Conference on Iran in solidarity with the Iranian Democratic opposition

In a major conference held at the European Parliament on Wednesday, December 4, human rights violations in Iran, the Geneva nuclear agreement, and the massacre and hostage-taking in Camp Ashraf were debated in the presence of a large number of MEPs from various political groups and with the participation of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). In this session, chaired by Struan Stevenson MEP, several senior Euro MPs including Vice-President of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Stephen Hughes - First Vice-President of the Socialists & Democrats group, Jim Higgins - member of Parliament’s Bureau and Mrs Rita Süssmuth - former President of the German Bundestag took part and delivered speeches. Participants in the meeting emphasized the following points:

1. In the November 24, 2013 agreement in Geneva, P5+1 countries, especially the European Union and United States, have made unacceptable concessions, including allowing enrichment, doing without the Additional Protocol, and refusing snap inspections by the Iranian regime, which leaves the key to bomb-making in mullahs’ hands.

2. The religious dictatorship ruling Iran had no choice but to accept a setback in the Geneva agreement due to international sanctions and its fear of another mass uprising similar to that of 2009. However, if the international community does not head for full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, including a total halt to uranium enrichment and acceptance of the Additional Protocol, once again the regime will covertly advance their bomb-making activities. The mullahs are counting on the weak policies of the EU and US to enable them to continue towards their aggressive nuclear objective. Indeed the soft approach of the West to the Iranian regime, especially after the disclosure of the Natanz and Arak nuclear sites by the NCRI in 2002, has led Iran to come close to building a nuclear bomb. Firmness against Tehran is the only way to ensure peace and tranquillity in this volatile region.

3. The current dispute is not solely limited to the nuclear programme. The Iranian regime can be characterised as follows: Firstly, for its gross violation of human rights, denial of basic freedoms and for its hand in massacring the Iranian opposition in Iraq. Secondly, the mullah's plan to gain hegemony over the whole region by exporting terrorism and fundamentalism, and thirdly, by its nuclear weapons programme.

4. Five and half months after the sham and undemocratic presidential elections of Hassan Rouhani, human rights violations and the export of terrorism and fundamentalism have intensified. Under the so-called 'moderate' Rouhani, the number of recorded executions has already reached 400. The resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee on November 20th sheds light on the continuing dire human rights situation and the high rate of executions, especially execution of minors, secret group executions, censorship of websites and social networks, and the transmission of jamming signals on satellite networks.

5. In this period the Iranian regime’s meddling in Syria has increased exponentially. Recently, a member of the Security Commission of the Iranian regime’s parliament revealed that “hundreds of Iranian battalions are in Syria; although you hear news about victories of the Syrian Army from a Syrian commander, they are the Iranian forces that are behind the scene”. The regime’s meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, etc. grows by the day. Inaction vis-à-vis the brutal violations of human rights in Iran and the export of terrorism and fundamentalism with the excuse of nuclear negotiations, is a big mistake that could ultimately embolden Iran in its nuclear project.

6. Iran is well aware of the explosive conditions of its society and more than anything fears the PMOI as the force that can shift this explosive condition inside Iran towards regime change. Therefore, on the verge of accepting the Geneva nuclear deal it attempted to contain the consequences of this compulsory retreat by close involvement in the attack on Ashraf and the killing and hostage-taking. This is similar in strategy to the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran which coincided with the ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq War.

7. Unfortunately, the policy of the West towards the massacre of Ashraf and Liberty residents is shockingly irresponsible. The suppression, siege and psychological torture against residents of Ashraf-Liberty by the mullahs’ puppet government in Iraq during the past five years would not have been possible without the US and UN’s repeated breach of their commitments; indeed the September 1st tragedy could have been prevented had the UN and US shouldered their responsibilities. The EU, especially Baroness Ashton’s silence and inaction towards the great crime against humanity in Ashraf is totally unacceptable, especially since this atrocity is continuing with the on-going illegal imprisonment of seven hostages, including 6 women, by Iraq. Her weak responses and appeasing tones have simply emboldened the Iraqi regime.

8. There is much evidence to prove that the hostages are being held in Baghdad, and this has been confirmed by the EU Ambassador and other diplomats in Baghdad as well as Amnesty International. By keeping silent in face of this great atrocity, much like their silence vis-à-vis the continuing brutal executions in Iran, US, Europe and the UN seek to advance negotiations on the nuclear issue. This type of distorted diplomacy is shameful. Firmness on these issues will force the Iranian regime, which is in a very weak position, to retreat even further from its nuclear project.

9. The conference saluted all women and men in Liberty, Washington DC, Geneva, London, Berlin and other cities around the world who have been on hunger strike for more than three months. While their rights are trampled, their loved ones are executed with their hands tied behind their backs or are taken hostage, and the major powers are turn a blind eye to all this, what other option is left than resistance and paying the price with their lives in order to motivate the world community. The US government could and can impel Iraq to free the hostages and provide security for Liberty; if they did so there would be no need for the hunger strike. But, three months after the September 1 attack, even the slightest security measures in Liberty are being opposed by the Iraqi government. Even the bodies of the slain have not been delivered for burial. This is shameful for our governments and it should be clear that if any of the hunger strikers die, President Obama, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and EU High Representative Baroness Ashton should have it firmly on their consciences.

10. In an absurd attempt to place the blame elsewhere, instead of releasing the hostages and accounting for the September 1 massacre, Maliki claimed that 120 residents have had arrest warrants issued against them allegedly for participation in killing Iraqis.

These decrees violate the agreements between the residents, the United Nations and the United States. In his letter of 28 December 2011 to the residents of Ashraf, the UNSG Special Representative for Iraq guaranteed their safety and security until the last resident leaves Iraq. The very same statement has been mentioned in the 16 August 2012 agreement between the PMOI, the US government, the Iraqi government and the UN. The US State Department statement dated 29 August 2012 provides a similar guarantee. The residents moved to Liberty based on these commitments.

The Iraqi judiciary is by no means just or independent. About 200 political executions have been carried out by this judiciary in 2013. Time and again Amnesty International has criticised death sentences by this apparatus and underscored its lack of independence. The residents, their representatives, and their lawyers have underscored time and again that they are ready to respond to all allegations in any European or American tribunal or international authority. They have asked for an international fact-finding committee to engage in this issue and arrive at their own independent judgement, but the Government of Iraq has turned down this request.

There are no allegations pending against the PMOI. There is no document or evidence against the PMOI. All allegations go back to 1991 or the Saddam Hussein era. But the investigations by the Americans who were accompanied by current Iraqi officials in 2003 and 2004 showed there were no charges against the PMOI. This was announced in 2004 by senior American officials. Prominent Iraqi Kurdish officials were present in those interviews to make sure that the PMOI members had not been involved in suppression of the Kurds. This is while the PMOI’s evidence regarding Maliki and his government’s involvement in crimes against humanity would convince any impartial tribunal.

11. The conference voiced its gratitude to Struan Stevenson for his recent trip to Iraqi Kurdistan and his meetings, as President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, with the officials of this region, Iraqi politicians, and leaders of demonstrations in various provinces, as well as his visit to Syrian refugee camps and supported his positions vis-à-vis Kurdistan.

12. The conference emphasized that Maliki has gone to Iran today to gain support for his third term as prime minister; something that is opposed by all Iraqi political factions. He counts on Tehran, and reciprocally the price Tehran is asking is the final massacre of the PMOI in Camp Liberty. The conference was also told that there are suspicions Maliki will use his visit to Tehran to arrange for the 7 Ashraf hostages to be secretly deported to Iran, where they will face certain torture and execution.

The participants in the conference were unanimous on agreeing to the following demands:

A. They called on P5+1, especially the US and European countries and Baroness Ashton, to stop making concessions to the Iranian regime in the nuclear issue and to demand complete implementation of Security Council resolutions, full cessation of uranium enrichment, halting plutonium production projects, and accepting the Additional Protocol and the snap and free inspection of suspicious sites.

B. Referral to the UN Security Council of the Iranian regime’s human rights dossier, meddling in the region, warmongering and export of terrorism to other countries, and imposition of meaningful sanctions and punishment against the regime.

C. EU, US, UN and especially the UN Security Council should force the Iraqi government to live up to its responsibilities and free the seven residents of Ashraf taken hostage, to remove obstructions against providing urgent provisions for the security of Camp Liberty, and to put aside bogus and ridiculous arrest warrants. The Iraqi government should understand that in the case of defiance of this demand by the international community, it will face binding impositions by the world community.

D. An impartial investigation into the massacre and abductions of September 1 and four previous massacres in Ashraf and Liberty is essential. In the absence of such an investigation, similar catastrophes may be repeated at any moment. 

Friends of a Free Iran intergroup
European Parliament