Europian Voice – By Toby Vogel 29 April, 2011
Government denies group of MEPs access to Camp Ashraf, where security forces killed Iranian opposition supporters.
The Iraqi government has denied a group of MEPs access to Camp Ashraf, where Iraqi security forces killed scores of Iranian opposition supporters earlier this month.
The United Nations confirmed that 34 people were killed on 8 April when Iraqi security forces moved into the camp, which is run by the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran. The group, which seeks to overthrow Iran’s government, was removed from the EU’s list of terrorist organisations in 2009 following a successful legal challenge.
Struan Stevenson, a British MEP from the group of European Conservatives and Reformists , said that the events of earlier this month were a “breach of fundamental human rights” and an expression of “contempt for the European Parliament”, which had adopted two resolutions on Camp Ashraf.
The Iraqi government has said that it wants to reassert its sovereignty over the base, which hosts around 3,400 unarmed Iranians.
Stevenson underlined that the delegation of four MEPs, which also held meetings with senior government officials, was prepared to broker a solution to the standoff between the Iranians and Iraqi security forces by arranging the resettlement of the camp’s residents in Europe and the US.
“But we are not prepared to negotiate while staring down the barrel of a gun,” he said, calling on the government to withdraw its forces and to provide medical care for the wounded.
Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said after the attack that the EU was “deeply disturbed” by the violence and called for independent international observers to be allowed into the camp.
The Iranian Mujahideen were granted refuge by Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s late Sunni dictator who led a bloody war against Iran’s Islamist regime. Since Saddam was overthrown by a US-led invasion in 2003, Iraq’s Shia-controlled government has been seeking closer ties with Iran.