Press Release by Friends of a Free Iran inter-parliamentary group
This afternoon, 10 October 2013, The European Parliament, in its formal session in Strasbourg, adopted a resolution on “recent violence in Iraq” and strongly condemned “the attack on Camp Ashraf on 1st September 2013 by Iraqi forces which left 52 Iranian refugees dead and the abduction of 7 residents including 6 women who, as stated by High Representative Baroness Ashton, are believed to be held in Baghdad, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.”
Alejo Vidal-Quadras MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament from the centre-right EPP said, "I welcome the adoption of this resolution which was supported unanimously by all political groups in the Parliament and I urge Iraq to stop its violent terror campaign against the 3000 Iranian democratic opposition members in camp Liberty and to release the 7 PMOI-Mek members who were abducted by Iraqi forces last month.”
Struan Stevenson MEP, who chairs the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (ECR group) said: “This resolution is a warning to the government of Iraq that if the 7 hostages are not released, the EU will no longer have business as usual with Maliki’s government and we will use all measures to restrict Europe’s trade links with Baghdad."
Stevenson added: “The brutality of the Iraqi forces, acting on the direct orders of the Prime Minister on 1st September, achieved a new and unprecedented level of barbarity and violence. If Maliki now facilitates the murder or deportation of these hostages to Iran, he will face a reaction that he will always regret. We urge the UN to station monitoring teams and blue helmet units inside camp Liberty until the transfer of all the residents to safe third countries has been accomplished. The UN should also launch an independent investigation into the recent massacre in Ashraf." The Conservative Euro MP also expressed his deep concern for hundreds of Iranians who have been on hunger strike world-wide for over 40 days in solidarity with the 7 hostages being held by Maliki in Baghdad.
Louis Michel MEP, a former vice-president of the European Commission and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium (Liberal-Democrats -ALDE), welcomed the adoption of today’s resolution and said: “The European Parliament has made it absolutely clear that we would not tolerate such inhuman behaviour by Iraqi government towards Iranian dissidents. We call for an independent international investigation for this crime against humanity and those who were responsible for the massacre of 52 defenceless PMOI members in Ashraf must be brought to justice. Iraq must release these 7 hostages immediately.”
Stephen Hughes MEP, First Vice-President of the Socialist and Democratic Group (S & D) said: “As stated by Baroness Ashton and also repeated in the Resolution, we know the hostages are being held by Maliki's forces in Iraq. They must be released immediately. We don't accept anything less than that. We regret that the US has been so silent on this issue. It is a disgrace that the US administration is not doing what it should to release these hostages. It is also a scandal that Ban Ki-moon has called on Iraq to investigate the attack when it is crystal clear that the Iraqis themselves were behind this massacre.”
José Bové MEP (Greens) said: “The Parliament said in a very clear manner today that it condemns the recent massacre in Ashraf and that the 7 hostages must be released immediately. If Iraq would not submit to this, then Europe will impose sanctions on Iraqi government.”
Søren Søndergaard MEP (European United Left - Nordic Green Left) called on Baroness Ashton to convey the strong message of the Parliament to the Iraqi government to release the 7 hostages.
Struan Stevenson MEP
President, European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq
Chair, Friends of a Free Iran intergroup in the European Parliament