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Meeting of The FRIENDS OF A FREE IRAN INTERGROUP - THE European Parliament, Brussels

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 Struan Stevenson
Struan Stevenson

Isdciran - Wednesday, June 6 2012 - Can I begin by congratulating Mrs Rajavi, Mr Mohadessin and their team of high-level supporters around the world, but particularly their team in America, for the historic and unprecedented decision of the US Federal Court of Appeal last Friday.
For the appeal court Judges to throw down the gauntlet in such a decisive way, giving Hillary Clinton - the Secretary of State – four months to delist the PMOI/NCRI, or the courts will do it for her, is an extraordinary decision and one which is unique in US judicial history. It demonstrates clearly the frustration of the US courts over the delays and foot-dragging, which has characterised this whole sorry spectacle.
The black-listing of the PMOI has been a dedicated Clinton project from day one. It was President Bill Clinton who first listed the PMOI as an act of appeasement to the mullahs in Iran. He used a bogus dossier based on propaganda and downright lies supplied by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. Sadly, once endorsed by the Clinton administration it became like the word of God, unchallengeable and accepted as Holy Writ by legions of eager young State Department suits. In due course it found its way across the Atlantic and the PMOI was duly blacklisted in the UK and then, at the behest of Tony Blair’s Government, was added to the terror list for the whole of the EU.
It took many court battles, a great deal of time and resources and some courageous support from many of you in this room, to stand up for justice and demand the de-listing of the PMOI. When the whole house of cards began to collapse, the vacuous nature of the dossier was exposed to the world.
The British judges even called it "perverse" and ordered Parliament to strike the PMOI from the UK terror list. The ECJ in Luxembourg was forced to follow suit. Only the US State Department dug in its heels, stubbornly refusing to budge and ignoring demands from its own courts.
Their intransigence has come at a high price. It has given the Iraqi government the excuse to mount violent assaults on innocent unarmed supporters of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf on two occasions, murdering 45 and seriously injuring hundreds. It has enabled the Iraqi authorities, pushed and cajoled by their sponsors in Tehran, to psychologically torture and bully the 3200 men and women in Ashraf and to pressurise them into moving to a new location - Camp Liberty - next to Baghdad Airport.
More than 2,000 PMOI refugees are now crushed into an area measuring less than half a square kilometre, with dilapidated sewage systems, broken air conditioners, no facilities for the disabled and inadequate supplies of water. They were persuaded to move to Camp Liberty on the pledge of the United Nations Special Representative that this was simply a Temporary Transit Location (TTL) which would be their home for only a few weeks, while UNHCR conducted individual interviews with each of the residents to determine their refugee status and then evacuate them to friendly third countries.
The UN Special Representative signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Iraqi Government without the approval of the Ashraf residents. The terms of the MOU have been repeatedly breached. When complaints are made on a daily basis to the UNAMI observers, they are told to take up their complaints with the Iraqi Government. The Iraqi Government treats all such complaints with open contempt. In fact, in their most blatant act of intimidation to date, they have now appointed Captain Ahmed to take charge of the Camp Liberty guards.
Captain Ahmed was one of the leading murderers in the Ashraf massacre of July 2009 and he will, in due time, be indicted and brought before an international court charged with murder and crimes against humanity. He has now started blocking the daily passage of Liberty residents who must travel outside the camp to be interviewed by UNHCR. He has even started blocking the entrance of water tankers to Camp Liberty. He can perpetrate all of these crimes with virtual impunity, because Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki regards the PMOI as terrorists and cites their blacklisting in the United States as justification.
This situation is intolerable. The good name of the UN is being besmirched by their association with and apparent indifference to such blatant ill-treatment and repression. They must declare Camp Liberty as a long-term refugee facility and not a TTL and they must then insist on the full humanitarian provisions appropriate to a refugee camp. They must demand the removal of known murderers like Captain Ahmed from the camp. They must speed up the process of refugee registration by UNHCR and move quickly to evacuate these people to friendly third countries in Europe and North America.
I am proud to announce today that over 200 Members of the European Parliament have signed a joint-statement insisting on all of these points and demanding resolute action from Baroness Ashton and from Antonio Guterres - the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This is an important act of solidarity involving MEPs from all nations and all political groups and it must not be ignored.
Hillary Clinton should remove the PMOI/NCRI from the US terror list immediately, while she still has a chance to do so with some vestige of honour. She will face complete humiliation if she waits for the Federal Court of Appeal to do it for her.
Their removal from the blacklist would send the strongest signal yet to the UN, the EU and the Iraqi government, that these people are innocent, refugees and must be treated with humanity and respect.
We must never forget that it is the Iranian mullahs and their vicious fascist regime who are the real terrorists and they have been more than happy to distract attention from their own crimes, by keeping the world’s focus on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty. We must also never forget that it was these courageous frontline campaigners in Camp Ashraf & Liberty who have led the fight against the mullahs for freedom and democracy in Iran and we must stand by them now in their hour of need.

STRUAN STEVENSON, MEP
President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq
Chair of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup