Monday, 2 July 2012

U.S. and UN Should Carry Out Their Promises to Iranian Dissidents

As the Iraqi government was tightening the screws on the 3,400 Iranian dissidents at Camp Ashraf, the UN (with U.S. help) brokered a deal to move them to an abandoned U.S. Army base near Baghdad, where they would be processed as refugees for transfer to third countries.
It's hard to believe, but that was SIX MONTHS ago. And what has happened in that time? More than half of the these members of the People Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) - in an effort to show good faith and accept the promises of the international community - have been relocated in Camp Liberty, an ironic name to say the least.
There, they have been subjected to prison-like conditions, harsh treatment, lack of basic sanitary facilities, and totally unacceptable restrictions at the hands of the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki, who is nothing more than a proxy for the regime in Tehran.
And what of the U.S. and UN promises to these innocent individuals who heeded the appeal of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, to accept the move as part of a supposed quid pro quo that would mean their freedom elsewhere in a short time?
Well, that short time becomes ever longer. And the promised UN processing of these "refugees" has not resulted in a single individual being relocated from Camp Liberty. Instead, that facility grows more overcrowded by the day, with the accompanying worsening of conditions.
To make matters worse, the U.S. has done nothing to remove the MEK from its list of foreign terrorist organisations.
For reasons that have never been explained, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton linked that action to the move from Ashraf to Liberty. Yet, despite the MEK bending over backwards to accede to U.S. demands, they are still waiting for the promised delisting.
Almost a month has gone by since a U.S. Federal District Court gave the State Department until October to act on the listing or the court would do it itself, yet not a word has been heard from Foggy Bottom on the issue.
Both of these matters were the subject of a massive rally of more than 100,000 Iranians last weekend in a Paris suburb - together with the larger issue of freedom for all of Iran from the tyrannical rule of the mullahs.
This gathering of Iranians from around the world, together with hundreds of their international supporters from nations near and far, fully noted the latest failure of Western negotiators to get any concessions from Tehran regarding its nuclear ambitions.
Since the negotiations began, three months have passed, with no obvious progress. Indeed, the only result is that the Iranian regime is three months closer to its ambition of developing not only nuclear energy for its own domestic use but also nuclear weapons to enhance its threat of terror in the Middle East.
It was heartening to see the broad support for the cause of Iranian Resistance from military leaders, diplomats, lawyers, UN ambassadors, writers, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winners, and of course politicians from across the spectrum, all united in the cause of a Free Iran.
It also was inspiring to hear the words of Mrs. Rajavi, at the mass gathering:
"... I see in you and with you tens of millions of Iranians who are yearning for freedom.
"I hear the voice of my brave sisters across our homeland.
"I hear the voice of proud prisoners of conscience in the dungeons of Ali Khamenei.
"And I hear the voice of students, workers, teachers and all those who long for freedom and liberation.
"Indeed, all of us hear your outcry from the four corners of Iran and your voice resonates in our ears.
"Indeed, the cry of every Iranian is Freedom, Freedom.
"In you, I see the enraged peoples of the Middle East who have risen up against despotic and murderous regimes. I mean the people of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other regional countries whose representatives are here today."
Yes, she inspired us, and we will continue to demand justice until the world acts on her vision.
Meanwhile, we must continue to press the United States and the UN to keep their promises.
Surely that is not too much to ask - is it?


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