Maryam Rajavi: Lift the inhuman siege on Ashraf, revoke the illegitimate terrorist designation against the PMOI
Speech to the international conference in Paris for Ashraf
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished dignitaries from the United States, Germany and France, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to this conference.
It has now been five days since the tragic massacre of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
On Friday, April 8, thirty-four courageous women and men, the best and the brightest daughters and sons of the Iranian people, lost their lives.
Some of them had endured ten, twenty or even up to thirty years for their struggle against dictatorship. Every single one of them personified the sacrifice and prolonged anguish of the Iranian people in their quest for liberty. At the same time, the dedication, perseverance and ultimate sacrifice of each one of them forebode the inevitable victory over the clerical regime.
As our way of paying respect to these 34 heroes and heroines who paid the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee freedom for the Iranian nation, and for brilliant perseverance of Ashraf residents, let us applaud them continuously for one minute.
With respect to the latest developments in Ashraf, I have to report that even to this day, the Iraqi dictatorship’s pressures continue to mount. Due to the hindrances, over the past several days, it was not possible to bury the dead in Ashraf.
On the orders of Nouri al-Maliki, injured residents with bullet wounds have been returned to Ashraf without receiving medical treatment in hospital.
Within Ashraf’s premises, belligerent battalions and armored units continue to occupy parts of the camp and are setting up elevated fortifications.
On the other hand, inside Iran, the clerical regime has played the videos of the massacre in Ashraf in some political prisons in an attempt to demoralize prisoners.
But, from the depth of Iranian prisons to the four corners of Iranian society all the way to Ashraf, the morale, faith and determination of the people are more powerful than ever.
Yes, as the Iranian Resistance’s Leader, Massoud Rajavi said two years ago: “The people of Iran and the Iranian Resistance will never submit to the demands dictated by the religious fascism ruling in Iran. The perseverance of Ashraf vis-a-vis Velayat-e-faghih dictatorship and terrorist force of Qods as well as its agents inside Iraq is a pride for the Iranian history and the contemporary history.”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although the massacre at Ashraf was executed by the Iraqi dictator, the incident is in its entirety linked to the political equation that has the clerical regime on the one side and the Iranian people on the other. As a matter of fact, the assault was part and parcel of the mullahs’ suppressive measures aimed at taming the Iranian people’s uprisings.
When the uprisings reignited in Iran on February 14, the mullahs became a dozen times more frightened of the PMOI.
Within days, an inquiry by the regime’s Majlis (Parliament) explicitly noted that the PMOI had a significant role in the protests. The plan to execute a new massacre of Ashraf residents was once again brought to the fore. This was a plan that Maliki tried to advance several times before.
At the same time, the Iraqi Prime Minister needs all the help he can get from the mullahs due to the unstable nature of his illegitimate rule. This is especially the case in recent weeks in the face of increasing and persistent popular protests in Iraq.
Another factor involved is the Iranian regime’s panic over the prospect of the delisting of the PMOI in the United States. They mullahs are horror-struck about the impact that this delisting would have on bolstering the domestic uprisings.
That is why less than 24 hours after the attack on Ashraf, the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister praised al-Maliki for his actions.
Then, the military advisor to the regime’s Supreme Leader openly demanded that the Iraqi government pursue further attacks until a complete destruction of Ashraf is at hand.
Simultaneously, front associations of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence wrote to Maliki complaining that he should have prolonged the attack until all the residents had been annihilated.
These comments and statements underscore the fact that the religious fascism ruling Iran and the Iraqi dictator are seriously pursuing a joint plan to perpetrate a genocide against the residents of Ashraf.
With all that in mind, Iraq’s dictator is now laboring to justify the genocide plan against Ashraf residents by latching onto claims like the imposition of Iraqi sovereignty and standing up for the farmers around Ashraf.
As you all know, Friday’s attack was carried out using columns of armored vehicles. Armored and mechanized infantry and battalions, as well as squadrons from five different divisions took part in the assault. The Commander of Iraq’s Ground Forces, commanded the operation on the ground while al-Maliki personally led it from Baghdad. These forces were equipped with the armor and weapons commonly used in war fronts.
Was this level of military command and the use of armored battalions really meant to resolve a land dispute?
The reality is that if the residents of Ashraf had not persevered against this assault, the scope of the catastrophe would have been much broader.
The residents’ resilience served to defeat the plan that was to be carried out on April 8.
To deny harboring any plans to destroy Ashraf, the Iraqi dictator frequently resorts to the claim that he seeks to impose Iraq’s sovereignty over Camp Ashraf.
The residents of Ashraf have repeatedly declared that they respect Iraq’s sovereignty. Since the beginning of 2009, the Iraqi government used this pretext to perpetrate two large-scale massacres and dozens of other assaults against the residents of Ashraf.
1-It banned all traffic,
2-prevented visits by family members and lawyers of the residents,
3-and even prevented timely access to medical treatment for patients. Ashraf was effectively transformed into a prison.
Is the translation of Iraqi sovereignty the policy of prohibiting medical treatment and causing the gradual death of patients?
Is the translation of Iraqi sovereignty the direct targeting of the hearts and heads of defenseless people or crushing them under Humvees?
And, is its translation the blocking of medical treatment for shot and wounded residents?
In the aftermath of the attack, both the mullahs and the Iraqi dictator are now openly declaring their true objectives.
Two days ago, Iraqi press reports revealed that the commander of the Iranian regime’s terrorist Qods Force has tasked those Iraqi ministers who themselves or their parties receive money and weapons from the regime, to press for the expulsion of the PMOI from Ashraf and Iraq in cabinet. Subsequently, the Iraqi dictator’s spokesman officially announced that his government is committed to disbanding the PMOI and expelling its members from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Let me reiterate that: In accordance with international laws and conventions, and on the basis of resolutions and statements from the European Parliament, parliaments in 35 countries and all human rights authorities, the rights of Ashraf residents are undeniable and cannot be violated.
Using the concept of Iraqi sovereignty as an excuse for suppressing the residents of Ashraf only serves to conceal the hijacking of that very sovereignty by the Iranian regime.
Let me continue with asking, ‘Could the humanitarian catastrophe that took place in Ashraf be prevented?’
We had repeatedly warned that the resumption of Ashraf’s protection by the United States and the permanent establishment of a United Nations monitoring team in Ashraf is a vital imperative. And, we had also added that the Iranian regime and the government that is under its influence in Baghdad are paving the way to trigger a humanitarian catastrophe in Ashraf.
Sadly, these warnings went unheeded.
This was while America’s obligations under international laws should have prevented it from transferring the protection of Ashraf to a government whose intent and plan to suppress Ashraf was clear from the start.
Additionally, the United States had promised each and every single resident of Ashraf that it will ensure their protection in exchange for the consolidation of their weaponry.
On this basis, the US government should have prevented the criminal attack by al-Maliki’s forces against Ashraf.
Now, it is my hope that the President of the United States personally and unequivocally will denounce the massacre of the residents of Ashraf.
Otherwise, the current Iraqi government will have no reservations about perpetrating bloodshed.
The massacre in Ashraf plainly puts into perspective the conclusion that is prudent and in fact the only solution is for the US to reassume the camp’s protection.
Recently, the President of the United States announced that the country’s intervention in Libya is justified because it would save the lives of civilians. This imperative is now manifested in Ashraf in the extreme.
This situation obligates EU member states and particularly France to actively intervene to protect Camp Ashraf.
European governments intervened in similar circumstances in the 1990s in Kosovo. With the threat of another Srebrenica looming in Ashraf, this intervention is absolutely essential.
In addition to its humanitarian aspects, protecting Ashraf is also a political imperative. The Iranian Resistance, and at its core Ashraf, is the most essential component for change in Iran. It is the fundamental and most basic element for confronting the religious fascism which is seen as the main threat to peace and security all over the world.
In the absence of such intervention, western policy will continue to turn on appeasement towards the regime and blocking the path to change.
I say to them: If you do not know what judgment the Iranian people will pass about this, consider how the people were judged who on the brink of World War II ceded Czechoslovakia and parts of Europe to Hitler despite denouncing Nazi expansionism.
I have to underscore that neither international resolutions nor military arrangements across the region will send shockwaves across the Iranian regime as much as removing the obstacles on the path of change in Iran would.
Lifting the siege on Ashraf and revoking the illegitimate terrorist designation against the PMOI will unleash an extraordinary degree of dynamism and vigor within the freedom movement in Iran, progressively trailblazing the path towards change.
The siege on Ashraf is, of course, different on many levels from the siege on Stalingrad during the Second World War. But, it is also similar in the sense that with the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi forces there, a crack appeared in those forces that traveled all the way back to Berlin. In the same vein, with the defeat of the religious fascism in Ashraf, there will be cracks within the regime that will travel all the way back to Khamenei’s palace in Tehran.
The most important requirement for the adoption of a new solution vis-à-vis Iran is the removal of the PMOI from the US State Department list.
One can discover the benefit of this listing for the clerical regime by taking into account the extensive and costly campaign it has launched to preserve it.
Moreover, the large-scale massacre in Ashraf demonstrates the listing’s application against the Iranian people.
Our goal is the annulment of the license that the listing provides for the massacre of Ashraf residents in Iraq and political prisoners in Iran.
That is right, gentlemen!
To preserve this listing is to be complicit with the mullahs in killing the daughters and sons of the Iranian people.
By annulling this label, which is devoid of all credibility, we seek to open the way for change in Iran.
Our objective is to pave the way for the world to recognize the Iranian people’s struggle aimed at changing the regime.
Removing this label is now an imperative part of the democratic process for Iran and the entire region.
To conclude, allow me to summarize the immediate demands of the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance from the European Union, the United States and international organizations as the following:
1. Setting up an international fact-finding mission by the UN Security Council to investigate the attack by Iraqi ground forces against Camp Ashraf; and opening the gates of Ashraf for independent international observers.
2. The resumption of Ashraf’s protection by the US government and posting of a permanent monitoring delegation from the United Nations in the camp to prevent a plan to massacre the residents of Ashraf by the clerical regime and the dictator of the new Iraq;
3. Withdrawal of Iraqi suppressive forces from Ashraf’s premises and lifting the inhumane siege laid on the camp for the past 28 months;
4. Condemning the April 8th massacre as a crime against humanity and a war crime by western governments; and active interference to assure this will not be repeated
5. Removing the PMOI’s terrorist designation in the United States, which currently serves as the chief license to kill the residents of Ashraf in Iraq and political prisoners in Iran by the religious fascism ruling Iran.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We invite the western world to secure a place for itself on the side of the Iranian people; a people that has risen up for freedom and democracy.
The Iran of tomorrow will be built at the hands of the blood-soaked resistance movement of today.
Recognize the Iranian people’s resistance for regime change and for liberty.
I thank you all.