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A report from Ashraf City

Visit by a delegation of Euro-MPs led by Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, Vice-President of the European Parliament, to Ashraf City, home to PMOI members in Iraq

January 2009

Friends of a Free Iran Parliamentary inter-group European Parliament

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A report from Ashraf City

A short word
The book is the culmination of an extensive investigation by a delegation of the European Parliament about several thousand opponents of the Iranian regime based at Camp Ashraf in Iraqs Diyala Province. The Camp Ashrafs residents are members of the largest Iranian opposition group, the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The purpose of this book is to oer a close look at the opposition activists at Camp Ashraf which may prove fruitful in the future formulation of EU policy on Iran. Our committee began its research on Ashraf in mid-2003 and has sent several delegations to there to gain a better understanding in the years since. There are several reasons why our committee chose to send delegations to visit Ashraf up close. Admittedly, some quarters and governmental departments in western countries make accusations against the PMOI, though the organization counters that they are rooted in the Tehrans propaganda machinery. In any case, we sought to launch our own independent investigation and provide a coherent analysis of the group in light of these charges. We had issues a few reports in this regard. Another reason for sending delegations to Ashraf is due to the fact that we in the European Parliament are very sensitive about the developments in Iran and the Middle East region. We strongly believe that Iran which has turned into one of the most important crises centers in the world, has an Iranian solution, a solution in which the people and the opposition play the main role. It was within this context that we felt it necessary to provide the Parliament and European people with fuller insight into the nature of the opposition which Ashraf is the main part of it. Indeed, before visiting Ashraf in 2008, I had for years known of the Iranian Resistance and met many of its members in Europe. But I was struck by how dierent an image I got after meeting the people there.

But the crucial factor in our decision to send the last delegation to Ashraf relates to Iranian regimes eortstogetresidentsofCampAshrafextradited or expelled from Iraq. This is what may lead to a human catastrophe. The Iranian regime has many reasons to destroy Ashraf. It wants to eliminate its opposition and at the same time remove Ashraf residents as the main political and cultural barrier to its plan to dominate Iraq. There has been deep anxiety in the European Parliament of alleged plots by Tehran to force the Iraqi government into violating the basic rights of the Ashraf residents as enshrined in international law and the Geneva Conventions. Both the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have warned against the expulsion or forced displacement of Ashraf residents inside Iraq. We therefore felt that our independent investigations could help activate a more far-reaching eort to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq. Following our delegations visit to Ashraf and looking at the developments then on, we wish to call on the Iraqi government to recognize the rights of Ashraf residents within the framework of International Humanitarian Law, Geneva Conventions, international law and the principle of nonrefoulment and guarantee their juridical security. In the meantime we also call on the US to guarantee their protection. I hope you nd this brief literature a useful read in getting to know the real Iranian Resistance.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca MEP Vice President of the European Parliament Honorary President of the Friends of a Free Iran Parliamentary inter-group President of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ)


PMOI & Ashraf City......................................11


Visit to Ashraf City.........................................13 Commitment to Freedom and Democracy........................14 Youth and Women....................19 Education and Sport....................................27 Culture and Music......................................31 Self sufciency........................................32 Links to the Iranian people..................................40 Relations with Iraqis................................................44

Security of Ashraf City and Safety of its Residents.........................55 Latest Developments and Conclusion................................................65 Ashraf and Terrorist Lists ...............................................67 EU Terrorist List as an Example ............................................................69 The Latest Judgement of CFI ................................................................71 Concluding remarks...................................................................................77 Appendices ...................................................................................................79

Camp Ashraf, or Ashraf City as its residents know it, is home to approximately 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition group, the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). Ashraf is 100km from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and about 70km from of the Iranian border. It was originally built in 1986 after the PMOI relocated to Iraq. There have been numerous reports of attacks carried out on Ashraf by agents purportedly linked to Tehran. Iran has also put considerable pressure on the Iraqi government to close down the camp and extradite its residents. The European Parliament strongly condemned in its 12 July 2007 resolution some actions directed against the camp by Baghdad at Iranian behest. The residents of Camp Ashraf have since 2004 been considered protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Committee of the Red Cross says that the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), international law and the Principle of Non-Refoulement bars the Iraqi government from expelling or extraditing or forcefully displacing Ashraf residents inside Iraq. Nonetheless, there is serious risk of harm coming to the residents, with some pro-Iranian elements in the Iraqi government openly claiming that they would seek to expel them to Iran or elsewhere. Our committee therefore decided that it would be appropriate to fully investigate the current situation of Ashraf residents by sending another delegation to Iraq to speak in person with the camps population as well as relevant Iraqi and U.S. ocials. Of course, it was not the rst delegation of MEPs, but we have had four other delegations sent to Ashraf since 2004 for other purposes.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament Member of the European Peoples Party and European Democrats, from Spain Andre Brie, Member of the Foreign Aairs Committee of the European Parliament and member of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq, from Group of the European United Left, from Germany Tunne Kelam, Member of the Foreign Aairs Committee of the European Parliament and member of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq, from Group of the European Peoples Party and European Democrats, from Estonia Mogens Camre, Vice President of the Union for Europe of the Nations Group at the European Parliament from Denmark and Morten Hglund, MP Member of the Foreign Aairs Committee of the Norwegian Parliament accompanying the European Parliament delegation.


PMOI & Ashraf City

Background to the PMOI
The Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) is an Iranian political organization and member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a coalition of democratic opposition groups and personalities. The organization was founded in 1965 in opposition to the regime of the Shah. Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, the group quickly fell out with Ayatollah Khomeinis regime and its members were brutally suppressed in the reign of terror that ensued. International human rights monitors say that as many as 30,000 PMOI supporters were massacred in Iranian jails in the summer of 1988 in what Amnesty International described as a crime against humanity. The groups ideology is based on a modern, democratic interpretation of Islam, with a decidedly nationalist political perspective, bringing it to stark opposition to the fundamentalism professed by the ruling theocracy. In 1986, the PMOI leadership relocated to Iraq close to the Iranian border after it was forced to leave France because of a dirty deal between the French and Iranian regime. In June 2001, the groups leadership took the unilateral decision to end the organizations military opposition. For further background on the PMOI, see page 80


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Background to Ashraf City

In 1986, Ashraf City was an approximately 40 square kilometre piece of barren land in a dry desolate desert. Only a handful of deserted buildings were standing and there were no facilities, paved roads, lamp posts or running water. However, it soon developed into the largest of the PMOIs bases. The city is located in one of the largest Iraqi provinces, Diyala, 70km to the west of the Iran-Iraq border. The PMOI announced its neutrality in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In what is believed to have been a major part of an agreement reached between Washington and Tehran, Coalition forces bombed Ashraf repeatedly, inicting high casualties and enormous structural damages, in return for zero Iranian meddling in Iraq. The Coalition later signed a cease-re agreement with the PMOI and then the group agreed to voluntarily consolidate all its weaponry under Coalition supervision in return for U.S. protection for its members in Ashraf from Iranian terrorism. U.S. senior ocials announced in July 2004 that a 16-month investigation into the group had not come up with any basis to bring charges against any of its members (New York Time, 27 July 2004). On 2 July 2004, the Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) armed that the United States had recognized the protected persons status of the individuals at Ashraf City under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The proclamation, addressed to the residents of Ashraf, stated, The United States has conrmed your status as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and has communicated that determination to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The acknowledgement of this determination will assist in expediting the eorts of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in your disposition as individuals in accordance with applicable international law. For further background on Ashraf, see page 85


Visit to Ashraf City

Before embarking on the visit to Ashraf, the delegation had read extensively about the PMOI and the camp. The delegation considered literature favorable to and critical of the PMOI and Ashraf residents. As such, those of us in the delegation for whom this was a rst visit (Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Mogens Camre and Tunne Kelam) had pre-conceived ideas about Ashraf. In particular, until we began our visit, we did not properly understand what motivates Iranians who travel to Ashraf and/or remain there. Travelling inside Iraq, our delegation witnessed large areas of arid land and devastation. Crossing the gates of Ashraf was like entering a dierent world. The rstthingthatstruckuswasthesizeofthecity,withitslongtreelined roads and carefully maintained parks. Our delegation immediately felt the buzz of this bustling city, which is surprisingly peaceful, but yet developed, cultured and tidy. What we saw was an organised and highly productive city, which was technically advanced. During the visit, our delegation stayed in Hotel Iran, a series of air conditioned apartments built around a beautifully maintained garden. The delegation visited many parts of Ashraf, including the Resistances museum, the museum on terrorism, Pearl Memorial (Ashraf cemetery), Fatemeh Zahra Mosque, Baharestan Hall, the technical workshops, Iran


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University and six of the nearly 20 sections, each housing approximately 200 Ashraf residents. Each section is self-sustained with its own kitchen, bakery, dining hall, living quarters, recreational facilities and gardens. We were also shown the schematics and blueprints of the camp as a whole. Due to shortage of time, our delegation was not able to visit all the replicas of Iranian landmarks including the Hafezieh (a memorial building for a great Persian poet in the fourteenth century) and Karoon bridge (a famous bridge in the Iranian city of Ahwaz), Amjadieh sports complex (named after Irans famous football stadium), Ashrafs swimming pools and lakes, Chelcheragh (forty stars) shopping center, and Ashrafs library and hospitals. Our delegation met and held discussions with hundreds of residents of Ashraf, as well as the PMOIs leadership. We also met with tribal leaders, Sheikhs, as well as political and legal gures from across Iraq. The delegation also met relatives of Ashraf residents who had travelled from Iran to the camp and were due to return to Iran. On the last day of our visit, the delegation met with representatives of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Commitment to Freedom and Democracy

What we found most amazing about Ashraf were its people. The composition of Ashraf City is fascinating. Its 3,500 or so inhabitants are made up of Iranians from dierent social and ethnic backgrounds, including Persians, Turks, Kurds, Azeris, Assyrians and Balluchis. The residents of Ashraf span three generations and are by and large highly educated. The smallest in number are those who started their political activities during the Shahs dictatorship. Many spent years under torture in the Shahs prisons. Then there are those who became politically active with the 1979 revolution and who therefore found themselves struggling against the clerical regime from the outset. Some had spent years under the most brutal forms of torture in the regimes prisons, and many said

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that they had lost friends and relatives. The third part, and perhaps the growing part of the population, is the third generation who have grown up under the rule of the clerics. The residents of Ashraf may well represent a microcosm of Iranian society. Despite the hardship that they and their families have endured for the past 43 years; to us they seemed also a people with strong values and morals. One could say that they have a sense of purpose and a deep sense of responsibility towards their nation and fellow citizens. Most of those who we spoke to described how they felt that it was impossible for them to walk away from the pains of their compatriots. They felt they had to act. Ashraf oered them the means to resist against the regime and the opportunity to work towards bringing freedom to their nation. In Ashraf one comes across portraits of Irans national heroes; Sattar Khan and Bagher Khan (two heroes from the Constitutional Revolution of 1906), and Mohammad Mossadeq, Irans nationalist Prime Minister who was overthrown in a U.S.-engineered coup to bring back the Shah. In a sense, Ashraf is today the torch bearer for the more than a century of struggle for freedom by the Iranian people. In Ashrafs Section 8, our delegation met with an elderly lady by the name of Mahboobeh. She was from a wealthy Iranian family who had long been supporters of the PMOI; support for which they had paid a very heavy price. She explained how her brother and all four of her children had been executed by the regime. Even she had not been spared, spending years in an Iranian prison. The regimes response to opposition is death, she explained. She spoke at length about the level of oppression in Iran and the devastation in her country. She said that everything Iranians do from the manner in which they dress to their movements is controlled by the regime. She also spoke with great sorrow about the level of poverty in Iran and about her countrys street children. Mahboobeh explained that she had gone to Ashraf on her own a few years ago. She described Ashraf as the road to freedom for her nation.


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Despite the huge pressures faced by Ashraf residents, Mahboobeh remained deant. She explained that the residents of Ashraf would stand up for their legal rights. We are entitled to remain in Ashraf and will not be forced out of our home, she exclaimed. She also expressed strong disappointment towards the European Unions heads of state, which she felt had turned a blind eye to the crimes committed against her people by the Iranian regime. Ashrafs museum is truly immense and a tting tribute to all those who have fallen in their cause for Irans freedom. The museum represents a comprehensive record of the suering endured by the PMOI, but also the groups dedication to the cause of freedom and democracy. Walking through the museum, our delegation got a sense of the PMOIs great struggle for freedom and the bonds between the organization and the Iranian people. The PMOI could well be described as a movement built on the support of the Iranian people. The museum oers a glimpse of the tale of pain and suering of a people and the heavy price they have paid, and continue to pay, for their struggle for freedom. It symbolizes their refusal to surrender to the regime. There are so many individual stories. Dozens of decorative glass cabinets contain photographs and belongings from the those executed as well as some basic facts about their lives and how they met their deaths. Some cabinets contained the photographs of entire families wiped out by the regime. The Mesbah family was one such example in which the parents and six children had all been executed. The children included Seyyedeh Fatemeh, Ezzat and Seyyed Ali Asghar who were respectively 13, 15 and 17 years old when they were executed. Another cabinet contained the photographs of professional sportsmen and sportswomen who had been executed because of their support for the PMOI. The delegation was surprised to learn about the execution of Habibollah Khabiri, who was the captain of Irans national football team. He was executed in Evin prison on 21 June 1984.

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One cabinet contained the blood stained and bullet ridden jacket, tie and holy Quran of Professor Kazem Rajavi, -elder brother of Iranian Resistance leader Massoud Rajavi - who was assassinated by a regime terrorist hit squad near Geneva on 24 April 1990. Professor Rajavi, a renowned human rights advocate, was appointed as Irans rst ambassador to the UNs European Headquarters in Geneva after the 1979 revolution. Very soon, he defected from the regime and joined the Resistance. He was the representative of the NCRI in Switzerland and at the UN European Headquarters in Geneva for several years. Another cabinet contained a pillow case, which was turned inside out and upon which was written in very small text the names and dates of execution of dozens of PMOI prisoners. The pillow case had been left for a victims parents by a PMOI prisoner who herself was later executed. At rst, her parents could not understand why their daughter had left them her pillow case, but they soon discovered the text. It was this young womans way of telling the outside world about the horrors being perpetrated by the regime behind the closed gates and tall walls of Iranian prisons. It was also her way of continuing her struggle against the regime until the moment of her death. Our delegation also icked through a hardback book entitled Fallen for Freedom. This book contained the names, personal details and photographs of over 20,000 of the approximately 120,000 PMOI members and sympathizers executed by the Iranian regime. There were men and women of all ages, from as young as 13 to elderly people. They were also from all walks of life and every profession students, teachers, lecturers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, architects, military ocers, etc. There were also tributes to more recent PMOI victims of execution including Hojjat Zamani who was 31 when hanged by the regime in February 2006 and Valiollah Feiz Mahdavi, 28 at the time of execution in September 2006. Shortly before his execution, Valliollah Feiz Mahdavi managed to get a taped message out of prison. In it he explained that he


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had been arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry of the regime at the age of 22 on the charge of attempting to join the PMOI. He spoke of the conditions and torture he had endured, and concluded by making the following statement:
Dear compatriots and friends who are hearing my voice - I have learnt in my years of struggle that for those who struggle for freedom, it is not important to personally see the achievement of their goals and the results of their sacrices. Most important is steadfastness in the struggle and the ultimate attainment of those goals. I truly believe that freedom, democracy and justice are as vital to human life as the air one breathes. It is for this reason that I ask you not to abandon your struggle against the mullahs regime in the face of their brutality. Finally, I have a message for the leaders of the regime and their henchmen who carry out their orders. I say to them, we will never resign ourselves to the ignominy of bowing or surrendering to your brutality and oppression. Even at the price of our lives, we shall never say yes to your dictatorial regime. Long live an Iranian nation free from injustice, oppression and exploitation. This is Valihollah Feiz-Mahdavi from Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) prison.

The delegation saw gifts given to the museum by young and talented Iranians from across the world. The gifts included awards and medals they had won in their countries of residence for various kinds of educational and sporting achievements. There were also precious gifts by Iraqis, including prominent leaders of dierent political parties as a sign of respect for the fallen activists and a show of solidarity with the PMOIs struggle. The museum is a chilling reminder of the horrors and crimes for which the Iranian regime is responsible. Particularly noticeable were the crimes committed against women and children in Iran. Not only does the regime have no respect for human life or the rule of law, it does not even attempt to give the impression that it does. Our delegation also felt a sense of anger and shame about the misinformation that is spread against the PMOI and which is sometimes

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accepted by some uninformed people. Our visit to Ashraf gave us a dierent impression.

Youths and Women

Visiting the various sections in Ashraf, our delegation was surprised to see the large number of young Iranians in Ashraf. This was in direct contrast to statements made by the regime, claiming that the residents of Ashraf are elderly. These young Ashraf residents were highly educated and spoke several languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Danish. This is partly because many of them were educated in Europe. The female sections were particularly impressive. The mere number of young women in Ashraf illustrated to us the democratic environment within the PMOI ranks which allows and encourages women to play a full part in all areas of life and political activity in stark contrast to the level of discrimination against women in Iran. The residents of each section are particularly proud of their gardens, which are impeccably maintained despite the scorching heat and limited water supply. As one young female resident of Ashraf told us, Every tree we plant, every language we learn, every course we take, the music we play and the songs we sing are all part of our struggle against the regime. We were surprised to meet the daughter of Mrs Maryam Rajavi NCRI President-elect - whose name is also Ashraf. Ashraf, 26, spoke uent French and English. She had also learnt Arabic. I was surprised when this talented young lady also addressed me in correct Spanish. Our delegation also met the son of Mrs. Rajavi, Mostafa, 28, who was also educated in France. The delegation visited female section 16. It was comprised of approximately 200 female residents mostly in their 20s. Our delegation was shown around section 16s workshop, which was in a hangar-like building. In it, section 16 manufactured large numbers of


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aluminium windows and doors, cupboards and partition walls for trailers, the frame and other parts of which were manufactured by their male colleagues in a dierent section. Every individual who worked there had been through one month of intense training and strict safety rules were enforced when using heavy machinery. The delegation then visited one of section 16s computer rooms. The room contained around 10 computers. The women there illustrated their computer programming skills. They also illustrated Ashrafs intranet, which provided access to various contents, including news and links to websites. It also contained an education section in which residents of Ashraf could use programs to learn languages and study a range of subjects. One resident was responsible for the weekly movie review of newly released movies, which she would place on the intranet. The delegation was then taken to section 16s music room. The residents explained how over the past few years they had learnt to read music and play instruments. A small group of residents played two songs for

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the delegation, one of which was Iranian and the other was a piece by Beethoven. The delegation was then invited to dinner in section 16s large dining hall. The hall and the tables were immaculately decorated. During dinner, the delegation had the opportunity to speak with many of the young women that made up section 16. One of the young women, Vahideh, 20, had gone to Ashraf from the Iranian holy city of Qom. Before leaving Iran, she was at university where she was studying agricultural engineering. She explained that a lot of Iranian students had heard many things about Ashraf and want to join its ranks. However, they face many threats and risks. She explained how a lot of students who wanted to travel to Ashraf had been arrested by the regimes Ministry of Intelligence. She said that one method used by the regimes intelligence services is to bribe individuals to provide information on those who have expressed the desire to go to Iraq and plan to visit Ashraf. She recounted how her family faced systematic harassment because


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of their opposition to the regime. Her father and uncles would regularly be arrested and detained for diering periods or would otherwise be summoned to the regimes Ministry of Intelligence. This caused her immense anguish, but she felt powerless to prevent it. Her parents came to visit her in Ashraf shortly after she arrived. When they returned to Iran, their home was stormed by Revolutionary Guards. The harassment and imprisonment of family members of Ashraf residents who returned from a visit to Ashraf was something that the delegation heard repeatedly from many of the residents. The delegation was also moved by the suering endured by Sahar, a gentle and warm 25-year-old. Her parents supported the PMOI and they were mainly involved in selling and distributing the PMOIs newspaper after the revolution. In the early 1980s, they were arrested by the regime and taken to Evin prison. Sahars mother was pregnant with Sahar when she was arrested and so Sahar was born amongst the squalor of Evin prison. When she was two years old, her family managed to secure her release

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from prison. From then on, she was brought up by a relative. Sahar explained that when she was in her late teens, she learned that both her mother and father had been executed by the regime. Her father was executed when she was one year old and still in Evin prison. One of her fathers cellmates later told others how one night her father returned to the cell, which he shared with many other PMOI prisoners. As was the norm, he was badly tortured and in a lot of pain. However, on this occasion he was particularly distraught. He explained to his cellmates how while he was blindfolded and being tortured, his torturers brought one-year-old Sahar into the torture chamber. Sahars father had not seen Sahar since she was born, but could suddenly hear her crying. His torturers told him that if he denounced the PMOI and agreed to cooperate with the regime, he would be handed his daughter and his blindfold would be removed. Despite his anguish, he refused the cruel oer of his torturers. Sahars father was executed days later never having had the opportunity to see or hold his daughter.


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Our delegation also spoke to two sisters, Hejrat and Forough, who were in their mid-20s. They explained that they had travelled to Ashraf from the Iranian city of Karaj, 30 km west of Tehran. In Iran, Hejrat was a university student and had set up her own weblog to publicise the plight of Iranian women. She had initially thought that this was the best way of campaigning against the regime, but soon realized it had no real impact. While researching on the internet, she began to read about the PMOI and Ashraf, which ultimately led to her travelling to Ashraf. There, she said, she had found just what she had been looking for an eective means of opposing the regime. Forough added that the situation inside Iran was unbearable. I am both a woman and a student two of the most oppressed groups in Iran, she added. Forough explained that some of her friends had committed suicide due to their feeling of hopelessness. Forough and Hejrat, like many other residents of Ashraf to whom the delegation spoke, expressed concern and anxiety about the threats accompanying a transfer of Ashrafs security from Coalition forces to Iraqi forces. They explained that as soon as their father heard about this threat, he was so worried that he went to Ashraf. Upon returning to Iran, their father was arrested and placed under torture. Ghazaleh was in her mid-20s and became acquainted with the PMOI after her brother was arrested following his return from a trip to Ashraf. She wanted to know who the Mojahedin were and why it was that her brother had been arrested. After some research, she decided to travel to Ashraf herself. She said that her family had felt at ease when she had originally gone to Ashraf; however, when talk of the transfer of security of Ashraf to Iraqi forces arose, the family members of all Ashraf residents were lled with anguish. Despite her own concerns, she explained how she and many of the other residents of Ashraf had telephoned their families in Iran to reassure them. The delegation also visited female section 8. It too comprised of about

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200 female residents mostly in their 20s and early 30s. The delegation was shown around section 8 and we were incredibly impressed by the accomplishments of these young women. They played music, learnt languages, and had become capable computer programmers. They also did some construction work , electrical and plumbing. Their ability to multitask and take on many responsibilities was most impressive. Shiva, who was in her mid-20s explained how four years ago Iraqi lecturers were teaching them electrical engineering. Those same students had nished their course and were working on Ashrafs power supply including taking charge of its generators. Shiva and other residents of section 8 expressed concern about the propaganda against Ashraf and the ominous intentions of the Revolutionary Guards. She explained how many Ashraf residents had left Iran, because of the threat to their lives from the regime. However, the regime has continued its threats in Iraq. Shiva explained that in the past ve years the residents of Ashraf have faced a lot of threats. In particular, she spoke emotionally about the kidnapping in August 2005 of two PMOI members by Iraqi security forces aliated to the Iranian regime. Neither of them has been seen since, and both are presumed dead. She also recounted the hardship she and the others endured during the blistering heat of the Iraqi summer in 2006 when the regime blew up the pipes delivering water to Ashraf. However, she explained that these threats illustrated clearly to her that the regime was terried of Ashraf and its potential for bringing about change in Iran and so this made her more determined than ever to continue in her struggle. The delegation also spoke to a woman who was in her early 40s. She was a doctor and worked in Ashrafs hospital. She explained that in the past Iraqi doctors would travel to Ashraf to treat its residents. However, after the war in 2003 it became more and more dangerous for doctors to go to Ashraf because the regime and its agents threatened and assassinated those who provided assistance to the residents of Ashraf. The PMOI had some doctors and dentists in Ashraf, but not nearly enough in number,


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expertise and equipment to treat the 3,500 or so residents. As such, many Ashraf residents started studying medicine and dentistry. Now Ashraf medical sta are able to deal with 70-80% of the medical and dentistry needs in the camp, although she stressed that they still rely on some brave Iraqi doctors who go to Ashraf to treat patients with conditions that the doctors of Ashraf either do not have the expertise or the equipment to treat. This doctor also told the delegation about a clinic set up by the residents of Ashraf for local Iraqis. She said she spends a couple of days a week working in that clinic, as do other doctors and dentists of Ashraf. The clinic was located close to the entrance to Ashraf. The doctor explained that Ashraf residents had set up the clinic in response to the needs of Iraqis living in villages surrounding Ashraf. These Iraqis could not aord to travel to larger cities to receive medical treatment. Despite having their own medical supplies and medicine rations cut o by the Iraqi government, and therefore having to buy their medical supplies from the black market, the

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Ashraf residents provided the treatment and medicine to the Iraqis free of charge. Our delegation witnessed a strong sense of responsibility felt on the part of Ashraf residents towards Iraqis who they felt were also the victims of the Iranian regime and its fundamentalism.

Education and Sport

Education and sports play a large part in the daily life of Ashraf residents. Our delegation paid a visit to parts of Iran University in Ashraf. The university started o with a handful of lecturers and a small number of students, we were told. Now, Iran University has 20 lecturers, who are a mix of Iraqi professors and lecturers and Ashraf residents who taught as lecturers in other countries before travelling to Ashraf. Iran University also has more than 250 students. A variety of courses are taught at the university from languages (at diering levels) to computer science, natural sciences and mathematics.


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Iran University even has its own law school, named after The Rt. Hon. Lord Slynn of Hadley GBE, a former judge at the European Court of Justice and a member of the British House of Lords. It was explained to our delegation that Lord Slynn travelled to Ashraf on two occasions in 2003 and 2004 and was instrumental in the Ashraf residents being recognized as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The delegation was particularly impressed with the high standard of languages spoken in Ashraf and the computer skills. Everyone we spoke to in Ashraf is taking Arabic and English courses, and taking part in a computer literacy program. The delegation met a number of the Iraqi lecturers who spoke very fondly of Ashraf residents. They explained that the residents had come from an oppressed nation and deserved support. Ashraf has the full support of all nationalist Iraqis regardless of their religious or ethnic background, one lecturer said. The lecturers also urged the delegation to protect the rights of the Ashraf residents. The delegation also met Iman, a middle aged Ashraf resident who is also a lecturer at the university. He teaches a crash course in electricity, which requires 100 hours attendance. For obvious reasons, a large part of the course is dedicated to dealing with electricity shortages. The students of the university are also conducting extensive research into this area through the internet. Saeid was doing his nal project on the subject of solar energy. Ashraf had solar panels operating on one of its buildings, but the project was at its early stages. Saeid explained that he was developing a programme that would allow the solar panels to follow the suns movements throughout the day. It was called a sun tracker system. Another resident also called Saeid was doing his nal project on wind turbines, although he explained that obtaining the parts that were required was proving a challenge. However, he was of the view that Ashraf could operate on renewables.

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Hamid-Reza had designed a system that controls voltage and electrical current disturbance. He explained that the electricity delivered to Ashraf from outside was only available for a couple of hours a day and even then the voltage is too low to be of any real use. His program monitored electricity being produced and used in Ashraf and fed relevant information through to the central power station in Ashraf. Assadollah was researching photovoltaic power generation systems. Davood was researching digital circuits. He had made an enormous board for use in Ashraf ceremonies to show the date or the time. The delegation next visited the universitys programming and software department. There the delegation met Sara who was in her mid-20s and was a programmer. She came to Ashraf from Sweden in 2000. Her father had been executed in Iran. She was involved in a major project to computerise all of Ashrafs systems. This included setting up an online shopping site for Ashraf residents who were each issued with a card that allowed them to purchase goods. The delegation also met Majid, the son of Mohammad Mohaddessin, the Chair of the Foreign Aairs Committee of the NCRI. Majid, 25, was described by others as an expert in computers. He had designed some software that allowed vast numbers of news items to be processed and translated into dierent languages to be uploaded onto relevant websites. He was also instrumental in setting up The Central Bank of Ashraf. Each section has its own bank account and transfers can be made to other sections and departments for all sorts of purposes. Shahab in his mid-20s was part of the multimedia production team. He was responsible for variety of things, including producing caricature comedy clips of the regimes top ocials, which are incredibly popular in Iran. Shahab showed the delegation on a large at screen television how the clips were made. Using motion tracking, he was able to take the photo of the face of a regime ocial and place it on the body of an Ashraf resident in full costume who acted out amusing scenes. This would then


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be converted into a story and music would be added. Hossein is a programmer in his early 20s. He wrote computer games and was the person responsible for creating a game called Bibi ghter in which an elderly Iranian lady cartoon character would ght regime ocials. Hamid, in his mid-20s, a designer, had produced a graphic programme, which was a virtual tour of Ashraf. He had also produced a program for controlling light intensity during ceremonies at Ashraf and was able to connect sound les to lighting controls so that colorful lights would turn on and o in response to the music. Iran University is a good illustration of Ashraf residents level of education and potential. Our delegation was of the view that if they had greater resources and equipment, the residents of Ashraf could do even more. Sport is also a large part of daily life for Ashraf residents. Driving around Ashraf, one cannot help but notice the outdoor basketball courts, volleyball courts, the substantial sports hall and the football stadium with its tremendously well maintained grass pitch. The sports in which Ashraf residents take part include swimming and pool events such as water polo, all sorts of athletics, basketball, football, volleyball, Greco-Roman wrestling, handball and martial arts. Apart from competing individually against each other and for their sections, Ashraf residents also hold competitions with Iraqis and Iraqi teams. We see this as an illustration of the close links between the PMOI and the Iraqi people. Our delegation arrived in Ashraf during the Mehregan celebrations (see below). During these celebrations, most Ashraf residents take part in a week of sporting events in which they compete in individual and team events.

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Culture and Music

The delegation was surprised to see how despite the harsh conditions of Iraq, the Ashraf residents identied very closely with their own culture and treated music with the value that it deserves. Music has become such an integral part of life in Ashraf. This was evident to us during our short stay in Ashraf. Each section has its own music room and good music facilities, including an array of instruments. The delegation visited the music room in some of the sections it visited and watched Ashraf residents practicing. The residents of some sections also played music for the delegation. We had lunch in section 3, a mainly male section, and was informed that this section houses a high proportion of Ashrafs musical talent. During lunch, the delegation listened to Iranian folk music played with traditional Iranian instruments. The delegation also heard a singer, Mohammad. He was in his late 20s and explained that he had come to Ashraf from Iran just before the war broke out in 2003. Young people in Ashraf play a signicant role in the musical achievements there. With the help of an Iraqi professor, in 2004 the Ashraf residents established an orchestra, which now performs regularly for the residents and Iraqi visitors at large gatherings in Ashraf. The younger residents have also set up various pop bands that write and perform music and lyrics about their struggle against the regime. On the last day of our visit, the Ashraf residents were holding their Jashne-Mehregan or Mehregan festival. Mehregan is a Zoroastrian and Iranian festival celebrated in honor of Mithra, the divinity of covenant, and hence of interpersonal relationships such as friendship and love. It also falls at the time for harvest and is celebrated for that reason. The Mehregan celebrations were held in Ashrafs football stadium in the presence of virtually all residents and a large number of Iraqi guests. In preparation


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for the event, all streets of Ashraf were lit up. The delegation arrived in the stadium to nd a huge stage at the back of which was a very large screen. On stage the delegation saw Ashrafs formidable male and female orchestra, led by a composer. Kamyar Izad-Panah, leader of the orchestra, is an outstanding composer educated in the United States. He joined the Resistance in early 1980s. The Ashraf residents also practice their religion. A few years ago the residents decided to build a mosque inside Ashraf. So, the magnicent Fatemeh Zahra Mosque was built. It takes its name from the daughter of Islams Prophet Mohammad. The mosque is a real feature of Ashraf, with its minarets penetrating Ashrafs sky line. Inside, the mosque can accommodate hundreds of people for prayers. The attractive mosque, with its beautiful gardens and water fountains acts as a place of worship not only for the Ashraf residents, but also for Iraqis from both the Sunni and Shiite faiths.

Self suciency
Due to the pressures and restrictions placed upon Ashraf, the residents of Ashraf say they have to try and be as self-sucient as possible. By way of example, the delegation was told that due to the cutting of fuel supplies to Ashraf by the Iraqi government, the residents of Ashraf were forced to buy their fuel supplies from the black market. The cost of this is ten times the standard price. Moreover, the cost of repairing the water pumping station that the residents say was blown up by the regime has been staggering. Other than nancial support received from Iranians inside and outside Iran. One of the main sources of income for Ashraf is the sale of wooden and steel trailers, as well as industrial refrigerators. These are made in many hangar-like workshops throughout Ashraf. Ashraf residents grow some of their own fruit and vegetables. They also have their own bakeries in which they bake a variety of breads, pastries and cakes. The industrial machinery in their kitchens and bakeries is modern.

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The residents explained that what they baked was traditional bread and pastries from Iran. The Ashraf residents produce their own ice cream and even cola. The delegation had the opportunity to try some of the pastries, ice cream and cola being made in section 15. There, the delegation met a PMOI member in his 40s who had obtained his PhD in genetic engineering before being employed in the eld of cancer research and later coming to Ashraf. He showed the delegation around the kitchen and bakery of section 15. He told us how in the immediate aftermath of the suspension of Ashrafs fuel supply, they had to burn wood for cooking. The 200 or so residents of section 15 held higher average age than other sections. There, the delegation met 50-year-old Dr Saleh who told the delegation about Ashrafs medical facilities. He explained that he had spent the past 30 years as a doctor, treating PMOI patients. Like the female doctor the delegation met in section 8, he explained how after the war in 2003 it became too dangerous for Iraqi doctors to go to Ashraf, because they would be targeted by the regime and its agents. Now Ashraf is able to treat a large proportion of conditions. However, he also spoke about the limitations to what they can do. He spoke with great sadness about a number of Ashraf residents who had died from cancer. He felt that if they had better facilities in Ashraf and/or the Coalition force were prepared to transfer such Ashraf residents to secure hospitals abroad, they might have survived. He explained, for example, that in Ashraf they did not have the facilities to conduct CT or MRI scans. Kazem Tahmasebi, a US-educated engineer, died of lung complications in Ashraf. He was suering for a long time and could not be treated in Ashraf due to a lack of appropriate medical facilities. Several women also died because medical facilities in Ashraf did not have adequate treatment possibilities. They included Zohreh Amer Tousi who died of brain and lung cancer. Her husband and brother had been murdered by the regime in Iran because of their support for the PMOI. She is survived by her son who lives in Germany. Narges Lati died in February 2008 from colon and lung


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cancer. It took a long time to get her to Baghdad to get proper medical treatment, by which time it was too late to attack the cancer. Dr. Saleh explained that his family had suered tremendously over the past 30 years because of their opposition to the regime. Six members of his family had been executed, he said, including his brother who was also a doctor and his 65-year-old mother. As in other sections of Ashraf, the residents of section 15 spoke with strong feelings about the PMOIs blacklisting by the EU. Akbar Samadi in his 40s said, The EU terror list has reversed the role of the oppressors and the oppressed. He said he had spent 10 years in the regimes prisons under the most severe forms of torture. One of the worst forms of torture he described was being beaten on the soles of his feet with cables. I am a victim of this regime how can the EU describe me as a terrorist? he said. The delegation also met a man in his early 30s who spoke of his antiregime activities in Iran before going to Ashraf. He told the delegation

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how he was actively involved in anti-regime protests. He put up pro-PMOI posters on street walls and wrote anti-regime slogans. The delegation met with the 200 or so young residents in section 6. This was a mainly male section led by a young woman. The vast majority of the residents were in their 20s and 30s. This section led most of the building projects in Ashraf and they were very proud of their achievements. They spoke with immense pride about having built Ashrafs mosque in three months and the stadium in six months. They wanted to ensure that Ashraf was a place that was always going through change and regeneration. Ashraf is a city in a constant state of change and progress it is a city that does not stand still, said Mojtaba a man in his mid-30s. The delegation met Saber who was in his late 20s. He was a student in Iran before going to Ashraf in 2000. He spoke about how hard he had studied to achieve his dreams. He also wrestled for Iran at national and international levels. Saber spoke of his daily anguish of watching as the Revolutionary Guards brutally oppress his people. The Revolutionary


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Guards would not even respect our most basic rights, he explained. Saber said that there was a point at which he reached a crossroad. He could either choose to continue with his life and ignore the harm that was being done to his country and the pain inicted upon his people or to go to Ashraf to join the ranks of the Resistance. It was a dicult choice for him, because he knew that when he went to Ashraf the regime would harass his family. He said that it was unfortunately a price he had to pay and that he felt it was the most important decision of his life. The delegation also met Saeid who was in his early 40s. He worked for Irans Oil Company and was a specialist in oil exploration. Due to the level of oppression in Iran, he ed and sought refuge in Belgium. There he continued his work and established a very high standard of living. However, at the same time he could see that the situation inside Iran for his people was deteriorating by the day, he told us. It reached a point where he could no longer remain indierent to the suering of his people and therefore he decided to travel to Ashraf to struggle against the regime. He explained that the decision to go to Ashraf was incredibly dicult for him, because he has two daughters who he had to leave behind in Belgium. Considering the threats, he did not feel Ashraf was a safe place for his young daughters. At the same time, he said that he could not remain indierent to the suering of the children in Iran. Rasool was in his late 40s. He recounted how he had taken part in the 1979 revolution because he wanted a better future for his people. Rasool wanted social justice and greater basic freedoms. However, his hopes and dreams for a future Iran were dashed by the Ayatollahs. Due to his support for the PMOI and opposition to the new theocratic regime, Rasool was imprisoned for 17 years. He explained how he was tortured extensively, as were many fellow political prisoners. He said what vividly he remembers of 17 years in prison were the screams of those being tortured in front of him, which he said were worse than being tortured himself, and the blood that could be seen and smelt all over the prisons. In 1988, many of Rasools

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friends were executed as part of the mass execution of political prisoners following Khomeinis fatwa to execute all prisoners who were loyal to PMOI. Rasool joined the other residents of Ashraf in 2002, because he felt a deep sense of responsibility to struggle for the basic rights of his people, he said. However, he also felt a deep sense of betrayal from Europe, which he thought should best understand the Iranian peoples struggle against the religious fascists in Iran. Europe is not putting nearly as much pressure on the Iranian regime as it should be, he said. The delegation also spoke to Mohammad who was a Professor teaching in New York for ten years before going to Ashraf in 1988. We also met Siavosh who was in his late 20s. After eeing Iran, Siavosh sought refuge in Sweden and lived there for seven years. He said making the choice to come to Ashraf was dicult for him. His friends could not believe that he was going to leave behind his comfortable life in Sweden and go to Iraq to ght the regime. But he said he could not remain indierent towards what was happening back in Iran and added, I had to be prepared to pay a price in order to rid my people and the world of the evil mullahs. Kioumars too was in his late 20s. He was over 6ft tall and very heavily built. He told the delegation that his nickname was Khazal, which was the name of a PMOI champion executed by the regime on the day that Kioumars arrived in Ashraf. Due to his size, Khazal was particularly brutally tortured by many of the regimes infamous torturers, but they were not able to break him. Ultimately, they executed him. Kioumars explained that he left Iran in 1999 and travelled to Europe where he was educated. He explained how he had a comfortable life in Europe, but that whenever he thought of the regimes crimes against his people, he suered great torment. It hurt him deeply. He therefore made the decision to struggle against the regime in Ashraf. Kioumars went to Ashraf in 2002 shortly after the PMOI had been placed on the EUs terrorist list. He described the EU terror label against the PMOI as hollow and


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shameful. There are 70 million Iranians who are suering at the hands of the Iranian regime and we are their only hope, he said. This is what he explained gives the residents of Ashraf strength. Kioumars also had a message for the regime. He invited the regime to do their worst in terms of plots against Ashraf. There is nothing the regime can do to deect us from our path towards the freedom of our nation. We will never bow to tyranny and oppression, he said. Assadollah was 50 years old. He has two sons, 26 and 13 years of age, living in Tehran. They design wooden furniture. Assadollah spent eight years in Evin prison. He stressed that the regime and its agents spread a lot of lies about Ashraf. He described it as cowardly and said that the lies were spread in circumstances where the residents of Ashraf were not present to defend themselves. We are ready to attend any impartial court of law that is prepared to hear our response to these blatant lies, he said. The delegation also met with Rahmat, 27. He told the delegation about the arrest and execution of his father when he was only three months old.

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He explained that he and his mother were taken to prison at the same time. His mother later told him that while they were in prison her torturers sometimes harmed him in front of her in order to extract information from her. After three years, he and his mother were released from prison. The regime expelled his mother from her job as a teacher. Rahmat was in university in Iran, but was expelled a short while after he had started his degree course, because of his familys support for the PMOI. Shortly after that he, his mother and two uncles decided to leave Iran and go to Ashraf. Prior to the 2003 war, the PMOI used to bury their dead in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq. However, after the war this became too dangerous and so they built their own cemetery and memorial. More than 250 people are buried in Pearl Memorial. They include Mrs Maryam Rajavis mother who died a few years ago. She was very ill and was oered to be sent abroad for treatment but said she did not want to leave Ashraf. The delegation found Pearl Memorial to be extremely moving. The


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gardens, owers and trees are beautifully maintained. Pearl Memorial contains a number of monuments including one in the honor of 30,000 political prisoners executed by the regime en masse in 1988. It also contains a section dedicated to the PMOI members killed when US and British warplanes bombed PMOI bases at the onset of the Iraq war as part of a quid pro quo with Tehran. The elderly gardner at the Pearl Memorial said, Many of these fallen brothers and sisters spent years in the regimes prisons under the most brutal forms of torture. Despite freeing themselves from the clutches of the regime, they always thought that they would be one day killed by the regime. However, they had never anticipated being killed by US and British bombers in an unprovoked attack as part of a dirty deal with the Iranian regime. There is also a monument built in the memory of some 50 Iraqis assassinated by the regime for their support for the PMOI. These Iraqis helped the residents of Ashraf in procuring their essential needs. Pearl Memorial also contains the graves of a number of PMOI members who died in Ashraf of their illnesses such as cancer. They were deprived of proper treatment as requests to transfer them to hospitals abroad were refused by Coalition Forces.

Links to the Iranian people

During the visit, the delegation heard a great deal about the relatives of Ashraf residents who live in Iran. This interested us greatly, because the regime and its websites regularly allege that Ashraf residents are prevented from contacting their relatives and that their relatives are prevented from visiting Ashraf. The delegation was able to meet in Ashraf with over 20 relatives and friends of Ashraf residents who had gone to Ashraf because of their concern surrounding the transfer of security of Ashraf to the Iraqi security forces. Their ages ranged from a young couple with a two year old son to an elderly couple. We learnt that there were other relatives in Ashraf and

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that there is a regular stream of visitors from Iran. The relatives spoke of their traumatic experiences in Iran and of their systematic harassment by the regimes security services. They also spoke of the great risks relatives of Ashraf residents take by going to Ashraf and of other relatives who were imprisoned in Iran for having visited Ashraf. They had no idea what would happen to them when they returned to Iran. However, at the same time they conveyed a huge sense of pride in what their relatives and friends were doing in Ashraf. One relative said, The Iranian nation knows that Ashraf is at the heart of resistance against the mullahs and so they gain great encouragement and hope from Ashraf. The relatives informed us that the only way they could travel to Iraq without being targeted by the regime was to go with the regimes Intelligence Ministry agents as part of propaganda stunts against Ashraf residents, which they would never agree. The delegation met the father of the young sisters, Forough and Hejrat, who the delegation had spoken to over dinner in section 16. We also met with Amir, who had come to Ashraf to see his brother. He explained how the regime was spreading propaganda in Iran against the PMOI. Its intelligence services have been calling all known and active relatives of Ashraf residents to spread such propaganda, stating Ashraf is nished. They tell the relatives that the Ashraf residents are in the regimes hands, because they suggest that the Iraqi security forces are under their control. He explained the regimes motivation: The regime wants to eliminate Ashraf in order to take away from the Iranian people their main source of hope. Amir spoke of the huge protests in the north-western Azerbaijan region of Iran; the protests at Sahand university and Bazaar, and said that those who took part in such protests had an eye on Ashraf. Amir also spoke of a park in Tabriz called Eldoomi, which has a huge pond. Shockingly, he said that it is known that the regime throws dead bodies of PMOI supporters in the pond. Hamidreza had been a political prisoner, having spent ten years in the


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regimes prisons. He said he had his passport taken from him when he was sent to prison and did not have it returned to him until seven years after his release. Even then, the regime forced him to pay over $50,000 by way of security. He said he had come to Ashraf for inspiration and encouragement to continue his struggle for the basic rights of his people. Parvin told the delegation she had a son, a daughter and other friends in Ashraf. She spoke about the psychological torture regularly endured by relatives of Ashraf residents living in Iran. Parvin said that the regime was spreading propaganda against Ashraf. She recalled on one occasion being contacted by the regimes intelligence ministry to be told that a deadly disease was quickly spreading around Ashraf. Parvin also explained that the telephones and emails of the relatives of all Ashraf residents are monitored. Another lady by the name of Zahra also had a son and a daughter in Ashraf. She also had several other relatives in Ashraf. She said that the PMOI paid for all her expenses in travelling to Ashraf to see her children and relatives. Zahra explained that she had visited Ashraf the previous year as well. Upon her return, agents of the regimes Ministry of Intelligence paid her a visit. They interrogated her about what she had taken to Ashraf with her, how she had travelled there and who she had met there. The intelligence ocers pressured her to tell them everything; otherwise she was told that she would be imprisoned. Each of the relatives provided the delegation with the full names of other relatives of Ashraf residents with whom they were acquainted and who are languishing in Iranian prisons for having visited Ashraf or assisting others to do so. The prison sentences these relatives had received were between one and four years. Our delegation was extremely concerned about the plight of these families when they return to Iran and those who were already languishing in Iranian prisons. The delegation was also appalled by the lies spread about Ashraf. Following our visit we were convinced that claims that the

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PMOI place restrictions on the relatives of Ashraf residents visiting there are unfounded? The residents of Ashraf not only welcome, but encourage visitors from Iran. Nonetheless we believe that it is the regime that appears to be terried of the links between Ashraf and the Iranian people. A number of relatives of Ashraf residents who were attempting to travel to the camp to see their loved ones were arrested at the airport in Tehran on 16 January 2009. Information provided to the European Parliamentary inter-group Friends of a Free Iran shows that most were elderly mothers and fathers aged between 60 and 85. They were badly beaten by agents of the regimes Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and their homes were raided, we have learnt. Those arrested were transferred to Ward 209 of Tehrans notorious Evin Prison. The Iranian Resistance in December 2008 provided the relevant international authorities the names of 87 relatives of Ashraf residents detained by the regime for trying to visit their loved ones. Our delegation met with many young people in Ashraf who had


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played leading roles in student protests and strikes in recent years. The delegation learnt about the deep political and moral impact of Ashraf on young Iranians. The young Iranians look at Ashraf as a source of hope and inspiration for a modern and democratic Iran, we were told. The Iranian regime fears Ashraf residents despite the fact that they are unarmed.

Relations with Iraqis

Before travelling to Ashraf, members of our delegation constantly heard from Tehran that the PMOI has no support in Iraq because it had allegedly interfered in Iraqi internal aairs. The delegation was also aware that during the successful legal proceedings brought by 35 British Parliamentarians before the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission seeking deproscription of the PMOI, the British government produced a document in which it claimed the PMOI would be hard pressed to come up with two Iraqis who would support the organisation. While travelling into and around Ashraf, the delegation saw and met many Iraqis, including families with young children. Iraqis walked around Ashraf freely as if it was their own home. Some were seen having picnics by the lake, while others were engaged in all sorts of activities and meetings. The delegation was struck by (i) the closeness of relations between the PMOI and Iraqis of various ethnic groups and religions, and (ii) the level of hostility the Iraqis felt towards the Iranian regime, which they described as occupying their country. The delegation held a meeting with approximately 30 tribal leaders from villages within approximately 20km of Ashraf. An indication of the closeness of ties between the PMOI and these tribal leaders was the fact that the tribal leaders welcomed the delegation to Ashraf as if Ashraf was their home. One tribal leader from the Marfoo tribe spoke of the support and assistance Iraqis had received from the residents of Ashraf in their daily lives and for their security. He spoke of the medical care the PMOI provide for Iraqis, the water they provide to 150 villages in the vicinity of

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Ashraf, the jobs they have created for Iraqis and the nancial support Iraqi orphans have received from the PMOI. He also spoke of how the PMOI have helped some of the larger villages to build mosques in their villages. This tribal leader said Iraqis were shocked that the EU had included the PMOI on its terrorist list. He said that the real terrorists were in Tehran. He also spoke a great deal about the crimes being committed by the regime against Iraqis. The Iranian regime is also distributing drugs in Iraq, he said. He said that Iraqis saw Ashraf residents as their brothers and sisters and Ashraf as a place in which all ethnic, cultural and religious groups in Iraq can gather safely. The delegation also spoke to a tribal leader from the Khanghorfe tribe. He said he had known the PMOI for more than 20 years and they had never interfered in Iraqi internal aairs. The PMOI only has one enemy and that is the oppressors of their people, he explained. He described the PMOI as victims of the regimes terrorism. He described how he had spent nine years in prison in Iran as a prisoner of war in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. In prison, he witnessed rsthand the brutality of the regime. He added, The PMOI is ying the ag of peace in Iraq. The suering of the Iraqi people is mainly caused by the Iranian regime. The regime fuels sectarian tensions and has imported to Iraq its cruel and inhumane punishments. As long as the regime in Iran is in power, the problems faced in Iraq will persist. This tribal leader also explained how those who did not cooperate with the regime were attacked and had all sorts of pressures placed upon them, including the cutting o of their water and electricity supplies. He showed the delegation a picture of Sheikh Rokhan who he said had been killed a month earlier by the regime as he lay asleep in his bed. In respect of the security of Ashraf, the tribal leaders were very blunt. They said that Iraqis knew full well that members of the PMOI have enjoyed political asylum in Iraq for many years. The tribal leaders are very concerned about Iranian regimes inuence in Iraq. One tribal leader said, We would have preferred that the Coalition had never invaded Iraq. In the ve and a half


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years they have been present in Iraq, we have received no benets. However, having done what they have, they cannot shrug o their responsibilities and leave Iraq now. If they do, the consequences will be catastrophic. Our delegation also attended a conference with some 200 Iraqi representatives from across the country. We were greeted by chiefs of tribes from Baghdad, Diwaniah, Al Nasiriah, Salaheddin and Sulaimaniya. Both genders, as well as the main ethnic and religious groups of Iraq, including the Shiites, were represented. The participants spoke positively of Prime Minister Al-Malikis government and expressed the hope that it would succeed in ridding Iraq of sectarian violence and foreign inuence. The Chair of the conference expressed the belief that the voice of the PMOI and the voice of the Iraqi people are the real voices for democracy. He also made very clear the opposition of all those present to fundamentalism and the Iranian regime. The Chair then introduced some of the chiefs of tribes who he said had come from dierent parts of Iraq and represented all sections of Iraqi society. The Chair went on to talk about the ways in which the Iranian regime interferes in Iraqs internal aairs and how the presence of the PMOI in Iraq acts as a strong barrier to the spread of fundamentalism in Iraq. He explained how the PMOIs democratic values had meant that the organization had encouraged Iraqis to play an active part in the political process. The Sheikh implored our delegation to ensure that US forces continue their responsibility to guarantee the security of Ashraf. The delegation then heard from the General Chief of the Neda tribe. After welcoming us the Sheikh stated that the PMOI are struggling for justice. We have very close relations with the Ashraf residents, because we have lived side by side for more than 20 years, he added. He spoke about the propaganda spread against the PMOI in Iraq and said that Iraqis do not believe a word of it. The Sheikh said that while the Iranian regime interferes in Iraqi aairsandhascommittedheinouscrimesagainsttheIraqi people, the PMOI have always supported the establishment of security in

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Iraq and uniting all sections of its society. The delegation then listened to a Professor from Sulaimaniya. He too referred to the interference of the Iranian regime and said, It is impossible for democracy to ourish in Iraq until there is democracy in Iran. The Professor expressed anger and bemusement at the inclusion of the PMOI on the EUs terrorist list. It dees logic to have the PMOI on the list instead of the Iranian regime, he said. His view was that dialogue with the regime was futile and counterproductive. He urged the EU to adopt a rm policy towards Tehran. The Deputy Leader of one of Iraqs main political parties was also present. He spoke about the struggles of Europe against fascism and the heavy price Europeans had to pay for freedom and democracy. He said that Iraq has a long history of civilization and that many democratic values came from Iraq. Religious fascism is now the main obstacle to progress in Iraq, he said. The Iranian regime is creating divisions among various sections of Iraqi society. It arms, trains and funds those responsible for widespread killings in Iraq. With great emotion he said that Iran is a neighbour with whom Iraq shares a 1,200km border. What have we done to the Iranian regime that has caused it to commit such terrible crimes against our people, he asked. When speaking about the threat of transfer of Ashrafs security, the Deputy Leader said that it is the right of any government to take responsibility for any place in its country, but in this case if the protection is transferred then the Iraqi government would be threatened and placed under serious pressures by the Iranian regime. The government has been unable to do anything to put a halt to the Iranian regimes meddling. Finally, referring to the residents of Ashraf, he vowed that Iraqis would never abandon their guests of more than 20 years. The chief of a tribe in Diyala province said, Ashraf is a city for all Iraqis and honourable people all over the world. He described the residents of Ashraf as the true representatives of the Iranian people and Iranian


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values. He said there were groups in Iraq which were formed in Iran and therefore took their orders from the regime. It is these groups that threaten Ashraf, he said. The General Secretary of another leading political party was critical of Europe. He said, It is time for Europe to stand up for freedom, human rights and democratic values and stop appeasing the regime in Iran which terrorizes its people and is now doing the same against Iraqis. He emphasized that Iraqis demand the removal of the PMOI from terrorist list. He said that the unjust listing was being used to threaten and endanger the lives of Ashraf residents. He stressed that the blacklisting is not only against the PMOI and the Iranian people, but also against all Arab countries and those who are suering from Islamic fundamentalism. The General Secretary of the Womens Association of Baghdad told the delegation about the threats she and others face from Iranian agents. She said that they take great risks, because any Iraqi that stands against the regime is threatened with death. She said that many Iraqis had been killed by the regime because of their opposition to its interference in Iraq and their support for the PMOI. She added, The PMOI and we have a common enemy the Iranian regime. When talking about the recent Iranian regimes campaign against Ashraf residents, a Sheikh from the Alidat tribe said that he believed that what triggered this latest plot against the PMOI was the statement signed by three million Iraqi Shiites in June 2008 declaring their support for the PMOI and opposition to the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime believes Iraqi Shiites belong to it the statement gave them a nasty surprise, he said. He also urged the delegation to act as the voice of the Iraqi people and to convey their messages to Europe. Addressing the conference, our delegation expressed the view of the majority of members of the European Parliament that the Iranian regime represents the greatest threat to peace and stability in the world. The Iranian regime is a malignant inuence a chalice of poison in the Islamic world.

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It is an atrocious regime that violates human rights, sponsors terrorism all over the world and is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Our delegation further made it clear that we share the concerns of Iraqis about the threats to the residents of Ashraf. We reassured all those at the conference that our delegation will do all it could to ensure that the rights of the Ashraf residents, as enshrined in the international law, as well as Iraqis concerned about Iranian regimes meddling in their country, are respected. During our stay in Iraq, we also met privately with some ocials or individuals who were close to the Iraqi government. They spoke, each in their dierent ways, about the Iranian regimes inuence over the Iraqi government. One of them who was familiar with the security problems in Iraq said, The vast majority of all bombings and killings in Iraq is the work of the Iranian regime. He added that the Iranian regime even supports Al Qaeda in Iraq. Referring to the provincial elections due to be held in Iraq at the end of January 2009, he stated that the regime has already begun


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its interference in the elections. He said the regime had already carried out a wave of bombings and killings to impede the election process. In the previous elections, the regime managed to get some of its proxies elected as governors of various provinces. Now the Iraqi people want to get rid of the regimes proxies, but the regime will do anything to keep these people in their positions. He also urged the delegation to take a message back to the EU that Iraqis require international monitors to monitor their elections. Another one of them spoke about the challenges facing Iraq in the current political landscape, the most important of which he said was interference by countries in the region. He named the Iranian regime in particular. He explained how immediately following the fall of the previous Iraqi regime, the Iranian regime started to inltrate all Iraqi ministries, as well as its police and armed forces. It achieved this through individuals, political parties and militia it had set up in Iran many years earlier, including the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Badr Brigade. These people were able to take control of sensitive positions in the Iraqi government. At the same time, the regime successfully pursued a policy of fuelling sectarian conict and training and selling arms to various militias. He said that at rst the schemes of the Iranian regime were not clear to Iraqis and the regime was successful in pursuing these policies until 2007. However, 2007 represented the turning point, especially when Iraqs Shiite population began to comprehend what it was that the Iranian regime was doing and turned against the regime. Tribal and religious leaders in southern Iraq began calling for a halt to the interference of the Iranian regime. The regime presides over terror in Iraq he said. He added that the irony is that this same regime is trying to convince others that the PMOI is a terrorist organisation. He said that the regime has begun a huge campaign calling for the expulsion of the PMOI from Iraq. You would not believe the lies the regime spreads about alleged terrorist crimes being committed by the residents of Ashraf in circumstances where they cannot even leave

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Ashraf, he explained and added this is what has been conrmed by the US forces time and again. What became very evident from the discussions our delegation held with the various Iraqi personalities is that Iraq suers from having a government within a government, as one of them put it. There are those who are closely aliated to the Iranian regime and take their orders from Tehran. It is these people who are demanding the handover of security for Ashraf. There are also those who are opposed to the Iranian regimes malign inuences. Many of those who met with the delegation viewed Prime Minister Maliki as a nationalist who is opposed to the Iranian regimes interference. However, the Iranian regimes proxies are trying to create restrictions against Mr. Maliki and do not permit him to have the full control. We also noted that simultaneous with growing hatred toward the regime in Iraq, there is also a trend of disintegration within the political forces aliated or close to the regime. The Sunni and secular political parties such as the one aliated to the former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi distanced themselves from the Iranian regime right from the beginning. But the group known as the Shiite coalition which held a sizeable number of the seats in the parliament and was supported by the Iranian regime disintegrated. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Dawa Party, the Fazilat Party and many other individuals left this coalition and began opposing the Iranian regimes meddling. But the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which was founded in Tehran in 1982 on the orders of Ruhollah Khomeini and is currently headed by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is still the main group leading the demands of the regime in Iraq. The people who were close to the government made it clear that in all of its negotiations with the Iraqi government, the Iranian regime links everything to the closure of Ashraf. The regime demands concessions over Ashraf in return for the improvement of security in Iraq. They expressed deep concerns for the safety of the residents of Ashraf


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if security for the camp were handed over completely to Iraqi security forces. They described how the Ministry of Interior would play a pivotal role in such transfer and yet it is this Ministry that has been most inltrated by the regime. They said, If the security of Ashraf is transferred, it will lead to a catastrophe. However, one of the strongest public indicators of the level of support for the PMOI in Iraq comes from various declarations that have been signed by millions of Iraqis expressing support for the PMOI and condemning the Iranian regime. One example was on 14 June 2006, when the Iraqi Peoples Solidarity Congress was held in Ashraf. More than 10,000 Iraqis, accompanied by delegates from 121 parties and associations, were present. At this Congress, the signatures of 5.2 million Iraqis on a declaration were presented to the PMOI. Some 121 political parties and social groups, 700,000 women, 14,000 lawyers and jurists, 19,000 physicians, 35,000 engineers, 320 clerics, 540 professors, 2,000 tribal sheikhs and 300 local ocials were among the 5.2 million signatories of the declaration. Iraqi television stations

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Az-Zora and Rafeddean covered the Congress in Ashraf as did a host of Iraqi newspapers, including Al-Haqaeq, Az-zaman, Al-Iraq Al-Youm and As-Siada. On 14 June 2008, the fourth annual Iraqi Peoples Solidarity Congress was held in Ashraf. At the Congress it was announced that 3 million Iraqi Shiites had signed a statement calling for eviction of the Iranian regime and removal of restrictions placed on the residents of Ashraf. This news rocked the regime, which considers itself the leader of the Shiite Islamic world. Paulo Casaca MEP, Co-chair of the Friends of a Free Iran Inter-group at the European Parliament, took part in this conference and addressed the gathering on behalf of FOFI. Moreover, from our observations and communications with a wide host of Iraqis, we came to the conclusion that the PMOI and the residents of Ashraf enjoy the support of senior Iraqi political leaders.

Meeting PMOIs Leadership in Ashraf

Our delegation met with the leadership of the PMOI, including Ms. Mojgan Parsai Vice president of the Iranian Resistance and the groups Secretary-General Ms. Sedigheh Hosseini, on our arrival at Ashraf and on our last evening. The delegation informed the PMOIs leadership that our committee had read extensively about Ashraf and watched many videos, but that could not replace direct contact with the residents of Ashraf. The delegation described the productivity of Ashraf residents as incredible. Our delegation also discussed with the PMOIs leadership the present political situation to the extent that it concerned Iraq, Iran and the PMOI. We also discussed the threats faced by Ashraf and in particular the threat of transfer of security. What attracted the attention of our delegation most was the responsible approach of the PMOIs leadership in Ashraf to various issues and their deep understanding. They explained to us that they did not seek confrontation with the Iraqi government and indeed are trying to establish friendship and coexistence with the government and they will do whatever they


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can in this respect. They had a very clear and precise picture of the Iranian regimes meddling in Iraq and explained that the regime - contrary to what may appear - would not stop short of any eort even against the present Iraqi Prime Minister in the interest of its well known and traditional proxies. They believed that the transfer of protection of Ashraf to the Iraqi government would provide the regime with an open hand to harm Ashraf and at the same time increase pressure on the government.


Security of Ashraf and safety of its residents

As was explained in the introduction to this report, Ashraf has come under repeated terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime since its formation in 1986. Our delegation was told and presented with evidence that between 1986 and 2003, the regime carried out over 150 terrorist attacks against the PMOI in Iraq. For example, in April 1992, Iranian warplanes carried out deadly strikes on Ashraf. On 6 November 1994 the Iranian regime red three Scud missiles at Ashraf. In June 1999, the regimes agents were responsible for a remote-controlled explosion of a PMOI passenger bus in Baghdad, close to a hospital, that left six PMOI members dead and 21 wounded. This followed Scud missile attacks on Ashraf durng the burial ceremony of the victims the next day. In April 2001 the Iranian regime red 77 surface-to-surface missiles at PMOI bases. Some of the missiles missed their targets, leading to the deaths of Iraqi civilians. Our delegation was able to view the aftermath of some of these terrorist attacks in Ashrafs museum of the regimes terrorism. On display were the remnants of destroyed vehicles. The delegation also saw the shells of missiles red at Ashraf using all sorts of devices. We were amazed, for example, to see rockets red out of a freezer on the back of a truck. There was also a huge truck on the back of which were the remains of super mortars. These were intended to be red at Ashraf using timers, but failed to re properly and blew up in the truck, we were told. The museum illustrated the vile nature of the Iranian regime, which uses


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terrorism to eliminate its opponents. The PMOI, as it did during the 1991 war, remained completely impartial during the war in 2003. In 1991 crisis the PMOI bases and oces were not attacked by the U.S. but its approach was very dierent in 2003. On February 4, 2003, in a letter to Secretary Powell and the foreign ministers of the European troika, Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chair of the Foreign Aairs Committee of the NCRI stated that the PMOI had never interfered in the Iraqi internal aairs and in the probable war in the future will stay completely impartial. He added that the PMOIs presence in Iraq was solely within its framework of resistance against the Iranian regime. This was proven to be the case and the U.S. ocials acknowledged it in their reports that the PMOI did not re a single shot during the war. This was upon a strict and unconditional order by Mr. Massoud Rajavi, leader of the Iranian Resistance to all members of the PMOI. They were ordered not to return re even if they were attacked by the U.S. forces. But in their talks with the Iranian regime, the U.S. and Britain agreed to bomb the PMOI and in return the regime would not interfere in the Iraqi aairs. The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2003, reported:
The dismantling of the Iranian opposition force in Iraq fulls a private U.S. assurance conveyed to Iranian ocials before the start of hostilities that the group would be targeted by British and American forces if Iran stayed out of the ght, according to U.S. ocials But National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell contended that Tehran could be persuaded to remain neutral toward U.S. invasion next door, especially if it knew the MEK [PMOI] would be attacked and prevented from harassing Iran in the future, the ocial said. That message was conveyed by British ocials before hostilities began. Foreign Minister Jack Straw informed his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi in a meeting in London in February. Britains Iranian Ambassador Richard Dalton repeated the message in March in a meeting with Hassan Rowhani, the cleric who heads the Supreme National Security Council, Irans chief foreign policy making body.

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Thus, the U.S. and Britain fullled their pledge by bombing the PMOI bases killing and wounding dozens. In the meantime, as the negotiations were underway, the regime was planning and making preparations to inltrate into Iraq. However, the threats and pressure by the regime and its agents in Iraq have intensied since 2003, after the regime was able to use the war in Iraq to penetrate deep into Iraqi territory and interfere extensively in the aairs of Iraq. In April 2003, the regimes Revolutionary Guards and agents crossed the border into Iraq to attack the PMOI. Dozens of PMOI members were either killed or wounded. The PMOI entered into an agreement with the Coalition in May 2003 in which the organisation agreed voluntarily to disarm and consolidate in return for the Coalition agreeing to provide security to PMOI personnel in Ashraf City. Thereafter, US forces provided security for Ashraf and ensured the safety of its residents. The French news Agency AFP, May 10, 2003, reported remarks by the U.S. General Raymond T. Odierno, then commander of the US Armys 4th Infantry Division and now the most senior US General in Iraq, at Camp Ashraf and wrote:
PMOIs 4,000 to 5,000 ghters--manyofwhomwereeducatedintheUnited States and Europe -- would gather at one camp in Iraq while their equipment, including scores of tanks, would be collected at another, Odierno said. Both camps would be guarded by coalition forces and the weapons would not be available to the Mujahedeen unless we agree to allow them to have access, the general said. The ghters, including a large number of women, would not be categorized as prisoners of war. It is not a surrender. It is an agreement to disarm and consolidate, Odierno said after winding up two days of talks with the group, which has been termed a terrorist organisation by the US State Department, the European Union and Iran. The general said they appeared to be committed to democracy in Iran and


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their cooperation with the United States should prompt a review of their terrorist status. I would say that any organisation that has given up their equipment to the coalition clearly is cooperating with us, and I believe that should lead to a review of whether they are still a terrorist organisation or not, he said.

Pressures on the PMOI from the pro-Iranian elements in the Iraqi government began in December 2003, when the Interim Iraqi Governing Council, led by Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, issued a statement calling for expulsion of Ashraf residents from Iraq. This led to international outcry and a campaign to secure the rights of Ashraf residents Various U.S. agencies started an extensive investigation on the PMOI in April 2003 and after a 16-month review senior American ocials announced that no basis to charge any members of the PMOI were found. In July 2004, the status of the PMOI members as protected persons under the 4th Geneva Convention was recognized.

Transfer of Security
Prior to our delegations trip to Iraq, our committee was aware that the residents of Ashraf had strongly protested against the transfer of their security to Iraq forces. This had been a matter that had previously been raised during trips by previous delegations of our committee to Ashraf. During our trip, we had a chance to discuss this issue extensively with members and ocials of the PMOI, the Iraqis, the representatives of the relevant international humanitarian organizations, and U.S. ocials. We are convinced that in the present circumstances, the transfer of protection of Ashraf to the Iraqi government will put its residents in serious danger and would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Remarks indicating that the Iraqi government has given necessary assurances to the US that it will respect the rights of these residents are in no way convincing.

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Three key points arise on this matter. Firstly, the Iraqi governments assurances were not enough. Secondly, because the US government granted protected persons in exchange for receiving the arms of Ashraf residents, this status is a contractual obligation that should not be lifted without mutual consent; in addition, the protected persons status applies to Ashraf residents for as long as US troops have a combat mission in Iraq, because the situation of Ashraf is a direct consequence of the US invasion of Iraq. Thirdly, even if international non-governmental organizations were able to monitor compliance regarding the protected persons status, unless there is an enforcement mechanism, such monitoring would be to no avail. I raised these three key points with the U.S. ocials and the U.N. Secretary General.

Assurances not sucient

Our delegation determined the government of Iraq has never ocially acknowledged the rights of Ashraf residents as protected persons under the 4th Geneva Convention, the International Humanitarian Law or the third common article of the Geneva Conventions. On the contrary, a 17 June 2008 ocial Iraqi government directive called for the expulsion of Ashraf residents, their prosecution and the prosecution of any Iraqi or foreign national who cooperates with or visits the people of Ashraf. Senior Iraqi ocials have in 2009 publicly called for the closing down of Ashraf and expulsion of its residents to Iran or a third country. On 23 January 2009, the French news agency AFP quoted Iraqi national security adviser Muwafaq al-Rubaie as saying: Among the members of this group, some have the blood of Iraqi innocents on their hands (and) we will hand them over to Iraqi justice, and some who have Iranian blood on their hands we can hand over to Iran. The remarks were made while al-Rubaie was in Iran, and the Associated Press quoted him as saying the decision to close down Camp Ashraf within two months is irreversible. Mr. al-Rubaies announcement that some Ashraf residents would be handed over to Iran is in breach of


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their protected persons status and the principle of non-refoulement. Conscious of eorts by Tehran to pressure the Iraqi government to put the lives of Ashraf residents in jeopardy, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 4 September 2008, stating that whereas there are grounds for concern that members and associates of the Iranian opposition who are regrouped and protected in Camp Ashraf in Northern Iraq by US-led multinational forces under Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention may be under threat of being expelled or forcibly returned to Iran, where they could face heavy persecution and possibly even the death penalty, the European Parliament Calls on the Iraqi and US authorities not to forcibly return to Iran any Iranian opposition members, refugees and asylum seekers who would be at serious risk of persecution and, in particular, to work together with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others to nd a satisfactory long-term solution to the situation of those currently in Camp Ashraf. Our delegation became profoundly concerned after we were presented with footage from pro-Iranian television stations and Iraqi newspaper clippings quoting some senior Iraqi gures as making hostile remarks towards to the residents of Ashraf. Much of these comments would themselves be in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. On 17 June 2008, the regimes Mehr news agency reported Hadi al-Ameri, a senior member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and head of the Badr Brigade militia, as stating, Anybody defends this group, has collaborated with them in shedding the blood of the Iraqi people. The Iranian regimes Ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi told the regimes Fars News Agency on 9 September 2008 that he had stressed on the expulsion of members of the grouplet [PMOI] within six months and prohibition of all its activities until it is expelled, and if any Iraqi contacts this terrorist group, he or she would be prosecuted. The Deputy Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the mullahs Majlis, or Parliament, was quoted by the regimes Habilian website as saying on 18 September 2008, Welcoming this measure of the Iraqi government [statement issued by Iraqs Council of

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Ministers on 17 June 2008], we ask for extradition of the groups leaders to Iran. The residents of Ashraf said they were extremely concerned about their security and well-being in the absence of a protection by the U.S. forces. During our visit to Ashraf, our delegation found that the people of Ashraf oppose the transfer of protection; they reiterated such opposition in interviews with the U.S. forces on 9 and 10 August and also told ICRC ocials who visited Ashraf in August and October 2008.

Protection for Disarmament

The argument that the security measures by the US forces was in compliance with UN Security Council resolution 1790, which ended on 31 December 2008 is not a complete argument. Within its international obligations, the US should continue with Ashrafs protection. According to legal opinions of renowned international jurists, even if we agree that the current situation in Iraq is not considered as a case of International Conict which is hard to believe with such a large presence of the US forces we can at least say that the current state of Ashraf is the result of an international conict in which the US is responsible for it. In addition, the US should fulll its obligation toward Ashraf residents in accordance with the Responsibility to Protect (R to P). In a reference to this matter, the UN Secretary General has declared that protection against situations like crime against humanity, war crimes and similar circumstances takes priority over the states right to sovereignty. But beyond this, the US forces are contractually bound to providing security for Ashraf. One should take into account the ceasere agreement between the US forces and the PMOI on 15 April 2003, the disarmament agreement on 10 May 2003, and the agreement between every single resident of Ashraf with US forces in July 2004. All three clearly underscore the US obligation to protect Ashraf residents in return for them handing over all their weapons and military equipment.


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The Coalition has conrmed that the residents of Ashraf handed over their weapons and military equipment, including arms for their personal protection and defense. They did so by trusting the US forces. If US forces leave Camp Ashraf in breach of their commitment to protect them, they will have to face their moral, political, and legal responsibilities in view of the critical consequences endangering the lives and security of the 3,500 residents. On the basis of our interviews in Iraq, our committee believes that if US protection is removed, military and terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime against Ashraf will rise dramatically.

Monitoring and Enforcement

It is one thing to issue statements about respecting the rights of those in Ashraf; but the practical commitment to them is another. In light of the present situation in Iraq, in particular the Iranian regimes extensive meddling in that country, acknowledged repeatedly by the US military and civilian ocials, it is extremely dicult to provide realistic and practical guarantees to protect Ashraf residents without establishing specic mechanisms both to monitor the situation and enforce compliance. *** In numerous letters to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and senior US ocials, members of our Parliamentary committee and other political, legal and humanitarian ocials have since urged US forces to continue to provide security for Ashraf. Amnesty International, August 28, 2008, urged the US and Iraq to regard members of the PMOI in Ashraf as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Professor Eric David, President of the Center of International Law at the Free University of Brussels, published an opinion on 9 July 2008 in respect of the obligation of the United States to protect the members of the PMOI in Ashraf. The opinion states that the principle of non-refoulement makes it

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unlawful for any step to be taken that might lead to the residents of Ashraf being sent to Iran or expelled from Iraq against their wishes. Professor Davids opinion also makes clear that international law, generally, and International Humanitarian Law, in particular, require that for so long as there are Multi-National and/or US forces in Iraq, they are obliged to guarantee the safety of the residents of Ashraf. In support of this view, Professor David made reference to Article 43 of the Hague Convention, Article 45 and Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 1 of the UN Charter, and Principle 5 of the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning friendly relations and cooperation among states. The practical reality, Professor David states, is that if pressure from Iran on Iraq to expel or threaten the residents of Ashraf continues, the Iraqi government may not be able to resist that pressure, and therefore the United States is the only state able eectively to protect the residents. On our last day of visit, our delegation met with ocials from United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) to express alarm at the planned transfer of protection for Ashraf to Iraqi forces and the humanitarian crisis that would ensue. We explained that our level of concern was what prompted us to arrange this visit to Ashraf on short notice. Our delegation made clear our view that a humanitarian tragedy in Ashraf was preventable and that UNAMI must play a pivotal role in protecting the defenceless residents of Ashraf. The UN could not allow a repeat of the Srebrenica massacre. In circumstances where international law has already been violated with respect to the PMOI, it is likely that international law will not be complied with following any transfer of security. Our delegation expressed the view that US forces must continue to guarantee the security of Ashraf and the safety of its residents for so long as they remain in Iraq. The UNAMI ocial made clear that he shared the concerns of the delegation and agreed with the need to protect the residents of Ashraf. He stated that UNAMI had made its position clear; namely that it was important that a strong legal status be dened for the residents of Ashraf


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and that the US forces continue to protect the camp until an acceptable solution is found. The ocials reassured the delegation that the case of Ashraf was being dealt with at the very highest levels in the UN. They also conrmed that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had written to the Iraqi government about the need for protection of its residents. They conrmed that UNAMI is in daily contact with the US embassy and US forces who share UNAMIs concern. The delegation reminded the UNAMI ocial that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2 October 2008, written declaration no. 415), Amnesty International (28 August 2008 public statement), the European Parliament (resolutions on 12 July 2007 and 4 September 2008), the International Federation of Human Rights (8 September 2008 statement), and the Jubilee Campaign (4 September 2008 statement) have all expressed serious concern regarding the urgent threats posed to the residents of Ashraf who include 1,000 women; all protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. On 17 November 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also raised concerns about the residents of Ashraf. Speaking before the UN Security Council, Ban Ki-moon cited a letter circulated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Iraqi government outlining concerns about the residents of Ashraf. The letter urged the government of Iraq to protect Ashraf residents from forcible deportation, expulsion or repatriation ... and to refrain from any action that would endanger their life or security, Secretary Ban said. The religious leaders, including the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the highest religious gure in the Arab world, have warned against any action that would jeopardize the safety of the residents of Ashraf. The European Parliament has adopted resolutions in relation to the security and well-being of Ashraf residents. On 12 July 2007, Parliament said that it: strongly rejects the threats of expulsion and cutting o

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supplies of fuel and drinking water made by some senior ocials in the Iraqi Government against 4,000 members of the Iranian opposition who have been political refugees in Iraq for the past 20 years and have the legal status of Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and calls on the Iraqi Government to respect their rights under international law. For years, relevant international bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UNHCR, and the UNAMI have declared that Ashraf residents fall within the framework of the principle of non-refoulement and protections enshrined under International Humanitarian Law and international law.

Latest developments and recommendations

On the basis of our delegations in-depth investigation and discussions with Ashraf residents, our committee believes that their concerns about the regime taking advantage of the transfer of their protection from the US to the Iraqis are real and justied. But on January 1st, the United States handed over the protection of Ashraf residents to Iraqi forces on the bases of guarantees it announced to have received from Iraqi government. Prior to this date, the US embassy in Baghdad issued a statement on December 28, 2008 saying:
The transfer of security responsibility from Coalition Forces to the Iraqi Security Forces will take eect January 1, 2009. U.S. forces will maintain a presence at Camp Ashraf and will continue to assist the Government of Iraq in carrying out its assurances of humane treatment of the residents of Camp Ashraf. The Government of Iraq has provided the US Government written assurances of humane treatment of the Camp Ashraf residents in accordance with Iraqs


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Constitution, laws, and international obligations. As recently as September 2008, the Government of Iraq armed publicly that it would treat the residents of Camp Ashraf humanely. The US Government, through its Embassy in Iraq and the military forces present under the new bilateral security agreement, will continue to work to ensure a smooth transition for the camp residents. The US Government and Government of Iraq will work with appropriate international organizations to assist the camp residents in securing a safe future.

US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said on 10 January 2009 that the Iraqi government has promised not to forcibly evict the residents of Ashraf.
Weve discussed this issue intensively with the Iraqi government, Crocker said in an interview aired by the US-funded Alhurra television station. They have provided assurances that none of these individuals will be forcibly sent to a third country where they have reason to fear for their safety or wellbeing, and we know those assurances will be respected.

Mr. Crockers remarks are to be welcomed, but they cannot be interpreted as a denitive guarantee against any harm coming about to the residents of Ashraf. Indeed, his remarks are hard to tally with announcements by some senior Iraqi ocials, vowing to close down Camp Ashraf and send some of its residents to Iran for prosecution within the next two months. Regrettably, in the weeks following the hand over of the protection to Iraqi forces, Ashraf residents are experiencing growing restrictions. Preventing the families of residents to enter the camp to see their relatives, and not allowing international lawyers and parliamentarians from various countries to visit Ashraf are among a few to mention. On the basis of our analysis on the situation of Iraq, the state of Ashraf residents, the extent of the regimes hostilities toward them, the international obligations of the US and the relations between the US and the PMOI from 2003 to date, we wish to underline the following points with regards the protection of Ashraf residents:

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1- The US must guarantee protection of Ashraf residents by stationing adequate forces in Camp Ashraf and establishing the necessary mechanisms to this end, 2- The US must actively try to remove unjust restrictions imposed upon Ashraf residents by the Iraqi government. 3- The Iraqi government must recognize the rights of PMOI members under the International Humanitarian Law, the international law, principle of nonrefoulment and the article three of the Geneva Conventions and guarantee their juridical security.

Ashraf and terrorist lists

I will now touch on the issue of the blacklisting of the PMOI by the EU and US, since it clearly has direct eect on Iraqi policy towards Camp Ashraf and its residents. The Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh announced On 31 December 2008 that Iraq would not permit the residents of Camp Ashraf to remain on its soil because they were classied as terrorists. Iraq is no longer a suitable place for them because the Iraqi constitution does not permit dealings with an organisation classied as a terrorist group, al-Dabbagh was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency. The unjust listing of the PMOI and the resultant restrictions on the activities of the organization has had very serious consequences for the organization, its members and sympathizers. In his report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Swiss MP and Rapporteur Dick Marty, said, Several PMOI members have told me of criminal proceedings in Iran, in which the fact of its being recognised as a terrorist organization by the EU has been used as an argument in demanding the death penalty. However, nowhere have the consequences been felt more severely


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than in Ashraf. Much of the pressures and threats against the residents of Ashraf are made under the pretext of the terror listing of the organization. In the meeting the delegation held with UNAMI ocial, he conrmed the PMOIs inclusion on the terror list was making matters very dicult for the residents of Ashraf and that it would assist them tremendously if the PMOI was removed from the terrorist list. Today, three months after our trip to Ashraf, the chapter on the EU terror label against the PMOI has been closed. The organization was removed from the list on January 26, 2009. However, Ashraf residents continue to endure hardships as a result of an equally unjust listing in the U.S. We consider it necessary to emphasize that crafting an excuse from the terror listing against Ashraf residents is of no consequence. In our letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister, we stressed that using the terror listing as a pretext against Ashraf residents is unjustied, since: a) The terror label against the PMOI was from the outset the result of a shameful deal with the mullahs regime. Today after seven court rulings in the UK and the EU, and following the adoption of various resolutions at European national parliaments and the January 14, 2009 resolution by the European Parliament, that label has become completely baseless. b) The PMOI was ocially delisted by the UK on June 24, 2008, and by the EU on January 26, 2009. c) In so far as it concerns the terrorist label in the U.S., it has no relevance whatsoever to Ashraf residents. On July 2, 2004, the American government recognized Ashraf residents as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention after a 16-month-long series of investigations and screenings of every single resident, and accepted to provide their protection by way of an ocial agreement. d) Iraq does not have its own terrorist list and its reliance on listings in other countries is immaterial. The only credible list for Iraq is the UN terrorist list on which the PMOI has never been included. We hope that

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from this day forward you refrain from referring to annulled or irrelevant terrorist lists against the PMOI.

EU Terror list as an example

Here we explain in brief the process in which the PMOI was labeled as a terrorist entity in Britain and the European Union. The EU included the PMOI on its May 2002 list of individuals and organizations whose assets were to be frozen with a view to combating terrorism, in what the EUs then-Spanish leadership described as a goodwill gesture to Iran. The competent authority, upon whose decision the EU relied to blacklist the group, was solely the British Home Secretary, who had proscribed the PMOI in the UK in 2001. On 12 December 2006, following an application made by the PMOI, the Court of First Instance (CFI) of the European Communities ruled that EU Council Decision 2005/930 dated 21 December 2005, in so far as it concerned the PMOI, should be annulled. It stated that the contested decision did not contain a sucient statement of reasons and that it was adopted in the course of a procedure during which the applicants right to a fair hearing had not been observed. The Court is not, even at this stage of the procedure, in a position to review the lawfulness of that decision. Despite this ruling by the CFI, the EU refused to remove the PMOI from its terrorist list, causing the PMOI to institute further proceedings against the EU at the Court. On 30 November 2007, the UKs Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, a specialist Court formed to hear challenges to Britains terrorist list, handed down a landmark judgment in which it ruled the PMOI is not concerned in terrorism. This followed nearly two weeks of hearing in which the three judges of POAC considered all open and closed material. POAC found that the British Secretary of States decision to refuse an application made by 35 members of the British Parliament calling for


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deproscription of the PMOI was awed and perverse and it ordered the Home Secretary to lift the ban. It added,

In those circumstances, the only belief that a reasonable decision maker could have honestly entertained, whether as at September 2006 or thereafter, is that the PMOI no longer satises any of the criteria necessary for the maintenance of their proscription.
On 7 May 2008, the Court of Appeal panel, led by the Lord Chief Justice (the most senior judge in Britain), handed down its judgment in which it upheld POACs judgment and stated:

The reality is that neither in the open material nor in the closed material was there any reliable evidence that supported a conclusion that PMOI retained an intention to resort to terrorist activities in the futureClosed material was also available to the applicant. We have considered that material. It has reinforced our conclusion that the applicant could not reasonably have formed the view when the decision letter was written in 2006 that PMOI intended in future to revert to terrorism. It is a matter for comment and for regret that the decision-making process in this case has signicantly fallen short of the standards which our public law sets and which those aected by public decisions have come to expect.
Following the May 2008 judgment of the Court of Appeal, in June 2008 both Houses of Parliament in the UK unanimously approved the Order deproscribing the PMOI, thereby annulling the competent authoritys decision upon which the EUs blacklisting of the PMOI was based. Despite this, on 15 July 2008, in blatant violation of the rule of law, the EU unlawfully maintained the PMOI on its asset freeze list, claiming it now relied on a new decision by the French government. It is noteworthy that this action came three days before Javier Solana met the Iranian regimes nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalali, in Switzerland to discuss the enhanced

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package of incentives oered to the regime. On 23 October 2008, the Court of First Instance issued a further judgment in respect of the PMOI in which it annulled Decision 2007/868/EC of 20 December 2007. The ruling by the CFI was the second the court has issued since 2006 ordering the EU to unfreeze the PMOIs assets and remove it from the list of terrorist groups.

The latest Judgment of the CFI

Shortly after we returned from Ashraf, the European CFI on 4 December 2008 annulled, for the third time, the decision by the EU Council of Ministers to maintain the PMOI on the terror list. A statement by the Court said: The hearing in this case took place on 3 December and today, only one day later, the Court has delivered its judgment. This one-day period is the quickest that the Court has ever delivered its judgment following the hearing. The Court also ordered the Council to bear the entire costs of the PMOI. In its 81-paragraph verdict, the court emphasizes that the right to defence of the PMOI had been violated which can be considered as misuse of power. On the violation of the PMOIs right to defence, it said:

39 - The Court nds that the Councils arguments totally fail to substantiate its claim that it was impossible for it to adopt the contested decision under a procedure that would have respected the applicants rights of the defence. 44 - Furthermore, the Court considers that the Councils omission to comply in the present case with a procedure clearly dened in the OMPI judgment, made with full knowledge of the facts and without any reasonable justication, may be material to any consideration of the abuse or misuse of powers or procedures alleged in the fth plea in law.
The Court then concluded in paragraphs 77, 78 and 79:


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77 - It follows that, in the circumstances of the case, as described above, the production of only the information contained in the Councils answers to the Court order of 26 September 2008 and in their annexes does not enable either the applicant or the Court to verify that the contested decision was adopted in compliance with Article 1(4) of Common Position 2001/931 and of Article 2(3) of Regulation No 2580/ 2001 and is not vitiated by a manifest error of assessment. 78 - In such circumstances, it must be concluded, rst, that it has not been established that the contested decision was adopted in compliance with the provisions of Article 1(4) of Common Position 2001/931 and of Article 2(3) of Regulation No 2580/2001 and, second, that the very circumstances of its adoption infringe the applicants right to eective judicial protection.
The CFI judgment, however, plainly showed that this decision had been unlawful from the beginning to the end. It said that France had not presented credible and serious evidence that would justify the listing of the PMOI. It wrote,

59 - In the light of the applicants factual and legal contentions, neither the explanations so provided by the Council, nor the documents produced by it, make it possible to consider that the contested decision is well-founded in law, more particularly with regard to the provision laid down in Article 2(3) of Regulation No 2580/2001. 66 - Nor is it possible, in the absence of more accurate information, to verify the truthfulness and relevance of the allegation made in the statement of reasons, according to which several of the alleged members of the applicant are being prosecuted for a series of oences in connection with a terrorist undertaking. In this respect, the applicant maintains that, apart from the judicial inquiry opened in France in 2001, it knows of no member or supporter whatsoever being prosecuted in a Member State for nancing terrorist activities or any other criminal activity in relation to the applicant, contrary to what is asserted in the statement of reasons. Moreover, none of its members or supporters has ever been convicted of unlawful activities relating to terrorism or

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its nancing. The Council did not in any way refute those assertions in its defence.

No serious and credible evidence against PMOI

The Court underlined that the French public prosecutor was not, contrary to the claim by the French, a national competent authority nor was the reasoning it had oered for the continued inclusion of the PMOI based on serious and credible evidence or clues, as prescribed by Article 1(4) of Common Position 2001/931. It said,

68 - It must also be noted that nothing in the le makes it possible to establish that the judicial inquiry opened in France in April 2001, even assuming that it is attributable to a judicial authority, which is denied by the applicant, is based, in the assessment of that authority, on serious and credible evidence or clues, as prescribed by Article 1(4) of Common Position 2001/931. 69 - It is true that, at point 3 b), second bullet point of the last of the three documents referred to at paragraph 58 above, dated 26 June 2008, the French authorities within the Council claimed that the existence of that judicial inquiry proves that the judicial authorities have the serious and credible evidence or clues required under Article 1(4) of the Common Position and which link the [PMOI] to recent terrorist activities. 70 - However, not only was that assessment not made by the competent national judicial authorities, but, in a letter to the Council dated 3 November 2008, attached as annex 4 to the Councils second answer to the Court order of 26 September 2008, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Aairs stated, with specic reference to the said point 3 b), second bullet point of the last of the three documents referred to at paragraph 58 above, that it deemed it useful and indeed in keeping with legal requirements to point out that these [were] conclusions drawn by the Ministry on the basis of objective elements of the French procedure, communicated by the prosecutors oce of


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the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance pursuant to the third paragraph of Article 11 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which commit only the Ministry of Foreign and European Aairs.
Finally, it said that in any event, the le in France had been condential so the relevant documents could not have been submitted to the PMOI or for that matter to the Court for examination. The Court found:

72 - As regards the Councils contention that it is bound by the French authorities claim for condentiality, this does not explain why the production of the relevant information or material in the le to the Court would violate the principle of condentiality, whereas their production to the members of the Council, and thus to the governments of the 26 other Member States, did not. 73 - In any case, the Court considers that the Council is not entitled to base its funds-freezing decision on information or material in the le communicated by a Member State, if the said Member State is not willing to authorise its communication to the Community judicature whose task is to review the lawfulness of that decision.
Rather than immediately implementing the judgment, the Council, pressed by France, ledanapplicationattheCFIwhichsoughtconrmation from the Court to delay the implementation of the judgment. In an order issued on 17 December 2008, the Court concluded that the Councils application for interpretation of the judgment of the 4 December 2008 was manifestly inadmissible. The decision by the French government to continue to press other Member States into maintaining the PMOI on the list despite the string of court judgments, prompted some 2,000 European MPs from the committee In Search of Justice and I to take a stance not only to ensure that justice was served for the PMOI but, more importantly, that the very foundations of a democratic Europe did not come under question as the Council deed the order of the Judicial and Parliamentary branches. We

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strongly felt that the Councils actions could lead to a constitutional crisis in Europe, therefore we wrote an open letter to then-EU Presidency head Mr. Sarkozy and the leaders of all 27 nations just after the 4 December court ruling to outline our concerns. We said,

The PMOI is now legally out of the EU terror list. The latest designation of the PMOI by the Council has been legally annulled and there are no other decisions. As the European lawmakers, we call on the Council to ocially recognize the CFI ruling and comply with it. We urge you not to allow some interest groups to force the Council to defy the courts judgment and the rule of law. Accepting the court ruling will improve our image before the Iranian people but, insisting on our mistakes will destroy our credibility. It would also be in the interest of Europe if the ruling was recognized and respected. Let us put all our eorts on the ght against real terrorists. Considering the technical aspects of the verdict, this can only be applied to the PMOI and no other organization. Therefore, if we are truly committed to the ght against terrorism, we should comply with the CFIs ruling and do not allow the regime to take our policy hostage and let this dangerous game to continue.
Additionally, the European Parliament on 14 January 2009 adopted a resolution on the Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union, highlighting uniquely the specic case of the PMOI. The resolution said that Parliament: deplores the non-implementation by the EU of the verdict of the CFI on 12 December 2006 and 4th and 17th December 2008 and the UK Court of Appeal decision in favor of the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) on 7 May 2008. The EU Council of Ministers nally belatedly lifted the unjust terror label from the PMOI. The decision was made by the 27 Foreign Ministers on 26 January 2009. Nonetheless, this appalling seven-year political asco has most unfortunately put the lives of some 4,000 Iranian dissidents in peril in Iraq. EU leaders must now urgently work to ensure that no harm comes


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about to the residents of Ashraf, who are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and international law.

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Concluding Remarks
Although our delegation visited Ashraf to investigate its residents safety concerns, it is appropriate to incorporate in this report our committees general assessment of the PMOIs views, practices and capacities. From our observations in Ashraf, we believe that everyone there is fully aware of what is going on around them and in the wider world. They know the position being adopted by the Iraqi government and they know the threats they face. This highlights the open nature of the PMOI. Moreover, the fact that Ashraf residents have decided to remain in Ashraf despite the harsh conditions is a reection of their unwavering dedication to the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran. The regime had tried to convince members of the delegation that the PMOI is a terrorist organization. I must admit that we are fully aware of the charges made by the regime and its proxies outside Iran against the PMOI. We have also studied the report on the PMOI by the Human Rights Watch and note that it is biased. Our group is in close contact with ocials, members and supporters of the Resistance in the US, European capitals and in Ashraf. However, having studied the facts and visited Ashraf, we are convinced that it would be perverse to oer such a description of the residents of Ashraf. Beyond the politics and the goals that European and American people share with the PMOI, they all have common beliefs in democracy, freedom, justice, human rights and dignity. These are all the values the regime in Iran seems intent on destroying. These values and the principles we share are the inspiration for our political activities. The endeavor and dedication of the Ashraf residents cause, their capacity to continue their struggle under the harshest conditions and their commitment to their people is an inspiration. If Ashraf is just a reection of a future Iran, the delegation could understand why so many Iranians all over the world place so much hope on Ashraf. In these circumstances, the inclusion of the PMOI on terror lists is a grave


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injustice and perhaps the Wests biggest policy blunder on Iran. The regime in Tehran was clearly the force fuelling the conict in Gaza. Its Supreme Leader has instructed the President and his underlings to fast pursue nuclear weapons production at any cost. The regime has simultaneously stepped up its ferocious crackdown on students and women in Iran out of fear that opposition to its rule is becoming evermore coordinated and organized. In these circumstances, the PMOI clearly has the capacity and will to bring about democratic change to Iran. The group rejects both foreign military intervention in Iran and the continuation of the status quo of appeasement of the Tehran regime. Instead it calls for international support for democratic change by the Iranian people and their legitimate organized Resistance. The insistence of certain EU countries to maintain the PMOI on the EU list was short sighted, selsh, immoral and a mistake for which we will all pay the price for a long time to come. The designation of the PMOI as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in the US is equally, if not more, a tragedy in policy formulation on Iran. The designation has in fact assisted Tehran in its fundamentalist policies by isolating its main opposition. I am sorry to say that the US to which our political parties have strong ties has been part of this injustice and great political blunder. President Barack Obama rallied Americans to his support with a call for change. The new US administration should therefore now change the aws of US policy on Iran by immediately removing the PMOI from the list of terrorist organisations.



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I - Brief history on PMOI The Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) is an Iranian political organization and a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The organization was founded in 1965 by three university graduates to oppose the increasingly corrupt and despotic regime of the Shah. The PMOI oered a modern, democratic interpretation of Islam, with a decidedly nationalist political perspective. The objective of the PMOI is to replace the existing theocratic regime in Iran with a secular government, which is democratically elected and which will respect fundamental human rights. The PMOI played a major role in leading the millions of Iranians whose nationwide protests ultimately brought down the Shah of Iran in 1979. Massoud Rajavi, then the PMOI leader, was among the last political prisoners released from jail. In the rst public speech after his release, on 24 January 1979, Mr. Rajavi emphasized the need to safeguard democratic freedoms and called for public participation in the establishment of a nationalist democratic government. Gradually, the PMOI emerged as Irans largest organized political party. The organization had hundreds of thousands of members who operated from PMOI oces all over the country, and its publication, Mojahed, had a circulation of more than 500,000. Aware of the backward nature of the regime, the PMOI followed a strategy of highlighting the need for democratic freedoms and exposing the mullahs actions, while doing everything in its power to prevent the ruling clerics from launching an all-out attack on the opposition. But the mullahs were in no mood to tolerate any opposition. The PMOI soon found itself in a direct confrontation with the radical forces of Ayatollah Khomeini and his regime. The PMOIs dierences with Khomeini dated back to 1970s, and stem from the organisations opposition to what is known today as

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Islamic fundamentalism. The crucial dierence between the PMOI and Khomeini and his followers is that unlike them the PMOI considers Islam as being compatible with freedom, tolerance and democratic values. It also advocates separation of church and state, and equality for women and men. In January 1980, the PMOI took part in the rst presidential election following the revolution. It nominated Massoud Rajavi, who was supported by a large cross-section of Iranian society. However, Ayatollah Khomeini saw Mr Rajavi as a serious threat to his regime and so by way of a fatwa (religious decree) vetoed his candidacy. Eric Rouleau of French newspaper, Le Monde, reported the following in an article on 29 March 1980, According to various assessments, had Imam Khomeini not vetoed Mr. Rajavis candidacy in the Presidential election last January, he would have captured several million votes. He was, moreover, assured of the support of the religious and ethnic minorities whose rights to equality and autonomy he defended and a good part of the female vote, who seek emancipation, and the young, who totally reject the reactionary clergyThe Mojahedin have not ceased denouncing, documenting and issuing calls about the irregularities, pressures, fraud and violence surrounding the rst round of the elections. 2,500 of their supporters were wounded, 50 of them gravely, by armed bands of Hezbollah in the course of the election campaignObservers appointed by the Mojahedin who protested the election fraud were expelled from the premises, beaten and sometimes arrested Angry at the position taken by the PMOI against his regime and worried about the PMOIs growing popularity, Khomeini ordered a brutal crackdown against the PMOI and its supporters. On 25 June 1980, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in which he described the PMOI as indels and worse than blasphemers and added, they have no right to life. This led to nationwide attacks by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on PMOI sympathizers and oces. The PMOI, however, continued to engage in peaceful and democratic political activity.


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By spring of 1981, more than 70 PMOI members had been killed in attacks by the Revolutionary Guards and thousands more were languishing in Iranian prisons. During the rst half of 1981 the PMOI called a number of large scale demonstrations, attended by hundreds of thousands of Iranians, to protest against the regimes attacks and call for the release of political prisoners. However, the turning point came on 20 June 1981 when the PMOI organised a demonstration in Tehran, attended by more than 500,000 people. Khomeini ordered the Revolutionary Guards to open re on the peaceful demonstrators and as a result hundreds were either killed or wounded. The next day the authorities summarily executed several hundred of those arrested, and conducted further executions on the succeeding days. On 24 June 1981, the regimes Ettelaat newspaper published on its front page the photographs of 12 teenage girls who had been summarily executed without their identities being determined. Their parents were asked to make themselves known to the authorities to collect the bodies of the executed girls. This is an illustration of the gruesome nature of this regime. Having been denied its most fundamental rights and having come under extensive attack, the PMOI considered that it had no choice but to resist as a last resort and on the basis of the inalienable right of its members and supporters, recognized in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to defend their lives and that of their families against the regimes attacks. Since then, PMOI members and sympathizers have been the prime victims of human rights violations in Iran. Some 120,000 of the organizations supporters have been executed or murdered by the Iranian regime, including 30,000 political prisoners who were massacred in a few months between the summer and autumn of 1988. Amnesty International described this massacre, which followed a further fatwa issued against the PMOI by Ayatollah Khomeini, as a crime against humanity. The fatwa

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read in part: As the treacherous Monafeqin [derogatory term meaning hypocrites used by the regime when referring to the PMOI] do not believe in Islam and what they say is out of deception and hypocrisy, it is decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Monafeqin, are waging war on God and are condemned to execution It is naive to show mercy to those who wage war on God. The decisive way in which Islam treats the enemies of God is among the unquestionable tenets of the Islamic state. I hope that with your revolutionary rage and vengeance toward the enemies of Islam, you would achieve the satisfaction of Almighty God. Those who are making the decisions must not hesitate, nor show any doubt or be concerned with details. They must try to be most ferocious against indels. In Iran: Violations of Human Rights, Amnesty International said the following:

Although its own records [i.e. Amnestys records] of the number of executions is far from exhaustive, in the six months between July and December 1981 it recorded 2,444 executions In the early 1980s Amnesty International gathered detailed information about mass executions and recorded a number of cases in which minors were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran for political oences Amnesty has also received reports of the execution of juveniles, some as young as 11, in 1981 and 1982. Amnesty International has received reports also of pregnant women being executed.
Towards the end of 1981, many PMOI members and supporters who had not been arrested or executed in Iran were forced into exile. Some of them went to Paris. When Iraq invaded Iranian territory in 1980, the PMOI condemned the onslaught and sent its members and supporters to repulse the Iraqi forces. However, following withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Iran in June 1982 and


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the declared readiness of the Iraqi government to sign a peace treaty, the PMOI saw the continuation of the war as contrary to Iranian national interests and began a peace campaign internationally. In 1986, the PMOI leadership relocated to Iraq after it was forced to leave France by the then French government. This was as a result of an arrangement between the French government and the Iranian regime to secure the release of French hostages held in Lebanon by agents of the Iranian regime. In June 2001, the PMOIs leadership took the unilateral decision to end the organizations military activities. Since then, the PMOI has not engaged in any military operations. Until 2003, the Iranian regime conducted at least 150 terrorist attacks against PMOI bases in Iraq.

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II - Brief history of Ashraf City

Upon the PMOIs move to Iraq, the organization set up a number of bases along the Iran-Iraq border. What is now known as Ashraf City was one of those bases. In 1986, Ashraf City was an approximately 40 square kilometer piece of barren land in a dry desolate desert. Only a handful of deserted buildings were standing and there were no facilities, paved roads, lamp posts or running water. However, it soon developed into the largest of the PMOIs bases. The city is located in one of Iraqs largest provinces, Diyala, and is approximately 80km northeast of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. It is 70km to the east of the Iran-Iraq border. Ashraf City takes its name from Ashraf Rajavi, a well known political prisoner during the time of the Shah. She was amongst the last group of political prisoners released from the Shahs prisons in 1979 and later married Massoud Rajavi. On 8 February 1982, Ashraf Rajavi and 18 other PMOI members were killed when their residence in Tehran came under attack by the Revolutionary Guards. The PMOIs neutrality in the 1991 Persian Gulf War was a clear testament to its independence of action and non-interference in Iraqi internal aairs. This policy continued into the recent war in Iraq, prior to which the PMOI made clear that it would play no part whatsoever in the war and therefore disclosed the coordinates of all its bases, through members of the British Parliament and the US Congress, to the United Nations, as well as the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States. Despite this, and as part of an agreement reached between the US and UK governments and the Iranian regime, the Coalition forces carried out unprovoked bombings of the PMOI, inicting many casualties, including dozens dead, among them women, and causing signicant physical destruction of the PMOI bases. Ashraf sustained enormous damage.


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In April 2003, the Coalition forces signed an agreement of mutual understanding and coordination with the PMOI. The agreement recognized the right of the PMOI personnel to retain their arms in order to defend themselves against attacks by the Iranian regime or its proxies. In May 2003, the PMOI entered into a further agreement with the Coalition in which the organization agreed voluntarily to disarm and consolidate in return for the Coalition agreeing to provide security to PMOI personnel in Ashraf City. The voluntary nature of the PMOIs disarmament was conrmed by a United States Central Command press release issued on 17th May 2003, in which it stated, The voluntary, peaceful resolution of this process by the MEK and the Coalition signicantly contributes to the Coalitions mission to establish a safe and secure environment for the people of Iraq. Thereafter, there began an extensive 16-month investigation into the PMOI, all of its members and their activities. This included screening, through interviews and other means, of every single one of the residents of Ashraf City, including the leadership. Such screening was conducted by government and security agencies involved in the Coalition. In the rst part of 2004, all Ashraf City residents signed a statement denouncing terrorism and rejecting violence. On 27 July 2004, the New York Times reported on the ndings of the investigation, quoting senior US ocials as saying that, the investigation had not come up with any basis to bring charges against any members of the group. On 2 July 2004, the Commander of the Multi-National Forces-Iraq armed that the United States had recognized the protected persons status of the individuals at Ashraf City under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The proclamation addressed to the residents of Ashraf states, The United States has conrmed your status as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and has communicated that determination to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The acknowledgement of this determination will assist in expediting the eorts of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in your disposition as individuals in accordance with applicable

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international law. Since then, the Coalition has conrmed in writing the extensive rights to which the PMOI are entitled. In a letter to the PMOI Secretary General in October 2005, MNF-Is then-Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. William Brandenburg wrote,

i. The residents of Camp Ashraf have the right to protection from danger, violence, coercion, and intimidation, and to special protection for the dignity and rights of women; ii. The have the right to help in contacting their families outside Camp Ashraf, and their families have the right to help in contacting them; . iv. They have the right to freedom of thought, religion, expression, intra-community association, and political opinion; they also have the right to freedom from persecution and forced unpaid labor; v. They have the right to food, health case, and a quality of living which meets the standards of local residents of the territory in which they are protected; vi. They have the right to fair treatment under the law, in accordance with Iraqi domestic law and international standards.


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You are being offered your release from control and protection in exchange for your promise to comply with certain conditions. In exchange for your promises, you will be released from Multi-National Forces-Iraq control and protection as soon as reasonably practicable. Please read the Agreement below. If you agree to abide by these terms, then sign your name at the bottom of the page. AGREEMENT I, ________________________________, knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily enter into this Agreement with Multi-National Forces-Iraq. I agree to the following: a. I reject participation in, or support for terrorism. b. I have delivered all military equipment and weapons under my control or responsibility. c. I reject violence and I will not unlawfully take up arms or engage in any hostile act. I will obey the laws of Iraq and relevant United Nations mandates while residing in this country. I understand that I will be free to leave and to return home when viable disposition options become available. I understand that some of these disposition options include: return to my nation of origin; admission to a third country; application to the Ministry of Displacement and Migration for continued residency in Iraq, or application to international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I agree to cooperate with Multi-National Forces-Iraq while these disposition options are pursued. I agree to remain under the protection of Multi-National Forces-Iraq at Camp Ashraf until these options are completed. If I violate any terms of this Agreement, I may be subject to prosecution or internment, and administrative sanctions. I promise to scrupulously comply with my Agreement. _______________ SIGNATURE _____________________ NAME (PRINTED) _________________________ IDENTITY NUMBER ________________ DATE

_______________________ MNF-Iraq Representative

_____________________ PRINTED NAME, RANK

U.S. Sees No Basis to Prosecute Iranian Opposition Terror Group Being Held in Iraq
PEOPLES MUJAHEDEEN By DOUGLAS JEHL WASHINGTON, July 26 - A 16-month review by the United States has found no basis to charge members of an Iranian opposition group in Iraq with violations of American law, though the group is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States government, according to senior American ocials. The case of the group, the Peoples Mujahedeen of Iran, or Mujahedeen Khalq, whose camp was bombed by the United States military in April 2003, has been watched closely as an important test of the Bush administrations policy toward terrorism and toward Iran. About 3,800 members of the group are being held in de facto American custody in Camp Ashraf, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. The group remains on the United States terrorist list, though it is not known to have directed any terrorist acts toward the United States for 25 years. But it does stage attacks against Iran, which has demanded that the Iraqi government either prosecute its members or deport them to Iran. But senior American ocials said extensive interviews by ocials of the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had not come up with any basis to bring charges against any members of the group. In a July 21 memorandum, Maj. Gen. Georey D. Miller, the deputy commanding general in Iraq, said its members had been designated protected persons by the United States military, providing them new rights. The American approach appears to reect the limits of the governments counterterrorism policy. In the case of the Peoples Mujahedeen, the United States does not appear to have evidence to charge individual members of the group with acts of terrorism, but it also appears unwilling to surrender its members to their enemy, Iran. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs treatment of civilians in wartime, protected persons are those who fall under the control of an occupying power or a country involved in the conict. Among the most signicant rights they are granted are protection against collective punishment and against expulsion. The formal American determination came after members of the group signed an agreement rejecting violence and terrorism, General Miller said in his July 21 letter, addressed to the people of Ashraf. That agreement sends a strong signal and is a powerful rst step on the road to your nal individual disposition, the generals letter said, according to a copy that was made available to The New York Times. The State Department said Monday that the determination of the status of the group in Iraq did not aect its designation as a terrorist organization. The 3,800 members at Camp Ashraf are still being vetted to determine whether any took part in terrorist activities, said Adam Ereli, the departments deputy spokesman. But in the memorandum, General Miller struck a warm tone, saying he was writing to congratulate each individual living in Camp Ashraf on their status. Senior American ocials said it that was still possible that some members of the group might be charged with crimes in European countries, but that they did not expect any of them to be charged in American courts. A member of a terrorist organization is not necessarily a terrorist, a senior American ocial said. To take action against somebody, you have to demonstrate that they have done something. Muhammad Mohaddessin, a senior ocial of the

Peoples Mujahedeen, said in a telephone interview from Paris on Monday that the absence of American charges against members of the group, after months in which they have been held, should raise questions about the organizations terrorist designation. I think the fact of the matter is that there is no reason for keeping the Mujahedeen on the terrorism list at all, Mr. Mohaddessin said, because if these thousands of people who are in Iraq are not terrorists - when they all have been screened, and no terrorism link has been found - then really there is no basis whatsoever for accusing the Mujahedeen of being a terrorist organization. The American military has kept the members conned to their camp since April 2003, when the organization signed an agreement with United States commanders. Their designation as protected persons reects a nal determination that they were not involved in acts of belligerence against the American military during the war, American ocials said. The designation would make it all but impossible for members of the group to be extradited to Iran, senior American ofcials said. In December, the interim Iraqi government ordered that members of the group be expelled, but the move was opposed by the United States, and the directive was never carried out. Some opponents of Iran, including dozens of members

of Congress, have argued that the Peoples Mujahedeen serves as an eective source of pressure on the Iranian government and should be rewarded, not punished, by the United States. Nevertheless, Mr. Ereli, the State Department spokesman, said the group continues to be a designated foreign terrorist organization, a status that was imposed by the Clinton administration. He said that we will continue to treat individuals who can be determined to have been involved in terrorist incidents consistent with the laws that apply. But privately, senior American ocials noted that it has been more than 25 years since members of the Peoples Mujahedeen were last believed to have been involved in attacks against the United States, and that most of its recent violent acts were directed at Iran. In Iran, a government spokesman, Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, said any American move to grant the Peoples Mujahedeen protected status would undermine the United States claims to be ghting terrorist groups. I hope those who claim they are combating terrorism prove the truth and confront the ones who have committed extensive crimes against the Iranian nation, he said. A senior American ocial said the United States opposed Irans request that members of the group be handed over for trial because we have real

questions about the fairness and transparency of justice there. Until the American invasion of Iraq last year, the Peoples Mujahedeen maintained armed camps near the Iranian border that included tanks, artillery and other modern weapons. The group had operated inside Iraq since the late 1980s with the support of the Iraqi government. The American bombing raids on the camps represented the most aggressive approach by the United States in the handling of the group. It was followed by a gentler approach, including prolonged cease-re negotiations and a cordial relationship between the group and the American military police units that have guarded the camp, preventing members from leaving except under American military escort.