerous humanitarian demands first, including the transfer of air conditioners, power generators, trucks and other items to their new location.
"The residents and the leadership of Camp Ashraf have said time and again that if their minimum life support needs are provided, they will immediately relocate," a spokesman for the MEK's umbrella group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Shahin Gobadi, said in an emailed statement.