Strasburg (France), Jan 28 (EFE) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe today urged the U.S. and the UN to ensure the protection of Iranian refugees residing in camp Ashraf in Iraq, 80 kilometers from the border with Iran.

The statement was endorsed by 153 of the 318 members, a figure "unusually" high, according to the Assembly, which noted that such initiatives are usually signed by two dozen lawmakers.

Ashraf has been home for the past 20 years to about 3,500 members and supporters of an Iranian opposition group People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which Tehran considers terrorists.

The declaration calls on the 47 states of the Council of Europe to "try to convince the Iraqi government to dissolve the committee for closure of Ashraf."

The text recalls that on January 7, Ashraf was attacked in a raid that was "backed by the Iraqi army" leading to 176 casualties, including 91 women.

The Iraqi soldiers, it added, "prevented the treatment of the injured and expelled them from the hospital."

Two days before the attack, the letter said, Iran had asked Iraq to step up measures against the camp.

The declaration refers to the recent decision of Judge Fernando Andreu of the Spanish national court that relied on the principle of universal jurisdiction to investigate the attack on the refugee camp in July 2009 which killed 11 people.

It also asked for "the immediate cessation of psychological torture" against the inhabitants of Ashraf through the 180 speakers that Iranian intelligence services have placed around the camp.

Among the signatories of the declaration are some MPs of the five political groups in the House, including the chairmen of the Socialist People.
 
Members also include Gabino Puche (PP), Jordi Xuclá (CiU), and Senators Peter Agrawal (PP), Arcadio Díaz Tejera (PSOE) and Lluis Maria de Puig (PSOE).