A leading Iranian exile in Washington is praising Congress
for a resolution demanding that Iraq fulfill its promises to
protect Iranian dissidents held in a former rebel camp north
of Baghdad and guarantee that none will be deported to Iran
to face certain execution.
"Since the June uprising in Iran, this is the first major
act of support for the Iranian democracy movement by a
majority of members of Congress," Alireza
Jafarzadeh told Embassy Row.
The bipartisan resolution is endorsed by 125 Democrats and
96 Republicans, guaranteeing its passage by the full House
when it comes up for a vote. The supporters include nine
committee chairmen, two committee chairwomen and 30 members
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"This will certainly get the attention of Tehran, Baghdad
and Washington, and, most importantly, the Iranian streets,"
said Mr. Jafarzadeh, president of Strategic Policy
Consulting and the Iranian dissident who exposed Iran's
secret nuclear facilities in 2002.
Twelve congressional leaders last week announced they had
reached 221 supporters for the House resolution that
"deplores the ongoing violence by Iraqi security forces"
against the Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf and calls on
the Iraqi government to "live up to its commitment to the
United States to ensure the well-being" of the camp's 3,400
residents, who include 1,000 women. The resolution also
take "necessary and appropriate" measures to prevent
inhumane treatment against the camp residents who are
recognized as "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva
Rep. Bob Filner, California Democrat and
co-chairman of the House Iran Human Rights and Democracy
Caucus, said the residents of Camp Ashraf are an
"inspiration for millions of Iranians" who oppose the brutal
theocratic regime in Tehran.
"Increased [political] suppression in Iran and the attempt
to destroy Camp Ashraf are two sides of the same coin:
Tehran's unsuccessful drive to contain the uprising of the
Iranian people," he said.
Iran has been pressuring Iraq to return the camp residents,
who are members of the previously armed resistance called
the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), also known as the People's
Mujahedeen of Iran. In July 2009, Iraqi security forces
invaded the camp, killed 11 people and wounded 500 only
seven months after the United States transferred control of
the camp to Iraq. The MEK surrendered its weapons to U.S.
forces after the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
For years, Iran has been demanding that any foreign
government that wants to deal with it must first list the
MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the
political umbrella group of Iranian exiles, as terrorists.
The United States placed the resistance on its terrorist
blacklist during the Clinton administration when it was
trying to open talks with Iran. The European Union last year
removed the resistance from its own terrorist list, after a
European court ruled there was insufficient evidence to
accuse them of terrorism.