Relocation of More Convoys From Camp Ashraf Halted

The remaining residents in Ashraf will immediately move to Camp Liberty if humanitarian requirements are realized

– There has never been any misunderstanding regarding the US Secretary of State discretion to relist.

– The relocation of more convoys from Ashraf has been halted due to failure of the Iraqi government to provide the minimum humanitarian needs of the residents which has been called for on a number of occasions in the past several months and has nothing to do with the court ruling on June 1st 2012.

– If the Department of state wants to subject the delisting to the closure of Ashraf the only possible way is to press for the implementation of humanitarian standards which the Iraqi government constantly violates.

Warnings Issued

Issuing warnings, relating the Ashraf closure to the decision on the delisting of PMOI and disregarding the human rights of Ashraf and Liberty residents by the US Department of State has no legal basis and is not acceptable. Had there been any justification for making such connection, the US Federal Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit would have considered it in its June 1 ruling.

There has never been any misunderstanding of the Secretary of State discretion to relist the PMOI. She can make the decision today. Such move would open the way for the PMOI to challenge her decision in the court. Of course, if the Department of State had any credible evidence, as stated in the court ruling, it would not have 600 days of “egregious” delay. Was there any evidence, the Department would have not hesitated to relist the PMOI.

Strong Bi-Partisan Consensus

U.S. officials in Clinton administration have acknowledged that from the outset the listing was aimed to appease the clerical regime in Iran. It is precisely for the continuation of the same policy that the PMOI has remained on the list. There is a strong bi-partisan consensus among many members of US Congress as well as American politicians that the designation is being used to suppress the PMOI in Iran and has also been used to justify the massacres of Ashraf residents in July 2009 and April 2011, as a result of which 49 residents have been killed and more than a thousand wounded.

Since six months ago, Ashraf residents have repeatedly declared that once their minimum humanitarian, legal and legitimate requirements are realized, they will immediately move to Camp Liberty. The requirements are within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Iraqi government and the United Nations. Secretary Clinton declared her support for the MoU on December 25, 2011. The real obstacle is the persistent violations of the MoU and other agreements by the Government of Iraq and turning Camp Liberty into a prison. The objective is to force the residents to surrender before the religious fascism ruling Iran and its puppets in Iraq. Unfortunately the US government has been silent about the GoI’s suppressive measures.

In Search of Justice

Following numerous meetings with the representatives of the residents, the dignitaries from both side of the Atlantic, representatives of the US and UN; the President of International Committee in Search of Justice and Vice-president of the European Parliament, on behalf of more than 4,000 parliamentarians across the world, stipulated the minimum humanitarian requirements as follow:

1. Transfer of 300 air conditioners from Ashraf to Liberty.

2. Transfer of all the power generators that are currently in Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty. If there is any dispute about the ownership of the generators, they can be resolved in the future, under supervision of UN.

3. Transfer of 25 trucks, containing the belongings left over from the fourth and fifth convoys,8 and six utility vehicles about which there had already been an agreement.

4. Transfer of five forklifts from Ashraf to Liberty for the purpose of moving the residents’ belongings.

5. Transfer of three specially-designed vehicles and six specially-designed trailers for the disabled.

6. Transfer of 50 passenger cars from Ashraf to Liberty. It means one car for every 40 residents, which is absolutely necessary in the hot weather and for wounded and disabled residents.

7. Permission for construction, including the building of pavements, porches, canopies, ramps, special facilities for the disabled and green areas.

8. Connecting Liberty to Baghdad’s water network. Alternatively, the residents should be permitted to hire Iraqi contractors to pump the water into Liberty from a nearby water canal and bringing their own water purification system from Ashraf.

9. Allowing merchants or bidders access to Ashraf to negotiate and buy the movable properties as soon as possible and to make advanced payment and start making partial payments to the residents before the resumption of the relocation of the next convoy.

10. Start of negotiations between the residents and their financial representatives and the Iraqi Government to sell the immovable assets and properties, or negotiations with third parties (Iraqi Government should provide permission) to sign the necessary agreements. Partial payments should be made before the relocation. At least 200 residents would remain at Ashraf to maintain and upkeep the properties until they are sold in their entirety.

Memorandum of Understanding

All these requirements are based on the Memorandum of Understanding which Iraq signed with the United Nations and are not luxuries or maximalist. US government guaranteed that Iraqi government has commitment “to transport some utility cars and trailers for the disabled; a commitment to connect water and electrical power at Camp Liberty to Iraqi networks, with a commitment to provide water and power until that time; ability to hire up to 100 Iraqi workers to help with loading cargo at Camp Ashraf; agreement in principle to transport some generators; and progress on the sale of legal and movable property.”

But these promises and commitments have never been fulfilled. Even worse, in an act that can only be described as robbery, six utility vehicles were removed from the fifth convoy half way to Camp Liberty. This is while; the Department of State instead of defending these minimum requirements asserts that some of these demands such as one vehicle for every 40 residents are not important. Such assertion is disgraceful. It not only denies the residents of their right to property, but also disrespects the minimum humanitarian needs of the patients, wounded and elderly to be transported under scorching sun and extremely hot weather. There are 1000 residents who suffer from injuries and disabilities that they sustained in attacks by Iraqi forces in 2009 and 2011 before the eyes of the American forces who stood idly by.

Ridiculous July 20 Deadline

It is not clear as to why parallel to the Iranian regime and its ambassador to Baghdad, State Department is pressing for a ridiculous July 20 deadline, to evict 1,200 defenseless human beings from their home, in the brink of Ramadan and in 55 c (133° F) temperature.

The residents of Ashraf, as have already declared on many occasions, will move to Camp Liberty as soon as the above mentioned 10 humanitarian requirements are realized. So far, none has been fulfilled. Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

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.