STRASBOURG (European Parliament), October 26, 2011 (AFP) – More than 120 MEPs demanded in a petition to postpone the closure of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, where some 3,400 Iranian refugees opposed to the Tehran regime may be “killed”, said Wednesday the promoters of this initiative.
The petitioners urge the European Union Foreign Affairs Commissioner Catherine Ashton, member States of the EU, the UN and the United States to pressure the Iraqi government to desist from its plan to close the camp by 31 December.
The proposed closure “could serve as a pretext for a mass killing,” alarmed by the signatories of the petition, which was initiated by the British Conservative Struan Stevenson, the Belgian Liberal and the former European Commissioner Louis Michel, and French environmentalist José Bové.
“Preparations are underway for a complete removal of people in this camp,” Mr Stevenson, who chairs the European Parliament delegation for Relations with Iraq, said during a press conference in Strasbourg,
The European Union and other Western countries are ready for camp residents, but the process is blocked by “obstacles set up by Iraqi Prime Minister himself, due to pressure from Iran.”
“But Iran wants the camp residents to be eliminated,” added the Scottish elected, suggesting the risk of a “massacre in Srebrenica” and called the international community to act “before it is too late “.
Last week, the leader of the main Iranian opposition movement in exile, Maryam Rajavi, had raised the risk of an “imminent” attack on Camp Ashraf by Iraqi forces which could lead to a “bloodbath”.
Declared off-the-law in 1981 by the Islamist regime in power in Tehran, the Mojahedin moved a few years later to Iraq, during its war with Iran.
Camp Ashraf was disarmed after the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies in 2003. The Americans then secured the camp before transferring it to the Iraqis in 2010.
The Mujahedeen, which remain committed opponents of the Iranian regime, have since been a subject of dispute between Baghdad and Tehran.
In April, the Iraqi army launched a raid against the camp, killing 34 people and leaving over 300 injured.