Subsequent to the inhumane pressures and crimes perpetrated by the religious fascism ruling Iran, its intelligence agents and the committee tasked with the suppression of Camp Ashraf at the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, 5,000 French mayors, including 200 senators and members of the National Assembly, joined with the presidents of 13 out of 26 administrative regions in France, voicing support for the rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf, which stands as the symbol of the Iranian nation’s dignity and quest for freedom and democracy. The mayors described Ashraf as the sister city of 5,000 cities in the Republic of France.
This afternoon, November 24, at the City Hall in Paris’s 1st arrondissement, Mayor Jean-Françios Legaret, presented the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, with a plaque of the declaration as well as the mayors’ signed documents.
Entitled “Democracy for Iran: Protection for Dissidents,” the declaration by the French mayors states:
• Whereas, on April 24, 2009, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Camp Ashraf in Iraq, home to 3,400 Iranian opponents of the Iranian regime, including 1,000 women, who are recognized as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention;
• Whereas, last year, 2,172 French mayors announced their support for Ashraf;
• Whereas, on June 26 of this year, over 100,000 Iranians attended a gathering in Taverny, north of Paris, in solidarity with the Iranian people’s uprising and in defence of Ashraf, demonstrating that general public opinion in Iran against the religious fascism ruling the country and in favor of Ashraf and the Iranian Resistance;
• Whereas, 3,500 parliamentarians on both sides of the Atlantic have issued a declaration in support of Ashraf residents and the imperative of their protection by UN and US forces, as well as in support of the Third Option proposed by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi [calling for democratic change in Iran by the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance];
• Whereas, relatives of Camp Ashraf residents have been arrested in Iran after visiting Ashraf, with some receiving the death sentence;
• Whereas, the Iraqi forces’ deadly attacks against Ashraf in July 2009, at the behest of the Iranian regime, left 11 dead and over 500 wounded among the residents, a crime denounced by the entire world;
• Whereas, the Iraqi government has laid an inhumane siege on Ashraf since early 2009, banning family and lawyer visits, obstructing the inflow of food and fuel, and preventing the residents’ access to medical services, thereby renewing threats of a massacre of the residents;
• Whereas, the blacklisting of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is used as a pretext to justify the imposition of restrictions and pressures against Ashraf;
• Whereas, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the PMOI in July 2010 and ordered the US State Department to review the group’s designation;
• Whereas, the Iranian regime seeks to extradite and issue arrest warrants for the residents of Ashraf by meddling and infiltrating the Iraqi judicial system;
We, the undersigned, declare:
1. Subsequent to a call by 2,172 mayors of various French cities in October 2009, who voiced their support for the Ashraf City and expressed alarm over the threats posed by the clerical regime against the residents, we, mayors of French cities, view this extraordinary city, which is a distinguished symbol of the Iranian people’s democratic demands, as our sister city.
2. We call on the United Nations, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to affirm the legal status of Ashraf residents as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibit any attempts to forcibly displace the residents inside Iraq as well as perpetration of violence against them, and moreover, post a UNAMI monitoring team inside Ashraf and enact measures to lift the siege on the city and nullify the unjust arrest warrants.
3. We call on the French government to urge the UN to comply with its obligations in relation to article 2 above, and furthermore, assist the UN in this endeavor;
4. We call on the United States of America to remove the PMOI from its terrorist list and to ensure the protection of Ashraf residents.