The regime in Tehran is actively seeking to exterminate the
refugees at Ashraf City, despite the fact that they have been
granted protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Tehran continuously seeks to undermine the work of those opposed to
it, including the PMOI, in many ways which violate the rule of law:
missile attacks, destruction of services and medicine going to the
city, intrusive attempts to gain intelligence from family members,
disinformation campaigns and pressure on the Iraqi government to
deport the residents of Ashraf City to Iran.
These actions not only threaten the gravest results to these
protected persons, but would also destroy one of the most
effective opposition groups, who are working for political
change in Iran.
The goal of those of us present here today is to place the situation,
status and legal principles towards the residents of Ashraf City
before the International Committee of the Red Cross, and stand in
solidarity with our friends in Iraq in hope of a democratic and free
Iran, and a safer world.
We do not concede to Tehran the exclusive right to define
what is normative in Islam or any religion. We are firm in
our views that progressive, tolerant and cooperative forms of Islam,
Christianity, and Judaism are just as authentic, viable and faithful
to their sources as the misogynist and bigoted form of Islam purveyed
around the world by the current regime in Iran.
We believe we must support the people of Ashraf City as a matter of
conscience and faith.
The Interfaith Committee for the Support of Protected Persons in
Ashraf (ICSPPA) ( of which I am a new member) is united in our stand
against any US invasion of Iran to bring about regime change, but we
also fully committed to some form of authentic democracy for the
Iranian people, now suffering under a murderous regime whose human
abuses are legendary and growing constantly.
To this end, we support without reservation the right of Iranians to form
legitimate opposition movements within and outside of their
country, since free and fair elections are impossible under the
current regime of fundamentalists ruling that country. Hence,
we support the People's Mojahedin of Iran, some of whose members are
currently residing under protected refugee status in Ashraf City.
This group, long labeled as terrorists due to the machinations of
Tehran, are a legitimate political party which has recently been
de-listed from proscription by both chambers of the British
Parliament. The same actions are pending in the European Union and
the United States, and we are confident that eventually the PMOI,
which has been cleared of any wrong doing by the US military and
UNHCR, will be recognized as a legitimate group with the political
goal of bringing democracy to Iran.
Canada's Parliament and national government should follow the
Parliament in the UK without delay.
Finally, permit me to stress that the ICRC as the official guarantor
of international humanitarian law, is mandated to act in a situation
like this one. I urge it to re-issue its letter on Ashraf of about two
years ago and to urge the multinational forces in Iraq not to transfer
the protection of the residents of Ashraf to a third party, such as
the government of Iraq, which will not fulfill its obligation to the
protected persons of Ashraf.