February 22, 2018

House Members Co-Sponsor Resolution to Protect Iranian Dissidents

Senior House Members
Held a News Briefing to
Announce a Bi-partisan
House Majority Support for
H.Res.704 & the
Humanitarian Rights of the
Iranian Dissidents Residing
at Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
The Event Was Held on the
Heel of the Iranian New
Year and as Reports
Indicate Tehran’s Extensive
Meddling to Promote a
Client Leadership in
Baghdad. The lawmakers
Also Denounced the
Suppression of Dissidents
Across Iran.
Members Joined IranianAmericans to Celebrate the
Iranian New YearThe Nouroz.
Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA): “We have to keep
Camp Ashraf alive not only for the individual
freedoms and the well being of those who are
there but because they represent the best possible
way the resistance to Iran…co-sponsorship [of
H.Res. 704] includes 11 committee chairs out of
the House that is only 13, and 30 members of…
[House Foreign Affairs] committee ”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):
“the U.S. is obligated to take all necessary and
appropriate steps to uphold our commitments and
ensure that the Ashraf residents are treated
Compiled by the National Coalition of Pro Democracy Advocates (www.ncpdaus.org); Sponsors: US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (www.usccar.org ), The
Iranian-American Communities of: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, WisconsinRemarks by Chairman
Bob Filner (D-CA)
(Chair, House Veterans Affairs Committee)
It’s so nice to be in front of an audience with a bipartisan group facing you, we’ve got both
democrats and republicans here and that’s very important for all of us. As we not only recognize
the New Year but are insisting not only on freedom for Iran but for protection of those who are
living in Camp Ashraf today.
That is our immediate concern as we celebrate the New Year and our resolution to make the
United States explicitly assume responsibility for those at Ashraf. As I think now has 230 cosponsor. And we thank you all for putting so much work at that...
Madame ranking member, I talked to the Chair yesterday, he was overwhelmed with the fact that
the majority of the house already supported this. We need you to twist whatever arm or any
other part of his body to make sure that …..ok.  So we will work with you to make sure that that
goes for discussion as soon as possible because we already have the votes.
And that co-sponsorship includes 11 committee chairs out of the House; that is out of 13, I think.
And 30 members of your committee [Foreign Affairs Committee]. You all have done
tremendous work to get those co-sponsors. We have to keep Camp Ashraf alive not only for the
individual freedoms and the wellbeing of those who are there but because they represent, in the
best possible way, the resistance to Iran. Those people are there as a community of resistance
and we have to protect them, we have to make sure that they continue to flourish and are not be
dispersed or have to give up their freedoms in any way.
So, we are here today to say not only Happy New Year but to hope this is the year that the
Iranians get their independence. We thank the MEK for what they are doing. And we look
forward to working with you to make it happen.
Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA)Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen
Remarks by Congresswoman
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
(Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee)Congressman Ed Towns
Thank you very much,
Let me first say thank you, thank you for several reasons. Thank you for your commitment,
thank you for your dedication and thank you for your determination and thank you for
including us together in a bipartisan way. Let me tell you that it is unusual in the U.S
Congress that you have Democrats and Republicans.
Also I want to thank Congressman Filner for his leadership. The fact that he has 234 members
of the U.S congress on the resolution shows he has done a great job with your support.
So I want to first associate myself with all the remarks made by my colleagues. I want to do
that so I can be brief. I think it’s so important that we continue to work together and if we do
that then we will be able to bring about the change that is so needed today more than ever.
As we come to say Happy New Year, it’s hard to say happy New Year when you know the
problems that we are facing and we need to continue to work together. They say work together
first, and after we say work together then we come back and say Happy New Year. Thank you
so much and we want to make certain that freedom comes and together we can do it.
Remarks by Chairman
Edolpus Towns (D-NY)
(Chair, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)Remarks by Congressman
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
(Ranking Member, House Subcommittee on International
Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight)
First let me identify myself with the remarks that just preceded me about if the United States isn’t
standing up for freedom, we have lost our soul and I certainly believe that.  I think that it’s less
important however, that we have necessarily bipartisan support although we do have obviously
bipartisan support.
But what’s more important is that we have solidarity with all the people of the world who believe
in freedom and if we stick to that, if we say to the people of China, you are our ally; your
government is not our friend.  If we say to the people of Iran, your government is our enemy but
you are our ally, those types of things will make the world a better place.
It’ll make it more peaceful, it’ll make it, it’ll actually help not only those people but it will help
the people of the United States.  So I would suggest that as we celebrate this New Year’s
celebration, that we do so by reaffirming that we are on the side of the Iranian people, we are
opposed to their oppressor, and what they have is this mullah regime and the mullah’s need to go
back to the mosque.  But we recognize that tyrannical mullah regime in Iran not only oppresses
its own people, but again, consistent with what I just said, threatens the peace not only of the
region, but of the world.
So we must make sure that anyone who is fighting the mullah regime and would replace it with a
democratic government is an ally of the people of the United States and we should not allow them
to suffer negative consequences if we can prevent it.  That is especially true of the people of
Camp Ashraf. It would be a horrible message for us to permit anything that would permit these
people that would force these people out of a safe enclave and put them in jeopardy of this mullah
regime.  We’re talking about allies of the United States of America and not only the people of
Iran who are in the streets demonstrating. But the people in Camp Ashraf are our allies and we
should never forget them.
Our commitment on this New Year is, the American people say, “happy new year” but we say the
people of Iran, whether you are in Camp Ashraf or you are in Iran in the streets protesting, WE
ARE WITH YOU.  So, thank you all for being active, in free societies, activism counts, and let us
try to expand the realm of free societies in this world and let us be activist here in achieving that
goal.  Thank You very much. God Bless You.
Congressman RohrabacherRemarks by Congressman Al Green (D-TX)
(House Homeland Security & House Financial Services Committees)
Thank you very much. Doctor King was right when he said decades
ago and his words ring true today. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to
justice everywhere”.
Injustice in the streets of Iran are a threat to justice in the streets of
every nation on the planet earth and we must end injustice in the
streets of Iran.
A pro-democracy movement is a movement that most people of
good will can embrace. But I would say to you, a movement to
support human rights anywhere on the planet earth is a movement
all people of goodwill will embrace.
We must support the human rights movement that is taking place in
Iran. I support democracy but human rights are rights that you don’t
get from any government. Human rights are your God given rights
that you have because you are a child of God. We must support
human rights.
Doctor King also reminded us and I will close with these words that
we have to transform neighborhoods into brotherhoods. But he made
it clear that we have a duty to learn to live together as brothers and
sisters or we will perish together as foes. Let us learn to live
together as brothers and sisters. Thank you so much. Thank you.
If you support justice everywhere you ought to stand up for what’s
happening in Iran. Thank you.
Congressman Al GreenI know you have heard from other members of Congress already. And they probably said anything I can
think of in a much more eloquent way. But I am truly proud of all of you because its kind of ironic that
here in the land of freedom where we have the most powerful country in the world, in a way all of the
plant is focused on you. Because your efforts in Iran to help the Iranian people be free and to help them
be self governing is one of the hopes we have to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear armed nation that
threatens the peace of the whole world.
And I would suggest to you, I’m a little embarrassed that my country has not been able to do more
through this administration and I think the Obama administration doesn’t understands just how serious
things really are in Iran. But you do and I want you to know that even though perhaps our president has
not voiced the kind of support that you deserve, I think he’s moving in that direction. And the American
people stand with Iranian people. You truly fit the definition of freedom fighters and we say God Bless
you. And I want you to know we stand with you with all of our hearts in so many different ways. I know
the protests and the demonstrations that you have done in Iran have taken great courage to do that. And
a lot of us are seeing that courage and we are proud of you.
We see some of the people of Camp Ashraf in Iraq that are being persecuted and threatened and even
the Iranian government wants to see them repatriated to Iran and I think that represents a great danger to
them and I want you to know that there are a lot of us that reject that completely. We want to see both
the government of Iraq and the government of the United States stand up and make sure that we protect
these people in Camp Ashraf.
Thank you. Let me just say this to you, I know you have heard many other things, there’s something
wonderful about people that are on the challenging side of freedom because I know right now that you
face great dangers. And I know right now it calls for tremendous courage but there is something that
happens in the human soul when they become free. Its like the poet once said, once you’ve tasted flight
you thereafter walk the world with your eyes turned skyward. For, there you have been and there you
long to return. It’s the same way with freedom. When people taste freedom, they don’t want to let go of
And I want you to know that I believe history will record that all of you that fought for freedom and did
what you could possibly do to see your fellow countrymen become free and have an opportunity to be
self governing, will not only be heralded in your countries history but the whole world will be grateful
to you for making sure that this Iranian regime that you are trying to throw off did not succeed in
causing an arms race in the Middle East and causing nuclear terrorism to go throughout the world.  Just
for the record, I want to thank you in advance.
Remarks by Congressman
Trent Franks (R-AZ)
(House Armed Services & Judiciary Committees)
Congressman FranksThank you very much.  My name is Ted Poe. I come from the state Texas and I’m glad to be here
among fellow freedom fighters for liberty and for people throughout the world; especially folks
half way around the world who are held hostage by their own government. And there are two
concerns that I have. One, we have the people in Iran who are protesting the rogue regime that
rules over them that brutalizes the people that kills its citizens in the streets and in my opinion has
declared war on the people of Iran.  And that rogue regime led by Ahmadinejad continues to do
things that are oppressive to the people of Iran including yesterday 86 people being sentenced for
protests in the June elections.  You know those elections that were fraudulent and high jacked by
And the other issue that we are concerned about more as we are here today are the folks in Camp
Ashraf.  You are beginning to celebrate the New Year.  Its tradition throughout the world when a
new year comes whenever we start counting days, we say “Happy New Year!” But it’s not a
happy year for the people in Camp Ashraf because they continue to be oppressed and all they want
is what everybody wants.  They want peace, they want liberty and they want their government to
not disperse them with the aid of the Iraqi government throughout regions unknown.  The world
has a moral and a legal obligation to protect the citizens of Camp Ashraf.
And make sure there is no doubt about it, more than half the members of the United States
Congress as reflected over here, with the leadership of Mr. Filner and others; say that the people in
Camp Ashraf must be protected by all nations, especially the United States.  The dictator of Iran
feeds upon the souls of his own citizens by his actions that he takes against them.
And it is important that we constantly stay vigilant; that we let the people in Camp Ashraf know
that their silent voices are heard here in the United States and those voices will continue to be
heard and they will have the absolute human right to be left alone and not be oppressed by any
government whether its their own or some other government and we owe them that protection of
We are not gonna stand idly by while those who wish to do harm to the residents of Camp Ashraf
mend, weave, their wicked ways and they will not be dispersed into parts and regions unknown to
the rest of us.  That they will be allowed to stay together, and they will be allowed to stay together
in safety, safety of their own lives and we will be ever watching those who wish to do harm to the
good people of Ashraf.  So that maybe this time next year, they can truly have, a happy new year.
Thank you very much.
Congressman Poe
Remarks by Congressman
Ted Poe (R-TX)
(House Foreign Affairs Committee)I wish everybody a very Happy Iranian New Year and I’m so happy to see you here.
There are difficult times in Iran but one of the bright lights is the Iranian prodemocracy movement. And I’m so glad all of you are standing up for the ideals of
democracy and we are depending on you. I certainly support your movement.
I was happy to support House Resolution 704. Certainly there needed to be protection
for the people in Camp Ashraf. We should make sure that they continue to be safe. The
United States and the Iraqi government should ensure that these residents have all
security that they need. And so we must continue the pressure to make sure that
happens so that the pro-democracy movement can continue to be safe and the Iranian
people can be safe. So let us continue our relationship. I’m very, very happy to see that
you are here on the Hill and that you’re presenting your issues to us. Thank you very
Congresswoman Chu
Well I appreciate the welcome, but I’m really here to welcome you.
It’s really important that you are here. I know this is a great
celebration and we welcome that, but also I know you have significant
issues that you are trying to get before us. And that really is very, very
important. I have a wonderful constituent here, where is he? Yea, and
I’m so proud of him. This is really what America is all about. He lives
in a small town in Arkansas; I grew up in Arkansas. I spent my life
there. He has moved to a small town in Arkansas. He’s become one of
the most respected members of that town. It’s so funny, I’ll go home
and he’ll be sitting around these guys with cowboy boots on, hats and
everything, and they’ll be talking to me about your issues. They know
your issues better than most Congressman do because he’s done such a
good job of informing and that is so important. He’s done a
tremendous job and it’s what America is all about.
So we appreciate you guys and we look forward to working with you.
We’ve been very supportive and continue to be that way. Like I said,
it’s good to have you here. Thank you very much.
Congressman Boozman
Remarks by Congresswoman
Judi Chu (D-CA)
(House Judiciary,  Oversight & Government Reform)
Remarks by Congressman John Boozman (R-AR)
(House Foreign Affairs Committee)
x1Slide 9
x1 x3, 3/23/2010I am not retiring from the good
causes and this is a great cause.  And
thank you for being here thank you
for activism; this is most impressive
to have the majority of the U.S
congress of one mind with regard to
a critical issue and the travesty, the
brutality that was engaged against
the innocent people in Ashraf.  And
so we will get this to the floor and
we will pass it and we will stay on
this issue.
The underlying issue is so critically
important as well. The regime in
Iran is a regime of thugs, by thugs
and for thugs, led by a thug in chief,
Khamenei. He is the thug in chief
and until the Iranian people and the
world rid themselves of the regime
of thugs, there will not be peace. So
that has to be and that is the one of
our priorities and it must remain so
until it is achieved. Long live free
Congressman Lincoln Diaz Ballard
Remarks by Congressman Lincoln Diaz Ballard (R-FL)
(House Rules Committee)First, let me thank Mr. Filner for his leadership on such an important issue.  Look, what happened on
that horrible moment, was nothing more than and nothing less than cold blooded murder. I’m so
grateful for your leadership, to have this resolution to highlight that but we cannot forget that the only
true way that the Iranians there and elsewhere could ever be totally safe is by having a free
homeland; is to be reunited in Iran under freedom.
And I know that there are a lot of experts, so-called experts, I see them all the time, that say that the
United States has to be careful and that we have to be timid of supporting those within Iran who are
literally dying daily in their efforts and sacrifices for freedom.  And I will tell you that the day the
United States accepts that we can be timid on the cause of freedom is the day that we have lost our
The cause of freedom, is a universal cause, that we must continue to speak about, we must continue
to help those who are struggling, no matter who may not like it, because ultimately the way to stop
this from happening again is for Iran to be free.  And I’m convinced.
I want to thank all of you from the Iranian American community, we know how difficult it is, and
how frustrating it can be, and sometimes you feel that nobody is listening.  Well, the reality is that
there are people listening, and Iran will be free because of the efforts of you and the heroes within
Iran who continue to do whatever it takes, for that day.  There can be no happy new year without
freedom.  Freedom is coming, thank you for your efforts, thank you for your patriotism, thank you
for your love of freedom, thank you.
Remarks by Congressman
Mario Diaz Ballard (R-FL)
(House Budget Committee)
Congressman Mario Diaz Ballard
Remarks by Chairman Bob Filner (in introducing Mrs. Maryam Rajavi):
The point we want to make with this resolution is of course, Ashraf is not only the individual
safety, but Ashraf is a symbol of resistance, a center of resistance and relocating people in other
places takes away that unity of resistance we want. So we want to make sure people understand
that of course. Ashraf is a symbol of resistance. Those who are in Ashraf  have what we call a
third way of dealing with the mullahs in Iran. We don’t need an American invasion, but we don’t
need just American acceptance of the status quo. We need America to give the internal resistance
a chance to move, and that means by the way taking the MEK off the terrorist list that the State
Department maintains. We should be helping the MEK and not getting in their way.
The president elect of the Iranian Resistance, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has educated us on this third
way. I have met with her on several occasions to talk about it and she has a message for all of us
that we are going to hear now. We would like to hear President Elect Maryam Rajavi. A Video Message to Members of
Congress from the Leader of the
Iranian Resistance,
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi - (Excerpts)
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi
addresses the audience
via video link
Distinguished members of the House of Representatives, It is indeed a pleasure to be speaking with you
on the occasion of Nowrouz, the Iranian New Year. I hope that the start of spring in nature would
herald the coming of the spring of freedom for the Iranian people.
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank Congressman Bob Filner, and Congressman Dana
Rohrabacher, the co-chairs of the House Congressional Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus for
sponsoring this resolution. I have special thanks for Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for taking the
lead on this matter in the Foreign Affairs Committee and raising the issue of Ashraf in various hearings.
I also like to thank Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for defending the rights of 1000 women in
Ashraf. My appreciation also goes to Judge Ted Poe, who defended the rights of 36 Ashraf residents
who were taken hostage, and finally my thanks go to Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart for exposing
the Iranian regime’s plots to attack Ashraf.
I wish I could thank every one of you by name for defending the legitimate rights of the residents of
Ashraf. The House Resolution 704, in defense of the rights of Camp Ashraf residents, now cosponsored by a House majority from both parties, is an important accomplishment in the global
campaign to defend Ashraf.
Condemning the deadly July attack, deploring "the ongoing violence by Iraqi security forces against the
residents of Camp Ashraf," urging Iraq "to live up to its commitment to the United States to ensure the
continued well-being of those living in Camp Ashraf…" and calling on "the President to take all
necessary and appropriate steps to support the commitments of the United States under international
law and treaty obligations to ensure the physical security and protection of Camp Ashraf residents…,"
by a majority of the elected representatives of the American people reflects your courage and admirable
sense of responsibility in defending the fundamental rights of Ashraf residents. This emanates from
your profound understanding of the threats the religious fascism ruling Iran poses to the Iranian people,
the region and the world. It is also an indication of your recognition of the status of the Iranian
Resistance, especially Ashraf, as a decisive factor in confronting this anti-human regime.
The Iranian regime views the destruction of Ashraf as an important step to crush the nationwide
uprising of the Iranian people. For this reason, it has tried to eliminate Ashraf residents by using its
proxies in the Iraqi government. Iran is on the brink of change today. The 30-year resistance of the
Iranian people is reaching its destination. We have come most of the way and will continue with greater
resolve until the Iranian people are again free. In their struggle for liberty, the Iranian people regard
you, the representatives of the people of the United States, as the conscience of the American nation,
and as symbols of courage and dignity. They will never forget that you stood by them at the most
difficult period of their history. I sincerely thank you all very much and may God bless you.Voice of America (VOA): Nowrouz lunch and a photo opportunity with the members of
Congress and the Iranian-American supporters of the People Mojahedin Organization of Iran was
an opportunity for announcing the support of 221 members of the U.S. House of Representatives
in the preceding week. The resolution (H.Res 704) criticizes the Iraqi security forces’ violence
against the residents of Ashraf in July 2009. The resolution also asks the Iraq’s government to
guarantee the Ashraf’s residents’ security and prevent their forced return to Iran.
Congresswoman Elena Ros-Lehtinen:  “The US has the duty to take necessary steps for
humanitarian treatment of the Ashraf residents and preventing their forced return to Iran.”
VOA: Bob Filner (D- California) who was the sponsor of the resolution supports the People
Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and hopes that their name is taken of the terrorist
list so they can continue their activities.
Congressman Bob Filner: “MEK has changed with time and now is a supporter of democracy,
secularism and against violence and nuclear proliferation.
VOA: Other congress members argue that this resolution is not in support of the MEK, but for
providing the humanitarian needs of the Ashraf residents. But Mr. Filner in his resolution adds
that:  “our position on Ashraf and increase of suppression in Iran are two sides of the coin”, a
belief that the members of Congress present in the media conference all agreed on.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher: “Anyone who struggles with the mullah’s regime to replace
it with a democratic alternative is a friend of the United States.”
VOA: Mr. Behzad Safari, the legal counselor for the Iran’s Mojahadin Khalgh organization is on
our phone line. Happy Nowrouz, Mr. Safari.
Behzad Safari [from Camp Ashraf]: I too offer my greetings to you and all my fellow Iranians
for the Nowrouz festivities.  On the behalf of Ashraf residents, I wish freedom and victory for all
Iranians in this New Year.
VOA: Mr. Safari, you heard our report.  Can you briefly explain what will be the impacts of this
resolution among the impeded residents of Ashraf?
Continued on next page
A Voice of America Report on the March
17, 2010 Congressional New Briefing &
the Iranian New Year Reception in the
U.S. House of Representatives
(Originally Aired on March 21, 2010)Behzad Safari: Naturally Ashraf residents are very happy of this success in the international
endeavor to protect Ashraf. This resolution was very much needed.  It represented the world wide
support for Ashraf, and condemnation for the threats against them. The election period in Iraq is
particularly dangerous for, as you said impeded, Ashraf residents.
VOA: At the same time the British Parliament, as well as Finland Parliament has taken similar
actions. Is this a coordination against Islamic Republic, or as a US representative said, this is a
humanitarian action not an act of support for Mojahedin.
Behzad Safari: Yes, before US congress there was Finland parliament and before that Norway’s
parliament which supported the Mojahedin in Ashraf, and the humanitarian worrisome situation
facing them. They also have an eye on freedom in Iran.
VOA: Please briefly tell us, a question that many of our listeners may have, how did Ashraf
residents held such a celebration of Nowrouz, under such conditions?
Behzad Safari: Of course under all circumstances, even under most sever conditions that you
may remember from the past, MEK has cherished Iranian traditions, and in particular Nowrouz.
Mojahedin and the residents of Ashraf, despite the evil of mullahs, celebrated Nowrouz.  They,
although under severe suppression and sanctions, and while some Iranian agents under the
disguise of family are at their door steps, and their irritating tactics continues after 45 days,
celebrate the festivities.
VOA: Thank you Mr. Safari.
A Voice of America Report on the March
17, 2010 Congressional New Briefing &
the Iranian New Year Reception in the
U.S. House of Representatives – page 2
(Originally Aired on March 21, 2010)