Saturday, 28 May 2016
(This article is written by Wael Hassan Jaafar in Arabic at Kitabat website, translated by Iran Probe)
Through the course of history there have not been many political opposition groups that have faced this extent of cruelty and oppression as the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MeK) has. This is simply undeniable and approved by all parties and the United Nations.
Images, documents and video clips of slain Iranian refugees in Iraq, including men, women and children, have horrified the international community for years now. Iran-associated militia groups have been known to resort launching direct attacks, firing rockets and mortars targeting their residential areas, and even atrocious summary executions of these refugees. The camps where these refugees have stationed, formerly in Iraq’s restive Diyala Province melting pot, and now near Baghdad, have continuously been the objectives of such onslaughts.
A series of killings, aggressions, blockades, depriving these refugees of food, water and electricity in camps Ashraf and Liberty began when U.S. forces in Iraq transferred their security dossier to the Iraqi government under former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, known for his insatiable close relations to Iran’s mullahs. This painful process has unfortunately continued to this day as recent developments have raised alarm bells and new concerns about the fate of these refugees. Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi recently visited Iraq and met with Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Fayyad, amongst others, and dictating orders from Tehran for Baghdad to increase its already backbreaking pressures on the residents of Camp Liberty.
These refugees are currently engaged in a process with the UNHCR to resettle in Albania, the only country that after years of searching agreed to provide a safe haven for this peaceful community. Liberty residents are the only refugees in history who have accepted to provide for their own resettlement costs, which of course can be quite a difficult task. To provide the expenses of transferring to and settling in Albania for the nearly 2,000 remaining refugees in Iraq, and the nearly 1,000 already transferred, Liberty residents are in need to be permitted to sell their property in Liberty and back in Camp Ashraf. It is worth noting that the Iraqi government has not authorized these refugees to resort to any income generating activities from the beginning of 2009 onward, and after their transfer from Ashraf to Liberty, intractable Iraqi Shiite militias linked to Iran – with a perennial enmity against the PMOI/MeK – have plundered their property back in Ashraf. These Iranian refugees owned property in Ashraf and selling such assets would allow the refugees a steady and speedy transfer to Albania.
“This painful process has unfortunately continued to this day as recent developments have raised alarm bells and new concerns about the fate of these refugees. Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi recently visited Iraq and met with Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Fayyad, amongst others, and dictating orders from Tehran for Baghdad to increase its already backbreaking pressures on the residents of Camp Liberty.”
Wael Hassan Jaafar
Taking a very correct step in providing the security these Iranian refugees in Iraq rightfully deserve, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously adopted Resolution 650 calling for the safety and security of Liberty in Iraq. The May 18th session, chaired by Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), witnessed Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle delivering strong speeches in support of this bill, with the initiative also strongly condemning Iran’s crimes and plots against Liberty residents.
This bill goes on to call on the U.S. government to engage with the Iraqi government aimed at increasing the security of Camp Liberty to the level of protection currently provided for Baghdad International Airport. This initiative, introduced by Judge Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee, known for his gravitas and reputation, already enjoys the support of 64 representatives, including dozens of committee and subcommittee chairs in the House of Representatives.
While praising this very important and significant resolution, there must be speedy measures to implement the articles of this resolution. The PMOI/MeK are living in atrocious conditions in Camp Liberty that is no different from a prison other than the fact that prisons have electricity, water, security and the conditions needed for a decent life. Therefore, speedy measures are needed to respect human rights principles, respecting all religions and have this resolution implemented fully for these Iranian dissidents to tear down the blockade imposed on them and provide them a dignified life.