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