December 18, 2017

Iran resistance leaders urge EU to prevent massacre


The National Council of Resistance of Iran along with MEPs are urging the EU foreign ministers to take action against Iraq’s attempts to close an Iranian camp, home to more than 3,000 dissidents.

The EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet Thursday in Brussels and the scheduled 31 December closing of Camp Ashraf is on the agenda for members to discuss. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered the relocation of the camps residents.

Camp Ashraf is home to over 3,000 Iranians who fled to Iraq. The camp’s residents are opposed to the current Iranian regime and are working to overthrow the current government. The Iran resistance council has said the closure of the camp is a front for al-Maliki to “massacre” the Iranian dissidents.

President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi urged the foreign ministers to condemn al-Maliki’s actions and call on the United Nations to declare the camp’s residents as refugees.

“I would like to tell the leaders of the European Union that you have the power and the means to avert a definite humanitarian catastrophe,” Rajavi said.

Although the Iraqi government has promised the camp residents would not be harmed, Rajavi cited an 8 April raid on Camp Ashraf that resulted in the death of 36 people as a reason not to trust the Iraqi officials.

“Experience shows that Iraq’s governments’ promises cannot be trusted,” she said.

European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq President Struan Stevenson pointed to intelligence showing the Iraqi army beginning to plan an attack on the camp. Stevenson said that al-Maliki is closing the camp on orders from Iran.

“Iraq’s coalition government is a product of Tehran…al-Maliki owes his job to Tehran,” Stevenson said.

European Parliament Vice President Alejo Vidal-Quadras urged the United Nations to declare all residents of Camp Ashraf as refugees immediately. Normally, the UN conducts interviews individually with each refugees before they are given that classification.

According to Ravjani, the Iraqi government has insisted the interviews be conducted away from the camp and while members have agreed to these terms, they will only leave if the UN provides security to and from their home.

Ravjani has advocated the deadline for close the camp be “put-aside”, that the UN provide security forces to Camp Ashraf and for the international community to accept the residents as refugees.

With the deadline of 31 December fast approaching there is not a lot of time to conduct the interviews required for refugee status and transfer to other nations. Vidal-Quadras urged the UN to act quickly and grant the refugee status to the camp’s residents.

“If this is not an emergency than I don’t know what one is,” he said.

Former Irish Prime Minister and EU Ambassador to the United States John Bruton said the 2003 Iraq war was to blame for the condition of Camp Arshaf. He said that those responsible for the war have a special responsibility to speak up for the residents.

“If leaders are willing to take credit for the good that came out of the invasion than they should also accept responsibility for its consequences,” Bruton said.

Rajavi added that neither the US or the UN have given assurances and instead rely on “empty promises from the Iraq government.”

Rajavi hopes the EU foreign ministers will take a stand on the issue during their meeting Thursday in Brussels.