Maryam Rajavi: Protect the residents of Ashraf, lift the inhuman siege on them, and revoke the terrorist designation of the PMOI
Speech to the international conference in Paris
I am delighted to have met you.
This conference, which is attended by distinguished dignitaries from a variety of countries, presents an invaluable opportunity to evaluate the current defining situation in Iran and the entire region, a situation that has forcefully presented itself today in Ashraf.
The main topic of my speech is that the April 8 massacre in Ashraf perpetrated by the Nouri al-Maliki government was the focal point and front line of a great confrontation which persists between the Iranian people and the ruling religious fascism.
But, first, I have to bring the urgent current situation in Ashraf to the attention of the international community.
This conference takes place as an immediate threat confronts Ashraf.
• Numerous armored and military vehicles have brought residential areas within their firing range;
• Engineering battalions have established combat positions and extremely large embankments.
And, all the evidence points to the fact that they are preparing for more attacks in line with a plan as directed by the Iranian regime.
In the days prior to the April 8 attack, we warned on numerous occasions about a looming catastrophe. Sadly, the U.S. government and the United Nations ignored the warnings.
Today, I urge them to refrain from closing their eyes on a pattern of events that is clearly leading to another catastrophe.
On the basis of the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), the U.S. and members states of the European Union and other governments are responsible for preventing the occurrence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
That is why standing by and avoiding responsibilities has gone on long enough.
The world must act to stop a killing machine that continues to advance.
What took place in Ashraf constitutes for many reasons a crime against humanity. A top-secret document revealed by the Iranian Resistance indicates that the attack on Ashraf was a military plan with orders to attack protected persons as “the enemy.” Following that plan, armored units carried out a horrifying killing of unarmed and defenseless individuals.
For that reason, Maliki must face international prosecution for directly ordering that catastrophe.
With respect to the events in Ashraf, it must be asked what kind of an impasse do the mullahs face that has prompted them to find such an attack unavoidable?
The dictatorship of [the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei is facing extensive social disenchantment.
Fissures at the apex of the regime’s hierarchy have now widened to give way to clashes between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.
Additionally, they are profoundly fearful of the consequences of uprisings in the region.
In their assessment of the February 14 uprising in Iran, the ruling mullahs realized the scope of the PMOI’s reach and influence in the uprisings.
Subsequent to those protests, Khamenei placed the issue of an attack on Ashraf and the intent for its destruction on top of the regime’s agenda.
On the other hand, the expanding front of opposition to the terrorist label against the PMOI in the U.S. has jeopardized the regime’s 15-year investments on the terror designation.
This situation has placed two options in front of the regime:
Either remain silent and accept more advances by the Resistance, thereby witnessing the collapse of the regime’s domestic front;
Or, attack Ashraf, the heart of Iran’s organized Resistance, with an intent to destroy it.
By launching this attack and by carrying out comparable political, military or terrorist actions, the regime seeks to obliterate the only real, effective and democratic solution for Iran’s future in order to guarantee its own survival.
When the attack took place, the Iraqi government tried to justify and paint it as an exercise in Iraq’s national sovereignty in a bid to cover up the fact that it is a puppet [of the Iranian regime].
“Exercising national sovereignty” in their mind means killing defenseless people, gradually killing the wounded, cutting off contacts with lawyers and families, preventing visits even by parliamentary delegations from across the world, and also violating all international laws and conventions.
But, the most senior officials of the Iranian regime openly and repeatedly praised the killings, and thanked those who carried it out.
They candidly called for the continuation of the attacks until Ashraf’s destruction.
They sought to demoralize the Iranian people and put off the flaring of further protests.
But the result was the complete opposite.
Numerous reports indicate that the heroic resilience of the residents of Ashraf has encouraged a spirit of resistance and protests in Iranian society, including in political prisons.
Over the past three decades, the clerical regime has constantly created arduous and backbreaking circumstances for our Resistance movement. It has summoned all its wicked might, its military, political, diplomatic power and its terrorism, in an attempt to completely wipe out the Resistance.
And this was when the mullahs were much more powerful than today, free of an encirclement by protests and international isolation.
Despite all this, the Iranian Resistance weathered all the bitter storms, passed through horrific whirlpools, and remained in place. Why?
• Because the Resistance stands for a legitimate ideal;
• Because it enjoys unsparing support from the Iranian people;
• Because it is made up of selfless women and men such as those in Ashraf, who have never surrendered even under the most grueling and fatal pressures. Hail to Ashraf and its residents.
When Khomeini ordered the massacre of 30,000 of our political prisoners, his heir apparent at the time voiced objection by saying: “The PMOI cannot be destroyed. They harbor a kind of logic and a way of thought. Death does not lead to their destruction but rather to their regeneration and revival.”
Of course, after acknowledging this fact, he was dismissed as Khomeini’s heir and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
Indeed, our Resistance will further flourish and grow.
Now, Ashraf stands as the icon of that spirit of resilience and a refusal to surrender.
So far, Ashraf has, of course, been very flexible and accommodating. It has presented many options and is ready for their realization.
But what it will never accept, and what the Iranian people will never yield to, is surrender.
Surrender is not an option. And we will never abandon the ideal to free the Iranian people.
We tell Khamenei and Maliki and all those who are plotting for the destruction of Ashraf:
Learn your lesson from this movement’s resilience and endurance over the past three decades.
Eventually, it is Ashraf and the Iranian people’s Resistance that will live on and attain victory.
And it is you who will be left with nothing but shame and defeat.
Yes, we can and we must continue the resistance, endure, tire out the enemy and eventually triumph.
What took place at Ashraf is, of course, painful because 35 heroes of the Iranian people lost their lives. But, this occurrence also shows the clerical regime’s weakness and impasse.
Today, Ashraf presents a test for the contemporary world:
• A test for all human conscience!
• A test for the United Nations!
• A test for all governments, especially the U.S. and the E.U.!
• A test which summons them to rise up and help Ashraf and deflect the Khamenei-Maliki plan to destroy it;
• And a test which prompts them to rise in support of the Iranian people in their struggle against the religious fascism.
Yes, this is the choice which you are still confronted with.
Will you stand on the side of the ruling fundamentalism and terrorism, or will you stand on the side of the Iranian people and a democratic alternative that holds the key to freedom, democracy, peace and stability?
The same sort of answer is related to the question about the terrorist label against the PMOI by the U.S. State Department.
For years, we said that the listing is a means of justification for hanging dissidents, but some preferred to refuse to believe or listen.
Now, after the massacre of Ashraf residents, the true function of this listing has become much more apparent.
Especially because this unjust and inappropriate designation is the most important of Maliki’s excuses for perpetrating a massacre at Ashraf. It has been revealed that when U.S. embassy officials had protested against the siege and suppression of Ashraf, Maliki had responded by asking, ‘Why are you objecting to our treatment of a group that you yourselves have placed on the terrorist list?’
Recently, Congressman Brad Sherman, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, revealed at a congressional hearing in the U.S. that Iraqi officials had said in the course of private conversations in Washington, that, “Since the PMOI has been designated as a terrorist organization, Iraq does not feel obligated to respect the human rights of Ashraf residents.”
Now, the State Department is due to make a decision about this blood-stained listing.
And, again, the choice is yours.
Either maintaining the designation and thereby fueling the religious fascism ruling Iran, or else standing on the side of the Iranian people and their Resistance.
Dr. Kazem Rajavi, the great martyr of human rights activist, was assassinated by Khamenei’s terrorists 21 years ago this month in Geneva.
A short time before he was killed, he had told the New York Times, “We write the history of human rights with our blood.”
And, today, we are also saying that freedom in Iran will be obtained with the blood of the country’s courageous daughters and sons.
Yes, with the blood of PMOI activists in the 1980s, and the eternal lights in the Operation of Eternal Light;
With the blood of Saba [a young woman killed on April 8] in Ashraf, who have always chosen to stand tall instead of surrendering.
Hail to Saba and all those like her who sacrificed their lives and planted the flag of resilience in the face of surrender on the summits of righteousness.
Hail to Saba and all “Saba”s.
The Iranian regime’s lifeline is being held in Ashraf. That is why it will never abandon plotting against and perpetrating massacres in Ashraf.
Currently, hostile forces, with military resources at their disposal, remain in Ashraf and have taken a combative posture;
The wounded are in an agonizing condition, and 12 of them are in critical condition. One of them, Bahman Atiqi, died last week.
He was wounded, but his life could easily have been saved. But, the absence of medical resources, a lack of free access to medical facilities and depriving him of treatment led to his death.
When Ashraf residents protested about the long delays in treating the wounded, the Iraqi officers shamelessly responded that their objective is to bring about the gradual death of the injured.
Reza Haftbaradaran, whose daughter Saba was shot on April 8 and died shortly thereafter, has written in a letter: “When my daughter was on the brink of death, security officials told me that if you surrender and voice opposition to the PMOI, we will provide immediate medical treatment for your daughter and will save her from death.”
The occupation of the Pearl Cemetery in Ashraf continues as we speak, and it has been 20 days now that the lifeless bodies of those killed during the attacks lie on the ground and have not yet been buried.
Three days ago, all the residents of Ashraf signed a petition, which was sent to the U.N. Secretary General, providing him with evidence about the Maliki government’s plan to launch another bloodbath. They called on the Secretary General to intervene to provide and secure the protection of Ashraf by the United Nations. They also called for the permanent presence of a UNAMI monitoring team at Ashraf and the appointment of a Security Council representative to investigate the April 8 massacre.
Obtained reports from Baghdad and Tehran, in conjunction with the pattern of events on the ground in Ashraf, all point to a preparation for renewed attacks.
In this regard, the regime’s Foreign Minister will soon depart for Baghdad while the Iraqi President is scheduled to visit Tehran.
That is why I have called on the U.N. Secretary General and the Security Council for Mr. Ad Melkert, the Secretary General’s special envoy to Iraq, to immediately visit Ashraf to witness the situation first-hand and report on it.
Just as the Security Council lived up to its responsibilities with respect to the protection of innocent civilians in Libya, now the Secretary General and the Security Council must adopt a resolution concerning the protection of the defenseless and besieged residents of Ashraf.
I have to emphasize that the E.U. and France also have significant obligations in relation to Ashraf, on the basis of their responsibilities in the context of international treaties and the universal principle of RtoP, as well as the E.U.’s position in the Security Council and their presence and extensive interests in the region; a responsibility that they have so far failed to live up to.
Therefore, on behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance, I urge the U.N., the U.S., and the E.U. to endeavor to enact the following measures in line with their responsibilities:
1. Assumption of the protection of Ashraf by the U.N. and the U.S. and withdrawal of armed Iraqi forces from Ashraf; for this purpose, I stress on the intervention of the Secretary General and the Security Council for the adoption of a resolution concerning the protection of the defenseless and besieged residents.
2. Appointment of a representative by the U.N. Security Council to launch an impartial, comprehensive, transparent and independent investigation on the massive crime committed in Ashraf on April 8.
3. Lifting the siege on Ashraf, particularly as it pertains to the inhumane medical privations, and ending the psychological torture of the residents of Ashraf and dismantling all loudspeakers around Ashraf’s premises.
4. Revoking the terrorist designation of the PMOI by the U.S. State Department and recognizing the Iranian people’s Resistance for changing the religious dictatorship ruling Iran.
On April 8, the residents of Ashraf stood up against an assault by armored vehicles and forces armed to the teeth using nothing but their empty hands. But, in fact, their hands were full. Because those very hands wave the flag of freedom and democracy in Iran.
Such powerful resilience, such admirable sacrifice, and such unyielding spirit, all symbolize the treasure that the Iranian people have at their disposal to attain victory and freedom.
As the Iranian Resistance’s Leader, Massoud Rajavi, has said, “Ashraf has proven that it will stand firm until the last breath, even if the times turn hundreds of times more dangerous and treacherous …
“Today, after 45 years and everything that the PMOI has endured during its struggle, one can say with conviction that this is the highest degree of the evolution of the Iranian people’s struggle since the Constitutional Revolution. Mindful of this, one can remain certain about the inevitable victory of the heroic people of Iran.”
Hail to Massoud for educating such a free and selfless generation of women and men such as himself.
Indeed, this generation demands freedom and democracy at whatever cost.
Our struggle aims for a republic and a pluralistic democracy based on the separation of church and state; a society built on gender equality and human rights, where the death penalty is abolished.
We are fighting for a non-nuclear Iran which would co-exist peacefully with all others. And, to realize this goal, we invite the support of the defenders of democracy and human rights everywhere.
I thank you all.
- Tags: Iran, Maryam Rajavi, MEK, Mojahedin