MPs and Peers from the all-party British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom on Thursday urged the United States to protect 3,400 members of the Iranian opposition in Iraq's Diyala province.
"We were alarmed to hear that, this morning, Iraqi police forces raided Camp Ashraf", forty-four members of the Committee wrote to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "This was an unlawful, suppressive and arbitrary act carried out at the behest of Iran, which claims to have an agreement with Iraq to have Ashraf closed and its residents forcibly moved".
Iraq has refused to acknowledge the rights of Ashraf residents, and since February its forces have besieged the camp. The European Parliament on 24 April adopted a resolution urging Iraq to respect the rights of Ashraf residents in the framework of the Geneva Conventions, end the siege of the camp, and refrain from forcibly displacing, deporting, or expelling the residents in violation of the principle of non-refoulement.
"Today's suppressive measure coincides with Iran's dirty campaign to pressure Iraq to act against the residents of Ashraf on the eve of the mullahs' presidential elections. It would seem that to have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-appointed to the presidency, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is increasing pressure on the opposition to the theocratic regime", the MPs wrote.
"Iran is trying to bring about a humanitarian catastrophe at Ashraf. US intervention is therefore imperative both to prevent the entry of Iraqi police forces inside Ashraf and to stop this crisis in its tracks. Since Iraq has demonstrated that it neither has the will nor the independence of action to respect the rights of Ashraf residents, the time has come for US forces, under United Nations monitors, to take over responsibility for protecting the residents", they said.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
29 May 2009
Note to editors:
The all-party British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, comprised of 120 MPs and Peers in the House of Lords, is chaired by Labour peer Lord Corbett of Castle Vale. It has the backing of a majority of MPs and over 200 Peers.