Sunday, April 17, 2005

2.8 million Iraqis’ petition warns of Iran domination

2.8 million Iraqis’ petition warns of Iran domination
Iran Focus
April, 17 2005

Baghdad, Apr. 17 – Leaders and representatives of 11 Iraqi political parties and groups unveiled a petition signed by 2.8 million Iraqis, sharply criticising neighbouring Iran’s rising meddling in Iraq and warning of the spectre of “Islamic fundamentalism’s stealthy domination” of their country.

The announcement came in a conference yesterday in Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel in the presence of about 500 Iraqis representing political, social and cultural groups. The signatures were put on display in long rows of folders.

Iraqi signatories included ethnic Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen, from different religious backgrounds, including Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Christians, and people of other faiths.

“The Iranian regime is pursuing a very dangerous course in Iraq,” Sheikh Ali Al-Shammari, a Shiite tribal leader from southern Iraq said. “We, as Iraqis who value our independence, feel we must speak out as strongly as possible against this undeclared war by Iran on our people and quasi-occupation of Iraqi territories by Tehran through their surrogates.”

The petition offered strong support to the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). Thousands of PMOI members are based at Camp Ashraf, near the Iran-Iraq border.

The Iraqi statement said that the PMOI was fighting a “legitimate struggle against an unjust dictatorship”, adding Iran’s meddling was the biggest cause of instability in present-day Iraq.

The 2.8 million Iraqis called on the U.S. and the European Union to remove the PMOI from terrorism lists, saying that the latter were fighting the “biggest terrorist sponsor and source of Islamic fundamentalist” in the world. They said the PMOI should be recognized in Iraq as “a legitimate political movement” and the rights of its members, under Iraqi and international law, fully respected.

The petition called for a dialogue between the newly established Iraqi interim government and the PMOI. There was no immediate reaction from Iraqi government officials.