May 1, 2017

Paris Conference: Obstructions by Iraq to a peaceful solution to Ashraf crisis

Mrs. Rajavi: Through the UN and particularly the SGSR, the international community can provide the basic necessary assurances for Ashraf residents

NCRI – In an international conference held in Paris on Friday, January 6, at the invitation of the CFID (French Committee for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran), dozens of distinguished American and European dignitaries warned of obstructions and non-cooperation by the Iranian regime and Government of Iraq in guaranteeing a peaceful solution for Camp Ashraf, where members of the Iranian opposition reside in Iraq.

Condemning these obstructions, the conference supported and endorsed a proposal by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi for a special conference to be held in Paris, Brussels or Geneva, to be presided over by the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq (SGSR); and attended by herself or Camp Ashraf representatives; authoritative Iraqi officials; Amb. Daniel Fried, Secretary Clinton’s Special Representative on Camp Ashraf; the representative of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for Camp Ashraf; Amb. Jean de-Ruyt, Baroness Ashton’s Special Envoy on Camp Ashraf; a representative of the UNHCR; European Parliament Vice President Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras; and Struan Stevenson MEP. The speakers condemned the Iraqi government for preventing the representative of Ashraf residents in taking part in discussions over their fate, and they reiterated that Mrs. Rajavi’s proposed session could result in a text agreed to by the Ashraf residents about the necessities for and manner of relocation thereby making up to some extent for this regrettable exclusion.

The conference speakers were Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Gov. Howard Dean, former Governor Vermont, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (2005-2009) and US presidential candidate (2004);  Gov. Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania and the first US Homeland Security Secretary (2003-2005); Louis Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (1993-2001); Gov. Ed Rendell, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (1999-2001) and Governor of Pennsylvania (2002-2011); Judge Michael Mukasey, US Attorney General in the Bush Administration (2007-2009); Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, former Director of Policy Planning at the US Department of State; General James Conway, Commandant of the US Marine Corps (2006-2010); Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Member of US House of Representatives (1995-2011); Gen. Chuck Wald, former Deputy Commander of US European Command; Gen. David Phillips, Commander of U.S. Military Police (2008-2011); Prof. Alan Dershowitz, one of the most prominent advocates of individual rights and the most well-known lawyer in criminal cases in the world; Ambassador Dell Dailey, Head of the State Department’s counterterrorism office (2007-09); Col. Wesley Martin, former Senior Anti-terrorism Force Protection Officer for all Coalition Forces in Iraq and Commander of Forward Operation Base  in Ashraf; Prof. Ruth Wedgwood, Chair of International Law and Diplomacy at Johns Hopkins University; Philippe Douste-Blazy, Former French Foreign Minister and to the UN Secretary General; Alain Vivien, former French Minister of State for European Affairs; Rita Süssmuth, former President of German Bundestag; Günter Verheugen, European Commissioner (1999-2010) and former Advisory Minister in German Foreign Ministry; and Sen. Lucio Malan, Member of Italian Senate.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, welcomed the magnificent achievements of the campaign in defense of Ashraf which foiled the plots of the religious fascism ruling Iran for massacre of Ashraf residents and said: “The attempt by the UN to resolve the Ashraf crisis has won international support. However, the mullahs’ regime resorts to continued provocations to disturb the situation and destroy the achieved solution. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is repeatedly breaching its commitments to the United Nations, such as: preventing the residents to transfer their property, particularly their vehicles, to the new location; reducing the area of Camp Liberty from 40 sq km to less than 1 sq km; installing high concrete walls and practically transforming the site into a prison. The goal of the rocket attacks, communication-jamming devices, spying stations, daily gathering of agents of the mullahs’ Intelligence Ministry and Qods Force, threatening the residents and looting their property is to force the residents to relocate to a place which would effectively be a prison. However any direct or indirect pressure on the residents for forcible relocation and accepting prison conditions is a red line for them, and the Iranian regime is behind such actions.”

In a letter to the UN Secretary General, signed by all of the residents, they said: “The current drive to relocate us is being done under constraint, against our free choice and will, and while we do not have the minimum assurances for our safety and security. While reaffirming our full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as our willingness to leave Iraq as soon as having the opportunity, we urge you to ensure that all our rights are respected in conformity with the IV Geneva Convention, in particular the right to life, freedom and security, in accordance to international human rights law and international humanitarian law.”

Mrs. Rajavi said that the 5-month delay in commencing the work of the UNHCR in Ashraf is absolutely unacceptable and incomprehensible and in blatant contradiction of the deadline and accelerated efforts for the departure of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) from Iraq. Making the UNHCR process conditional upon the residents’ transfer to Camp Liberty is clearly the demand of the Iranian regime whose goal is to obliterate Ashraf residents instead of relocating them to third countries. There are currently more than 1,000 former political prisoners and close to 1,000 refugees from third countries in Ashraf whose cases the UNHCR could immediately facilitate. However this process has been delayed since August when High Commissioner Antonio Guterres wrote to the Prime Minister of Iraq.

The President-elect of the Iranian Resistance reiterated that undoubtedly the international community, through the UN and specifically the SGSR, could if it so wished and chose defend the human rights values that it has said is its main focus and provide the minimum necessary assurances for the Ashraf residents.

Maryam Rajavi added: “Although the West’s efforts to impose sanctions against the Iranian regime are a positive step, however, this is not the answer to the regime’s nuclear threat. No policy can be effective against the central banker of terrorism unless it seeks a change of this religious fascism, and no factor has been more effective in extending the life of this regime than the terrorist label against its main opposition.”

Gov. Dean said: “The USA is not only morally, but legally, responsible for what happens to the 3,400 unarmed civilians in Camp Ashraf. Each of the residents has a paper from the US government saying we will accept responsibility to protect them. … I believe we have a legal obligation to delist the MEK (PMOI).”

Gov. Ridge said: “The residents of Ashraf have very legitimate demands. … The new location (Camp Liberty) doesn’t sound like a resettlement camp. It sounds more like a prison.”

Gov. Rendell said: “We should have asked why the residents couldn’t have stayed in Camp Ashraf until the relocation process for going to third countries was complete. And why when we received no good answers did we not say no. What was the reason for going from a 40sq km site to a 1 sq km site?”

Amb. Bolton said: “The UN needs to be made to understand that its primary responsibility is not to the Iraqi government but to the residents of Camp Ashraf.”

Judge Mukasey said: “We came to this point because Nuri al-Maliki formed a completely arbitrary deadline for the removal of Camp Ashraf residents.”

Mr. Freeh said: “There has been no thought behind the implementation of the plan to relocate Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty, where there is no infrastructure or facilities; no water or electricity.”

The Speakers welcomed the responsible and accommodating positions of Mrs Rajavi and the Camp Ashraf leadership for avoiding further bloodshed. They stressed that preventing representatives of Ashraf from taking part in the negotiations and not accepting Mrs Rajavi’s proposal for her traveling to Baghdad to take part in the negotiations aim to even degenerate the role of the UN to an ineffective facilitator so that in the next step it could be used as a tool in arranging a forcible displacement. That means achieving the same vicious aim of repeating the bloodshed but with a UN cover.

The speakers also revealed a long list of cases of obfuscation and violations by Iraq of its commitments, which exposed the intent of the Iraqi government. Among these violations are:

Iraqi government’s prevention of a trip by Ambassador Jean de Ruyt to Iraq and Ashraf, various efforts to involve the Iranian regime in the file of Ashraf, reducing the size of the area allocated to Ashraf residents in Camp Liberty from 40 sq km to less that 1 sq km, freedom of action for agents of the Iranian intelligence ministry and Qods Force around Ashraf and constant threats to the residents, and a continued ban on the entry of residents’ relatives and lawyers to Ashraf.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 6, 2012