October 19, 2017

Camp Ashraf: Warning on Iranian regime’s efforts to undermine a peaceful solution

Iranian Resistance requests Secretary Clinton and UN Secretary General to undertake appropriate measures to ensure the success of US, UN, EU and UNHCR efforts, which are being seriously threatened by the Iranian regime

NCRI – In separate statements, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and EU High Representative Baroness Catherine Ashton welcomed the peaceful and humanitarian solution for Camp Ashraf crisis according to international law. The international community, including the governments of Canada, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany also welcomed this solution. On December 28, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance issued a statement on the readiness of 400 Camp Ashraf residents to relocate to Camp Liberty with their vehicles and moveable assets on December 30, 2011.

Simultaneously, the religious dictatorship ruling Iran, in an attempt to destroy its principal opposition, has embarked on an all-out effort to undermine the peaceful and mutually satisfactory solution for the Camp Ashraf crisis. In doing so, it is following two objectives: to pressure the Iraqi government to breach its commitments and to blame the residents of Camp Ashraf, the leadership of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the Iranian Resistance. From all indications, the Iranian regime and its operatives in Iraq are working to this end.

1. On December 24, a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp’s terrorist Qods Force, under the command of General Iraj Masjedi, the Qods Force’s Chief of Staff, and another delegation, headed by Brig. Gen. Hassan Kazemi Qomi, a Qod Force commander and former Ambassador to Iraq, travelled to Baghdad and discussed the issue of the PMOI and Camp Ashraf. Subsequently, missiles were launched at Camp Ashraf.

2. 107mm rockets were fired at Camp Ashraf on December 25, 27 and 28.

3. Kazem Jalali, Chair of the regime’s Parliamentary Security Committee, explicitly demanded the murder and destruction of PMOI members in Iraq. “It would be better to punish these criminals and make them pay for their crimes,” he told the state-run Mehr News Agency on December 24.

4. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s mouthpiece, the daily Kayhan, acting on behalf of Iraqi officials as well as security and judiciary agencies, wrote, “So far, 258 legal cases have been filed against PMOI members in Iraq.” This item was reprinted in the state-run media, including Ressalat in Tehran on January 1, 2012.
5. On December 31, the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), announced through one of its  websites, www.Iran-Interlink.org, that even if the residents of Camp Ashraf relocate to Camp Liberty, they will continue to face the agents, posing as PMOI family members, who have for the past two years gathered around Camp Ashraf to threaten and insult the residents, especially the women.

6. The same day, the IRGC’s news agency announced that PMOI members have to be transferred to a location on the borders between Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and that Iraqi officials were opposed to their relocation to Camp Liberty.

7. Whereas on December 21, the Iraqi Prime Minister announced the six-month extension of the deadline, Tehran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danai-far, was quoted by the state-run news agency, ISNA, on January 1, “The Iraqi government plans to close down Camp Ashraf in the next few days.”

8. The Iraqi government did not agree to the participation of Mrs. Rajavi and representatives of Camp Ashraf or even their lawyers in discussions on the fate of their clients between the Iraqi government and Amb. Kobler. This was despite the fact that in paragraph 66 of his July 7, 2011 report to the Security Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, had clearly stated, “I call upon Member States to help to support and facilitate the implementation of any arrangement that is acceptable to the Government of Iraq and the camp residents.”

9. U.S. and UN officials said that Camp Liberty had been handed over to the Iraqi government on December 3rd. On December 7th, UN officials told Camp Ashraf representatives that they had visited Camp Liberty and that it had been ready with UN and UNHCR standards. It is about 40 Sq. kms and the U.S. forces have left behind the necessary and sufficient facilities and infra-structure, they said. UN officials also stated repeatedly that they would not sign any agreement with the Iraqi government on the relocation of Camp Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty before informing and getting the agreement of Camp Ashraf representatives.

10. However, on December 25, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed due to Iraqi government pressure and without the knowledge and agreement of the residents of Camp Ashraf and their representatives. The text of the MoU was provided to Camp Ashraf representatives the next day. It became clear that the Iraqi forces had occupied 95 percent of Camp Liberty’s area. Later, it was learned that the location allocated to the residents of Ashraf was not ready. On December 30th, an alternative and temporary location in Camp Liberty was offered to the residents, which was even smaller. Camp Ashraf representatives were also told that the Iraqi government had opposed the 400 residents taking their vehicles and moveable assets from Ashraf to Liberty.

11. As for the moveable assets, kitchen appliances and bread baking equipment, the residents were told the latter would be available at Liberty. However, Iraqi officials rejected the suggestion by Camp Ashraf representatives to send a 5-10 member team of Camp Ashraf residents and engineers to visit Camp Liberty for a few hours and appraise the facilities and accommodations.

12. Iraqi officials also opposed the transfer of the residents’ vehicles on the pretext that they had no registration. Amb. Kobler had been informed, however, that all the vehicles and equipment had their titles and that some 200 had been purchased in 2008 with the monitoring of the U.S. forces with their taxes paid. These cars have no license plates because of the three-year siege on Camp Ashraf and the refusal by Iraqi officials to issue them. Camp Ashraf representative proposed to Amb. Kobler that if Iraqi officials were not really using license plate issue as an excuse, they could easily resolve this problem in a matter of a few hours either in Camp Ashraf or in Liberty by sending officials from the Motor Vehicle Department to issue license plates. He also said all vehicles could be handed over to the UN as soon as they arrive and are unloaded at Liberty. This would provide time to resolve the legal issues and return the cars to their owners. The Camp Ashraf representative even suggested that if completing the one to two hour journey from Ashraf to Liberty under US and UN monitoring violates Iraqi sovereignty, Camp Ashraf residents were prepared to hire private transport companies to carry the cars on their trucks.

13. In a letter to Secretary Clinton on December 29, copied to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Amb. James Jeffrey, Amb. Daniel Fried and Amb. Martin Kobler, Mrs. Rajavi wrote, “I recall my emphatic appeal to the residents of Camp Ashraf to relocate 400 people to Camp Liberty as a goodwill gesture until subsequent Iraqi government agreement with the minimum assurances and reiterate that 400 residents are prepared to relocate to Camp Liberty with their vehicles and moveable assets on December 30th. As such, why and who is preventing an initial inspection of Camp Liberty by five or ten Camp Ashraf residents in order to assess the state and the shortages of the new camp? The obvious question the residents are asking is whether or not Liberty is going to be a prison. Otherwise, transferring the necessary equipment to Liberty in order to prepare and ease the shortages should not be to anyone’s detriment? Why is there opposition to the residents leaving Camp Ashraf with their assets and vehicles as soon as possible?  Is transferring kitchen appliances, bread baking equipment, heaters, refrigerators, air conditioners and generators threatening the sovereignty of Iraq?  UNHCR has recognized the residents of Camp Ashraf as “formally asylum- seekers under international law… that they must be able to benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being”.

14. Mrs. Rajavi appealed to Secretary Clinton for her assistance and intervention so that Amb. Kobler could convince the Iraqi government agree to the “inspection of Camp Liberty by a number of Camp Ashraf engineers; the immediate transfer of 400 Camp Ashraf residents to Liberty with their vehicles and moveable assets and the subsequent acceptance by Iraq of the minimum assurances to convince the rest of Camp Ashraf residents to go to Liberty in the remaining months now that the deadline has been extended.”

15. The representative of Camp Ashraf residents outside Iraq wrote to Mr. Kobler on December 30th: “Unfortunately, from all indications, the Iraqi government intends to turn Camp Liberty to a prison for the residents of Camp Ashraf. The prohibition against the residents taking their vehicles, imposing restrictions on taking their assets and the opposition to an initial inspection of the site by a group of Camp Ashraf engineers are sources of tremendous concern to the residents. These restrictions, which are absolutely contrary to the fundamental values and rights which the United Nations is supposed to safeguard, have nothing to do with the issue of Iraqi sovereignty. Far from it, the sovereignty right has degenerated into an excuse to further the evil intention of the religious fascism ruling Iran. When one adds to these conditions the threat of an attack if relocation without the vehicles is not accepted as well as the missile attacks against Ashraf, the source of which is quite clear, any fair-minded and reasonable person could only reach one conclusion: the Iraqi government is intent on building a prison-like environment for the residents of Ashraf. What is happening right now is forced relocation and a flagrant violation of the rights of the residents.”

16. He added, “Since you agree, I hope, that except for prisoners, no one is taken to an area without previously having inspected it and that you do not expect the residents to go to a prison on their own volition, if Iraq does not accept an initial exploratory visit to Camp Liberty by a 5-10 member team of Ashraf residents, I request that on behalf of the residents that a delegation consisting of Ashraf lawyers and representatives, including Senator Robert Torricelli, Brig. Gen. David Phillips (ret.), Mr. Paulo Casaca (former MEP) and Dr. Juan Garces (the distinguished international law jurist) go to Iraq tomorrow to visit Camp Liberty and assure the residents that no malice is intended toward them.”

17. Ms. Mojgan Parsaei, Vice President of the Iranian Resistance in Camp Ashraf, wrote to Amb. Kobler on January 1, “Ashraf residents are deeply concerned that preparations are being made to transfer them to a prison or something like that. Contrary to remarks by UNSG and yourself, this would be pushing us toward forcible and illegal relocation which is contrary to IHL and ICCPR. Ashraf residents feel they are facing unnecessary suffering, degrading and humiliating behavior. Our lawyers constantly warn us about this; they say they have sent you dozens of letters in this regard over the past two days… In a December 26 letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, copied to you as well, more than 3,000 Ashraf residents wrote, ‘You will concur with us that forcible displacement is prohibited under international law.  The current drive to relocate us is being done under constraint, against our free will, and while we do not have the minimum assurances for our safety and security’”. She added, “Considering the above-mentioned concerns, Ashraf residents find themselves facing an obscure and bleak future. I am faced with a wave of questions from Ashraf residents, their lawyers and families… Does the Iraqi government, under pressure from the Iranian regime, plan to call off the agreement? Is it trying to use Amb. Kobler as leverage to send us to prison and force us into an unlawful and unacceptable relocation contrary to international law and conventions? Is it trying to compel the SRSG to withdraw from this agreement and put the blame on us, and then attack and justify another massacre?”

18. In her letter, Ms. Parsaei had underscored “the adherence of the residents of Ashraf to Mrs. Rajavi’s December 28 letter and her December 29 letter to Secretary Clinton.”

Recalling UN Secretary General’s previous appeal to UN Member States “to support and facilitate the implementation of any arrangement that is acceptable to the Government of Iraq and the camp residents,” and in order to save the peaceful and mutually satisfactory solution, Mrs. Rajavi proposed the convening of a special session in Paris or Brussels or Geneva to be presided over by Amb. Martin Kobler, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq; and attended by herself or Camp Ashraf representatives; authoritative Iraqi officials; Amb. Daniel Fried, Secretary Clinton’s Special Representative on Ashraf; U.S. Embassy-Baghdad Representative for Ashraf; Amb. Jean de-Ruyt, Baroness Ashton’s Special Envoy on Ashraf; UNHCR Representative; European Parliament Vice President Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras; and Struan Stevenson, Head of EP’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 2, 2012

http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/ashraf/11589-camp-ashraf-warning-on-iranian-regimes-efforts-to-undermine-a-peaceful-solution