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Ashraf Monitor, Issue 15

December 23, 2008

Iraq's National Security Advisor's remarks on Ashraf are unlawful
National Council of Resistance of Iran, Press Release

December 22, 2008
Iraqi National Security Advisor pledge to close down Ashraf City and move out its residents sets the stage for war crimes, crimes against humanity and is a blatant violation of international laws and conventions

NCRI - The Iranian Resistance views the unlawful remarks by Mr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraqi National Security Adviser, on "prohibiting any political, propaganda, cultural, religious, and social activities" of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and "closure of Camp Ashraf and moving its people and their expulsion to Iran or a third country," a consequence of the Iranian regime's enormous pressures on the Iraqi government, which come following the signing of the security agreement between Iraq and the U.S. government. In addition, the recent judgments by the European Court of Justice annulling the terror label against the PMOI and the 55th United Nations resolution condemning flagrant violations of human rights in Iran have added to the mullahs' paranoia about Ashraf and their efforts to destroy it...

The presence of the PMOI in Iraq also enjoys widespread support among Iraqis, who are frustrated over the violent meddling of the Iranian regime in Iraq. Statements signed by three million Iraqi Shiites (June 2008), 5.2 million Iraqi citizens (June 2006), 450,000 residents of the Diyala Province (June 2007), 3,000 Iraqi sheikhs and tribal leaders (February 2007), 12,000 Iraqi lawyers and jurists (January 2006) and dozens of more statements signed by different sectors and political currents in Iraq, confirm this reality.

Iraq's National Security Adviser has attempted to threaten the PMOI over its cultural, religious, and social activities despite the fact that he has been absolutely silent in respect of crimes by the clerical regime and its agents in Iraq, including the bombing of the water pumping station and pipelines of Ashraf, missile attacks on Ashraf, kidnapping of its residents and bombing a passenger bus carrying Iraqi workers of Ashraf.  Iranian Resistance warns of an increase in these terrorist crimes and a humanitarian catastrophe in Ashraf City.

The Iranian Resistance calls on the UN Security Council, Multi-National Force-Iraq, and Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to condemn these remarks and to reaffirm the rights of residents of Ashraf within the framework of international conventions.

Efforts to mollify the mullahs ruling Iran through such remarks are futile. They will only embolden the mullahs to expand their covetous designs in Iraq and give them more leeway to expand their meddling and aggression in Iraq. Dominating Iraq and exporting terrorism and fundamentalism to that country are strategic imperatives for the religious dictatorship ruling in Iran to preserve its disgraceful and illegitimate rule. It will not abandon them so long as it remains in power... Read More



Iranian Resistance Group Criticizes Iraq's Efforts to Expel It
The New York Times

December 23, 2008
BAGHDAD An Iranian resistance group on Monday condemned a renewed push by the Iraqi government to deport its members as a result of undue Iranian influence.

Some 3,800 members of the group, the People's Mujahedeen, live in a fenced-off camp north of Baghdad, where they have enjoyed the protection of the American military since 2003. The Iraqi government notified the group on Sunday of plans to shut the camp and evict its residents as Iraqi forces take control of the area from the United States.

"This reflects the hysterical pressure being applied by the regime of the mullahs on the Iraqi government after it signed the security agreement with America," said a statement by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group of which the People's Mujahedeen is the largest component.

Analysts and Iraqi opposition politicians said that the Iraqi government's determination to expel the group may be an effort to appease Iran, which had initially expressed strong opposition to the security agreement concluded last month between Iraq and the United States...

On Sunday, the Iraqi government's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, met with the group's leaders at their base, Camp Ashraf in Diyala Province.

"They were told that the government has plans to close the camp and deport its inhabitants to their native country, or voluntarily to a third country, and that staying in Iraq was not an option," said a statement issued by Mr. Rubaie on Monday.

He said the transfer of security responsibilities for the camp from the American military to Iraqi forces was already under way. He said the group was a "terrorist organization" and was "no longer permitted to engage in any political, media, cultural, religious or social activity in Iraq."...

The camp, a sprawling and self-contained gated community, is a virtual oasis in an arid patch of Diyala. During a visit in 2007, this reporter saw American soldiers from an adjacent military base securing the perimeter.

Past the gate, members of the group, many of them women in tan uniforms, drove jeeps past manicured parks, artificial lakes and giant sculptures. One sculpture depicts a dove being released by an extended hand. The compound houses clinics, schools and workshops.

Since 2003 the People's Mujahedeen, who are mostly Shiite, have been assiduously courting Sunni politicians and tribal leaders in the area. In June, they held a large gathering at their camp attended by several prominent Sunni Arab members of Parliament who are openly hostile to the Iranian government. This meeting set off a political storm in Baghdad, with Shiite parties close to Iran calling for the censure of the members...

Muhammad al-Daini, a Sunni member of Parliament, says the government is making a mistake by bowing to Iranian pressure to expel the People's Mujahedeen before getting firm commitments from Tehran that it will no longer arm and finance militias in Iraq. "We cannot blindly accept Iran's dictates," he said... Read More



White House Rally Held on 100th Day of Vigil Seeking Continued U.S. Protection for Iranian Dissidents in Camp Ashraf
US Committee for Camp Ashraf, Press Release

December 19, 2008
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19  -- On Friday, December 19, 2008, marking the 100th day of their vigil, the families and friends of Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, rallied across from the White House. In line with the continued bi-partisan support in the U.S. Congress for safety and security of Ashraf residents and the ongoing vigil, Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) addressed the rally and Representative Daniel Lungren (R-CA) released a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The rally and the White House vigil aim to ward off a looming humanitarian crisis for the nearly 3,500 Iranian refugees, their families, and members of the main Iranian opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) at Camp Ashraf...

Congressman Filner, Chairman of Veterans Affairs Committee, applauding the 100-day vigil for Camp Ashraf, told protestors that "you are reminding Americans what we have to do and on behalf of, not only the people of Ashraf, but the people around the world. You are doing the right thing."

In his letter to Secretary Gates about Camp Ashraf, Congressman Lungren, member of the Committee on Homeland Security, stated that "I have received communications from both the ICRC as well as from Amnesty International expressing grave concern over the plight of the residents of Ashraf." He requested Secretary Gates "in any determination relating to the status of the people of Ashraf seek to ensure compliance with our legal and humanitarian obligations to them."

The Friday rally, held under heavy rain in Lafayette Park, stressed that transfer of Ashraf security to the Iraqi Security Forces would make Iraq's nascent Government subject of extensive pressure from Tehran... Read More



UN General Assembly condemns rights abuses in Iran
Iran Focus

December 19, 2008
London, Dec. 19 - The United Nations General Assembly accused Iran on Thursday of continuing the practice of torture and punishments such as flogging, stoning and amputation of limbs.

The UNGA adopted a Canadian-sponsored resolution by a vote of 69 in favour to 54 opposed, with 55 abstentions.

The 192-member world body expressed "deep concern" at "serious human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran" relating to "Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations ... The continuing high incidence of executions carried out in the absence of internationally recognized safeguards, including public executions and executions of juveniles ... Persons in prison who continue to face sentences of execution by stoning ... Arrests, violent repression and sentencing of women exercising their right to peaceful assembly, a campaign of intimidation against women's human rights defenders, and continuing discrimination against women and girls in law and in practice".

It urged Iran to "eliminate, in law and in practice, amputations, flogging and other forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and "abolish the use of stoning as a method of execution".

The resolution also pointed out that there was "discrimination and other human rights violations against women and girls" in Iran.

The UN body requested an update from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the situation of human rights in Iran, including its cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, at its next session.

It also decided to continue its examination of the situation of human rights in Iran at its sixty-fourth session under the item entitled "Promotion and protection of human rights"... Read More

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