The Conference by European-American prominent dignitaries
on the eve of EU Foreign Ministers session-Disclosure of joint plans of Iranian regime and Iraqi government to relocate and slaughter Ashraf residents and calls on European Union to stop a humanitarian catastrophe
– Displacement inside Iraq without protection at new locations provided by U.S. forces or blue helmets would lead to massacre; Ashraf residents’ sole option is to resist
– Mrs. Rajavi’s call on EU: You have the means to lead a peaceful solution for Ashraf and stop a catastrophe; otherwise you would be responsible for another bloodshed In a major press conference on Wednesday, November 30, prominent international figures warned European Union of plan of the Iraqi Government for Camp Ashraf and its residents iterating on the urgency of an international measure to stop a humanitarian catastrophe. This press conference was held as the EU Foreign Affairs Council is preparing to meet to discuss the issue of Camp Ashraf and fresh sanctions against the regime of Iran.
Speakers in this conference which was presided over by President of European Parliament Delegation for relations with Iraq Mr. Struan Stevenson were: Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Alejo Vidal-Quadras, vice-President of the European Parliament, Howard Dean, Leader of Democratic Party (2005-2009) and U.S. Presidential candidate (2004); General Hugh Shelton, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (1997-2001); John Bruton, Prime Minister of Ireland (1994 – 1997) and European Union Ambassador to U.S. (2004 – 2009); Rita Sussmouth, former Speaker of the German Parliament; Günter Verheugen, European Commissioner (1999-2010); Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Congressman (1995-2011); Dirk Claes, Senator and President of the Belgian Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran; and José Bové, French MEP.
Conference issued warnings of another humanitarian catastrophe in Ashraf as the Government of Iraq, under pressure from the mullahs’ regime, iterates on the end-of-2011 deadline for closure of Ashraf, while at the same time obstructs the initiation of the UNHCR work through various pretexts.
Chair of the conference stated:
“There is no doubt that the relocation of Ashraf residents is part of a policy dictated by Iran. While the GoI is attempting to claim that the Ashraf residents would enjoy security and protection in the new locations to which they are moved inside Iraq and would fall under the supervision of the United Nations, it is concurrently conspiring under directives from the Qods Force to slaughter them.
“According to the plan, the GoI is to transfer and disperse Ashraf residents to various locations placing them under house arrest and siege. They are to be divided and separated. Women will be separated from men and young from old so that more pressure and influence could be brought to bear on them to return back to Iran.
Conditions are to be provided where PMOI officials and the camp’s leadership would be turned over to Iran or Iraq would arrange for circumstances where they could be abducted by the Revolutionary Guards.
“The preliminary plan for this relocation is for a massive force to enter into Ashraf from the Iraqi Army and Police force, together with anti-terrorism forces from the prime ministry and special battalions under the command of Prime Minister al-Maliki surrounding the residents and cutting them into sections, secure full control of the camp, and then forcibly arrest and transfer the residents to designated locations.
“One of the locations is Al-Mothanna prison in Baghdad. The world was shocked by the Iraqi government’s crimes in this prison, which were widely exposed in April 2010; the place where Iraqi authorities tortured prisoners by electric shocks, rape, and severe beatings”.
While commending the laudable cooperation and flexibility of Ashraf residents and the Camp’s leadership, and that they have foregone their explicit international rights despite their 25 year-long presence in the camp to solve this humanitarian crisis, the Conferenced expressed its concern that neither the U.S. nor the UN have not given any guarantees regarding security of the residents in case of their relocation and just rely on Iraq’s empty promises without undertaking any responsibility. It also underscored:
“The residents only stressed correctly that they would only accept displacement inside Iraq if their protection in the new place is assured by US forces or UN blue helmets. They quite logically stress that in the absence of such assurances Ashraf will be the safest place for them while they remain in Iraq.”
The participants emphasized that if Iraq is still after forcible relocation of the residents, no option would be left for them other than resistance. Should one ask them to surrender, he or she is targeting both their lives and political honor which is an unreasonable expectation. In the conditions where they have shown all kinds of flexibility, it is now our duty to protect them and their resistance.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the keynote speaker at the press conference, said: “…The Iraqi government is trying to frame forcible relocation of the residents as a peaceful plan and obtain the approval or at least non-opposition of international community including the EU. But national sovereignty must not be used as a cover for committing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and breaching the principle of responsibility to protect.
Otherwise, Hitler’s death camps and the crimes of Libya’s former dictator and Syria’s dictator would also be interpreted as their right to national sovereignty. To hide behind “Iraqi sovereignty” to justify indifference to crimes committed by the Iraqi government against Camp Ashraf is totally unacceptable.”
“Any agreement with the Iraqi government about the future of Ashraf residents without the presence of representatives of the residents is not acceptable. Behind-the-scene agreements and imposing the notion of relocation is in contrast with the emphasis by the UN Secretary General in paragraph 66 of his 7th July report to UN Security council. He called on the UN member states that “any arrangement” for Ashraf must be acceptable to the Government of Iraq and the camp residents,” reiterated Mrs. Rajavi.
Referring to the EU sanctions to confront Iranian regime’s nuclear bomb project, she added, “Sanctions are necessary, but this alone cannot be a solution to the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapon. The only way to prevent the mullahs from obtaining a nuclear bomb and the only way to assure international peace and security is “regime change” and the establishment of a democratic and non-nuclear Iran. The Iranian regime wants to block the path to “regime change” with a massacre in Ashraf and the destruction of its legitimate opposition.”
She summarized the Iranian Resistance’s solution and its demands for Ashraf, which is in fact part of the solution for Iran, in the following articles:
First – Any forcible relocation inside Iraq must be “put aside”. The illegal and suppressive deadline of 31 December, 2011 must be cancelled so that the UNHCR’s work and the transfer of all residents to third countries is accomplished.
Second – Considering the Iraqi government’s opposition to the UNHCR refugee status confirmation of the Ashraf resident, the only way to deny an excuse for massacre of defenseless and unarmed residents is a group determination of their refugee status by the UNHCR. This would allow enough time for individual application to be reviewed.
Third – The security of the residents of Camp Ashraf by the blue helmet UN forces , and the stationing of a UN monitoring team at the camp until the transfer of the last person to third countries must be guaranteed by the UN Security Council .
Fourth – the international community and especially the member states of the European Union accept any number of the residents, especially the ill and wounded, on an urgent basis.
Addressing the leaders of the European Union and Lady Ashton, Maryam Rajavi said: you have the power and the means to avert a definite humanitarian catastrophe. Baroness Ashton has the means to lead a peaceful solution for Ashraf. I warn that if immediate action is not taken, the EU and its leaders would be held responsible for another bloodshed in Ashraf.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 30, 2011