CBS Finds U.S. 'Washed Its Hands Of' Iranian Allies Living in Iraq, Crackdown by Iraqi Police

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Lara Logan again highlighted the down side of an American troop withdrawal from Iraq as she focused attention on the plight of Iranian exiles living in Iraq who are now suffering from a violent crackdown by Iraqi police, having lost the protection the group had been receiving from U.S. troops. This group of Iranians, known as the MEK, have a history of alliance with the United States and are credited with relaying information about Iran's nuclear program to America. Anchor Katie Couric set up the story:

When the U.S. began turning over security to the Iraqis, it stopped protecting some valuable allies -- thousands of Iranian exiles -- and their camp outside Baghdad is now under attack. For two days, Iraqi police have been beating the residents. No food or doctors have been allowed in. All with the approval of Iran`s government. Here`s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Lara Logan.

Logan described the violence and the MEK's history of helping the U.S. as she began her report: "It started peacefully, but quickly turned violent. Iraqi police using wooden sticks against these unarmed civilians. These people are Iranians living inside Iraq, members of an Iranian opposition group known as the MEK. It was the MEK that provided the U.S. with intelligence on Iran`s nuclear program."

The CBS correspondent recounted the protection once provided by the U.S., and informed viewers of the reports of violence perpetrated by Iraqi police officers since the U.S. pulled back its protection, as Logan described America as having "washed its hands of" the exile group:

LARA LOGAN: Since the U.S. invasion, the camp`s roughly 3,000 residents have been living under U.S. protection. That ended in January, when the Iraqis took control under the security agreement. Now the U.S. appears to have washed its hands of the people of Ashraf.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is a matter now for the government of Iraq to resolve.

LOGAN: Images captured by residents inside Ashraf showed the dead and wounded. Residents told CBS News at least 11 people were killed, hundreds wounded, and 30 arrested. The numbers impossible to verify because the Iraqi government has sealed off the camp.

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Wednesday, July 29, CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Meanwhile, overseas, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has just wrapped up a two-day visit to Iraq, and on the way home today he said the drop in violence may allow him to actually speed up the withdrawal, rather, of American troops there. Right now, the U.S. has 130,000 servicemen and women in Iraq, 10,000 are scheduled to be withdrawn by the end of this year. According to Gates, 5,000 more could be home for the holidays.

When the U.S. began turning over security to the Iraqis, it stopped protecting some valuable allies -- thousands of Iranian exiles, and their camp outside Baghdad is now under attack. For two days, Iraqi police have been beating the residents. No food or doctors have been allowed in. All with the approval of Iran`s government. Here`s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Lara Logan.

LARA LOGAN: It started peacefully, but quickly turned violent. Iraqi police using wooden sticks against these unarmed civilians. These people are Iranians living inside Iraq, members of an Iranian opposition group known as the MEK. It was the MEK that provided the U.S. with intelligence on Iran`s nuclear program.

ALI SAFAVI, NATIONAL COUNCIL ON RESISTANCE OF IRAN: Were it not for the MEK, the world would not be in a position to find out about the Iran`s nuclear weapons program and the mullahs may have had the bomb.

LOGAN: The MEK have lived in this camp, known as Camp Ashraf, for decades. The Iranian government wants them expelled and accuses them of being involved in the recent unrest in Iran. Since the U.S. invasion, the camp`s roughly 3,000 residents have been living under U.S. protection. That ended in January, when the Iraqis took control under the security agreement. Now the U.S. appears to have washed its hands of the people of Ashraf.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is a matter now for the government of Iraq to resolve.

LOGAN: Images captured by residents inside Ashraf showed the dead and wounded. Residents told CBS News at least 11 people were killed, hundreds wounded, and 30 arrested. The numbers impossible to verify because the Iraqi government has sealed off the camp. The attack was seen as the latest sign American influence in Iraq is waning as Iranian influence rises. Iraq`s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki and his government increasingly pro-Iranian.

KENNETH KATZMAN, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE: The Iranians would have to cross the border to get at them directly, because Camp Ashraf is clearly over the border. But they have an obviously willing ally in Prime Minister Maliki willing to do their bidding.

LOGAN: The Iranian government praised the Iraqi action against MEK, saying they`re cleaning the country of terrorists.