January 24, 2018

Paris International Conference – Ashraf Crisis

NCRI – In an international conference held in Paris on Friday,  December 6 in defense of Ashraf, Gov. Ed Rendell, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (1999-2001) and Governor of Pennsylvania (2002-2011) stressed that there are no doubts that the United States has moral and legal responsibility with regards to the residents of Ashraf.  He said, “there are two words that the United States and the United Nations haven’t used that have to be used and those two words are “why” and “no.””

“First of all, we should have used the word “no” when it came to the Iraqi government’s objection to having United Nations blue helmets or U.S. troops protecting the residents of Ashraf until they were relocated.  That was the first mistake.”
“We didn’t ask the Iraqis why they objected to that.  Because there’s no good reason for them to object to that.  And then we didn’t ask a second question, why relocate out of Camp Ashraf at all?  Why?  What was wrong what harm was being done to the Iraqi government by having these 3,400 people live peacefully, controlling their own destiny, paying for their own expenses, living peacefully, endangering and threatening no one in this camp? ”

“Why was it necessary to move them? ”

“Why couldn’t the UNHCR have done its work in Camp Ashraf?  We were told that was unacceptable but nobody told us why.
What possible reason was relocation necessary?  Why couldn’t the goals, if the Iraqis are honest that they want these people out, why couldn’t it have been done in Camp Ashraf?  Why didn’t we ask that question?  And getting no good answer, why didn’t we just have a little backbone and say, “No, they’re staying in Camp Ashraf until the relocation process is done.”  We didn’t ask that question.

But if in fact the Iraqis’ goal is to turn this into a prison, if in fact their actions are no more than punitive to the residents of Ashraf, if in fact that punitive action is no more than an attempt to appease Tehran again, if in fact that’s the case, then the U.N. and the United States of America have to use the word “no” to relocation. ”
“We have to stand behind the residents when they say, “No, we’re not going to a place that doesn’t have adequate facilities.  We’re not going to a place that is a de facto prison camp.  We’re not going to a place where it means we’re losing our personal assets and millions of dollars of personal property.”

John Bolton, the former US Ambassador to United Nations and former Under Secretary of State said: “Difficulties with dealing with the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, in part is because it sees itself as accredited to the government of Iraq.  Part of its objective is to make sure it gets along with the government of Iraq.  So I think it’s very important to persuade the UN ambassador  and the UN bureaucracy in New York that their principal responsibility is not making the government of Iraq happy, it’s protecting the residents of Camp Ashraf. ”

“Another point is that  UNAMI is not the only element of the United Nations involved here.”

“Also for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,  protection and assistance for the refugees comes before anything else until they’re either moved to other countries or they can go back to their own country without fear of persecution”
“In the world of the UNHCR, Camp Ashraf is not a problem. It  is an interim solution and what a stain  of this Nobel Peace Prize winning agency to preside over a degradation in the living status and freedom and welfare of refugees.”

In another part of his speech, regarding the need to delist the PMOI/MEK fJohn Bolton said: “the State Department has not been strong in carrying out its responsibilities to honor America’s own word.     If the State Department has facts that justify the listing, let’s hear them.  If it doesn’t have any facts, delist the MEK and remove this pretense that Iran and the Al-Maliki government use to try to pressure the residents of Camp Ashraf.”

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 7, 2012