U.S. and Iraqi officials have reiterated that the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq has undermined peace and stability in that country. Tehran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons have also aroused alarm in the world community. There are reports on the role of Tehran in the September 11 tragedy and international human rights organizations have pointed to the deterioration of human rights in Iran and the rise in public executions. A worldwide consensus has emerged on the need for a regime change in Iran.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s lobby in Washington is working to help the mullahs evade punishment for their atrocities in and out of Iran. The report just published by the Council on Foreign Relations calls on Washington to enter into a “deal with the current regime rather than wait for it to fall… and press for Iran to hand over al Qaeda detainees in exchange for the United States disbanding the Iraq-based Mojahedin-e Khalq, the most militant Iran opposition force.”
There is nothing new in the suggested deal. It is merely a repeat of the Irangate scandal. We, nevertheless, deem it necessary to raise the following points:
1. The report by the Council on Foreign Relations has nothing new to offer. In its May and June 1997 issue, published simultaneous with Mohammad Khatami becoming President, some of the authors of the present report called for striking a deal with the theocracy ruling Iran. Their report noted, “The advent of the Clinton administration’s second term, together with the imminent inauguration of a new administration in Iran following this May’s elections, provides an opportunity to review U.S. policies toward the Gulf and consider whether midcourse corrections could improve the situation…. The policy of unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran has been ineffectual… There seems little justiﬁcation for the treatment the United States currently accords Iran because of its nuclear program. Instead of simply punishing the country, the United States should consider whether a trade of might be feasible in return for Iran’s acceptance of restrictions on its civilian nuclear program…”
The policy suggested by the authors in that article, which the previous administration followed to the letter, only resulted in the mullahs getting closer to a nuclear bomb, increasing their influence in Iran and stepping up human rights abuses in Iran in the past seven years. It appears that with their new report, the authors are bent on completing their unfinished mission of serving the blood-thirsty dictatorship ruling Iran.
2. The recommendation to strike a deal with the clerical regime comes as the mullahs’ conspiracies to dominate Iraq have taken on new dimensions. Yesterday, Iraq’s Defense Minister Hazem Shalan al-Khuzaei said, “Iranian meddling in Iraq has been vast and unprecedented since the establishment of the Iraqi state. Generally speaking, Iranians have penetrated the country’s sensitive centers and set up many intelligence and security centers in Iraq.” He added, “The Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and myself are clearly opposed to Iran’s massive involvement in Iraqi affairs and this dangerous precedent. They (Iranians) confess to the presence of their spies in Iraq who have a mission to shake up the social and political situation” (Reuters, Asharq Al-Awsat, July 20, 2004).
Similarly, Interior Minister Fallah Hassan An-Naghib stated, “It must be acknowledged that Iran directly as a government and indirectly has a major role in terrorist and sabotage operations in Iraq” (Asharq Al-Awsat, July 21, 2004). To this end, CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid said yesterday in Bahrain, “There are groups within Iran that want to play a destabilizing role in Iraq and I think that would be most unhelpful for Iran and most unhelpful for Iraq” (Associated Press, July 20, 2004).
3. These recommendations also come as the clerical regime’s plans to obtain nuclear weapons has around concern within the international community. On July 17, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said in India, “We have finally discovered in a way that is indisputable that Iran was moving, hiding things and moving towards acquiring a nuclear weapon. They went out of their way to hide facilities, to deceive the international community as to what was happening.” He added, “Iran is vulnerable to economic sanctions.”
4. As the CFR report came out, the U.S. media published some excerpts from the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission report, which revealed the role of the Iranian regime in the September 11 tragedy. Newsweek wrote on July 26, that U.S. intelligence officials say, “Eight to ten of the so-called ‘muscle hijackers’ on September 11 are believed to have traveled through Iran between October 2000 and February 2001—the same period of time that Iranian border guards were facilitating the movement of extremist jihadis entering and exiting the Afghan training camps. Those same hijackers began entering the United States in April 2001 with no stamps on their passports indicating their recent travel to Afghanistan and Iran – red flags that might have prompted heightened scrutiny from U.S. border inspectors.
5. The CFR report underscores that Washington should “ensure that Mojahedin facilities are conclusively disbanded and that its leaders are brought to justice for their role in violence against both Iraqis and Iranians under Saddam’s regime.”
This is while Tehran’s back-channel deals and conspiracies to extradition and get the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI) expelled from Iraq or extradited to Iran failed miserably. In the past year, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, one thousand Iraqi lawyers, more than 1,000 eminent international jurists, thousands of parliamentarians, including 305 British MPs, majorities in the Italian, Norwegian, Belgian and Luxembourg parliaments as well as a majority in the Belgian Senate emphasized that the Iranian Mojahedin based in Camp Ashraf are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The policy suggestions by the Iranian regime’s lobby about the Mojahedin is a blatant breach of international covenants, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, the 1907 Hague Regulations, etc.
6. Fifteen months after the fall of the former government in Iran, everything is under the control of the U.S. forces. During this period, different U.S. and Coalition agencies have repeatedly scrutinized the PMOI personnel. They have all acknowledged that they had found no links between the Mojahedin and terrorism and that were no charges pending against them. U.S. Defense Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld reiterated during a hearing in the United States Senate that the Mojahedin in Iraq are not detainees but under a different status. (U.S. hearing,
7. The CFR report has called for the prosecution of the Mojahedin for violence against Iranians. The “Iranians” referred to by the authors are none other than the clerical regime’s henchmen and executioners who are responsible for 120,000 political executions. It is common knowledge that the Iranian Resistance has never targeted civilians. It has also declared time and again that if anyone in the ranks of the Resistance would deliberately or inadvertently cross the red line of harming civilians, the Resistance would be prepared to hand him/her over to an international tribunal and to pay compensation to those put in harms way. Only the people of Iran are qualified to assess the relationship between the Iranian Resistance, the PMOI and the Iranian people. It has nothing to do with those in Washington who are getting paid by the Iranian regime. For the past quarter century, the Iranian people have ignored the clerical regime slanders and continue to encourage their children to join their children to join the Resistance movement. By providing them with financial assistance, information and human support, the Iranian people have already passed judgment on the Mojahedin.
8. As far as the people of Iraq are concerned, the presence of 50,000 Iraqis at Camp Ashraf on June 18 to declare solidarity with Iranian Resistance and the testimonies by more than 500,000 Iraqi citizens about the background and conduct of the Mojahedin in Iraq and their emphasis on the need for the continuing presence of the PMOI in Iraq as the most serious buffer against fundamentalism, offer a decisive response to the claims by the mullahs and their allies. The statement by Iraqi citizens underscored, “The People’s Mojahedin of Iran have been the honorable guests of the people of Iraq in the past 17 years. Iraqis, including the Shiites and Sunnis, Kurds and Arabs, have not experienced anything but goodness and friendship with them. Therefore, it is an Islamic and patriotic duty for the people of Iraq to respect the Mojahedin and be hospitable to them. Aggression on their lives, properties and families is against religious standards and traditions of Iraq.”
9. As for the clerical regime’s misinformation campaign about the interference on the Mojahedin in Iraqi affairs, the Iraqi daily, Az-Zaman wrote an article on January 11, 2003, entitled, “Independent sources: Mojahedin are not part of the Iraqi regime’s militia.” It added, “Independent sources describe the allegation that the Mojahedin personnel would be part of the Iraqi regime’s militia in the probable war in the future as those fabricated by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.” “These sources added that reliance on this information and promulgating them is to distort the reality.” “Sources close to Iran-Iraq issues noted, ‘The People’s Mojahedin are exclusively engaged in resisting against the Iranian regime.’ These sources added, ‘Through a number of its agents, the Intelligence Ministry has embarked on this misinformation campaign.’”
Earlier, on May 22, 2002, Reuters news agency quoted “a copy of a 1999 legal document signed by a senior official of a major Iraqi Kurdish group that said there was no evidence the Mujahideen took part in the Iraqi government’s 1991 campaign against the Kurds.” The document added, We can confirm that the Mujahedin (sic) were not involved in suppressing the Kurdish people neither during the uprising nor in its aftermath. We have not come across any evidence to suggest that the Mujahedin have exercised any hostility towards the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.”
10. The suggestion to put the Mojahedin on trial is a desperate effort to whitewash the atrocities of the Tehran regime against the Mojahedin and innocent Iraqi citizens in previous years. Since 1993, the clerical regime has carried out 140 terrorist operations against the Mojahedin, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. Hundreds of Iraqis have also fallen victim to these terrorist operations. On April 18, 2001, the Iranian regime breach international law and UN Security Council resolutions and fired 77 missiles at Mojahedin camps in seven Iraqi cities. Subsequently, in May and June 2001, more than 5,000 parliamentarians and political personalities across the world issued a statement, condemning “the use of surface-to-surface Scud missiles and weapons of mass destruction by the Iranian regime against the Mojahedin and the Iranian Resistance and innocent civilians as a crime against humanity” and called for “binding international decisions against the Iranian regime.”
The clerical regime’s leaders must no doubt be put on trial in an international tribunal for perpetrating hundreds of terrorist operations across the world and for the execution of 120,000 political prisoners and present meddling in Iraq, which has so far resulted in the death of many innocent people.
Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
July 21, 2004