Tehran and Baghdad Plan to Loot 500 Million Dollars of Ashraf Assets

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While approximately 2/3 of camp Ashraf residents have been transferred to Camp Liberty and others are under pressure to move, their movable and immovable properties still remain to be unsettled and there are increasing signs that the Iranian regime’s Iraqi affiliates intend to steal, loot and seize this property.

During the past 26 years, a total of 500 Million dollars has been invested by the residents of this camp in order to change it from a barren land into a modern city: equipped with power stations, electricity networks, two water pumping stations, water treatment and purification systems, roads, a university, a library, a museum, a hospital, a cemetery, a masque, parks, artificial lakes, farms, industrial workshops, sports and recreation facilities and underground shelters for protection against bombings and repeated attacks of the Iranian regime with scud B missiles. There are hundreds of buildings and halls in this city with a surface area of thousands square Kilometers as well as almost 100 Kilometers of roads and asphalt routes.

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On December 21, 2011, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al- Maliki, described Ashraf as “an Iraqi city and not a camp as it is called in the media”. On March 18, 2012 an Iraqi website, Al Esteghame, quoted officials of Diyala Province as saying, “Camp Ashraf is suitable for building an international airport or setting up several agricultural and trade projects to support the province’s economy. This Camp is a complete city and it can be used as an administrative unit capable of supplying services to Al-Adim Township of this province. Its public services are suitable for creating several strategic projects and strengthening investment opportunities in all sections of the province”.

Mrs.Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian resistance, announced on December 20, 2011 that transfer of Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty requires the transfer of their vehicles and movable properties as well as the sale of their immovable property under UN supervision in order to cover the costs of their security and living at Liberty and their transfer to third countries.

Mr. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq in his letter to Ashraf resident, on December 28,2011, had guaranteed the residents on their assets and propertied, and stipulated that the UN respect the property rights of the residents. On January 25 and February 6 and 12, 2012 Iraqi government representative had announced to Ashraf residents’ representative in presence of the SRSG and his deputy that they agreed on selling of the vehicles and assets. The list of properties was consequently presented to the UNAMI.

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Reliable reports, from inside Iran are indicative of a joint plan for looting of Ashraf residents’ belongings and properties by Mullahs in Iran and their proxies in Iraq during and after their relocation to camp Liberty. In his trip to Iran, Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, met secretly with General Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the terrorist Qods force (IRGC) and provided him a report about his suppressive measures to close camp Ashraf and to relocate its residents to “Liberty prison”. In the meeting, they discussed about continuing suppression of Ashraf and Liberty residents, expediting the closure of Ashraf and other conspirators against them.

Simultaneous with al-Maliki’s visit to Tehran, Alaalddin Borojerdi, the head of Iranian regime parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, who is the Khamenei’s kin, declared that “PMOI’s expulsion from Camp Ashraf is a valuable step taken by the Iraqi government and officials. With existing close ties between the two countries, al-Maliki’s visit is considered an important element in a series of cooperation between the two countries.”

After Iraqi delegation returned from Iran, the Iraqi government has formed a committee to give a legal face to the theft of Ashraf residents’ properties and to pretend that they belong to the government or people of Iraq. This committee prevented transfer of the generators – that was bought and all paid by Ashraf residents – to Camp Liberty under the pretext that the power station belongs to Iraqi government.

Recently, some Iraqi elements of the Iranian regime – whose cooperation with the Iranian mullahs, involvement in espionage and membership in special groups linked with the notorious Quds Brigade has been exposed – have began making statements about the need for confiscation of all property belonging to camp Ashraf residents and are planning for it. One such element, renowned for his links with Iran, is Ahmad Hadi al-Chalabi who in a statement released on April 26 called for confiscation of property of camp Ashraf residents.

Adnan al-Shahmani, currently a member of the Iraqi parliament’s Commission for Security & Defense and a special force commander from the Quds affiliated Asaeb al-Haq group, is another element involved in implementing plots by the Quds Brigade against residents of camp Ashraf. In a press conference held on May 5 of this year, he reiterated that all property in camp Ashraf, currently seized by the ‘MeK terrorists’, belongs to the people of Iraq! Adnan al-Shahmani, whose destructive role in Iraq was a known fact for US forces in Iraq at the time, is one the co-founders, along with Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, of the Special Forces which proliferated in Iraq at the time at the behest of the Quds force.

In the latter months of 2007, the Quds force allocated great sums of money to groups operated by Adnan al-Shahmani and Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, to be used in financing terror operations. Mohammad Hamdi, director of Diyala electricity department, has asked Iraqi forces to help in stealing and looting Ashraf residents’ property and vehicles.

With approximately 2000 residents now relocated to camp Liberty – which happened in spite of the Iraqi government’s consistent violations of agreements and guarantees presented to the residents by the US Secretary of State’s special representative and Mr. Kobler – neither the issue of the residents’ immovable property has yet been settled nor have they been allowed to take their movable property to camp Liberty or permitted to sell them. During recent weeks, businessmen inquiring to purchase property at camp Ashraf have been returned by the Iraqi forces and not permitted to enter the camp. The Iraqi armed forces arrested, beat up, insulted, intimidated, and returned from the entrance of Ashraf five Iraqi businessmen who intended to enter Camp Ashraf, to purchase some the residents’ properties on Wednesday, May 9.

Ashraf residents will stand up against this banditry and deprivation of the right for property forcefully. As long as past agreements are not honored and until the time the residents are given needed assurances about their basic demands and about their property, subsequent groups of residents will not relocate to camp Liberty.

The residents have also expressed concern over prospects of their property being looted. The UN Secretary General, the US government, the EU and all concerned international parties are responsible for the Iraqi government’s unlawful and suppressive treatment of defenseless refugees at Ashraf and Liberty and for preventing any theft, pilferage and seizure of movable and immovable property belonging to the residents by Iran’s Iraqi elements. All property belonging to the residents must be auctioned under UN supervision and its revenues used to fund the residents’ expenses of in camp Liberty and the expenses of their eventual relocation to third countries.

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.