Thursday, September 14, 2006

Iran: International Committee in Defense of PMOI launched

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Following extensive conspiracies against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) based in Ashraf City, Iraq, dozens of law makers and human rights figures from across the world formed an international committee to defend the rights of its members in Iraq. On September 12, 2006, participants in the first session of the International Committee in Defense of Ashraf in the European Parliament in Brussels emphasized the following points:

1. Exerting pressure on members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) in Ashraf such as cutting off their food, fuel, and medicine rations and blowing up their water pipelines is a serious breach of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian laws, and is considered a war crime.

2. PMOI members in Ashraf are protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention and international law. They have lived in Iraq for 20 years as political refugees. The Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I), the Iraqi government and all relevant international organizations should respect the protections granted to Ashraf residents by their status as protected persons.

3. The new Iraqi government should reaffirm the refugee status of members of the PMOI in Iraq since they have been recognized as political refugees there from 1986.

4. The PMOI enjoys the support of the Iraqi people and their democratic and national parties. The support of 5.2 million Iraqis who signed a petition in support of the PMOI is a testament to this fact. These Iraqi’s all stress that the PMOI has a legal right to remain and enjoy political asylum in that country.

5. The Iraqi government should not succumb to pressures by the religious fascists ruling Iran by undermining the legal rights of PMOI members. Upholding these rights is an international duty for the government of Iraq and it is what the people of Iraq demand. How the Iraqi government treats the PMOI is the most important indicator of its independence and popularity. As it has been reiterated in the declaration of support by 5.2 million Iraqi citizens, “the conduct of the Iraqi government towards the Mojahedin is the most important milestone of independence and popularity of the present government.”

6. The participants of this conference call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Secretary General of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to reaffirm the status of members of the PMOI as political refugees and call on the Iraqi government also to reaffirm their status.

7. There is no legal justification for labeling the PMOI as a terrorist organization and this cannot be the basis for any legal or political decision-making in respect to the members of the PMOI.

8. Tehran’s rulers are trying to obtain nuclear weapons and have clearly rejected the recent resolution by the United Nation Security Council. They have not responded positively to the P5+1 package of incentives in return for a halt to their uranium enrichment activities. Indeed, they are enraged at the PMOI for having revealed their plans to obtain nuclear weapons, of which the world was unaware. The mullahs who have transformed Iraq into their battleground and seek to dominate completely this country are finding the PMOI's presence there to be a major cultural, political and social obstacle in their way. Moreover, the PMOI has revealed the mullahs' plans to export terrorism to Iraq and stir discord in Lebanon as well as their animosity towards the Middle East peace process. At such times, any action against the PMOI constitutes a blow to peace and democracy in the region, while supporting it is a necessity to advance peace and democracy.