"The Iraqi government, clearly at the behest of the Iranian regime, is preventing any basic items to be moved to Camp Liberty or facilities be established there, of course at the expense of the residents. Water, electricity, proper sanitation, and cooling systems in a 130F (55°C) heat, while you are willing to pay for it yourself, is not too much to ask for and is certainly not maximalist."
The officials failed to state clearly the reason why the move is not taking place, specifically the humanitarian situation at Camp Liberty which by no means meets international standards. In fact, after 2000 residents of Camp Ashraf have already moved to Liberty, the camp can no longer accept more residents due to lack of basic living needs such as water, electricity and sewage system and etc...
Residents of Camps Ashraf and Liberty are members of the main Iranian opposition movement, MEK, that have lived for years in Iraq fleeing persecution by the Iranian dictatorial regime. But the current government of Iraq, having close ties to the Iranian regime, has been persecuting the exiles in their home of 25 years which is called Camp Ashraf situated at about 80 miles north of Baghdad. In two separate attacks on the camp in 2009 and 2011, total of 47 residents including 8 women were killed by Iraqi forces as the American forces nearby looked away. Video shots of the April 2011 massacre on YouTube, shows Iraqi officers directly shooting at unarmed residents who empty handedly tried to prevent the Iraqi forces from taking over their homes.
In 1997, the Clinton administration, in a move to win favor with Iran’s then new, so-called moderate president, Mohammed Khatami, blacklisted Iran’s main opposition in exile, MEK. But the passage of years since the war in Iraq and fall of Saddam Hussein, have proven that the group is not a terrorist organization and is no threat to the United States. On the contrary, MEK is a legitimate opposition movement, trying to bring a democratic change to Iran and advocates peace, democracy and freedom, and separation of church and state for that country.
A court ruling in Washington on June 1 this year called on the Secretary of State to decide whether to continue listing of the group or delist them by October 1 or, otherwise, by the order of the court, the group will automatically be removed from the Department’s FTO list.
But the Secretary of State has subjected the delisting to a move from Camp Ashraf to Liberty by the residents, who are members of the MEK, and a successful closure of the camp. While such contingency is not defined by law and it should be unlawful for the Secretary to declare such conditions for delisting, the MEK has already committed to the closure of Camp Ashraf in order to prevent further bloodshed of the residents at the hands of the Iraqi government.
The MEK has convincingly demonstrated its desire for a peaceful solution. 2000 residents have already moved to Camp Liberty and the remaining, about 1200, have publicly stated that they are ready to depart as soon as humanitarian conditions at Camp Liberty are brought up to standards and minimum living requirements for 3200 people at the 0.5 km2camp allocated to them are met.
But the Iraqi government, clearly at the behest of the Iranian regime, is preventing any basic items to be moved to Camp Liberty or facilities be established there, of course at the expense of the residents. Water, electricity, proper sanitation, and cooling systems in a 130F (55°C) heat, while you are willing to pay for it yourself, is not too much to ask for and is certainly not maximalist.
The Department of State should stop threatening and pressuring the already under pressure and defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, to give up basic human rights and surrender to a forcible move to Liberty. Instead, it is expected from the United States to press the government of Iraq to respect the human rights of the residents and allow them access to basic needs that they will acquire at their own expense, thus, facilitating further move of the remaining residents to Liberty. It is perfectly legitimate for the residents to ask to have access to running water, and not for the water to be delivered by tanker on daily basis. It is totally unacceptable that in 21st centaury people be forced to live in such condition. What is absolutely appalling is that both UN and U.S. are supporting this inhumane condition simply because they do not want to jeopardize their relation with Nouri al-Maliki.
Ambassador Fried that, in his view, the residents should not ask to take their own personal cars to Camp Liberty is shocking. The question is why should there be any restriction on the residents to take their own properties. They are being unlawfully evicted by the Iraqi government, ironically supported by the US and UN Secretary General Special Representative, and yet are even denied the right to take their own property. The Iraqi government has so far even prevented the disabled to take their indispensible facilities, without which they cannot survive. Yet, the UN and State Department are blaming the residents for not moving ahead while keeping silent on the Iraqis suppressive measures.
Using FTO listing to force the resident to move into an inhumane environment is nothing but blackmail. It intends to force the MEK to trade delisting of the organization with the well-being and safety of its members in Iraq. That is something that is not becoming of a well respected, internationally known and recognized movement for freedom and democracy. It is not the MEK Iranians know. It will not happen. The safety and security of the residents should have priority to every other consideration including delisting of the MEK.