After the 2003 war, invasion of Iraq and the new situation for the PMOI the issue of those who wanted to leave the course of struggle and Camp Ashraf was evident. However, the Iranian regime tried hard to make political gains out of this very humanitarian issue against PMOI, thus, making this issue a challenge between PMOI, the mullahs’ regime and the MNF-I to some extent. In order to resolve the problem and prevent any political exploitation out of a humanitarian issue PMOI suggested the matter to be under full control of the U.S. Forces who were responsible for protection of Camp Ashraf.
On November 1, 2003, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between PMOI and the US Forces stationed in Ashraf detailing their situation. In this agreement the PMOI reiterated that, “As far as the People’s Mojahedin of Iran is concerned, these individuals are free to leave Ashraf Camp the moment they decide to leave”. Reciprocally, the US side announced, “persons wishing to leave Camp Ashraf to lead their ordinary life will stay in the Exit Facility due to the decision of the US Forces to complete a specified interview process for all personnel at Camp Ashraf”. This indicated that the PMOI did not have any responsibility vis-à-vis these persons.
Following the private interviews with each individual, the Commander of the MNF-I issued a proclamation confirming the legal status of the PMOI members as “protected persons” under the 4th Geneva Convention.
When the legal status was announced and all the dangers were removed, the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran issued a statement on behalf of the president elect of the Iranian Resistance reminding all the individuals before signing the Agreement once again think of their final choice freely and voluntarily, and if they want, ” they can go after their desired life and pursue their desirable option. But if they want to stay in Ashraf and continue their struggle for freedom, they must consider all the probable risks.”
At the time, some 200 individuals chose to leave Iraq and moved to the Exit Facility-TIPF, under the US control. There were no compulsions, for any body who wished to leave PMOI, to go to US facility. He or she could stay with the PMOI until the final disposition.
However, the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) conducted ploys within “TIPF-Exit Facility”. The operatives of MOIS by establishing links with their agents in TIPF managed to set up an unhealthy atmosphere there. The MOIS agents poised as family members got permission to visit their links in TIPF.
There are many reports indicating a tainted political and moral condition in TIPF, in particular to the end of 2004 to mid 2006 existed. Some newcomers, who were later determined to be the Iranian regime spy, and also some of those who in the TIPF to gain Iranian regime’s favor on their return to Iran, were serving the MOIS, put the political and moral relationship of the TIPF under the control of corrupt elements and gangs, although the security of the place was controlled by the U.S. Forces. The gangs also made propaganda in favor of the Iranian regime in the TIPF.
By the end of 2007 about 200 people remained in TIPF holding a UNHCR card recognizing them as refugees and an Iraqi laissez-passer supposed to be able to exit Iraq. The MNF-I announced they wanted to close TIPF; therefore those people were forced to leave the place with many of them returning to PMOI in Ashraf for help and financial support that was generously provided to them. They quickly found out that no neighboring country was accepting their Iraqi laissez-passers and many were stranded in Iraqi Kurdistan close to Turkish borders.
However, those who were already deployed and hired by MOIS during their stay at TIPF were quickly passed through Turkey to go to European countries to join other MOIS agents of demonization campaign against the PMOI.