Meeting of Friends of a Free Iran intergroup at the European Parliament (FOFI) in Strasbourg

Press release
The Friends of a Free Iran intergroup at the European Parliament (FOFI), which includes members of the parliament from various political groups, held its periodic session on April 6, 2011 in Strasbourg. It discussed the latest developments regarding the Iranian people’s uprising and the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

A large number of members of the European Parliament and their staff, along with a representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), attended the meeting in which the following points were emphasized:
1 – The on-going uprising of the Iranian people once again demonstrated their desire for regime change. It also demonstrated the regime’s inability to end the uprising despite unleashing systematic and brutal repression. Therefore, it is the obligation of the international community and particularly the European Union to provide all-out support for regime change in Iran. For the same reasons, it is imperative that the Iranian regime’s dossier on human rights violations be referred to the United Nations Security Council. The international community must also demand the release of all political prisoners in Iran and impose comprehensive sanctions on the Iranian regime.

2 – Faced with popular discontent in Iran, the regime is doing its utmost to divert the winds of democratic change in the region towards religious fundamentalism. In light of that, a more assertive policy towards the regime is required. Growing fissures within the regime and the recent ousting of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as head of the Assembly of Experts, leaves no pretext for appeasing the mullahs in Iran.

3 – Recalling the European Parliament’s resolutions on the situation in Camp Ashraf, the parliamentary group strongly condemned the latest acts of aggression by Iraqi forces against the camp as well as the occupation of parts of Ashraf with columns of armoured vehicles. The committee called on the United States, the EU and the UN to intervene immediately to compel the Iraqi forces to depart from the camp, to lift the siege on Ashraf, to deploy a UNAMI team of observers in the camp, and provide protection for the monitoring team by US forces.

FOFI members called on Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy and security affairs chief, to take immediate and effective measures to link the 1.2 billion euro aid package to Iraq, to good governance by the Iraqi government, particularly in respect of the treatment of Ashraf residents as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Any violation of the aforementioned rights as noted by the December 27, 2010 and March 17, 2011 rulings of Spain’s national court would be considered crimes against the international community as well as war crimes in accordance with the Treaty of Rome.

FOFI warned that the repressive actions of Iraqi officials against Ashraf should be punished and people violating the residents’ rights must be put on trial. FOFI praised the perseverance of the residents of Ashraf, stressing that the repeated plots against Ashraf by the Iranian regime and pro-Tehran government in Iraq reveal the broad base of popular support for the main opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and residents of Ashraf among the people of Iran. The regime’s violent reactions also serve to reveal the PMOI’s definitive role in the nationwide uprisings, they said, adding that supporting Ashraf is tantamount to supporting the popular uprisings as well as preventing the clerical regime from spreading its destructive influence in the region. 4. FOFI also underlined the need to support the Iranian Resistance, which embodies the Iranian people’s desire and determination for regime change. It said the “Third Option,” which was first introduced by the NCRI’s President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi in 2004 during a visit to the European Parliament, (democratic change by the Iranian people and their organised resistance), has been warmly received both inside and outside of Iran.

The session expressed the belief that the recognition of the Iranian Resistance is an imperative that not only respects the wishes of the Iranian people, but also contributes to peace and democracy in the region. Lifting the unjust terrorist designation of the PMOI by the US State Department is another imperative, FOFI said, adding, by expediting this vital measure, Secretary Clinton will help towards the establishment of peace and democracy in the region.

The Iranian regime and its agents, disguising themselves as supporters of the  “Green opposition” or defeated presidential candidates, claim that the delisting of the PMOI will intensify the crackdown against the democratic movement in Iran. FOFI believes this is a ridiculous and well-known tactic that is entirely orchestrated by the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security. It is yet another reason why it is necessary for the designation to be lifted immediately. FOFI also discussed adopting practical measures in support of the Iranian people’s uprising and protection of Ashraf residents.

Friends of a Free Iran intergroup at the European Parliament (FOFI)
7 April 2011

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