The United States Ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, told McClatchy Sunday that he wants to move the members of the Iranian opposition "to a place that is a bit safer, a bit further from Iran."
Mohammad Mohaddessin, official representative of Ashraf residents in Paris told McClatchy in response that any relocation within Iraq is tantamount to setting up a "death camp," and that the residents "prefer to die in Ashraf rather than in an unknown location where the Iranian regime and its Iraqi agents will definitely have a more free hand."
The fact of the matter is that the residents of Camp Ashraf who died last April – 36 of them including 8 women – were killed when the Iraqi military forces raided their camp. That makes Ambassador Jeffery’s remarks refereeing to a “place a bit safer” puzzling. Does he mean that there is actually a place in Iraq where Iraqi forces cannot attack the residents and have no access to? Logic suggests that if the Iraqi forces are determined to slaughter the members of the Iranian main opposition movement, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), they can do so anywhere in Iraq. Moreover, what does he mean when he say “a bit safer?” Does he mean that next time less people will be killed and that is acceptable to the U.S.?
But in reality, since Camp Ashraf currently receives some minimal international attention, the only place that is “a bit safer” for the residents in Iraq is in fact Camp Ashraf.
The camp residents have already announced their complete agreement to the European plan for their resettlement outside Iraq to resolve the situation once and for all. They consider that the only party disagreeing with their relocation outside Iraq would be the Iranian regime; rather it wants all the 3400 residents of the camp to be destroyed. In fact it has been the Iranian regime and its Iraqi collaborators who have been calling for their relocation inside Iraq for the past few weeks.
That makes the United States’ support for such plan quite peculiar and unconstructive.
Having to go to another location in Iraq for the residents of Camp Ashraf is equivalent to an immediate death sentence. Anyone in the right mind would not do such thing voluntarily. It is suicide.
Comments by James Jeffry could only mean one thing. He is trying to say to Ashraf residents that, “The Iranian and Iraqi governments want you dead and so does the United States.”
The European Parliament introduced an initiative last May to resettle the camp population in Europe to prevent further massacre of the unarmed residents. United States should not obstruct these life saving efforts by introducing diversions.
What is even more disturbing is Ambassador Jeffry’s suggestion that for being granted refugee status, they have to “disband.” Such assertion would only please Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and their proxies in Iraq. The residents of Ashraf are genuine political refugees and it is shameful for a U.S. ambassador to say refugees should not have any political affiliation. As everyone knows, PMOI is a political organization and all residents of Ashraf were recognized by the US as civilian in 2004. So, talking about “paramilitary organization” is very questionable? Is he sending a message to Tehran?
Let it be very clear, whatever happens in Ashraf is and will be direct responsibility of the United States.