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04 Nov 2006

Ashraf is the city of those who want the liberation of Iran

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Ashraf is the city of those who want the liberation of Iran

On October 25, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi addressed a meeting by international jurists and lawyers in defense of People’s Mojahedin’s rights in Iraq.

The following is the full text of her speech:

I am pleased to be here with you. You are the voice of law and justice. I would like to express my gratitude to all the jurists, parliamentarians and advocates of human rights who have been supporting the People

Nearly 3,500 people among the best children of the Iranian people live in Ashraf. Many of them spent several years in the prisons of the mullahs’ regime under torture. Others still bear the scars of torture inflicted in prisons of the shah’s SAVAK (secret police). Almost one thousand residents of Ashraf are women. These women helped Ashraf become the bastion of freedom and equality of tomorrow’s Iran. That’s the reason why the religious dictatorship does not hesitate to conspire against them and resorts to anything to dismantle Ashraf.

Last year, Tehran’s agents at the Iraqi Interior Ministry kidnapped two members of the People’s Mojahedin, and we do not have any information about them. Recently they blew up a bus carrying Iraqi workers to Ashraf killing 11 of them.

In the summer’s heat of 50 degrees, mullahs’ agents blew up Ashraf’s water pipelines twice.

Two weeks ago, they murdered Ayatollah Mohammad Moussavi Ghassemi, an eminent religious Shiite personnality in Iraq, and Abdol Rahim Nasrollah, chairman of the Party for justice and democratic progress in Iraq, along with ten journalists and employees among his colleagues at the television channel Al Shabia for their opposition to the meddling of the Iranian regime and especially because of their support to the People’s Mojahedin’s presence in Iraq and their right to asylum.

Under pressures from Tehran, the Iraqi government cut off supplies of fuel, food, medication and other elementary goods to Ashraf City. In a letter to the PMOI, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced that it would no longer supply the fuel necessary to Ashraf’s hospital.

Yet, Ayad Alawi, former Iraqi Prime Minister, had formally announced that the government would provide the residents of Ashraf with the basic services, up to the same level of the inhabitants of the Diyala Province, in the same way and at the same rates. Mr Alawi stated in September 2005: “The members of the PMOI in Iraq are political refugees protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention and international laws.”

Yet surprisingly, last month, during a trip in Iran, the Prime Minister Maleki pledged to expel the People’s Mojahedin from Iraq within six months. It was announced at that time that a committee had been created to deal with this matter.

Everybody knows that the Iranian regime is the only one which, in the past and today, has sought the expulsion of the PMOI from Iraq. You know that all members of the Mojahedin have been sentenced to death by a fatwa in Iran. The penal code drafted by the Iranian regime clearly decrees that all those with links to the Mojahedin are considered as being at war against God. In 1998, 30,000 prisoners were executed in a matter of few months for having refused to deny their affiliation to the PMOI.

Consequently, in view of what is happening in Ashraf we need to examine four points:

First, the issue of Ashraf is a humanitarian one linked to the more global issues of human rights, international conventions and rights to asylum. Thus international organizations and particularly the UN Refugee Agency and the International Committee of the Red Cross have heavy responsibilities in this respect. Any act of negligence on their part may lead to a disaster.

The PMOI members settled in Ashraf have been living in Iraq as refugees for twenty years. A firm and clear position of the UNHCR and other international organizations confirming their refugee status and their rights as members of the PMOI in Iraq would send a clear message to the mullahs’ regime that the international community would not allow the regime to achieve its ominous goal.

It would also send a message to the Iraqi government that failure to respect the rights of Ashraf residents and any collaboration with the mullahs would seriously undermine the credibility and the independence of this government.

Second, from a political stand point, the People’s Mojahedin play a key role in the developments in Iran. The PMOI is the biggest political force in Iran and the central force within the National Council of Resistance of Iran. They are largely supported by the Iranians and embody the hope of the nation. Thus the residents of Ashraf, even deprived of their weapons and in spite of all the restrictions, are considered as the most important threat to the survival of the mullahs, who seek to destroy them.

Every resident of Ashraf has signed a declaration with the multinational forces condemning violence, terrorism and which commits them to respecting Iraqi laws and UN mandates.

Third, by its attachment to a tolerant and democratic Islam, the PMOI is the anti-thesis of the mullahs’ fundamentalism. Last June, five million and two hundred thousand Iraqis opposed to the rule of fundamentalism in their country stated that the most effective solution regarding the meddling of Tehran regime and its agents was to support the PMOI as the only barrier against this invasion.

Fourth, international laws protect the rights of the People’s Mojahedin. In July 2004, after sixteen months of investigations by several American official services on every member of the Mojahedin of Ashraf, the Multinational Force – Iraq recognized their status as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Since then different commands of the Multinational Force have always stressed the rights of the residents of Ashraf.

Moreover, although Iraq is not a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention on the right to asylum, members of the PMOI have been considered as refugees since 1986 under Iraqi laws. Consequently, under the principle of the continuity of the state, the present Iraqi government has a responsibilty towards the commitments of the former regime.

The chairman of the Union of Iraqi Jurists and the chairman of the Iraqi bar have recently announced that the right to asylum in Iraq of the People’s Mojahedin members was based on Article 34 of the 1970 Constitution and the Iraqi law number 51 of 1971.

Moreover, under paragraph 4 of Article 210 of the law on the stay of foreigners passed in 2000, the People’s Mojahedin are considered as political refugees.

Last year, 12,000 Iraqi lawyers and 6000 European lawyers confirmed in their statements the right to asylum of the PMOI members in Iraq.

Furthermore, the most eminent political personalities and Iraqi leaders as well as many members of parliamentary groups from this country, such as Dr Adnan Doleimi, chairman of the Congress of the Inhabitants of Iraq, Sheikh Khalaf Al-Alyan, general secretary of the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, reaffirmed the right to asylum of members of the PMOI and condemned the attempts by Iranian regime against them.

I have to remind you that Prime Minister Jafari, along with Iraqi Foreign and Defense ministers, acknowledged the right to asylum of the People’s Mojahedin in Iraq. Consequently, the plots by the Iranian regime to expel or to force the Mojahedin to leave Ashraf constitute a violation of the international law. Keeping silent regarding the mullahs can only embolden them to ignore international laws.

Today, defending Ashraf amounts to defending humanity and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is the defense of the Iranian people’s basic rights. This is the defense of the 1967 Declaration of the United Nations on territorial asylum. Defending Ashraf is defending international law. Defending Ashraf is a policy of defending principles against Islamic fundamentalism.

I call on the jurists and lawyers here today to do everything possible to safeguard the rights of Ashraf residents in Iraq as political refugees protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention and by international laws, and to demand the Iraq government to reaffirm their status and to commit itself to the principle of non-refoulement.

Thank you.

Maryam Rajavi

President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

The President-elect of the NCRI for the period to transfer sovereignty to the people of Iran

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