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Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

ASHRAF MONITOR Volume 1, Issue 7
October 27, 2008

"Whereas there are grounds for concern that members and associates of the Iranian opposition who are regrouped and protected in Camp Ashraf in Northern Iraq by US-led multinational forces under Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention may be under threat of being expelled or forcibly returned to Iran, where they could face heavy persecution and possibly even the death penalty;

(European Parliament) Calls on the Iraqi and US authorities not to forcibly return to Iran any Iranian opposition members, refugees and asylum seekers who would be at serious risk of persecution and, in particular, to work together with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others to find a satisfactory long-term solution to the situation of those currently in Camp Ashraf.

European Parliament, Resolution on Iran and Camp Ashraf
September 4, 2008

Iranians seek U.S. help for dissidents in Iraq The San Diego Union-Tribune, September 9, 2008 Iranian immigrants from San Diego County joined others from across the nation yesterday, taking to the streets of Washington, D.C., to warn of a humanitarian catastrophe if the United States gives up protection of Iranian dissidents in Iraq.

San Diego residents such as Amir Emadi fear that a deal is in the works to transfer control of Camp Ashraf, a protected enclave near Baghdad, from the U.S. military to the Iraqi government. "If that were to happen, considering the presence of and influence of agents of the Iranian regime in Iraq, our loved ones will not see the light of day," he said. Emadi, a legal U.S. resident who is studying at San Diego State University, has parents and other relatives living in the camp...

As demonstrators waved MEK flags, held up signs and marched yesterday, Homa Salehi pulled out her wallet. Salehi, a floral designer in San Diego, showed a picture of a nephew who lives in Camp Ashraf. "We are asking the United States to continue the protection of Ashraf," she said.

Several congressmen have taken up the group's cause, including Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego. Last month, Filner warned Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, that transferring control of the camp to the Iraqi government "would be an obvious breach of U.S. obligations under international law." He said if governance changed hands, residents of the camp "would become a target of Iranian-sponsored aggression, violence and slaughter."

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, also has expressed concern. Hunter "will encourage U.S. negotiators from the executive branch to address the status of those dissidents with their Iraqi counterparts," his spokesman said. Read More


U.S.-Iranian relations

United Press International, October 27, 2008

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- ... When the U.S. military led the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the PMOI voluntarily surrendered its weapons to the Americans. Since then, its members have been under the protection of the U.S. military in Iraq. Under the 4th Geneva Convention they remain the responsibility of the United States. But the international community has a history of closing its eyes to such dilemmas. There will always be time later on to pass U.N. resolutions and to decry and condemn the injustices after the fact. Of course, by then it will be too late.

The Bush administration, it would appear, is buying itself an "honorable" escape clause from this debacle by planning to hand responsibility for Camp Ashraf to the Iraqis.

"It has already begun," [Alireza] Jafarzadeh said. According to the Iranian dissident, an Iraqi battalion is already on site.

"There is a human catastrophe waiting to happen," said Jafarzadeh. Read More


The Next U.S. President and the Iranian Dilemma

The American Chronicle, October, 27, 2008 Professor Kazerounian teaches at the University of Connecticut In two weeks Americans will elect their next president. The whole world is watching the U.S. elections with a great deal of interest. In particular the international community is anxiously waiting to see how the United States will deal with Iran.

Another issue on the plate of the next U.S. president is the matter of the protection of Camp Ashraf, where more than 3,700 of the MEK members reside in Iraq. After the occupation of Iraq, The residents of Ashraf were given the status of the "protected persons" under the 4th Geneva Convention.

The U.S. president should be mindful of the humanitarian catastrophic outcome should Iran gets its wish and remove protection of Ashraf from coalition forces to less prepared and reliable entities. Coalition forces are responsible for the protection of Ashraf, as long as one American soldier remains in Iraq. It is a legal obligation. It is a moral obligation. It is the only thing that makes strategic sense for the interests of the civilized world. Read More

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