Maryam Rajavi: Successful relocation of Camp Liberty residents, a major setback for the clerical regime
The final groups of Camp Liberty residents arrived in Albania over the past two days. The relocation process of PMOI members out of Camp Liberty, Iraq, has successfully concluded.
Activists of the Iranian Resistance around the world,
Honorable supporters of the Resistance movement,
Congratulations on the triumphant and safe relocation of all Camp Liberty residents!
The relentless political and international campaigns for the protection of Camp Liberty residents and their safe, collective relocation as an organization have finally borne fruit.
The schemes and conspiracies to destroy and annihilate the PMOI/MEK have been foiled. And the mullahs’ religious dictatorship, its Intelligence Ministry, the terrorist Quds Force and its various hirelings and proxies in Iraq who sought to eliminate the PMOI/MEK have been left despondent and miserable.
The final groups of Camp Liberty residents arrived in Albania over the past two days. The relocation process of PMOI members out of Camp Liberty, Iraq, to European countries like Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Canada has successfully concluded.
The Iranian people’s movement for freedom has thus taken a substantial step forward against the clerical regime. The regime’s plan to break free of its existential crisis, which has the physical elimination and beheading of the PMOI/MEK and the democratic alternative as a prerequisite, has been foiled.
Fourteen years of bombardment, disarmament, house arrest, blockade, attacks by armored vehicles and missiles, accompanied by psychological torture through the use of 320 megaphones proved to be ineffective. Neither did the regime’s exploitation of the resources of 12 governments, the June 17, 2003 raid on the NCRI headquarters in France, the terrorist designations of the PMOI, the fabrication of legal cases against the PMOI and the more than 20 court sessions, all of which ruled in our favor.
In 2003, Khatami and Kharrazi said that Mr. Jack Straw had viewed as “acceptable” the hanging of 20 of the 65 PMOI leaders and officials who were supposed to be extradited from the occupied Ashraf to the Iranian regime.
In those days, various levels of American officials spoke of the need for the soft annihilation or soft disintegration of the PMOI and their intent to dissolve the organization.
Then-Secretary of State Colin Powel’s Chief of Staff later recounted, “Every Monday thru Friday morning, we had staff meeting at the State Department, usually around 8:30. And one of the questions that came up almost every day was what’s happening with the MEK? The MEK are still wandering around Iraq; still got their arms, still a cohesive body of people, what’s happening? They are a terrorist organization. We declared them so.””
Yes, in those days, Khatami demanded the extradition of the PMOI, both those in Ashraf and those arrested during the June 17th raid in France. Subsequently, Khamenei openly instructed his puppet, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in front of the regime’s television cameras to destroy the PMOI and to implement their bilateral treaty in this regard. This was followed by a plethora of attacks, fabricated lawsuits, and demonization, blockade and smear campaigns, among other measures, which are well known.
At this point, I would like to remember the late Lord Slynn who was in Ashraf on New Year’s Eve in 2004. He accepted my request to visit Ashraf, and did so in the prevailing circumstances at the time. Sometime later, according to the media, an army of lawyers and jurists joined the campaign and many of them visited Ashraf.
Obviously, a regime which did not hesitate to massacre our handcuffed prisoners would not have lost the opportunity of Iraq’s invasion to annihilate the PMOI/MEK who, as Khomeini put it, continued to adhere to their positions. The regime sought to exploit this opportunity at any cost. This was the premise of our 14-year confrontation in Iraq with the Iranian regime.
It was a life and death struggle between freedom and tyranny, in the eye of the storm and in the midst of crises. We told the US government on the first day, that if they did not want us to stay in Iraq, they could transfer all of us out of Iraq at our own expense. This was at the heart of then-PMOI Secretary General Mojgan Parsaii’s 15-hour discussions with General Odierno and his staff on May 9 and 10, 2003. Both parties have the minutes of this meeting.
If we take a look back at these 14 years, if we revisit the people who were slain, those who were injured or disabled, and those who supported the cause, we can clearly see that the relocation process that was completed yesterday marked a strategic defeat for the regime. It is also the beginning of the Iranian Resistance’s march towards freedom and democracy, heralding a new era of change.
Congratulations to the people of Iran,
Congratulations to the great family of the Iranian Resistance,
And of course, the foremost congratulation goes to Massoud Rajavi who led this 14-year struggle day and night, and round the clock, in the most complicated of circumstances, amidst the storms and crises, accepting the maximum degree of risk. This is how the PMOI members endured these years through maximum sacrifice and vigilance and inspired the world to stand up to the religious dictatorship’s savagery and attacks.
And today, we can confidently say in the words of the Quran that: Verily We have granted thee a manifest Victory.
The PMOI members in Ashraf and Liberty cited a historical example in their group conversations with Massoud. Inspired by the third Shiite Imam, Imam Hussein, and the night of Ashura. They said, how could it be possible that Shemr and Yazid (indirect reference to Maliki and Khamenei) would open the way for Hussein’s camp to get past safely? This would never happen. They meant that as long as Maliki was in power in Iraq, such an eventuality seemed impossible and unimaginable.
Today, however, what seemed impossible has been realized through the relentless campaigns of supporters of Ashraf and the Iranian Resistance around the world. The PMOI’s camp has overcome Khamenei’s camp.
The declaration of the National Council of Resistance of Iran on its 35th founding anniversary, correctly pointed out: “Khamenei believed that by taking advantage of the ‘opportunity’ in Iraq and by using his puppet, Nouri al-Maliki, he could destroy and crush Ashraf residents and, at the same time, restore and improve his own authority by falling back on the nuclear weapons program.”
The reality is that the PMOI’s complete success in the process of relocation is the greatest and the most evident indication that the Iranian regime is going through era period of weakness and demise.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is common knowledge that after the residents’ departure from Ashraf and after the removal of the terrorist designation, Camp Liberty was supposed to be a Temporary Transit Location (TTL). This was the legal and official name of Liberty. It was supposed to be only a transit point for a few weeks or a maximum of a few months. But it took five years.
This helps us deduce the scope of blackmail and terrorist threats made by the Velayat-e Faqih regime in this regard as well as the dimensions of bribery and investments that the regime made.
A few months ago, at this very location, I brought up the issue of the regime’s stonewalling and obstructive behavior with Mr. Winer. He said that he had travelled to 75 countries in the capacity of the special advisor to the US State Department, appointed by John Kerry, to oversee the relocation of the PMOI/MEK based on prior US obligations. He added that he was sometimes astounded by the level of opposition and obstructions.
The reality was that all of our attempts to expedite the relocation process were met with Tehran’s obstructions. For example, in January 2013, the Iranian regime’s foreign minister visited Jordan during his first trip to Arab countries. His main objective was to discourage the government of Jordan from possible admission of PMOI members to their country.
In the same year, after the government of Romania agreed to the relocation of a group of PMOI members to that country, the clerical regime intervened and dissuaded Romania from implementing that decision.
In Switzerland, arrangements made for the transfer of a number of injured residents of Camp Liberty fell short due to the regime’s meddling, even though their hospital expenses had already been paid..
In Italy, the parliamentary foreign affairs committee adopted a resolution to accept PMOI members in that country. But after a group of PMOI members was transferred there, the regime again obstructed the admission of the rest.
The regime ostensibly wanted to expel the Mojahedin from Iraq and to send them away from the Iranian border. Still, as the Iranian Resistance has always pointed out, and as I reiterated in the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance in June 2015, the mullahs’ real demand for the PMOI members in Ashraf is their annihilation or their surrender to the mullahs’ rule. The fake arrest warrants issued by the Iraqi judiciary, the extradition schemes and the red notices passed on to Interpol, sought to pave the way for the same purpose.
The successive trips made by the regime’s ministers as well as security and intelligence officials to Iraq, including the trip by Rouhani’s Minister of Justice Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi in March 2014, took place for this reason. Subsequently, Sadeq Larijani, the mullahs’ Head of Judiciary, called for the extradition of the PMOI from Iraq on at least two occasions in May and October 2014. At the same time, the regime’s Foreign Ministry spokesman formally demanded the PMOI’s extradition from Iraq.
Meanwhile, recall that since the time that the protection of Ashraf was transferred to the Maliki government, the US commitment to protect the PMOI in Iraq was tabled as a topic or discussed at the US Senate and House on 52 occasions. Some 20 resolutions and amendments adopted by the US House of Representatives forced the administration to fulfill its commitments to protect and transfer the PMOI. It was impossible for me to take a tally of the number of initiatives undertaken in this regard in Europe and Arab countries, and even in Iraq.
I would truly be at a loss to recount and describe the 14-year campaign led by Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, both in his capacity as the European Parliament’s Vice President and as the President of the International Committee in Search of Justice, which is made up of 4,000 parliamentarians, as well as the persistent struggle of his colleagues such as Struan Stevenson and Paulo Casaca. The same can be said about the efforts of Prime Minister Sid Ahmad Ghozali as the head of the Arab-Islamic Committee in Defense of Ashraf and Residents of Camp Liberty. I also do not know how to thank the untiring and extremely sincere and effective efforts of Ms. Rita Süssmuth, Ms. Ingrid Betancourt, Madam Anissa Boumediene, and my brother Tahar Boumedra, Jean-Pierre Béquet, Bishop Jacque Gaillot, Dominique Lefebvre, Jean-Pierre Muller, Pierre Bercis, Sheikh Miskin and other honorable dignitaries. I can simply say that they saved lives for the Iranian Resistance.
I would also like to highlight the support lent by mayors in Europe, particularly the support of 14,000 elected representatives and mayors of France, and the eminent leaders of the Muslim communities in this country. These brothers are committed to the same struggle of removing the stain of terrorism and fundamentalism perpetrated by the Velayat-e Faqih and Daesh from the image of Islam, which is a religion of compassion and emancipation.
Above all I should extend my deepest appreciation to American friends of PMOI members from Camp Liberty for their relentless efforts during the past few years to secure protection for the residents. My special thanks to Senator Robert Torricelli for his invaluable work, to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Judge Louis Freeh, Judge Michael Mukasey, General Hugh Shelton, General James Jones, Col. Wes Martin, Secretary Tom Ridge, Governor Howard Dean, Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Joe Lieberman, Ambassador John Bolton, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Frances Townsend, Linda Chavez and many others that I apologize for not naming them in this brief message.
I cannot go through the long list of those who helped make this victory possible. From members of both houses of the British parliament to the parliaments of Australia, Iceland, Canada, India and Egypt. I cannot put in plain words the millions of hours of work carried out in support of the residents of Ashraf and Liberty. I can only say that we did not possess any oil wells or warships. It was a much greater power that came to our aid, and that was the power of conscience and dignity. Indeed, these friends are the honorary members of this Resistance and examples of the ethical power and conscience of contemporary humankind.
In order to bring to light the value of this human solidarity, let me briefly explain to you about my own situation and the events that transpired over the past few days and months. The moments of anxiety, concern, and hope in the face of the obstacles and difficulties created by the enemy.
When they prevented the departure of some people and sent others back from the airport. From harassment of our people when they were leaving Liberty, to preventing them from taking their personal belongings and even the wheelchairs of the injured. The moments when PMOI members refused to proceed with their journey in protest to such obstructions, especially when any one of them was not being allowed to leave.
The moments when I heard of the news of an eventual attack on the PMOI convoys moving from Liberty to the airport and the moments when we heard the news of preparation of missiles or ground attacks on Liberty while the residents were packing and getting ready to leave. Also the moments when we heard of the news of possible attacks on the charters carrying the PMOI members, and dozens and hundreds of other moments like these…
Each of these moments called for a swift reaction through extensive campaigns to prevent even greater dangers and tragedies.
On this occasion, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister and the government of Albania, to the German Chancellor, and all those in Albania, Iraq, US, Europe and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees who helped in this sensitive relocation process.
I send my warmest regards to the supporters of the PMOI inside Iran who staged protests in support of Ashraf and Liberty and those who have been sentenced to prison for years because of it.
Hail to the supporters of the Iranian Resistance all over the world who staged sit-ins and hunger strikes for unprecedented and long periods of time.
And our endless gratitude to God Almighty who protected the proverbial glass against a barrage of stones, amidst the most horrifying crises in the Middle East, and preserved the Iranian nation’s moral, activist and strategic asset.
In these 14 years, the PMOI endured in the face of a ruthless siege. In fact, it kept alight the flames of struggle for freedom and held high the flag of the movement for the overthrow of the Velayat-e Faqih regime.
Stewart Holliday, former US Ambassador to the UN, once said: This is really the great struggle of our times. What happens to the PMOI and the way this issue is resolved, and how the future of Iran is determined, are indeed a turning point in the 21st century.
I believe he is absolutely right and this will be proven in future.
So, please allow me to extend my special gratitude to my sister, Mojgan Parsaii, Vice President of the Iranian Resistance in Ashraf and Liberty, the PMOI Secretary General, my sister, Zohreh Akhiyani, and former secretary generals of the PMOI, my sisters Sedigheh Hosseini and Fahimeh Arvani, for their efforts. They along with six other deputy secretary generals of the PMOI and their courageous brothers including Mehdi Baraii, Abbas Davari, Mahmoud Ataii, and Mohammad Hayati played a significant role during these impressive 14 years in the PMOI’s history.
A new chapter has now opened, which is marked by the full-fledged advancement for the overthrow of the Velayat-e Faqih.
It is not without reason that just yesterday, mullah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Assembly of Experts and the regime’s Council of Guardians set all considerations aside and said, “If they wanted to give more opportunity to the Mojahedin and if they did not massacre them, they would have uprooted the regime.”
So, at issue was not Islam or the Quran but, as Khomeini said in his own words, preservation of the regime and his power by any means. This was everyone’s highest obligation, and this is how the most horrific crime of Iran’s contemporary history took shape at the hands of this monster.
But let me make it clear for Khamenei, the head of his Assembly of Experts and his Council of Guardians and for everyone else: The National Council of Resistance of Iran and the PMOI members are now prepared a hundred times stronger and more experienced to forge ahead in their struggle.
And finally, I would like to address the youths inside Iran: The bells toll and call for change and for an era of progress and advancement. The message is 1,000 Ashrafs. I repeat: The mantra of 1,000 Ashrafs offers both the blueprint for freedom, and the motivating force for the national uprising. It is the heavy hammer that will descend upon the ruling theocracy.
It is undeniable that the movement to obtain justice for the massacred political prisoners and other movements that would shake up the regime are on the way, and will unfold one after the other. And the 1,000 Ashrafs are prepared to open 1,000 new fronts against the mullahs’ religious tyranny.
Long live freedom