Iranian dissidents have been staging a sit-in for 100 daysTo save their loved ones in Iraq
La Tribune de Genève, August 8 – By Andrés German – “If the UN does not respond, there will be a new Srebrenica, this time in Iraq! Therefore, on Monday afternoon, we have come by the hundreds from all over Europe, to demonstrate on the Place des Nations ,” says Shahin Gobadi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
On its hundredth day of the sit-in in Geneva before the UN office, this movement calls for urgent action to prevent a massacre in Camp Ashraf, where a raid by Iraqi forces has killed at least 34 on April 8 .
Camp Ashraf Located 65 km north of Baghdad, is the basis of the Iranian People’s Mujahedeen, a group of opponents of the mullahs’ regime. An organization classified as “terrorist” by Washington, Baghdad and Tehran. But not by Brussels, which has removed it from its blacklist in 2009. In the days of Saddam Hussein, the movement took advantage of his sanctuary in Iraq to launch attacks against Iran. But in 2003, the tides turned. Today, the Iraqi government is after relations with neighboring Iran. It wants to get rid of Camp Ashraf and its 3400 residents, men, women and children.
“Baghdad has promised to close the camp by the end of the year to restore “Iraqi sovereignty” in that territory” insists Iran’s UN ambassador in New York Hamid Bayati. But the Mujahedeen are wary. They fear being returned to Iran or exterminated indiscreetly. The nightmare of Iraqi massacre last April has reinforced this fear. Since then besieged by the armed forces, they say they have no access to treatment for their injuries.
A major headache for the international community. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN, released up a report in July on the Iraqi raid in April. It calls for Baghdad to resolve the Ashraf problem humanely. For its part, Amnesty International urged the Iraqi government to stop “harassment” of Iranian exiles, and to investigate the deadly attack and to ensure the humanitarian needs of survivors are met.
In Washington, it’s embarrassing. At first, curiously, the U.S. urged Baghdad to find a way to move the Ashraf residents elsewhere in Iraq. This does not fundamentally change the situation. More importantly, the situation has become more complex since the U.S. Congress delegation has been denied access to Camp Ashraf by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. On side of the European Parliament, a delegation proposed that these Iranian dissidents could find shelter in other countries within the European Union, but also in Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Canada and the United States.
In short, intensive lobbying of the National Council of Resistance of Iran has already managed to get the cause of the mujahideen out of oblivion. Will this be enough there? Wednesday, European, American, and Swiss parliamentarians are invited to a big meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva to try to solve this problem.