May 22, 2017

Iran Watch – December 29, 2008

[spoiler title=”UN General Assembly condemns rights abuses in Iran”] December 19, 2008
Iran Focus

London, Dec. 19 – The United Nations General Assembly accused Iran on Thursday of continuing the practice of torture and punishments such as flogging, stoning and amputation of limbs. The UNGA adopted a Canadian-sponsored resolution by a vote of 69 in favour to 54 opposed, with 55 abstentions.
The 192-member world body expressed “deep concern” at “serious human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran” relating to “Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations … The continuing high incidence of executions carried out in the absence of internationally recognized safeguards, including public executions and executions of juveniles … Persons in prison who continue to face sentences of execution by stoning … Arrests, violent repression and sentencing of women exercising their right to peaceful assembly, a campaign of intimidation against women’s human rights defenders, and continuing discrimination against women and girls in law and in practice”. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Iranian Resistance Group Criticizes Iraq’s Efforts to Expel It”] By SAM DAGHER
Published: December 22, 2008
BAGHDAD — An Iranian resistance group on Monday condemned a renewed push by the Iraqi government to deport its members as a result of undue Iranian influence.

Some 3,800 members of the group, the People’s Mujahedeen, live in a fenced-off camp north of Baghdad, where they have enjoyed the protection of the American military since 2003. The Iraqi government notified the group on Sunday of plans to shut the camp and evict its residents as Iraqi forces take control of the area from the United States.

“This reflects the hysterical pressure being applied by the regime of the mullahs on the Iraqi government after it signed the security agreement with America,” said a statement by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group of which the People’s Mujahedeen is the largest component.

Analysts and Iraqi opposition politicians said that the Iraqi government’s determination to expel the group may be an effort to appease Iran, which had initially expressed strong opposition to the security agreement concluded last month between Iraq and the United States.

The group, which began as part of the Iranian resistance to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s rule in the mid-1960s, was driven into exile after Iran’s 1979 revolution and re-formed in Iraq, where it was nurtured by Saddam Hussein. After the American invasion, it was disarmed and its members recognized as refugees by the United Nations.

On Sunday, the Iraqi government’s national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, met with the group’s leaders at their base, Camp Ashraf in Diyala Province.

“They were told that the government has plans to close the camp and deport its inhabitants to their native country, or voluntarily to a third country, and that staying in Iraq was not an option,” said a statement issued by Mr. Rubaie on Monday.

He said the transfer of security responsibilities for the camp from the American military to Iraqi forces was already under way. He said the group was a “terrorist organization” and was “no longer permitted to engage in any political, media, cultural, religious or social activity in Iraq.”

The group was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States in 1997 and by the European Union in 2002. But in May, Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled that the British government was wrong to include the group on its list of banned terrorist groups.

In 2002, it provided intelligence on Iran’s secret efforts to enrich uranium, which led to United Nations sanctions against Iran and a confrontation with the West that continues today.

Since 2003, the group has been thrown into the middle of Washington’s foreign policy dilemmas over what to do about Iran. Despite being officially labeled a terrorist group, it has been protected by American soldiers in Iraq since 2003.

The State Department declined to comment Monday on the planned eviction.

The camp, a sprawling and self-contained gated community, is a virtual oasis in an arid patch of Diyala. During a visit in 2007, this reporter saw American soldiers from an adjacent military base securing the perimeter.

Past the gate, members of the group, many of them women in tan uniforms, drove jeeps past manicured parks, artificial lakes and giant sculptures. One sculpture depicts a dove being released by an extended hand. The compound houses clinics, schools and workshops.

Since 2003 the People’s Mujahedeen, who are mostly Shiite, have been assiduously courting Sunni politicians and tribal leaders in the area. In June, they held a large gathering at their camp attended by several prominent Sunni Arab members of Parliament who are openly hostile to the Iranian government. This meeting set off a political storm in Baghdad, with Shiite parties close to Iran calling for the censure of the members.

Ali Ansari, director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said the group was “rapidly becoming a political football in the purest sense.” He said the Iraqi government saw ridding itself of the group as way to improve relations with Iran, which remains fearful that the group may rearm.

Muhammad al-Daini, a Sunni member of Parliament, says the government is making a mistake by bowing to Iranian pressure to expel the People’s Mujahedeen before getting firm commitments from Tehran that it will no longer arm and finance militias in Iraq. “We cannot blindly accept Iran’s dictates,” he said.

During his visit to Baghdad in March, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was promised that the People’s Mujahedeen would be expelled.

“We will strive to get rid of them,” the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, said at a news conference with Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Campbell Robertson contributed reporting from Baghdad, and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times from Diyala Province.

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Maryam Rajavi, an Iranian Pasionaria”] NCRI – In an international conference held in Geneva on Thursday, September 22 by the Swiss Committee in Defense of Ashraf, prominent European and American dignitaries and personalities expressed their deep concerns about intentions of the Iranian regime and the Iraqi government against residents of Ashraf and especially the illegally set deadline of December 2011 for closing the camp. The conference called on the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commission for Refugees and UN High Commission for Human Rights as well as the United States to take immediate measures to provide protection for Camp Ashraf and prevent repeat of similar massacres of the past and also press the Iraqi government to cancel the 2011 deadline until the resettlement to third countries of all residents is finalized.

Below is Mrs. Maryam Rajavi Speech at Victoria Hall – Geneva

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

We have gathered here today in Geneva, the city of human rights, the city of international organizations, conventions and of international law and the city where Professor Kazem Rajavi, the great martyr of resistance gave his life for the human rights in Iran.
Yes, we are here to discuss a most serious issue of human rights and a major violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

We are here to speak about the big prison called Iran, where 80 million people are under the mullahs’ suppression every day. We are here to speak about Ashraf where for nearly nine years its residents have been under house arrest and their rights have been trampled on every day.

This situation requires a serious and urgent response by international authorities and governments.
Fortunately, I see here our dear friends from Switzerland, and much respected personalities from the United States, Germany, Italy, Britain, Ireland and other countries who are at the forefront of the fight against this injustice.

I salute you all.

A group of the participants in the sit-in outside the UN are also among us.

It’s been 150 days that they have stood outside the offices of the UN to support Ashraf.

At this moment, thousands of Iranians are demonstrating against the presence of Ahmadinejad at the United Nations in New York.

They are protesting that this murderer is not a representative of the people of Iran in the UN.
I say to them and to you here, that the Iranian people are proud of you, the people of the world are proud of you.

You are flag bearers of freedom and human rights in Iran.

Yesterday, in a meeting at the UN, I insisted on your request for protection of Ashraf.

UNHCR has declared that Ashraf residents are under international law asylum seekers and should benefit from essential protections.

Certainly this is a positive step but it is not enough and the UNHCR must continue in this issue.
Therefore, in order to prevent another massacre, the UN Secretary General should now declare Ashraf a non-military zone under the supervision of the United Nations.

He should also order the stationing of UN observers in Ashraf.

At the same time the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must begin an independent, transparent and comprehensive investigation into the attack of 8 April as soon as possible.

These are vital measures because the Iraqi government insists on its ultimatum to close Ashraf until the end of 2011, every day.

Implementation of these duties by the UN will not only benefit the Iranian people, but will also lend credibility to the UN before the peoples of the Middle East.

Dear friends,
The issue of Ashraf is at the center of a greater crisis, namely the Iranian crisis.
This issue reflects the resistance of the Iranian people for freedom on one hand, and reveals the precarious situation of the Iranian regime on the other.

The clerical regime is encircled by a four dimensional crisis:

First, Iranian society is deeply dissatisfied. We all witnessed the uprisings Orumieh and Tabriz (northwest Iran) three weeks ago despite extensive repression.

Second, the revolutions in the region have increased the danger of an uprising in Iran. They have also accelerated the disintegration of the Iranian regime’s regional alliances.

Third, the economic collapse of the regime has hiked the inflation rate to 20%, unemployment is 17%, economic growth is close to zero, and the country’s industrial base operates at only 30% of capacity.

Fourth is the internal crisis within the leadership of the regime, particularly the confrontation between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, which is described by the ruling mullahs as the worst schism within the regime since its rise to power.

About two weeks ago, Khamenei told a meeting of his Council of Experts: “In about eight months… four dictators” have been toppled. “It makes us tremble,” he added.

In another secret meeting with his national security council, Khamenei said: “If we do not go toward the borders, then the borders will come to us.”

Now the key question is why the mullahs have still not fallen with all these crises around them? Why, despite the Arab spring, uprisings have not restarted in Iran? Particularly since the events of 2009 and 2011 put away the illusion of popular support for the mullahs.

The Iranian people, especially the youth, are deeply opposed to this regime.

The Iranian people have made enormous sacrifices in their fight against dictatorship. Over 120,000 executions of Iran’s bravest patriots is evidence of this sacrifice. The end result of these sacrifices has been an organized movement with a democratic platform.

Still we must ask: why do the mullahs survive?

The first reason is that the repression practiced by this regime is incomparable to that of any modern dictatorship. This regime has organized 70 suppressive security agencies. In reality, the entire regime is a machine for suppression of the people. The highest authorities of the regime, for instance its president, Ahmadinejad, have been infamous torturers in Iran’s prisons.

The economy, the mass media, the mosques, and the courts are all part of this repressive system.

High schools are controlled by surveillance cameras. Universities look more like military garrisons. Religious fascism controls the most private of people’s lives and affairs.

The second reason has been the assistance of Western governments. If Western governments had not helped the mullahs this regime could not have survived. The word appeasement cannot fully describe this policy.

Because Western governments have on one hand blocked the path of the Iranian resistance movement with the terror list, and they have given a free hand to the regime and its allies in Iraq to act against the residents of Ashraf on the other. And at the same time they watch the wave of repression and executions in Iran in silence. They are practically active participants in the suppression of the Iranian people.

The Iranian people need an organized movement in the face of the brutal oppression meted out by the religious fascist regime to obtain its freedom.

Western policy has in effect assisted the regime in the suppression of this movement.

They have extended the life of the mullahs’ regime with the label of terrorism against its main opposition.

You remember the uprising of 2009 in Iran. Some say that the United States was neutral at the time.

Unfortunately this was not the case. Simultaneous with the uprisings in Iran, the United States transferred the protection of Ashraf in Iraq to a government loyal to Khamenei.

It was a huge gift to the mullahs. Without this transfer, Khamenei could not have attacked Ashraf in 2009 and the course of uprisings in Iran would have been quite different.

Some ask: what is the reason for this misguided policy?

The United States should answer why it continues its mistaken policy with immense harm to the Iranian people, why it persists to make the same mistake as it did in the coup against Dr. Mossadegh in 1953, as it did in its strong support for the Shah, and as it did in the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s.

In 1997 they listed the PMOI in their blacklist, because they wanted to strengthen illusory moderates within the religious fascistic regime in Iran.

In more recent years, the U.S. has shirked its responsibilities vis-à-vis residents of Ashraf to appease the mullahs’ regime and its allies in Iraq.

Some wonder why in Western governments impose sanctions on the mullahs on one hand and put pressure on the Iranian resistance movement on the other. Why this contradiction?

In reality, as long as Western governments hamper the Iranian Resistance, sanctions will not be serious or effective.

The PMOI is the force of change. When you enchain the force of change all other measures against the regime become ineffective.
In 2010, we see that eight European countries are among the top 15 exporters to Iran. They sold a total of 12,000 products to Iran; almost all of them were industrial products.

The mullahs build their military and nuclear industrial complex with these same products. Not to mention that the bulk of these are purchased by companies linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Dear friends,
Fortunately, the Iranian Resistance has persevered despite all these pressures and has demonstrated its legitimacy and popular support.

Fortunately, the US Congress and Western parliamentarians and honorable personalities in the US and Europe have, contrary to their governments, participated in a huge campaign in support of Iranian people’s freedom and in defense of Ashraf.

They represent the dignity of humankind in our age and in contemporary history.

These highly respected persons truly represent Europe and the United States with their faithful defense of democracy and genuine human values.

The dictatorship in Iran is on decline and whatever government taints itself by supporting this regime will share in its destiny and will lose.

The removal of the PMOI from the U.S. State Department’s FTO list and ensuring the protection of Ashraf residents until final resolution of their status, are the most objective criterion to demonstrate where the United States stands in this struggle.

I also appeal to the Swiss government, as guardian of the Geneva Conventions, to take urgent measures to ensure the protection of Ashraf.

But despite all these pressures, there is no doubt that the mullahs’ dictatorship will be overthrown by the will of the Iranian people and their Resistance.

I see a day that Tehran will no longer be the capital of repression and export of terrorism. But it will be the city of human rights, an inspiration for equality of women and men, a city without executions or torture, an exemplary city for the United Nations and international organizations, and the city of freedom and democracy.

I believe in the coming of that day with all my heart.

Thank you very much.

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Fury at Iran president’s broadcast”] Press Association
Dec. 26, 2008

The Government has criticised Channel 4’s decision to broadcast an Alternative Christmas Message by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the invitation by the broadcaster to the hard-line leader would cause international offence.
An FCO spokeswoman said: “President Ahmadinejad has during his time in office made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements. The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad.”
The decision to allow Ahmadinejad to deliver the Alternative Christmas Message on Thursday night has already angered human rights campaigners, Israelis and politicians.
Mr Ahmadinejad’s anti-Western rhetoric and views on Israel and homosexuality have strained international relations between Iran and the West.
Campaign groups attacked the broadcaster’s decision to air the speech, as “dangerous” and motivated by ratings.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said: “In Iran, converts to Christianity face the death penalty. It is perverse that this despot is allowed to speculate on the views of Jesus, while his government leads Christ’s followers to the gallows.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell joined the attack, and called on the broadcaster to “pull the plug on this criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world’s most bloody tyrants”.
Stephen Smith, director of the Holocaust Centre, said the message should be treated with caution. He said: “I think this benign message is deceptive. People need to be alert to the fact that this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” [/spoiler]