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Annual Conference for Democratic Change in Iran is the largest and grandmeeting2013premiere political event of the Iranian opposition movement to the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran that is convened each year in the latter part of June (Why in June?) with scores of world leaders and elected officials from countries spanning the globe attending to express their solidarity with the tens of thousands of Iranians who strive for freedom in their homeland.

The 2012 conference was convened on June 22 from 1:30 PM to 8 PM with 52 political and human rights dignitaries speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of Iranians and their sympathizers from around the world. The keynote address was delivered by Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

  • The organizing committee was comprised of 580 people
  • 241 technical directors from scores of companies participated in the preparation and implementation of the conference
  • Over 1,320 bus coaches brought tens of thousands of the participants to the venue in addition to hundreds of planes, trains, and cars
  • The turnstiles at the conference hall’s entrance counted over 110,000 entrants
  • A total of 642 political dignitaries, including 4 former prime ministers, 100 former ministers, ambassadors, government officials, participated
  • A total of 538 elected members of legislatures and mayors attended
  • Political delegations from over 54 countries came to express their support for the Iranian Resistance movement’s struggle for freedom and democracy
  • 51 press outlets and organizations with over 81 reporters and journalists gave press coverage to this unique event

A most tremendous effort by the Iranian Resistance’s support network in 54 countries resulted in the spectacular attendance and attraction of tens of thousands of Iranians who yearn for freedom and democracy in Iran. We owe them our gratitude for their untiring and selfless sacrifices.

Date & Time: Saturday, June 22 from 1:30pm – 8:00pm (CEST)

Location: Parc des Expositions de Villepinte
Hall 5B
Paris Nord II
Villepinte, France

Time to listen to Iranian voices for freedom

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, is a member of the British upper chamber, the House of LordsBy: LORD KEN MAGINNIS Member of UK Parliament, House of Lords

LONDON, July 6 (UPI) — LONDON, July 6 (UPI) — How big does a rally have to be before the world takes notice? Will the voices of 100,000 protesters reach across the Atlantic? Around this number of Iranian expatriates gathered in Paris last Saturday to show their support for the Iranian resistance and their determination to bring freedom, democracy and justice to a country that has suffered far too long under the dictatorship of the mullahs.

It was the largest anti-regime demonstrations ever organized and brought together Iranians from across the world, both the young and the old. Around 500 parliamentarians, ministers and dignitaries from Europe and America came to support the rally and its organizers, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran.

From the United States came Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York; Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and Judge Michael Mukasey, U.S. attorney general in the Bush administration. From France came Philippe Douste-Blazy, the former French foreign minister. There were a dozen members of the U.K. Parliament including David Amess and Brian Binley and the Lords Maginnis, Clarke and Cotter to name but a few. There, too, was Rita Sussmuth, former president of the German Bundestag, and Emma Bonino, vice president of Italian Senate.

While the U.S. delegation was probably the largest, there were representatives from Ireland to Colombia, Romania, Albania and even San Marino.

The collective grievances of the expatriates were put into words by Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian Resistance. She was particularly critical of the U.S. State Department, which, she said, had “trampled upon justice” by refusing to remove the PMOI from the U.S. list of designated terrorist organizations.   “Was it not you who fed an assortment of lies, fabricated by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence, to some U.S. news outlets in order to justify maintaining this label?” she asked of the State Department. “Was they not your anonymous officials who repeatedly churned out false claims against the People’s Mujahedin?”

The fight to remove the PMOI from the terror list has reached the U.S. courts, where June 1 judges gave the Obama administration until Oct. 1 to follow Europe’s lead in removing the PMOI from the terror list decide whereby recognizing the PMOI as the legitimate Iranian opposition.

As part of its policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime, the U.S. State Department resorted to lying and defaming the PMOI and its supporters in court. To justify maintaining the terror designation, the attorney for the State Department claimed that PMOI supporters in Iraq’s Camp Ashraf might be hiding weapons — allegations dismissed out of hand by those same U.S. military officers who guarded the camp during the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

“What kind of modus operandi governs such departments, whose officials have free rein to break the law and resort to fabrications and slander?” asked Rajavi.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will have the final say on the terror designation.

“It is my hope that Secretary Clinton would turn this oppressive and unfair page in the history of the U.S. policy and personally bring an end to this unlawful designation,” the president-elect said.

The plight of the Camp Ashraf refugees, and their friends and relatives in neighboring Camp Liberty, is another priority for the Iranian resistance.   Tehran, which has enormous political sway over Baghdad in the post-U.S. vacuum, is terrified at the thought of having PMOI supporters on its doorstep. The two regimes therefore hatched a plan to massacre the 3,400 men, women and children who had made Ashraf their home or force them to surrender by the end of last year.

It was only after an international campaign orchestrated by the PMOI that Iraqi troops were refrained from storming Camp Ashraf and killing unarmed refugees, as they had done on two previous occasions.

The Iraqi government is now insisting that all Camp Ashraf residents be transferred to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base near Baghdad that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned into something resembling a concentration camp.

What was supposed to be a voluntary relocation became a forcible transfer,” Rajavi told the rally.

The agreement struck between the Iraqi government and the United Nations covering the transfer had been repeatedly flouted, she said. The United States had “abandoned its commitment” to protect Ashraf residents and was guilty of “hollow promises.”

There have been 37 rounds of talks between the international community and Iran. Over the decade since the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions were uncovered, these talks have not resulted in any progress. On the contrary, the regime is suspected of stockpiling at least 200 kilograms of enriched uranium every month.

Rather than do everything in its power to appease Tehran and hamper the efforts of the Iranian resistance, the United States should be supporting the PMOI and its aim of regime change in Iran. It is time for the United States and the world to listen to Iranian voices for freedom — the voices that were joined in such depth and such harmony by democrats from throughout Europe and farther afield in Paris on June 23.

(Kenneth Maginnis, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, is a member of the British upper chamber, the House of Lords. He was the Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 1983 to 2001.)

Source: UPI International

Text of Mrs Maryam Rajavi Speech in the Grand gathering -Villepinte, Paris, 23 June 2012

In the name of God, Iran and Freedom
And in the name of the Iranian people’s democratic revolution,
In the name of the perseverance of Ashrafies and their supporters, who are the harbingers of victory and freedom!

Dear Compatriots,
Supporters of the Resistance

My warmest greetings to all of you!

Today marks the momentous birth of Imam Hussein, the third Shiite Imam, the eternal messenger of freedom, the historical flag bearer of “no to humiliation”, and an inspiration for all generations to persevere and  to shun surrender. Today also marks the thirty-first anniversary of the start of the resistance against the religious tyranny in Iran.

On this day and at such a magnificent gathering, I want to share with you my feelings as I watch your overwhelming enthusiasm.

I see in you and with you the tens of millions of Iranians who are yearning for freedom.

I hear the voices of my brave sisters across our homeland.

I hear the voices of proud prisoners of conscience resisting in the dungeons of Ali Khamenei.

And I hear the outcry of students, workers, teachers and all those who long for freedom and liberation.

Indeed, all of us hear your outcries from the four corners of Iran and your voice echoes in our ears.

Indeed, the cry of every Iranian is Freedom, Freedom.

In you, I see the enraged peoples of the Middle East who have risen up against the principal threat to the whole of the region, namely the religious fascism ruling Iran. I mean those in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other regional countries whose representatives are here with us today.

And in you, I see the tremendous force of humanity, justice, love and faith that is alien to fatigue and decrepitude. Instead, it inspires and steers forward the largest assemblies, the longest sit-ins and the strongest movements; it crumbles the thick wall of impossibilities and is determined to march forward until ascending to the pinnacle of victory.

Fellow Compatriots,

The most recent important development has been the judgment issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, against the unlawful label against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). This was a landmark and historic achievement in the struggle between the Iranian people’s resistance and the clerical regime.

The court made it clear that this label is illegitimate and ruled that if the State Department does not make a decision, it would unilaterally revoke the PMOI’s designation.

Such is the sound of the breaking of the chains, the crumbling of the dark houses of demonization, and the spectacular defeat of the velayat-e faqih regime.

This designation was meant to deny the right of the Iranian nation to change the regime. But your resistance proudly legitimized that right.
It is said that no court had in the past two hundred years issued a writ of mandamus on matters of national security and foreign policy.

Nevertheless, a movement that has sacrificed everything for the cause of freedom and liberation of its nation lit the light of truth and justice in the depth of darkness.

I had said before that “We will pluck out the rights of the Iranian people even if you hide them in the dragon’s belly.”

Now, we have not come to chastise this shameful designation and policy. We have come to say that this policy must be uprooted in its entirety.

Was it not the State Department that fed an assortment of lies fabricated by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security to some in the U.S. media in order to justify maintaining this label?

Was it not anonymous State Department officials who repeatedly churned out false claims against the PMOI?

And did it not resort to the lie before the U.S. court that perhaps Camp Ashraf has not been fully inspected?

Now, it is our turn to ask whether these lies serve any purpose other than setting the stage for the massacre of other Ashrafies.

Which law and which ethical and humanitarian principle, would allow the State Department to defer the removal of the PMOI until Camp Ashraf is evacuated?

In the occidental culture there is a famous saying that, “the laws of the Torah tie man’s hands from committing sin and the laws of Bible block one’s thought and intent to commit sin.”

Now, what kind of modus operandi and beliefs govern the State Department, on the basis of which officials feel that they have free reins to break the law and resort to fabrications and slander?

Indeed, were it not for Members of the House and the Senate and distinguished former U.S. officials rising in support of the Iranian people, the Iranian Resistance and the Ashrafies, what would have remained of the 33-year U.S. policy towards the mullahs except the disgrace of appeasement?

This is an unparalleled bipartisan coalition which has challenged the official policy and is honorably and courageously the delisting and the Ashrafies. Yes, we recognize the United States through you.

Of course, it is my hope that Secretary Clinton would turn this oppressive and unfair page in the history of U.S. policy and personally bring an end to this unlawful designation.

Nevertheless, far beyond any decision, regardless of whatever is done, the decisive factor is the resolve of the Iranian people and Resistance which is bringing an end to this designation and this it will accomplish.

Like an ominous coil, this designation kept in place numerous allegations against the Iranian Resistance or fabricated and rehashed them, acting as the greatest obstacle to the freedom of the Iranian people. In all these years, the mullahs ruling Iran or their accomplices said and wrote repeatedly that members of this Resistance torture and murder themselves.

They alleged that this is a sect suffering from a cult of personality, and it lacks popular support inside Iran.

They alleged that it has murdered the Kurds and massacred the Shiites in Iraq. They alleged that it had hidden chemical weapons in Camp Ashraf and that 70 percent of Ashraf residents had been kept there against their will.

All these slanders emanated from the label and served to preserve the mullahs’ regime.

Nevertheless, it was only the suffering and perseverance of the resistance movement which broke through this colonial and reactionary siege and onslaught against the Iranian people’s resistance movement.

Subsequent to the unprecedented rulings of the English and EU courts, last year, the French Judiciary issued a brilliant judgment, acknowledging the legitimacy and righteousness of the Iranian people’s resistance against religious fascism. And this year, the U.S. Judiciary also testified against a historic injustice done to the Iranian Resistance.
You know that in the long and painful history of demonization against freedom-seekers and resistance movements, from Jesus Christ to Spartacus, from the heroes of the anti-fascist resistance here in France to the combatants of Iran’s freedom, an exceptional experience has been gained.

This is because this is the first time that a movement has succeeded in its own time, through sacrifice and raising awareness, and of course  abiding by international law, to go before the courts in Europe and the United States and succeed in unchaining itself from the heavy burden of these lies.

Yes, we succeeded in putting an end to the suppressive siege against the resistance movement.

And we succeeded in elevating the standards of justice in today’s world.

We succeeded in breaking apart the cycle of slander and ruse.

We succeeded in crafting a new plan and opening a new chapter.

This is a plan based on transparency, truth and justice, based on respect for mankind’s achievements and virtues, based on the return of international institutions to defending human rights, based on restoring the rights of the peoples and reviving the value of resistance and sacrifice.

Indeed, the force of humanity and justice has come to the fore, and history has turned a page. Dictators are falling one after another and therefore policies which preserved them must also change. And we have the wherewithal to bring about that change and we will realize it.

This is the meaning of a change in our era and the era of change.

At this moment, we must pay homage to the memory of Danielle Mitterrand, the First Lady of human rights, Raymond Aubrac and his comrade in arms Lucie Aubrac, Lord Corbett and Lord Archer, all of whom passed away in recent months. They were among the pioneers of this global struggle and the founders of a policy based on justice and humanity. Their names and valuable roles will never be forgotten.

Dear Compatriots,
The change in our era also manifests itself in the Iranian Resistance’s triumphant shattering of the multi-faceted conspiracies by the Iranian regime and its puppet government in Iraq.

As all of you know, in the past year there was a plan to dismantle and destroy the People’s Mojahedin.

There was a deadline to finish off Ashrafies. And there was the seven-point pack between Tehran and Baghdad to either force this movement into surrender or to destroy it altogether.

Today, I am delighted to tell you and the great nation of Iran that, with God’s blessing, the resistance movement against the clerical regime, which symbolizes the heroic struggles in Iran’s history, has been saved from being pillaged, massacred and destroyed. And now, in order to carry out its historic mandate, it is hundreds of times more effective, resolute and solidified.

And now I ask all of you supporters of Ashraf: are you also prepared to live up to the responsibilities of this era, namely a struggle and effort hundreds of times greater to liberate the Iranian people?

So, much to the chagrin of the enemy, Ashraf has multiplied and there are now countless Ashrafies.

In recent months, in order to neutralize the conspiracies of the mullahs’ regime and its puppet government in Baghdad, the Mojahedin accepted relocation from Camp Ashraf in the framework of an international solution.

To advance this solution, the residents of Ashraf gave up their 25-year right to residency in Iraq to comply with the European Parliament plan. They also agreed to leave Camp Ashraf, which they had built and improved upon through much work and hardship.

Nevertheless, owing to the conspiracies of the religious fascism ruling Iran, the repeated breaches of the Iraqi government and the passivity of the United Nations and the United States, what was supposed to be a voluntary relocation became a forcible transfer.

This is a forcible relocation in every detail. The Memorandum of Understanding between Iraq and the UN lacks the minimum demands of the residents of Ashraf and even these provisions have not yet been implemented. In practice, the MoU became a plan to send them to a prison.

Several weeks ago, I said that the plan for a temporary transit facility has fundamentally failed and nothing is left of the MoU between the UN and the Iraqi government and it must be saved once again.

The residents of Ashraf have also said that so long as the violation of their most basic rights continues, they will not go to Liberty. But if their demands are met even today, they will relocate tomorrow.
These demands have been drafted in six points, are very simple, and have been sent to the UN Secretary General and the US government.

Simply said, instead of turning Liberty into a prison, classify it as refugee camp, provide water, electricity and other humanitarian needs of the residents, halt the interference of an enemy seeking to destroy this movement in our affairs, and finally inspect Ashraf, which you claim is not fully disarmed. Or at least retract what you have claimed.

Those who say that these demands by the residents of Ashraf are maximalist demands should explain since when protecting the lives and safety of people is considered to be special privileges?

They are telling you that you do not have the right to demand the inspection of Ashraf to absolve yourselves of allegations. Instead, they say, you must go to prison and recognize it as a humanitarian solution. And if you are opposed to going to prison, the unlawful designation may continue and you will be accused of cutting off dialogue and lack of cooperation.

In reality, they are again victimizing the victim. As though Jesus is being crucified again and the executioner claims that he was the real victim.

The residents of Ashraf have been forced into a detention center where like slaves they must carry the heavy loads of cargo on their shoulders. Yet, it is the residents of Ashraf who are blamed for the stalemate and the crisis.

Indeed, this is demonization on the one hand and a multitude of inhuman pressures on the other with the intent of setting the stage for another massacre in Liberty.

Let me underscore, however, that if you think under such pressures you can force the Mojahedin to surrender their own rights and the rights and freedoms of their fellow Iranians, you are gravely mistaken.

I must reiterate loudly and clearly that our Resistance’s code of conduct is such that when it makes a commitment, it adheres to it responsibly.

Thus, despite all the conspiracies carried out by the Iranian regime, the Iranian Resistance stands by all its previous commitments. It has been this Resistance that has fully paid the price of advancing this path and will continue along this path, demonstrating its full cooperation and understanding with the United Nations.

Thus far we have shown and continue to show the highest degrees of flexibility on the condition that the residents’ protection, security, safety and dignity are guaranteed.

But we hope that the United Nations and the United States will stand by their commitments as well. Of course, we do not identify the United States with the policy of the State Department, but with you distinguished personalities, many of whom are here today, who cried out that relocating the residents from Ashraf on the pretext of initiating the refugee process is unjust. You repeatedly lauded the brave children of the Iranian people and asked them to remain as steadfast as ever in their struggle.

For this reason, today, through you, I appeal to the people of the United States and the world to be the judge.

As for the commitment of the residents of Ashraf to the MoU what could truly be more telling than the fact that so far 2,000 have relocated to Liberty?

So, why are their protests over inhumane impositions not being heard?
Why can’t they have the right to their property?
Why have they been denied freedom of movement?
Why have the wounded and the disabled not been allowed to take with them the special equipment that they need?

I call upon all European countries, the United States and Canada to actively work to protect the residents of Ashraf and Liberty, to accept them in their countries and avert another catastrophe.

Dear Friends,

The changes in this era, realized in virtue of a painful perseverance and resistance, call for international institutions to restore their principal responsibilities, namely the protection of human rights.

We want the kind of international institutions would not blame the victim for not capitulating and would not engage the henchmen in discussions about the fate of the residents of Ashraf.

We ask them:

? Why have you turned into passive and silent bystanders vis-à-vis despots and become the conduit for the destruction of the Iranian Resistance?
? Why are you forcing the combatants of freedom in Iran to choose between being massacred and going to prison?

Please open your eyes and see why the mullahs have made the destruction of this movement their highest priority and are vigorously pursuing it. This is because in the era of change, they do not see any future for themselves, and for their allies and affiliates in the region. For this reason, building a prison and suppressing the People’s Mojahedin is part and parcel of a policy which includes the bombings and the killings in Iraq and the massacres in Syria.

The united alliance of genocide and massacre from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus has been spiraling out of control. And widespread resistance against it reflects a world that has arisen for freedom.

This is a fight that neither we nor the peoples of the region started. Nevertheless, in order to liberate our people, we have no choice but to continue until victory. Therefore, we join the Iranian Resistance’s leader Massoud Rajavi who said, “In Ashraf, or in any other location in Iraq, or inside and outside Iran, whether now or in the future, so long as this regime is in place, the overthrow of the religious dictatorship is our own and our people’s inalienable right.”

Dear Compatriots,
The three recent rounds of negotiations between the P5+1 and the mullahs’ regime ended in failure and deadlock. President Obama’s four-year policy of engagement has failed.

Ten years ago, the Iranian Resistance exposed the clandestine nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak. Regrettably, Western countries wasted a significant 10-year opportunity. For a decade, they continued to give the regime an assortment of incentives. They appeased and engaged the mullahs in a futile 10-year negotiation.

So far, there have been 37 rounds of talks; talks for the sake of talks with a regime that has violated seven UN Security Council resolutions and is stockpiling at least 200 kilograms of enriched uranium each month.

In recent months, the policy of conciliation has found new forms, such as repeating the hollow notion that perhaps the ruling religious dictatorship has not yet made the decision to build the bomb. The other proclamation is that we will contain the mullahs after they get the bomb.

The ultimate result of this duplicity is only one thing: letting the religious fascism obtain the bomb.

But I want to repeat again that the Iranian people will never accept this option.

The stakeholders say that they aim to engage the mullahs. But they are following a desperate policy: one of praying and weeping; one of trumpeting the demagogic fatwa by Khamenei that nuclear weapons are prohibited. These mean feigning ignorance toward the mullahs who are racing toward taking the final steps.

Now, if you believe that the ruling mullahs will abandon their nuclear weapons program under the pressure of international sanctions, all the better. But to reach this goal you must demonstrate firmness.

Of course, the Iranian people would benefit from the mullahs drinking the chalice of the poison of retreating from their nuclear quest. But if you became confident that the mullahs are continuing on the path of building the bomb, the correct policy is once again greater decisiveness.

Thus, those of you who understate the dangers of the mullahs’ nuclear program are threatening global piece.

You are at fault in telling the world that there are no solutions to the mullahs’ nuclear crisis. You are at fault.

Thwarting the dangers of a nuclear mullah regime is possible. The only way to do so is to change the mullahs’ dictatorship, which is the responsibility of the Iranian people and the Resistance.

So, if you genuinely do not want to hand over a nuclear bomb to the mullahs, stand with the Iranian people’s resistance to bring down this regime and recognize their demands. They demand an Iran free of suppression, a non-nuclear Iran, and a non-theocratic Iran.

And finally, I want to address my daughters and sons in Iran.

I want to speak to you about your role and responsibilities in the new era.

The 1979 revolution came to fruition with the sacrifice of Iran’s young generation. The July 1999 uprising and the magnificent 2009 uprising were the outcome of your protest and anger. And undoubtedly, the Iranian nation’s spring will blossom through your enthusiasm and force.

To thwart your efforts, the mullahs have erected a thick and tall wall of suppression that is unprecedented in the contemporary world.

They have embarked on a widespread psychological warfare which has targeted your beliefs, determination and hopes.

The main purpose of unrelenting executions, such as the hanging of four brave compatriots in Khuzistan Province last week, is to intimidate you.

Obviously, the Iranian society is disgusted with the ruling henchmen and their backward culture and conduct.

But being disgusted is not enough.

You must at the same time set your eyes on the Iranian nation’s assets and real capital which is a history of struggle against dictatorship. You must have hope in a bright future and with that hope light the flames of resistance. This is what the mullahs are afraid of. For this reason, they are aiming at three main targets with their venomous assaults:

First, the proud history of the Iranian nation’s perseverance;
Second, the Resistance movement and organization; and
Third, the culture and values of resistance.

The mullahs’ regime intends to promulgate the idea that paying a price for freedom is futile and that the model to follow must be one that does not exact any price.

They have targeted the source of hope in Iranian society and at its zenith, Ashraf and its residents.

They want to make you Iranian youth to believe that “there is nothing you can do and every effort for struggle is futile.”

But what is the truth?

In reality, your are the young and forward looking force of a nation which relies on a century-long struggle for freedom, from the Constitutional Revolution to the National Movement led by the great Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq. As far as the richness of the struggle and the capacity to bring about change are concerned, you are among the wealthiest and most able nations anywhere in the world.

I want to say that you are not alone. You are relying on an organized resistance movement, which has in the past three decades kept the flame of resistance for freedom burning despite the mullahs’ medieval suppression. This is a movement that abounds in human values and has the force to bring about change.

This is a movement with 120,000 martyrs and with 30,000 massacred prisoners, with heroes and heroines such as Sediqeh, Neda and thousands upon thousands of other roses.

This is a movement built on the ideal of freedom, which ever since Khomeini stole the revolution, has drawn its lines against regress, monopoly of power and dictatorship.

This is a movement whose leader rejected all pseudo-leftist pretentions and said the crux of the matter as far as the Iranian revolution is concerned is the issue of freedom.

A leader who persevered and never relented in the pursuit of “one ideal” and “one commitment”: the ideal of freedom and the commitment to pay the price for freedom.

This commitment was of course based on maximum awareness and revolutionary foresight, with knowledge about all the dangers which might lie ahead.

Listen to what Massoud Rajavi has said about this ideal and commitment: “When our  Resistance achieves victory, one of the greatest obstacles to contemporary liberation movements and perhaps the most important factor in deviation and implosion of those movements, namely transgression against the sacrosanct ideal of ‘freedom’ under various pretexts, would be eliminated. Indeed, in an anthropology based on unity, reviving freedom is tantamount to reviving humanity.”

So, we are following a path that is leading towards the revival of the ideal of freedom and the revival of humanity and human values.

Indeed, we are proud of this ideal, of this path and of this leader.

Indeed, in virtue of this lofty horizon, many complications in the realm of politics, struggle and ideas have already been resolved. These are contradictions that recent movements and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa are starting to grapple with.

The Iranian society has gone through the experience of defeating the pretenses of reactionary Islam and demagogic anti-western sloganeering.

It has gone through the experience of forming the most enduring political coalition in our nation’s history and the collaborative effort of a diverse group of political entities and personalities with varying beliefs within a democratic set of relationships embodied in the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

It has gone through the experience of confronting and exposing the export of reactionary ideology and terrorism by the mullahs as today’s global threat.

It has especially gone through the experience of the Mojahedin’s organizational undertaking in a democratic set of relationships.

And it has gone through building advanced humane experiences which in his visit to Ashraf, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Mr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, described as “a moral and spiritual example for the world.”

For this reason, from the mullahs’ perspective, Ashraf is the most prohibited term in today’s Iran.

Let me reiterate that the aim of this movement has never been and still is not to grab power at all costs. Our aim is to guarantee freedom and democracy at all costs.

As we have said time and again, as far as our future is concerned, merely being with our martyrs at Khavaran Cemetery would suffice for us. Our ideal is the ideal of freedom, equality and people’s right to vote. Our aim is to establish a republic based on the separation of church and state where all religions and denominations would enjoy equal rights.

And our platform is summed up in three words: Freedom, democracy and equality.

So, my fellow compatriots,

Liberated women of Iran, teachers, educators, students, workers and toilers who are enduring the escalating pressures of high prices and privations as well as reactionary impositions, and you brave young people of Iran, the time has come to rise up.

Face-to-face with religious fascism, you enjoy the greatest backing, the piercing force of the resistance for liberty.

So, I call upon all of you to rise up to free our enchained people and nation.

The key to victory is the word “freedom.” Indeed, freedom, the glorious ideal of freedom.

So, we can and we must rebel against despondency and submission. We can and we must break apart the mullahs’ intimidation. And we can and we must secure the victory of freedom over darkness and destruction.

This is the magic of love and light which “revitalizes and rejuvenates the tired soil.”

This is Ashraf and its traditions, and it is as such that they get multiplied.

Hail to the people of Iran
Hail to the Mojahedin in Ashraf and Liberty
Hail to freedom,
Hail to all of you.

Euro MPs back Iranian Democratic Opposition

London (OFFICIAL WIRE) – Last Wednesday, a meeting of the Friends of a Free Iran (FOFI) intergroup in the European Parliament was held in Brussels. A declaration signed by over 220 Euro MPs was unveiled regarding the plight of the Iranian opposition, members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) currently living in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq. The Euro MPs were strongly critical of the UN Envoy in Iraq, Martin Kobler, and his close cooperation with the Iranian regime. Members also discussed a historic court ruling in Washington on 1 June against the blacklisting of the PMOI in the United States, a label that is widely viewed as the main obstacle to the peaceful resettlement of these refugees in third countries.

“The US blacklist has enabled the Iraqi authorities, pushed and cajoled by their sponsors in Tehran, to psychologically torture and bully the 3200 men and women in Ashraf and to pressurise them into moving to a new location – Camp Liberty – next to Baghdad Airport,” Struan Stevenson, the President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, said at the meeting. “More than 2,000 PMOI refugees are now crushed into an area measuring less than half a square kilometre, with dilapidated sewage systems, no facilities for the disabled and inadequate supplies of water and electricity.”

“They were persuaded to move to Camp Liberty on the pledge of the United Nations Special Representative, Martin Kobler, that this was simply a Temporary Transit Location (TTL) which would be their home for only a few weeks. Some have now been there over four months in unbearable conditions. The good name of the UN is being besmirched by their association with and apparent indifference to such blatant ill-treatment and repression. They must declare Camp Liberty as a long-term refugee facility and not a TTL, and they must then insist on the full humanitarian provisions appropriate to a refugee camp.”

Mr. Stevenson was supported by veteran Spanish lawmaker Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a senior Vice President of the European Parliament. “We are very frustrated of the way the UN envoy, Martin Kobler has been dealing with this issue. His praise for the role of the mullahs in the security of Iraq, and the reports about his meetings with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence in Tehran over the fate of their opponents have shocked us.” “This attitude is very damaging for Mr Ban Ki-moon and for the reputation of the United Nations.”

Mr Vidal also pointed to the significance of the recent US Court of Appeals ruling in favour of the PMOI. “The Court could have said only: the State Department must decide about the blacklist. And that would have been significant. But it goes beyond that and says: If you don’t decide within four months, we – the Court – will remove the PMOI from the blacklist. So the Court is effectively saying that in their opinion the PMOI should not be on that list.” He went on to congratulate the PMOI “especially those in camps Ashraf and Liberty and inside Iranian prisons who have suffered the most from this listing.”

“It is now time for Europe and the U.S. to recognise the political coalition of National Council of Resistance of Iran as a democratic alternative to this regime,” Mr Vidal said. “The NCRI, formed in Tehran in 1981, has a secular program and strongly advocates the rights of women and minorities, rule of law, civil liberties, and a nuclear-free Iran. This is the most effective way we have to confront export of terrorism and sheer violations of human rights by the mullahs and their endeavour to acquire nuclear weapons.”

The importance of this latest decision in Washington is beyond any precedent legal victories for the PMOI. First of all, the U.S. legal system has a much more limited scope of jurisdiction when foreign policy issues are involved, decisions about which are traditionally the sole responsibility of the Secretary of State. In the past 230 years of U.S. legal history, there has not been a single case where a Secretary of State is ordered to act on a demand of a foreign entity – let alone one that is labelled a “terrorist” by his or her department.

Second, the United States, as the world’s number one superpower, was the first state to put the PMOI on its blacklist fifteen years ago to curry favour with the mullahs in Tehran. Europe and others later followed suit. So when the instigator of the PMOI’s blacklisting is told by its own court to remove the designation, this is the final nail in the coffin of the policy of appeasement vis-a-vis the Iranian regime. That policy was initiated by the West over two decades ago with the rise of the supposed “moderates” in Iran. It was based on the sheer illusion that by bashing the main organised opposition that seeks regime change, we would encourage a gradual power shift for the moderates. The result of that fatal policy was the rise of extreme radicals and the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The court decision mocked the Obama administration’s claim that the Secretary of State has been too busy to be able to decide on the designation after 600 days. It points out the fact that Congress was fully aware of the Secretary’s demanding agenda when they gave her only 180 days to decide. The court also makes no connection between the evacuation of PMOI members from Ashraf and the blacklist, contrary to Ms Clinton’s insistence.

Mrs Clinton now faces three choices:

One: Do nothing and let the court remove the designation after four months, a humiliating scenario for the State Department.

Two: Decide to remove the designation before the lapse of the deadline and save face.

Three: Decide to maintain the designation, which will of course embolden Tehran to increase internal repression and to accelerate its nuclear weapons project. It can also be interpreted as a green light to the Iraqi government to launch new brutal attacks against the defenceless refugees in Ashraf and Liberty, an embarrassing situation for Obama’s foreign policy in the wake of the upcoming presidential elections.

Endless delays and foot-dragging are no longer an option.

Source: OfficialWire

UN urged to act over ‘callous’ treatment of Ashraf refugees 13 June 2012

By Struan Stevenson,
Member of the European Parliament

The UN must end the intolerable situation endured by the Iranian democratic opposition held in Iraqi camps, and Hillary Clinton should remove the group from the US terror list – writes MEP

Last week more than 220 of my colleagues in the European Parliament supported a joint statement regarding members of the main Iranian democratic opposition, the PMOI-MEK, who are refugees living in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq. The declaration urges “the United Nations, United States and the European Union to act immediately to compel Iraq to stop imposing callous restrictions on the residents”. This is an important act of solidarity involving MEPs from all nations and all political groups and it must not be ignored.

In particular MEPs were critical of the designation of Camp Liberty as a Temporary Transit Location by Iraq and the UN special envoy Martin Kobler. “All indications point to the fact that people will have to stay in Camp Liberty for several years; therefore, calling Liberty a TTL – designated for a stay of a maximum of a few weeks, is erroneous,” said the statement, which stressed: “The UN and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees must recognise Camp Liberty as a refugee camp under international protection.”

This statement comes immediately in the wake of an historical and unprecedented decision by the US Federal Court of Appeal, which on Friday, June 1 ordered the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make a decision on the designation of the PMOI on the US blacklist within the next four months; otherwise the court would remove its listing as a foreign terrorist organisation. The blacklisting of the PMOI has been a dedicated Clinton project from day one. It was President Bill Clinton who first listed the PMOI as an act of appeasement to the mullahs in Iran. Sadly, once endorsed by the Clinton administration it became like the word of God, unchallengeable and accepted as Holy Writ by legions of eager young State Department suits. In due course it found its way across the Atlantic and the PMOI was duly blacklisted in the United Kingdom and then, at the behest of Tony Blair’s government, was added to the terror list for the whole of the EU.

It took many court battles, a great deal of time and resources to stand up for justice and demand the de-listing of the PMOI. When the whole house of cards began to collapse, the vacuous nature of the dossier was exposed to the world. The British judges even called it “perverse” and ordered parliament to strike the PMOI from the UK terror list. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg was forced to follow suit. Only the US State Department dug in its heels, stubbornly refusing to budge and ignoring demands from its own courts.

Their intransigence has come at a high price. It has given the Iraqi government the excuse to mount violent assaults on innocent unarmed supporters of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf on two occasions, murdering 47 and seriously injuring hundreds. It has enabled the Iraqi authorities, pushed and cajoled by their sponsors in Tehran, to psychologically torture and bully the 3,300 men and women in Ashraf and to pressurise them into moving to a new location, Camp Liberty next to Baghdad airport. More than 2,000 PMOI refugees are now crushed into an area measuring less than half a square kilometre, with dilapidated sewage systems, broken air conditioners, no facilities for the disabled and inadequate supplies of water.

On behalf of the UN, Martin Kobler signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iraqi government without the approval of the Ashraf residents. The terms of the MoU have been repeatedly breached. When complaints are made on a daily basis to the UN observers, they are told to take up their complaints with the Iraqi government. The Iraqi Government treats all such complaints with open contempt. In fact, in their most blatant act of intimidation to date, they have now appointed Captain Ahmad Khazir to take charge of the Camp Liberty guards. He was one of the leading perpetrators of the Ashraf massacre of July 2009. He has now started blocking the daily passage of Liberty residents who must travel outside the camp to be interviewed by the UNHCR. He has even started blocking the entrance of water tankers to Camp Liberty.

This situation is intolerable. The good name of the UN is being besmirched by their association with and apparent indifference to such blatant ill treatment and repression. They must declare Camp Liberty as a long-term refugee facility and not a TTL and they must then insist on the full humanitarian provisions appropriate to a refugee camp. They must demand the removal of the likes of Captain Ahmad from the camp. They must speed up the process of refugee registration by UNHCR and move quickly to evacuate these people to friendly third countries.

Hillary Clinton should remove the PMOI/NCRI from the US terror list immediately, while she still has a chance to do so with some vestige of honour. She will face complete humiliation if she waits for the Federal Court of Appeal to do it for her. Their removal from the blacklist would send the strongest signal yet to the UN, the EU and the Iraqi government, that these people are innocent, refugees and must be treated with humanity and respect.

Struan Stevenson MEP is president of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iraq

Source: Public Srvice Europe

UN Should Respond Positively to the Goodwill Gestures of Ashraf Residents

By: David Amess
Member of British Parliament

This Sunday marks our Easter Sunday. That is always special. But this year there are two days next week with special significance for the Iranian dissidents. One is a day of mourning incidentally the Easter Sunday; the other a day of anticipation.

Sunday, April 8, marks the first anniversary of the darkest day for 3,400 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK) who had turned Camp Ashraf from a barren piece of land in Iraq into a vibrant, complete, self-sufficient town.

On that beautiful spring day in 2011, the mood turned from joy to anguish with the sound of Humvees and armored vehicles – which once had been used by Americans to protect these people but now were in the hands of pro-Iranian Iraqi forces that surrounded the unarmed and defenseless civilians.

In the days prior to April 8, there were fears of an upcoming attack as Iraqi forces massed outside of Ashraf. The Government of Iraq assured the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that no violence was planned and the U.S. Embassy relayed that message to Ashraf residents. But the Iraqis reneged within a few hours.

Later, it was revealed that plans to attack Camp Ashraf had been drawn at the highest levels of the Government of Iraq at Tehran’s behest. As a result, 36 residents, eight of them women, were shot to death at close range or were crushed to death by Iraqi forces. Hundreds were severely wounded.

A year later, calls for an independent inquiry by the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, EU and the UN still have gone unheeded and no one has been held accountable.

In the subsequent months, things have gone from bad to worse for the residents of Camp Ashraf. The Iraqis vowed to close Ashraf by the end of 2011, but relented just a little under pressure from the UN and U.S. Then, Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki agreed to give enough time for the residents to go to a former U.S. Army base, Camp Liberty, while UN refugee officials processed them for relocation to third countries.

With assurances by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the UN that the safety and welfare of Ashraf residents would be protected, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of Iranian Resistance agreed to ask the residents to move to Camp Liberty. So far, 1200 of the residents have moved to Camp Liberty where they are suffering intolerable conditions in a prison-like atmosphere.

While the issue here is clearly a humanitarian one, it is much more. As international concern grows over Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons, its meddling in the affairs of other countries, and its fomenting of Islamic extremism, the need to defend the Iranian dissidents has become a geopolitical imperative.

With the Arab Spring sweeping throughout the region, Tehran is facing growing isolation, international sanctions, and an internal power struggle at the highest level. That’s why the ruling mullahs sense a dire need to destroy their opponents, especially the Resistance.

Coincidentally, two days after the anniversary of the Ashraf attack, the UN Security Council, on Tuesday, April 10, will get a report from the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Iraq Martin Kobler. That day is the day of anticipation. On that day, the case of Iranian dissidents should be at center stage. The way Iraq deals with the Iranian dissidents is a good barometer of how it participates in the international community.

On that day, Ambassador Kobler should make it clear to the world body that Ashraf residents have forsaken many of their rights and gone out of their way to go to Camp Liberty, despite all the shortcomings and profound deficiencies. Indeed, it was Kobler who accepted these conditions as tolerable, though they clearly are not.

The Ashraf residents lived up to their part of the agreement, even though they were fully aware that they would be deprived of their most rudimentary rights. Now, Kobler should insist that their minimum expectations be met by Iraq making Camp Liberty inhabitable. Also, the U.S. should continue with its commitments to them and the UNHCR should expedite the process of interviewing them and relocating them to third countries.

The best way to respect the memory of those who fell a year ago would be through modification of the U.S. policy on Iran and the opposition. That starts by removing the MEK from the State Department list of terrorist organizations. There was no acceptable reason for the listing in the first place and the U.S. surely has no excuse to continue this listing today.

On February 29, Clinton told a congressional committee that “M.E.K. cooperation in the successful and peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf” will be “a key factor in any decision” on its longstanding request that the State Department lift its unjustified designation.

The MEK has lived up to its part of the bargain; now the U.S. should follow Clinton’s words with actions.

The only Iranian terrorists are those in the Tehran government. The MEK has not been, and certainly is not now, a terrorist organisation. It should be delisted without delay. A year after the massacre of 2011, it is time to unshackle the Iranian Resistance so it can work to unshackle a great nation. This is the best way to honor the fallen.

Source: Hoffington Post

Injustice in Washington is a threat to justice everywhere

Injustice in Washington is a threat to justice everywhereBy: Baroness Muriel Turner former deputy speaker of the British House of Lords

LONDON, May 14 (UPI) — LONDON, May 14 (UPI) — Outlandish is probably the polite way to describe a claim made by the U.S. State Department during a recent court hearing on the People’s Mujahedin of Iran.

State Department counsel told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the U.S. government had never had access to Camp Ashraf, the town to the north of Baghdad where many PMOI activists have lived for decades.

The United States has no way of knowing whether the PMOI still supports terror, counsel claimed, because its members have never allowed a thorough inspection of the 15-square-mile camp.

“They say that they have turned over a new leaf but that has never been verified by the U.S. military,” counsel said.

This brazen lie was all the more surprising given that the most qualified people on this very subject were sitting in the courtroom.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Phillips and Col. Wesley Martin, both now retired, were among the senior U.S. military officers charged with protecting Ashraf from 2003-09. They have testified that U.S. military had complete access to every nook and cranny in Camp Ashraf. After conducting many searches, they reported to their superiors that they were completely confident there were no weapons or ammunition in the camp.

The fact that Ashraf residents cooperated totally with the searches is also on the record.

When State Department counsel testified that Ashraf hadn’t been searched for weapons, Phillips and Martin immediately stared at each other as if to say, “What does he think you and I did at Ashraf?”   As the 89th Military Police Brigade Commander from 2004-05, Phillips ran numerous inspections and search missions. There is not a building there he has not been in. He was in charge of the consolidation and collection of weapons when U.S. military first took charge of the camp upon liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

Under his watch, every resident was interviewed and investigated by the FBI and several other U.S. agencies. It was concluded that none of the residents had any terrorism link.

Martin came to the exact same conclusion when he served as the senior antiterrorism officer for all coalition forces in Iraq in 2003-04.

Later, in 2006, as Ashraf Base commander, Martin also conducted numerous inspections. Many of these were in response to rumors generated by State Department employees in Baghdad, which in turn had originated from within the Iranian regime and its agents in Iraq.   The PMOI is after all the main opposition to the mullahs, who will stop at nothing in their attempts to slander the movement. But like Phillips before him, Martin’s inspections uncovered no sign of any alleged weapons.

To claim, therefore, that Camp Ashraf has never been searched is utter nonsense. The State Department is even now saying that an inspection must be conducted after Ashraf residents have completely abandoned the camp in order to determine what is left inside.

Only the Iraqi government could undertake such a search, the same government that is overseeing the transfer of Ashraf residents to a new, prison-like location in Baghdad, a former U.S. military based ironically named Camp Liberty. Iraqi troops have raided Ashraf on two occasions, killing dozens, let us not forget.

The State Department’s willingness to take the word of the Iraqi government over the U.S. military is despicable, especially when considering the Iraqi military’s well-earned reputation for corruption.   The truth of the matter is that the U.S. State Department is in need of a lie to coverup its flouting of the law. The United States has failed to implement the July 2010 ruling by the D.C. appeals court, which ordered the State Department to review its 1997 designation of the PMOI as a terrorist organization.

The PMOI has therefore gone to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to force the State Department to remove it from the terrorist list.

PMOI lawyer Viet Dinh asked a three-judge appeals court panel to force the hand of the Obama administration. The terrorism designation had “severe implications on constitutional liberties” for the group, he said. The PMOI, he pointed out, had renounced violence more than a decade ago.

The terror list, meanwhile, has been just the excuse Tehran has needed to continue killing PMOI activists in Iran. The Iraqi government, which is increasingly reliant on Iranian support, has used the same excuse to suppress the residents of Ashraf and Liberty.

Of the 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf, around 2,000 have been transferred to Camp Liberty under a deal brokered by the United Nations in a good faith. But is the United States returning the good faith by such an outlandish lie?

Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is time for justice for Iranian dissidents.

(Baroness Muriel Turner of Camden was deputy speaker of the British House of Lords until 2008. She is a ranking member of British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.)

Source: UPI International

U.S. should protest conditions at Camp Liberty

Member of British Parialemnt, House of Commons

LONDON, March 2 (UPI) — The mullahs ruling Iran have had little reason to be happy with the United Nations in recent weeks, being forced to cope with crippling sanctions because of their pursuit of nuclear weapons and being further isolated by the world community with every passing day.

And, at home, the government is divided and the people are restless, especially having seen the Arab Spring force long-term dictators from power. So the mullahs are happy to get any good news and find any friends.   On top of the list of these friends is the government of Iraq, which is doing its best to carry out Tehran’s campaign to eradicate its main opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its main component, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran.

Some 3,400 PMOI members have been living peacefully in Iraq for a quarter of a century but since the United States agreed to leave Iraq their life has been in turmoil. Acting to please his bosses in Tehran, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has engaged in a campaign of harassment and then murder to drive these dissidents from their homes in Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad.

Finally, with assurances from the United Nations and United States and after pleas by Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian opposition, Ashraf residents agreed to be transferred to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. Army base near Baghdad Airport, where they would be processed by the U.N. refugee agency before being relocated in third countries.

It sounded too good to be true — and it was. The devious Maliki, either with complicity or sheer ignorance by U.N. officials, had turned “liberty” into imprisonment. What was supposed to be a temporary home with all the freedoms and dignities of Camp Ashraf became a walled enclosure with Iraqi police stations, rampant presence of Iraqi armed forces, sophisticated Iraqi listening devices atop the walls and living conditions unfit for animals, much less humans.

How did this all happen? How did the U.N. Assistance Mission to Iraq determine that the conditions at Camp Liberty met any humanitarian standards? How could the secretary-general’s special representative, Ambassador Martin Kobler, declare his satisfaction with the arrangements at Camp Liberty that has all the markings of a prison?

Why won’t the Iraqi government allow a bipartisan delegation of former high-ranking U.S. officials to go to Camp Liberty and see for themselves the conditions that Kobler and Maliki consider suitable?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has continued to promise to fulfill America’s legal and moral commitment to these disheartened dissidents. But promises are no longer sufficient, especially when the U.N. officials who should be the first to complain are turning a blind eye.

If Ambassador Kobler and the UNAMI officials will not act, the United States must. The 400 PMOI members at Camp Liberty should be sped through to new homes without delay. And no more of the remaining 3,000 dissidents at Camp Ashraf can be expected to proceed to Camp Liberty.

Encouraged Rajavi, by the NCRI president-elect, to show the good will of the resistance, the first 400 now sit in deplorable conditions not in “liberty” but in virtual prison.

And, according to secret Iranian documents, that’s all part of the mullahs’ long-term plan.

Given what has happened in the PMOI members’ first few days at Camp Liberty, there’s no reason to disbelieve these documents.

Not only should the United States demand — very strongly — that Maliki keep his promises and that UNAMI and Ambassador Kobler recognize the true situation but Secretary Clinton should move to unshackle the PMOI from its unfair designation as a foreign terrorist organization. That not only will make more places accessible for the Ashraf dissidents to relocate but it will serve as further notice to the mullahs, and to their puppet Maliki, that the noose is closing.

If Iran is a terrorist state — and few in the world community would disagree — then those who desire a free Iran should do everything possible to allow an “Iranian Spring,” which not only would return democracy to a nation that had enjoyed it for thousands of years but remove the threat of a nuclear theocracy from the world stage.

If ever there was a win-win situation, this is it.

(Brian Binley is conservative member of British Parliament for Northampton South and a leading member of British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.)

Source: UPI

MPs, Jurists, Military Experts Urge UN Protection for Camp Ashraf Residents

 By: Lord Maginnis Member of the British House Of Lords

At a major event in London’s Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on Saturday, attended by 1,000 Anglo-Iranians, senior British jurists and MPs and US military experts called on the United Nations to intervene immediately to save the lives of 3,400 Iranian dissidents at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq. They described Camp Liberty as a prison and called for the 400 Ashraf residents who recently relocated to Liberty to be immediately returned to Camp Ashraf or transferred to third countries by the UN.

Speakers at the conference included: David Amess MP (Con); Lord Clarke of Hampstead, former Labour Party Chairman; Dr. Matthew Offord MP (Con); myself; Lord King of West Bromwich (Lab); Gen. David Phillips (US), former Chief of Military Police and former Commander of all Police Operations in Iraq, which included the protection of Camp Ashraf; Col. Wes Martin (US), former Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer of all Coalition forces in Iraq, and base Commander for Camp Ashraf; Professor Sara Chandler, Chair of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee; Geoffrey Robertson QC, former President of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone; Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, distinguished Professor from Oxford and expert in refugee matters in international affairs; Christina Rees, member of the General Synod of the Church of England and Chair of Watch (Women and the Church); Martha Jean Baker, representing the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); Malcolm Fowler, of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee; Lady Corbett, wife of the late Lord Corbett of Castle Vale; and Dowlat Nowrouzi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Conference chair David Amess MP said: “Camp Liberty is nothing but a prison. It is not a refugee camp. There are armed police inside the camp threatening the residents. There are surveillance cameras and sound bugs installed all around the camp to spy on the residents. There is no water at the camp. There is no electricity. And there is no basic infrastructure. The residents were not allowed to inspect the site before going there.

“Despite all the residents’ goodwill to go there to begin the process of having the UNHCR re-confirm their refugee status, there has been a systematic effort to lay blame for the appalling situation at Camp Liberty on the residents themselves. But we will not remain silent against such demonization”, Amess said.

Lord Clarke said: “We demand to know who is behind the demonization of the camp residents. We plan to create an investigative committee to find out who okayed the infrastructure and conditions of the camp for the first 400 residents to be transferred. We will expose the motives of those who knew about the conditions of the camp but still approved the residents’ transfer, not least because we had warned time and again that the relocation of Ashraf residents to Liberty without minimum assurances by the UN and US would lead to great dangers and could be misused by the mullahs’ regime in Iran”.

Gen. Phillips described Camp Liberty as a “horrid gulag” and “concentration camp”, and he urged the UN and US to intervene to prevent further violations of the rights of the residents there.

Lord King said: “We demand that the 400 residents at Camp Liberty are either immediately returned to Ashraf or transferred to third countries. But we will not accept their current worse-than-prison-like treatment. And we demand the immediate removal of all police, cameras and spying equipment from Liberty”.

Col. Wes Martin said that the truth at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty was being trampled upon for the sake of appeasing the Iranian regime.

Speaking for the Law Society, Sara Chandler said: “The Law Society is committed to seeking the protection of the residents of Ashraf. We have seen the photos of [Camp] Liberty. It’s a prison camp. It can’t be called Liberty. It’s a concentration camp. An investigation needs to discover and expose what kind of decision-making took place to create this abomination. We need to know what the participation of the United Nations was in the setting up of this camp”.

Source: Huffington Post


UN Should Not Tolerate Camp ‘Liberty’

By: Brian Binley
Member of British Parliament

Who would ‘voluntarily’ exchange his house for a prison, where he would be monitored around the clock by armed forces, with no privacy and no access to lawyers? No-one in their right mind would accept this willingly. But this is exactly what is happening under the watch of the international community.

The case in point is the fate of 400 Iranian dissidents in Iraq. They were among the 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf, 65 Kilometers north of Baghdad, members of the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as Mujaheedin-e-Khalq (MEK/PMOI). In the course of the past 25 years, they turned a barren piece of land into a vibrant, peaceful, and modern community called Ashraf.

The situation goes back to the end of last year. Following two massacres of Ashraf residents by Iraqi armed forces at the behest of the Iranian regime, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed to close Camp Ashraf by the end of 2011.

Only as massive cross-Atlantic campaign averted a humanitarian crisis and Maliki extended his deadline, the Government of Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations. According to the MoU the dissidents would be moved to Camp Liberty, a former US military base near Baghdad where they could be interviewed by the UN refugee agency to confirm they qualify for refugee status and then be transferred to third countries.

Even though there were great misgivings, Maryam Rajavi, the charismatic president-elect of the National Committee of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which includes the MEK, persuaded 400 Ashraf residents to go to the new facility – with the assurance of their security by the UN and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It was a gesture of goodwill. However, the Iraqis reneged on many of the terms they promised and threw every obstacle in the way. Finally the 400 men and women were moved to Camp Liberty, but not until overly-intrusive and humiliating searches by the Iraqis.

The deal struck between the Iraqi government and UN ambassador Martin Kobler promised decent standards at Liberty. Instead, the arriving volunteers discovered they didn’t even have drinking water, let alone water to wash. Their living area is much smaller than original plans promised, and the camp is in a perilous hygienic condition. Contrary to what had been shown in the photos provided by UN, the accommodation area does not meet minimum necessities by any means.

In fact, the only standards it meets are that of a prison, with almost inhuman conditions. The compound is surrounded by high concrete walls. There is a police station in the northern gate, one in the southern gate, and another in the northeast of Camp Liberty. Surveillance cameras record the most private aspects of the lives of the Iranian dissidents. They are not allowed to leave the Camp and have no access to their lawyers. Without even being able to move around their new home freely, how can they be considered anything other than prisoners?

Prior to the transfer, the Ashraf residents and the international community were shown pictures of the new place by the UN. The difference between the reality and those pictures is like the difference between day and night.

That must be the reason why repeated requests by a delegation of engineers from Ashraf to visit Liberty prior to the transfer was turned down, and requests from 23 of the most distinguished former US military, political and national security officials to be present as impartial observers, went unheeded.

By providing an unrealistic and rosy picture of the situation in Liberty to the Ashraf residents and to the international community, and by compromising on the most basic human rights and humanitarian rights of the residents, the UN officials in Baghdad, in particular Ambassador Kobler, are helping neither the process, nor the credibility of the institution they are serving. It should be clear to the UN that directing Ashraf residents into a prison is not going to solve this humanitarian crisis.

The UN should embody the ethics and moral high grounds of the international community. But the conduct of its point men so far has been far from these benchmarks. And for that reason, the UN simply cannot expect to gain the trust of the new residents in Liberty, or those who remain in Ashraf.

The United States must also play its part by applying pressure on al-Maliki and his government. It was after all the US government that guaranteed the safety of the residents when it signed an agreement with the residents of Ashraf subsequent to their voluntary disarming.

First and foremost, for this transfer to have any chance of success, Liberty must stop resembling a prison. Iraqi guards must leave the camp and stay outside its walls. The residents should have access to their lawyers and their freedom of movement must be respected.

It is time the U.S. and the UN reciprocate the good will of Ashraf residents by guaranteeing the rights and the minimum needs of those who have gone to Camp Liberty.

Source: Huffington Post