February 22, 2018

Church of England head urges protection for Iranian refugees

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE LONDON(AFP) – The head of the Church of England said Sunday that Iraqand the United Stateshave a duty to protect Iranian refugees in a camp in Iraq from violence or abuse. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said events at Camp Ashraf northeast of Baghdad "constitute a humanitarian and human rights issue of real magnitude and urgency". "There is a strong argument in terms of international law that the Ashraf residents are 'protected persons'," he said in a statement. Iraqi forces launched a deadly raid on the camp, in Diyala province, in July, killing 11 people, raising concerns about residents' safety. Iraq gained sovereignty over the camp on January … [Read more...]

Obama’s dilemma in Iraq’s Camp Ashraf

The Christian Science Monitor The US isn't supposed to intervene. But unless it does, Iranian exiles there face retribution from a brutal regime. Provo, Utah - The Obama administration is facing a difficult foreign-policy and humanitarian challenge that could have serious implications for its relationship with Iran. It concerns 36 Iranian dissidents, promised protection by the United States, held captive in Iraq by Iraqi soldiers. Without American intercession, they may be returned to Iran, where they face dire retribution from a regime that has shown how brutal it can be to those who defy it. The decision the US must face is whether to detach itself from the disposition of the … [Read more...]

US ambassador tries to allay fears about Iranian dissidents in Iraq

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE WASHINGTON — Christopher Hill, the US ambassador to Iraq, sought Thursday to reassure lawmakers who fear for the safety of more than 3,000 Iranian dissidents in a camp in Iraq. Hill, testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the US government would work to ensure that 36 People's Mujahedeen members arrested after a deadly Iraqi raid on Camp Ashraf in July are not repatriated to Iran. About two dozen relatives of camp residents, including some of the 11 who died in the raid, sat in on the testimony in Washington. Some went up to Hill afterward to personally ask him to protect the residents. Hill vowed to keep pressing the Iraqi government, … [Read more...]

US urged to restore protection of Iranians in Iraq

ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Supporters of an Iranian dissident group based in Iraq called on the Obama administration Thursday to restore U.S. military protection for the exiles, who were attacked by Iraqi security forces on July 28. They also urged the Iraqi government to release 36 exiles who were taken from the camp during the melee in which 11 Iranians were killed — shot, beaten or run over by military vehicles of Iraqi forces. Throughout that confrontation, American soldiers who once protected the Iranian opposition group stood by. At a news conference organized by affiliates of the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which the U.S. government calls a terrorist … [Read more...]

Bloodshed at Iranian camp tests US-Iraq transition

ASSOCIATED PRESS BAGHDAD — The women formed a human chain while the men chanted, confronting Iraqi troops moving into their compound. Gunfire rang out, and the soldiers waded in with batons, wooden bats and automatic weapons. By the end, officials said, 11 Iranian exiles were dead — shot, beaten or run over by military vehicles. Throughout the confrontation, American soldiers who once protected the Iranian opposition group stood by. According to U.S officials, they had no legal authority to intervene. One video taken by the exiles even shows soldiers getting into a white SUV and rolling up their windows as the bloodied men plead for help. The deadly melee at Camp Ashraf, the base … [Read more...]

Camp Ashraf: U.S. downplayed threat to Iranian exiles living in Iraq days before attack

The Chicago Tribune Baghdad regime's raid on anti-Tehran group's camp ignites protests WASHINGTON - -- The Obama administration downplayed international fears over the safety of Iranian dissidents living at an exile camp in Iraq as recently as mid-July, days before a raid by Iraqi security forces killed 11 of the exiles and left scores wounded. The deadly clash has sparked public protests in Washington and elsewhere around the world, with dozens taking part in hunger strikes to emphasize demands that the Obama administration better protect the exiles. It also underscored the challenges of the administration's plan to wind down involvement in Iraq and cede control of the country … [Read more...]

The Attack at Camp Ashraf

 ABC News Across the street from the White House for the last 16 days sit Iranians on a hunger strike, demanding justice for the victims of the attack onCampAshraf inIraq – an incident few Americans know anything about. Today Amnesty International called upon Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to investigate those attacks. So what’s the issue? Since 1986,Camp Ashraf has been home to more than three thousand members or supporters of the Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, also known as Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK). Camp Ashraf was permitted to stand during the reign of Saddam Hussein and when Iraq was underU.S.control. Saddam allowed them to be there because … [Read more...]

Refugees’ plea to US forces in Iraq: protect us

The Christian Science Monitor Human rights lawyers say the US should intervene to safeguard the Iranians at Camp Ashraf, which was raided by Iraqi security forces July 28. Washington - Human rights lawyers for a group of Iranian refugees living in Iraq who appear to have been brutally beaten by Iraqi security forces last month want the US military to intervene on their behalf. In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates Monday, the lawyers ask the US military to protect a group of about 3,400 Iranian dissidents called the People's Mujahideen of Iran (MKO) who live in a camp inside Iraq about 60 miles from the Iranian border.  The US has insisted that a July raid on the camp is … [Read more...]

Iranian dissidents in Iraq deserve our protection

THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR While in Iraq with the Indiana National Guard's 76th Brigade, one of the safest areas for us to travel was Ashraf. This is the home of many Iranian dissidents who opposed Ayatollah Khomeini's takeover in 1979. I am disturbed to hear that the Iraqi government has raided the village of Ashraf, reportedly killing 12 and wounding 500. There is no legitimate security reason for this act. As recently as last November, I was privy to information that there was no significant security threat from the people in Ashraf. I also went on several missions to Ashraf and found the people there cooperative and friendly toward us. We should be helping these folks in every way … [Read more...]

Campaigners urge protection for Iranian dissidents in Iraq

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE GENEVA— Human rights campaigners and an Iranian opposition group on Wednesday called on the international community to ensure the protection of Iranian dissidents inIraq. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the vice president of a UN human rights body said they feared that at least 35 people arrested during a security operation in a camp for Iranian exiles inIraqcould be sent back toIranand near certain death. Eleven people were killed in the raid, Iraqi authorities said, but Iranian National Council for Resistance members said here that 13 people had died and 36 were arrested. Eric Sottas, secretary general of the OMCT, said there had been … [Read more...]