Camp Ashraf military Occupation –No. 71
NCRI - Following the massacre in Ashraf and international condemnations against this grave crime against humanity, Mr. Ali al-Alaq, Secretary General of the Iraqi Council of Ministers announced: “After ample talks and discussions, the Iraqi Council of Ministers has defined the end of 2011 as the closing date to finalize the Camp Ashraf dossier through various legal procedures. Therefore, ministries including the Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Interior, Defense and others have been assigned to use all methods, with the exception of force, to bring an end to this case.”
He went on to claim: 18 months ago, the Iraqi government established a committee to resolve the problems “through dialogue and cooperation with the Americans, however the Organization (PMOI) has refrained from responding to this initiative and has not been convinced to realistic solutions.”
He added, “The residents of this camp have not demonstrated the minimum readiness to show understanding, to such an extent that the Iraqi government cannot initiate dialogue with them despite the fact that numerous options have been presented to them, including: returning to their own country or going to any other country, and or any other decision that may be in their interest outside of Iraq. The members of this organization refrain from listening to any type of dialogue.
When officials enter this camp to bring about order to the affairs, they cause turmoil … and various parties take advantage of these issues for their own political objectives. This is while this subject is a matter of Iraqi national sovereignty and security.”
The Secretary General of the Iraqi Council of Ministers informed of the formation of a committee led by Deputy Prime Minister Nuri Shawis with the goal of protecting Iraq’s property in Ashraf and launching necessary mechanisms to protect this property. This initiative will follow the lifting of Ashraf’s international protection and in coordination with all relevant parties. This committee, with a representative from the Monetary Supervision Bureau of the Finance and Planning Ministry and the legal advisor of the Council of Ministers taking part as members, has taken executive decisions to implement mechanisms to protect Iraqi property from any danger!
Regardless of the flagrant fallacy, fabricated remarks and lies in the remarks made by the Secretary General of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance, reiterated the following issues:
1- It is fortunate that finally the Iraqi government, under increasing domestic and international pressures, has at least in its remarks accepted the use of a civilized method of not resorting to force. Of course, this comes only after an attack by armored units against Camp Ashraf on the pretext of farm land and following a vicious massacre of 34 Ashraf residents, wounding 350 of them and crushing many of the defenseless residents with HUMVEEs. The extent of the Iraqi Government’s commitment to setting aside the use of force against the PMOI in Ashraf residents remains to be seen in practice.
2- Up to the morning of Wednesday, April 20th, the Iraqi armed forces continue to enforce a siege on Ashraf and aim various types of their armored vehicles and automatic weapons at the camp’s residents. Therefore, the first sign of the Government of Iraq’s commitment to not resorting to force is the departure of all its personnel and armed forces from inside Ashraf’s perimeters, considering it as a demilitarized zone.
3- First of all, the Government of Iraq must make it clear to which international standard and law it is dedicated to regarding Ashraf residents? Does it accept the European Parliament’s resolutions – dating 24 April 2009 and 25 November 2010 – codified in unanimity by 8500 jurists and over 4000 MPs on the rights of Ashraf residents or not? Is it committed to the International Human Rights Law, the International Humanitarian Law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights regarding the rights of Ashraf residents or not? Does it accept Articles 52 and 53 of the Hague Conventions regarding the property of PMOI members in Iraq or not? Based on the International Law, is it obligated to the PMOI’s agreements with the former regime in Iraq or not? Does it accept the right of Ashraf residents, written in 16 legal opinions by the most prominent international jurists, or not? Following 28 months of prohibitions, do the families and lawyers of Ashraf residents from all over the globe have the opportunity to visit their loves ones and clients as they did in the past? Will the Government of Iraq bring an end to the psychological torture of Ashraf residents through 240 loudspeakers – considered in international jurists’ opinion as a flagrant example of crime against humanity – or not? Will it stop the 28-month-long siege on Ashraf, especially the medical blockade and the suffering it is enforcing on the camp’s patients, or not? As so in the civilized world, will Ashraf’s patients have free access to medical services at their own expense or not? At least until the end of 2011 which you have announced, will Iraqi forces exit Ashraf’s perimeters which they have occupied under bogus pretexts by shelling and killing the innocent or not? Will the Government of Iraq accept the Spanish National Court ruling of summoning the criminals involved in July 28-29, 2009 massacre or not? If the members of the Ashraf Suppression Committee in the Iraqi Prime Ministry claim that during the past 18 months Ashraf residents have “caused turmoil when officials enter this camp to bring about order to the affairs,” they should appear in the Spanish National Court and explain and prove this claim with the presence of Ashraf residents’ representatives.
4- With UNAMI and US forces monitoring teams bearing witness in the past 18 months, the Government of Iraq has continuously refrained from participating in dialogue with Ashraf residents – besides resorting to firing live bullets and using axes and clubs and automatic rifles – and carried out 6 attacks in Ashraf in less than 100 days from 1 October 2010 till 7 January 2011, wounding and injuring 221 residents including 94 Muslim women.
Before the recent attack and massacre, of which top-secret documents and military operation orders were disclosed by the Iranian Resistance in press conferences held in numerous capitals around the world, did you accept negotiations with Ashraf residents – as the US forces’ commander present in Ashraf insisted for you to do so – or did you refrain and escape from it? Truly, what is the objective and who is responsible for expressing frenzied lies in shows aired by the state-run al-Iraqiya TV against the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance, claiming that apparently during the attack a number of PMOI members escaped due to fear and surrendered themselves to the Iraqi forces and the mullahs’ regime in Iraq?
5- The Government of Iraq has no ownership over the buildings, facilities and properties in Ashraf, which have been built or purchased by the residents.
Purchasing documents of all vehicles, equipment, generators and other properties that have been paid for by the resident have been presented to US forces, the UN and Iraqi courts and officials, and have been published many times (including in the Mojahed publication number 915, dating 25 June 2008, and the book ‘Victory Campaign’, published in November 2009). One of these documents, regarding the purchase and import of 3,500 vehicles to your country at the expense of the PMOI during the years 1986 till 12 December 2002, is signed by the then-Iraqi Minister of Trade and has recently been presented to an Iraqi court. Therefore, in accordance with all international laws and conventions, which Iraq is a signatory to them, “protecting Iraq’s property in Ashraf” has no other use than gaining the mullah’s satisfaction for future repressive measures. During the Iraqi forces’ attacks on Ashraf over the past two years, all in all over $12 million worth of various vehicles, generators, trailers, cranes, water and electricity related equipment, heating and cooling devices and personal belongings and properties have been looted. The list of losses and stolen properties and belongings has been given to UN delegations, US forces and Iraqi courts, yet the Government of Iraq, to this date, has withheld from returning them.
Moreover, the residents of Ashraf according to documents in hand, since the transfer of Ashraf’s protection from US forces to the Government of Iraq in the beginning of 2009, have allocated buildings, facilities and equipment worth of tens of millions of dollars for the stationing of Iraqi forces outside of Ashraf’s perimeters; however, in practice, either the watchtowers or security booths or even the New Iraq Hospital building, have all been used for the harassment and torturing of the residents.
6- On the issue of the Ashraf residents’ return to Iran, as we had announced prior to the July 28-29, 2009 attacks, all of Ashraf’s residents are immediately ready for it. Upon conditions that Khamenei, the mullahs’ supreme leader, with the guarantee and supervision of the UN and international organizations, announces that they are immune from any detainment, torture and execution, and enjoy freedom of expression and staging peaceful demonstrations without any restrictions and conditions. The Government of Iraq must announce that the Ashraf residents can sell their immovable properties and take with them their movable property (27 July 2009 Declaration on the Ashraf residents’ return to Iran on certain conditions).
7- With regard to the transfer of Ashraf residents to the US or European Union member States, we have time and again announced the Ashraf residents’ readiness to US and Iraqi officials and forces, the UN and also European countries. Therefore, if anyone deliberately turns a deaf ear on that in a bid to reverberate the mullahs’ regime’s desire for the eradication and retribution of all Ashraf residents, then that is their own business.
The Ashraf residents, in their two-day negotiations with General Odierno on 9 and 10 May 2003, announced that after their disarmament, upon conditions that the US is incapable of giving them protection in Iraq, they are ready to go to the US. This issue has been recorded in the minutes of the negotiations, and over the years repeatedly recorded and brought up before US generals in charge of Ashraf’s protection, including General Miller, General Brandenburg, General Gardner, General Austin, Admiral Wright and General Quantock, who up to the end of 2009 replaced each other.
Moreover, in October 2009, coinciding with the release of 36 hostages, whom the Government of Iraq demanded their expulsion from this country, the Iranian Resistance once again announced that, not only the 36 hostages, yet it welcomes the transfer of all Ashraf residents to the US or European Union member States. This issue has been specified in the 4 October 2009 statement of the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and in the 7 October 2009 letter of the Ashraf residents’ legal advisor addressed to the Government of Iraq. The copies of this letter were immediately sent to the UN Mission, Red Cross, and US forces under the command of General Quantock.
Two days prior to the April 8th massacre and Iraqi forces’ opening fire on the defenseless residents, the representatives of Ashraf residents, on 6 April 2011, informed the UN Mission and US forces that if they are not willing to give assurances over their protection, it is up to the US, in return to their disarmament and in accordance with the agreement signed with each of the residents, to transfer every one of them without exception to the US or European Union member States.
8- Hence, if in the future similar to the past, the goal of establishing various committees in Iraq’s Prime Ministry is for the sole purpose of the residents’ repression, killing and closing down Ashraf, there will be no choice left for Iran’s freedom fighters other than resistance at any price. The velayat-e faqih regime in Iran and its puppets in Iraq, similar to the Shah and Khomeini, will never live to see the day of the PMOI succumbing to the dictatorship and demagogy.
In response to the Government of Iraq and the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mrs. Rajavi said: Nevertheless, if the guidance of Iraq’s policy in regard to Ashraf residents - PMOI members - is not in the hands of the illegitimate mullahs’ dictatorship and Khamenei himself; if the Government of Iraq’s intent of dialogue and understanding isn’t succumbing to illegal and mullah-praised demands; we certainly welcome any dialogue and understanding, of course with the presence of our lawyers and jurists and representatives from the US Government and the UN. To this end, the Government of Iraq can immediately send its representatives to Paris or the European Union headquarters in Brussels, or agree that the PMOI and Resistance representatives, along with their lawyers, travel to Baghdad and Ashraf, on the condition that US forces assume their protection upon entrance and up to departure.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 20, 2011