Ashraf residents are refugees and guests, Iraqiya spokeswoman says

The spokeswoman for the Iraqi coalition that came out as the winner of the March parliamentary elections has once again asserted that Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, are political refugees and Tehran has no right to interfere.

Speaking to the Lebanese daily Annahar on Saturday, Meysoun al-Damlouji, the spokeswoman for the al-Iraqiya list, said that the Iranian regime, which is pressuring Baghdad to impose more restrictions on the camp, must not be allowed to interfere when it comes to Baghdad’s treatment of Ashraf residents.

 

According to Annahar, Ms. Al-Damlouji was previously quoted as saying that the residents of Ashraf, members of the main opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), pose no threats against the Iranian regime’s security, calling on Baghdad to treat the issue from a position of “Arabic and Islamic courage and morals.”

Responding to the question “Why is the Iranian regime so angry over the issue,” the Iraqiya spokeswoman said, “The Iranian regime has no right to meddle in this matter. When [Ayad] Allawi was prime minister [in 2004], all weaponry at Camp Ashraf was consolidated. They have no weapons right now. They are refugees and are considered as such.”

Ms. al-Damlouji added, “Those who are in power now [in Iraq] were one day refugees themselves. How would they have felt if they were treated the same as this opposition movement is being treated today? Such behavior towards guests is a far cry from respecting humane values, courage and morals.”

Residents of Camp Ashraf have been placed under an unjust and inhumane siege since January 2009 by the Iraqi government at the behest of the Iranian regime. Among the basic necessities, the entry of food, medicine, and fuel have been severely restricted. Lawyers, human rights groups and families are also barred from entering the camp.

A number of senior Iraqi political figures have rejected the Iranian regime’s pressures, calling for an end to the cruel siege.

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