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 Whistleblowers Need Protection


Ashraf Monitor, Issue 12

Protecting Iranian dissidents
By Lord David Waddington

The Washington Times, November 30, 2008
Lord David Waddington is a former British home secretary under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former leader of the House of Lords.

Iran's main opposition group, the People's Mujahideen (PMOI), situated in Camp Ashraf in the Iraqi province of Diyala, poses the greatest strategic threat to the mullahs' rule. It has been instrumental in inspiring campus protests by Iranian students. Its supporters inside Iran have helped it to expose the regime's secret nuclear sites. In Iraq, it recently received the backing of some 3 million Shi'ites, who signed a petition welcoming the group's presence in the country and calling for the regime's expulsion from Iraq. Furthermore, in the Iraqi Parliament the Sunni bloc has come out squarely in support of the presence of the group in Iraq as the greatest barrier to Iranian influence there.

Meanwhile, Tehran has been plotting to force the Iraqi government to expel the group; but all its members in Iraq enjoy "protected persons" status under the Fourth Geneva Convention, meaning they cannot be expelled from the Country or involuntarily displaced…

It is very worrying that the United States should contemplate handing over the security of Ashraf to the Iraqis. Doing so would be to violate the Convention which provides that "protected persons" must not be handed over to an authority that seeks to breach their rights under the Geneva Convention. And it could well lead to the massacre of the 4,000 Iranian opposition figures residing in Ashraf.

Such action against the PMOI would also of course have far-reaching repercussions among Iraq's Sunni population, who would view what happened as a sign of Shi'ite Iran's domination of Iraqi affairs and a breach of the U.S. promise to resist Iranian intrusion. And with U.S. troops set to withdraw in 2011, the Sunnis and other nationalist Iraqis may end up relying less on the United States and find it more reassuring to bear arms themselves against anyone remotely associated with the Islamic Republic…  Read More



Address nuclear threat, rights abuses in Iran
By ALIREZA JAFARZADEH, author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis," disclosed the existence of Iran's nuclear sites.
The Des Moines Register, December 1, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama spoke frequently during the campaign of the threat posed by a nuclear Iran and a new U.S. policy to neutralize it. The status quo is no longer tenable as it is now believed that Iran may have enough nuclear material to make a single bomb.

To be effective, however, this new approach must also deal with the ayatollahs' appalling human-rights record. Here is why:

Tehran's quest for nuclear weapons is intimately intertwined with its multifaceted suppression of the citizenry at home. They all serve to empower the ruling establishment. Without an end to human-rights abuses, any promise of cooperation on the nuclear front is a sham at best.

Since coming to power in 1979, the ayatollahs have used their unique blend of religious demagoguery and abundant barbarity to sow fear, confusion and doubt in the minds of ordinary people. For all their populist claims, the ruling clerics are neither willing nor able to fulfill the Iranian people's legitimate social, economic and political demands. Well aware of this inherent weakness, they have built their regime on suppression at home and crisis-making abroad...  Read More



Bush can get Iran legacy
By LORD CORBETT OF CASTLE VALE, chair of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
United Press International, November 27, 2008

LONDON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- … Though no president could ever take the military option off the table, this cannot be the long-term solution, and further appeasement of the regime will only fuel the mullahs' assumption that brazenness will get them further concessions.

What the mullahs' fear most is organized domestic upheaval, and the Iranian resistance spearheaded by the People's Mujahedin of Iran is coordinating its efforts to foment unrest on student campuses and at major factories.

The PMOI, which has lost tens of thousands of its members to the regime's executioners, is based at Camp Ashraf in Iraq's Diyala province and has managed to rally Iraqis of all sects and denominations to stand against Iranian intrusion.

Some 3 million Iraqi Shiites signed a declaration sponsored by the group in June calling for the closure of the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad. Though the PMOI is a Shiite movement, most Sunni parties in Iraq have forged close alliances with the group, believing it to be the strategic counterweight to Iran's export of fundamentalism to their fledgling democratic state.

But as the Iraqi Parliament votes this week on the Status of Forces Agreement governing the future presence of U.S. troops in their country, Iran has set its sights on its main opposition force in Camp Ashraf. Under overwhelming pressure from Tehran, the Iraqi government has asked the Bush administration to hand over protection of Ashraf to its forces.

This would violate international law, since PMOI members in Iraq are recognized as "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law, and the Iraqi government in June issued a directive -- again under Iranian pressure -- ordering the group's expulsion, in violation of this status…

Time is running out. George Bush is still the U.S. president. He should use all the power vested in his office to guarantee continued U.S. protection for the PMOI in Ashraf, more so now that the European Court of Justice ruled in October that the European Union's terrorist tag on the group was "unlawful."

This could be the decision that ensures the likelihood of an eventual stable, democratic Iraq and an increasingly isolated regime next door overwhelmed with social dissent. Let that be the legacy of President Bush... Read More



"An eye for an eye" - Iran hands out gruesome punishment
Iran Focus

November 27, 2008
Tehran, Iran, Nov. 27 – An Iranian court sentenced a man to be blinded with acid as punishment for blinding a woman several years ago, state-run press reported on Thursday.

The defendant, identified only by his first name Majid, 27, was sentenced by the court to be blinded in both eyes, the hard-line daily Quds wrote. It added that Majid was found guilty of blinding a woman identified as Ameneh Bahrami in 2004.

The phrase "an eye for an eye" is very stringently adhered to in Iran's Islamic law.

Iran's Islamic penal system regularly practices centuries-old sentences for petty crimes, such as amputation of limbs, eye gouging, stoning to death, and throwing prisoners off a cliff in a sac. Read More

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