IRANIAN AGENTS HARRASSING CAMP LIBERTY REFUGEES SPARKS NEW OUTRAGE
The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) regards the transfer of a group of the Iranian regime’s agents to Camp Liberty a matter of great concern and considers it a dangerous sign of the continued influence and extensive meddling of Iran in Iraqi affairs. The EIFA calls on Prime Minister al-Abadi to put an end to these measures that blatantly, run counter to reforms in Iraq.
This latest episode is a repeat of events that occurred outside Camp Ashraf in 2010 and 2011, when groups of Iranian agents, pretending to be family members of Ashraf residents, were bussed in to chant abusive slogans and hurl insults at the residents through loudspeakers. These activities provided the sinister cover for surveillance and reconnaissance of the camp, which led, subsequently, to a bloody attack and massacre of unarmed refugees in Ashraf on September 1st, 2013.
As the President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq at that time, I raised this matter with UN and US officials in Baghdad, Brussels and Erbil and I addressed the matter in numerous telephone calls and correspondence. I was repeatedly assured that if the residents vacated Ashraf and moved to Camp Liberty, such aggressive activities against them would cease. Indeed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the UN Special Representative and the Iraqi Government, with the full approval of the US and EU, specifically guaranteed the protection of the Camp Liberty refugees and an end to all such aggressive measures. It is a considerable shock to me that the 2500 refugees in Camp Liberty are being held in prison-like conditions and subjected to daily harassment and abuse by the Iraqi authorities and their Iranian sponsors, in the full knowledge of the UN, EU and US, who nevertheless refuse to life a finger to help or rescue these vulnerable men and women. This is an international outrage.
The EIFA has repeatedly declared that the arrest and punishment of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as well as the eviction of the Iranian presence in Iraq, is the necessary precondition for any meaningful reforms. The provision of security and protection for the Camp Liberty residents and recognition of their rights as refugees for as long as they remain in Iraq, would be a significant first step in this process and would be a clear indication that Iranian meddling will no longer be tolerated by Haider al-Abadi and his government.
Iraqi patriots have declared time and again that no one in Iraq is advocating the suppression of the PMOI/MEK and the trampling of their rights other than the Iranian regime’s proxies and that the sole opposition to their presence in Iraq comes from none other than the Iranian regime. The EIFA therefore calls on the Government of Iraq and Prime Minister al-Abadi, the US government and the UN to respect the rights of the Camp Liberty residents and secure their protection, to bar Iranian agents from approaching the camp and to insist on the removal of Faleh Fayyad from his position as a key oppressor of the Camp Liberty refugees.
Struan Stevenson is President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association. He was a UK Conservative Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.