Obama Encouraged Not to Meet Iraq’s Maliki Until Iranian Dissidents Freed

Cross-Party MPs and Peers on Monday called on US President Barack Obama to refuse to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki in Washington this week until some 3,000 Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty are properly protected and Iraq releases seven Iranian dissidents who are at risk ofextradition to Iran.

The call was made at a conference on Iran chaired by Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC in Church House, with speakers including former House of Commons Speaker Rt. Hon. Baroness Boothroyd, David Amess MP, Brian Binley MP, former head of UNAMI human rights office Dr Tahar Boumedra, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Baroness O’Loan DBE, former Labour Party chairman Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE, Steve Mccabe MP, Dr Matthew Offord MP, Margaret Owen (London barrister) and Dowlat Nowrouzi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Iranian Resistance President-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi addressed the gathering by video link. There were delegations from 15 Anglo-Iranian communities including several who were on hunger strike demanding UN protection for Camp Liberty residents.

The Parliamentarians urged the Foreign Office, US and UN to heed the demands of hundreds of Iranians who have been on hunger strike for 58 days since the 1 September massacre at Camp Ashraf, pressure Maliki to immediately release the 7 hostages, to station UN Blue Helmets in Camp Liberty.

Illustrating its violent and intolerant approach to political opposition, the Iranian regime ordered Iraq’s government to attack Iranian dissidents in Camps Ashraf and Liberty. In the latest attack on 1 September, 52 Iranian dissidents were massacred in Camp Ashraf and seven, including six women, were taken hostage. The hostages are being held in Baghdad under torture and are on hunger strike, and they are at risk of extradition to Iran in violation of the non-refoulement principle and international law.

Lord Carlile, Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, said: “Illustrating its violent and intolerant approach to political opposition, the Iranian regime continues to order Iraq’s Maliki government to attack and slaughter Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf and Liberty … we urge the UK government, the US and the UN to press for the immediate release of the 7 hostages by Nouri al-Maliki’s Forces. Our government should press for an independent international commission of inquiry to bring the perpetrators of the heinous massacre in Camp Ashraf to justice.”

Mrs Rajavi told the conference that the massacre at Ashraf reflected the Iranian regime’s fear of the Iranian Resistance. “Economic crisis, intensifying internal power struggle and infighting along with growing popular discontent has made the regime more vulnerable and more fearful for its survival”, she said, adding: “More than 250 people have been executed since June. Is this the moderation based on which the UK government is eager to engage and improve relations with the regime?”

Baroness Boothroyd urged Prime Minister Cameron and Foreign Secretary Hague to pick up the phone and press Iraq to release the seven hostages. “The inaction of the UN, US and UK is unacceptable. UN blue helmets must be deployed to Camp Liberty without delay”.

The Parliamentarians and jurists urged the UK government, EU, US and UN to press for the immediate release of the seven hostages by Maliki’s forces and to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of the refugees in Camp Liberty, including the stationing of a permanent UN monitoring team and UN blue helmets in the camp. They further called for an independent international commission of inquiry to bring the perpetrators of the Ashraf massacre to justice.

Lord Maginnis pointed out the US government had a legal and moral duty to ensure the safety and well-being of Camp Liberty residents based on the 4th Geneva Convention, the written agreement it signed with all the residents in 2004, and the US’s written assurances while Ashraf residents were being transferred to Camp Liberty in 2012.

David Amess MP condemned the “shameful and deafening silence” of the Foreign Office in the face of massacre of unarmed and defenceless refugees by an Iraqi government which the UK helped bring to power. The UK ought to bring Iraq’s human rights violations against the camp residents before the UN Security Council.

“Mullah Rowhani is no moderate, he is a butcher”, said Steve McCabe MP, referring to the Iranian regime’s President and highlighting the recent execution of 16 political dissidents in south eastern Iran in retaliation for an attack on the regime’s security forces. The nuclear negotiations should not be separated from the issue of Iran’s human rights abuse and support for terrorism in Iraq and Syria, he said.

Lord Clarke urged the Foreign Office to demand of the Iranian regime to end suppression and executions in Iran, stating: “If Iran wants to pursue relations with the West, it must immediately stop all human rights violations and implement the UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear weapons programme”.

The meeting called on the international community to support Mrs. Rajavi’s ‘third option’ of democratic change in Iran by the people and organised opposition and her 10-point plan for a future free Iran.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom 28 October 2013

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