WASHINGTON, March 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) calls on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to promptly remove Iran’s principal opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq [PMOI/MEK], from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) and refrain from making the long-overdue delisting contingent on non-statuary demands.
USCCAR is troubled by Secretary Clinton’s remarks last Wednesday before a hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee where she said “MEK cooperation in the successful and peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, the MEK’s main paramilitary base, will be a key factor in any decision regarding the MEK’s FTO status.”
The MEK must be delisted simply because, as recognized by 98 bi-partisan members of U.S. Congress and a roster of former senior U.S. national security and anti-terrorism officials, it does not meet the statuary criteria. Secretary Clinton’s remarks are, therefore, a clear breach of the statuary requirements and further underline the political nature of the decision to keep the group listed.
Contrary to Ms. Clinton’s description of Ashraf as a paramilitary base, the camp has been home to unarmed MEK members who in 2003 turned all their weapons to U.S. military. In 2004, the State Department acknowledged that MEK members were non-combatants. In 2009, Iraqi government inspected Ashraf and found no weapons. Describing Camp Ashraf as a “paramilitary base,” would, therefore, only serve as a license for Iraq to kill the residents.
Some 400 residents have already relocated to Camp Liberty, a de facto prison run by the Iraqi government. The very Iraqi police forces which attacked Ashraf in 2009 and 2011, are now stationed inside the small area allocated to the residents in Camp Liberty, where there is no freedom of movement. Secretary Clinton should use her good offices to get the Iraqi police moved to the gates of the camp, provide access to the lawyers and family members, and allow independent human rights organizations to visit the camp.
Rather than linking MEK’s delisting to the relocation of Ashraf residents, Secretary Clinton should act promptly based on merits so as to deny justification for the murder of our loved ones in Iran and Iraq and to remove the obstacles for their resettlement in third countries. Otherwise Camp Liberty – billed a temporary transitional residence – could effectively turn into a permanent detention center.
SOURCE: US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR)