{mosimage}"If Iraq wants to be recognised and respected as a legitimate democratic state, it has to first show that it is committed to human rights and the rule of law, by ending the unlawful and inhumane siege of Ashraf" A majority of backbench MPs on 11 March 2010 called on the Government to take urgent measures at the United Nations for the world body to protect 3,400 Iranian opposition members based at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The cross-party MPs were backed in their call by more than 150 Peers. The announcement was made at a press conference in the House of Commons, where MPs and Peers spoke in defence of the PMOI opposition group in Camp Ashraf.

Transcript of speech by David Amess MP:
{mosimage}I want to declare my support along with colleagues for the brave Iranian Resistance movement in Camp Ashraf.  I do feel that our government is doing itself a disservice by not having picked up all the signs of political evolution in Iran. In recent months, the Iranian people have clearly demonstrated their desire for democratic change.

What began as protests against the fraudulent election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last summer quickly turned into a nationwide organised movement seeking an end to the totality of the clerical regime.

There are now calls by the opposition movement for major anti-government protests in Iran during the fire festival that precedes the Persian New Year on 21 March. The regime will have its hands full in the coming days in dealing with these unwavering protestors.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a truly remarkable lady, the President-elect of the major opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, recently said that the uprising which continues in Iran demonstrates the common resolve of the Iranian people to uproot the regime in its entirety.

I think our government has been slow to learn that the tide is turning in Iran and that the regime’s days are well and truly numbered.  I remember addressing a crowd of 10,000 with my colleague Brian Binley outside the UN when the President was bated and looked how it has all ended up.

As the regime draws closer to its end, it is attempting to cling onto anything to remain in power. In particular it has asked the Iraqi government to defy international law and expel or crack down on the several thousand members of the Iranian Resistance based at Camp Ashraf.

Like many of my Parliamentary colleagues, I was shocked when I saw video footage of Iraqi armed forces last year violently attacking the residents of Ashraf with all sorts of brutal weaponry at the behest of the mullahs in Tehran. It was absolutely shocking.

Since then, the incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister, himself an ally of the mullahs, ordered a siege of Ashraf, preventing food, fuel and medicine from reaching the residents. His forces also prevent the residents’ relatives and even doctors and lawyers from entering the camp. This humanitarian disaster must come to an end.

I am very disappointed that our government has continued to look the other way during this time as Iraqi forces continue to impose unlawful pressure on the residents.

Even as we are gathered here, the siege continues, and in tandem, the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence has dispatched agent provocateurs to the gates of Ashraf to continuously threaten to carry out another deadly raid on the camp following the election.

The statement that has been unveiled here today has the support of a majority of backbench MPs from all Parties and more than 150 Members of the House of Lords. It calls on the Government to press for the United Nations to assume protection of the residents of Ashraf. And it calls on the US government to guarantee the residents’ protection.

I have once final message for Iraq: If you want to be recognised and respected as a legitimate democratic state, you have to first show that you are committed to human rights and the rule of law by ending the unlawful and inhumane siege of Ashraf.

And I expect our government to do the same.

But I have to end with one final point. Two Thursdays ago I did the debate at the Oxford Union, “This house believes that President Barack Obama has failed to live up to expectations.” So, if I am going to criticise our government, I am going to criticise the US government as well.  There was a great deal of rhetoric when there were elections to find a new US president.  Yet when it comes to respect for the rule of law, on the issue of Ashraf I am very disappointed with our government and with the US government as well.

Well done to each and every one of you for caring about this issue.