Fresh evidence of the Iranian regime’s meddling and crimes in Iraq was brought to light on Tuesday, October 26, by the National Council of Resistance of Iran in a press conference in Brussels. The revelations came just days after hundreds of documents on Iraq were made public by the website WikiLeaks.
Speakers specifically pointed to Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where thousands of Iranian dissidents reside, citing threats faced by the political activists in the face of the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and the gross human rights violations committed by the current Iraqi government.
In light of the threats against the residents of Ashraf, the speakers especially called on American forces to reassume control of the camp, saying that the mullahs’ meddling in Iraq leaves no excuse to abandon such a responsibility by Washington.
The conference’s first speaker and chairman, Gilles Paruelle, who is a former president of the Bar Association in the French province of Val d’Oise, recounted his experience during a visit to Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, where 3,400 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) reside.
Mr. Paruelle said Camp Ashraf harbors a network of humane and compassionate relations, rarely found in the world, which is why the Iranian regime is terrified of it and is using all its might to annihilate it.
Referring to the stunning evidence regarding the Iranian regime’s destructive meddling in Iraq, Mr. Paruelle strongly condemned the crimes perpetrated by the regime in neighboring Iraq and said the US cannot remain silent and has a responsibility to put an end to it. The US should also not allow the outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to unlawfully preserve power without being held accountable for his conduct, Paruelle added.
Another speaker at the media conference, Mr. Tunne Kelam, a member of the European Parliament, said he was one of the last people who visited Ashraf in October 2008 before the Iraqi government imposed an inhumane siege on it at the behest of the Iranian regime and banned further visits by parliamentary delegations, lawyers and families.
Mr. Kelam, who serves in the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the Iraq delegation, is also the Vice Chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup in the European Parliament.
He praised Ashraf as a society that engenders strongly established humane relations. The Iranian regime is extremely terrified of the residents, he added, for their political position and because they are an inspiration to Iranian youths for exemplifying a future Iranian society that is liberated and free.
Pointing to the recent revelations about the Iranian regime’s role in Iraq, Mr. Kelam said such crimes would be profoundly painful for any human being to discover.
“We have warned time and again about the situation in Ashraf and now the gravity of those warnings has been confirmed. We are reminding the US of its obligations towards Ashraf residents, obligations which it cannot refuse.”
Mr. Kelam added, “At the European Parliament, we passed a very unambiguous resolution on Ashraf, whereby the European people’s elected representatives called for the recognition of the rights of the residents as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
He added, “We are calling on the US forces to return to Ashraf and also for the UNAMI monitoring team to be stationed there.”
Kelam added that this is a call not only made by the European Parliament but also 4,000 other lawmakers around the world who have gathered to form the Committee in Search of Justice for Ashraf residents.
“This shows that democrats around the world stand with the PMOI, which is the main Iranian opposition movement,” he said.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, also spoke at the conference, declaring “full agreement with Iraqi democratic forces such as the al-Iraqiya bloc led by Dr. Ayad Allawi, who have called for an international tribunal to put on trial Maliki, those who colluded with him and other Iranian regime agents in Iraq.” This as an imperative, he said.
Mr. Mohaddessin said, “Unfortunately, the real magnitude of the crimes perpetrated in Iraq by the clerical regime and the government it backs in Baghdad has yet to be grasped. Although the recent revelations [on WikiLeaks] only cover a period up to the end of 2009, our reports indicate that the wave of crimes continued to take place throughout the year 2010 up to today.”
“Over the past seven years, the Iranian Resistance revealed more than 4,300 concrete reports and information about Tehran’s meddling in Iraq and passed over this information to the relevant authorities.”
“As just one example of these cases was the revelation that we made four years ago about the names and particulars of over 32,000 Iraqi agents of the Iranian regime who were on the monthly payroll of the regime.”
Mohaddessin added that the Iranian regime’s meddling has not only continued to this day but has actually exacerbated due to the mullahs’ plan to pave the way for Maliki’s second term as prime minister.
After citing multiple examples of the clerical regime’s meddling in Iraq, including the smuggling of arms and terrorist groups to Iraq, Mr. Mohaddessin revealed a document demonstrating to what extent Maliki has been serving the Iranian regime’s interests in Baghdad. The document, dated November 11, 2009, which was obtained by the Iranian Resistance from inside the regime’s terrorist Qods Force, is related to the Iraqi prime minister’s office.
Mr. Mohaddessin added, “Sadly, despite the existence of incredibly obvious and clear facts, because of its policy of appeasement vis-à-vis Tehran and in recent years due to President Obama’s decision to pursue a policy of direct and unconditional negotiations with the regime, the US government effectively facilitated the regime’s attempts to export terrorism abroad and carry out brutal and systematic human rights violations in Iran.”
One of the most clear outcomes of this failed policy, he said, “has been Washington’s decision to abandon its international obligations with respect to Camp Ashraf, where 3,400 PMOI members reside in Iraq, and to violate an agreement that it had signed with every single one of the residents, who are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
“In 2008, we, the lawyers and jurists defending Ashraf, and parliamentary committees called on the US government on multiple occasions to refrain from handing over the protection of Ashraf residents to Iraqi forces, and warned that such a transfer would act as a harbinger for the occurrence of a humanitarian catastrophe. The US government responded by saying that the Iraqi government has given assurances that it will treat the residents in accordance with international and humanitarian standards.”
The revealed documents, Mohaddessin said, “clearly show that during the time that President Obama has been in the White House, both the Iranian regime’s meddling and the criminal conduct of the Maliki government have not only decreased but have actually increased. Suppressive actions against Camp Ashraf over the past two years, in particular the horrendous crimes perpetrated on July 28 and 29, 2009, the inhumane two-year-long siege on the camp, and the 9-month-long psychological torture of the residents using 80 powerful loudspeakers, are examples of some of these destructive measures.”
Mohaddessin concluded that in order to successfully distance itself from such a crime-ridden case, the US should take urgent measures, most importantly the following:
• Ending the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and setting up an international tribunal to investigate the crimes of Maliki, those who collaborated with him, and the Iranian regime’s agents in Iraq for committing crimes against humanity;
• Removing the PMOI from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, a listing that is part of the same failed policy;
• Reassuming the protection of Ashraf residents, establishing US forces in Ashraf, and subsequently posting a UNAMI monitoring team in the camp, and making efforts to expel Iraqi forces from inside Camp Ashraf in order to thwart the occurrence of another catastrophe;
• Reaffirming the fact that Ashraf residents remain to be “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention and must continue to enjoy the fundamental rights and protections offered by this convention, and also taking steps to lift the unjust 22-month-long siege on Ashraf, to end the 9-month-long psychological torture of the residents and to expel the agents of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence who have camped out at Ashraf’s main gate and southern flank illegally and solely with the help and backing of the Iraqi government and forces.