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 Whistleblowers Need Protection


LETTER TO EDITOR: Protect our friends

By ROBAB BARAEI, The Washington Times
October 10, 2008

As a former political prisoner in the ayatollah's jails, along with my husband and teenage daughter, and as a relative of several residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, I found Trita Parsi's suggestion that we need to defeat, rather than protect, the members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) despicable ("Deciding the fate of the Mujahedin," Solutions, Sunday Read).

His character assassination of these patriotic Iranians, many of them torture victims and former political prisoners, exposes my loved ones to even more risks.

Mr. Parsi is on a mission to tear apart the only organized opposition to Tehran's reign of terror, a quest he shares with the mullahs in Iran. According to the Wall Street Journal, the mullahs' regime has demanded both in public and through private channels, that the Bush administration break up the PMOI.

Mr. Parsi tries to justify his call for expulsion of Ashraf residents by claiming that those individuals who have returned to Iran have experienced no abuse. No wonder, considering that those individuals were later employed in the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence's campaign against the PMOI.

The residents of Ashraf, however, remain committed to their 40-year struggle to bring democracy to Iran. According to Amnesty International, they would face torture or other serious human rights violations in Iran.

The PMOI the only opposition the ayatollahs see as a credible threat to their survival was blacklisted by the Clinton administration in 1997 as a goodwill gesture to Tehran. In 2001, the United Kingdom, also kowtowing to Tehran, did the same. It, however, removed PMOI from the list following an emphatic ruling by an appeals court that said the PMOI is not involved in terrorism. It acknowledged the PMOI is dedicated to replacing the existing theocracy with a democratically elected, secular government in Iran.

In fact, the PMOI is the most popular Iranian opposition. On June 28, according to Agence France-Presse, more than 70,000 supporters of Iran's opposition [PMOI] protested near Paris.

In Iraq, on June 16, 2008, more than 3 million Iraqi Shi'ites supported the PMOI. Also U.S. commander Lt. Col. Julie S. Norman noted in 2006: "[PMOI] intelligence has been very helpful and in some circumstances has helped save the lives of [U.S.] soldiers" in Iraq.

It has been suggested that the expulsion of the PMOI could alter the regional balance of power and be a significant political and security gain for Iran. Tehran and its enablers in Washington such as Mr. Parsi, are bent on breaking up this strategic threat. The U.S. has a legal obligation under international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention, moral responsibility and national security to thwart this ploy and continue to protect Camp Ashraf's residents for as long as U.S. forces are in Iraq.

Head of D.C. delegation
U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents

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