503 European MPs write to President Obama urging new policy on Iran including removal of PMOI from US terror list
180 British MPs: Delay in de-listing PMOI could lead to humanitarian catastrophe in Camp Ashraf
At a press conference on Thursday in the House of Commons it was announced that over 180 cross-party MPs and Peers have written to President Barack Obama urging the US to remove the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), from the list of foreign terrorist organisations.
Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, Chair of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, announced that the British lawmakers were part of 503 European Parliamentarians who proposed the initiative to the US, calling for a new Iran policy.
The British and European lawmakers called for the immediate removal of the PMOI from the US terror list since the Iranian regime still uses the ban as an excuse to try and have 3,500 PMOI members, who are based in Camp Ashraf in Iraq as ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention, "expelled or extradited to Iran or displaced inside Iraq, which could lead to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis."
While warning of an impending humanitarian catastrophe for Ashraf residents, the cross-party lawmakers urged Iraq to immediately implement the items of the 24 April 2009 European Parliament resolution with regards to Ashraf and further called on the UN to monitor Iraqi compliance with this resolution.
They reiterated that if Iraq did not implement the items of the EP resolution, calling for recognition of Ashraf residents as 'protected persons' under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the only alternative left would be for the US to take over protection of Ashraf under UN monitors, not least since as of 2003 the US had vowed to guarantee the protection of Ashraf residents in return for a voluntary consolidation of weapons.
In their new initiative, 503 British and European Parliamentarians underscored the need for a coherent Trans-Atlantic policy to deal with the growing threat of the regime's drive to acquire nuclear weapons and its terrorist and fundamentalist meddling and warmongering in the region.
In their letter to the US President, the MPs said: "Our experience has shown that the Iran crisis cannot be resolved without an Iranian solution and without relying on its main opposition movement. Sadly your predecessors and the EU included the main Iranian opposition group in the list of terrorist groups. In Europe, this unjust decision was annulled by seven decisive European court rulings, and the EU Council finally lifted the ban in January."
They added: "The fundamentalist dictatorship ruling Iran has so far executed more than 120,000 PMOI members. Through its lobby in the West and by spending hundreds of millions of dollars, it tries to demonize these people and attaches false charges to them. 2,000 Members of Parliaments from many European states and various parliamentary committees have, in their independent assessments, reached the conclusion that the PMOI is a democratic force with a large social base."
The 503 British and European MPs criticised the previous attitude of the West and stated: "The regime fears only two prospects - foreign military intervention, which at this point is not under consideration, and the PMOI. Until now, we have prevented ourselves from being able to utilize this valuable leverage and have, as a consequence, made ourselves weaker in the face of the mullahs' regime. To show resilience and strength in our dealings with Tehran and to show our good will towards the Iranian people, we must support the main opposition PMOI rather than treat them as enemies at the behest of the mullahs."
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President elect of the resistance coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, sent a video message from Paris to the conference. "This letter on its own is a clear rejection of the policy of appeasement with its main feature being the unjust labeling of the PMOI", she said.
Speakers at the conference included: Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, Andrew MacKinlay MP, David Drew MP, Joe Benton MP, Roger Williams MP, David Amess MP, Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Lord Dholakia, Lord Cotter, Brian Binley MP, and Mehrafrouz Peikarnegar from the NCRI.
The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
14 May 2009
Note to editors:
- The US government included the PMOI on its terror list in 1997. US officials at the time acknowledged that this was done to appease the Tehran clerics and to send a goodwill gesture to Tehran and then-President Mohammad Khatami.
- The UK removed the PMOI from its list of proscribed organisations in June 2008. The EU did the same in January 2009. This was following a string of court victories in the UK and at the European Court that exonerated the PMOI from any link to terrorism.
- Iran has made the PMOI's international terrorist designation a diplomatic priority. (Wall Street Journal- October 24, 2008).
- The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom is comprised of some 120 cross-party MPs and Peers.