We wanted to bring an urgent matter to your attention. You might have followed the events that occurred in Camp Ashraf a few months ago, when innocent Iranian refugees were slaughtered by Iraqi military, which left many people dead and wounded (watch video clip here). The refugees at Camp Ashraf are Iranians who fled persecution in Iran during the 1980's and settled in Iraq near the Iran border. They are Iranian dissidents who oppose religious dictatorship and campaign for a free, democratic, secular Iran. During the US-led occupation of Iraq in 2003 they declared neutrality and were granted Protected Persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention. US forces, as the occupying power, had security responsibility for Camp Ashraf in Iraq until 2009 when they handed over security to Iraqi forces. Since then the Iraqi military, under heavy Iranian influence and pressure, has attacked the defenseless and unarmed residents of Camp Ashraf twice in the past two years, killing over 47 people and seriously wounding and maiming hundreds.
The continued plight of these people who are under military siege since two years and threatened to be massacred by the Iraqi army, is linked to US’s policy of engagement with the Mullahs’ in Iran. In 1997 the Clinton administration designated the MEK (an Iranian opposition movement which the people in Ashraf adhere to), as a terrorist organization (FTO). That was a condition put by Tehran to improve its relations with the US. As a consequence, the Iranian government could easily persecute and kill MEK activists as “terrorists.” The MEK took the case to International Courts and high courts in Europe reviewed all classified and unclassified information and in seven successive court decisions ruled that the terrorist designation of the MEK was "void," "unlawful," and "perverse." The MEK was finally delisted in EU in 2009 as a result of the court rulings.
The same process has been going on in the US and the US Federal Appeals Court, DC Circuit, ordered in July 2010 the State Department to review its decision and to either provide evidence or delist the MEK. The State Department has failed to produce any evidence. But it has nevertheless refused to implement the court decision to delist the MEK until now.
Read the latest news report on this issue here.
As the State Department is said to be about to announce its decision in August, the fate of Ashraf residents is at stake. About 3,400 innocent Iranian exiles, among them about 1,000 women, are directly threatened by an outdated, unjust and amoral designation which the regimes in Iran and Iraq use to suppress them violently. As Congressman Ted Poe (R - TX) recently related in a House hearing, Iraqi Premier Maliki told him that "one reason that the people in Camp Ashraf are treated the way they're treated by Iraq is because the State Department continues to designate them as a foreign terrorist organization." A decision to maintain the MEK on the list could pave the way for another bloody massacre in Ashraf.
We therefore have a petition to encourage the Secretary of State to Delist the MEK.
Please click here for the petition.
We wanted to ask you to please sign the petition and to invite your friends, family and colleagues to sign as well.