Wednesday, January 28, 2009

EU Delists Main Iranian Opposition

Washington, DC—On Monday, 26 January 2009, the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers decided not to renew the terrorist listing of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), the main Iranian opposition group. The decision came on the heels of the delisting of the group in the United Kingdom and several European Court of Justice decisions that found insufficient evidence for the EU designation.According to IPC President and former member of the National Security Council Staff at the White House, Professor Raymond Tanter, "The EU decision represents an important example for the Obama administration of one means for reaching the Iranian people if Washington reaches out to Tehran with a new diplomatic initiative. The rulings in Europe are consistent with IPC research and could serve as justification for Washington also to delist the MEK as a terrorist organization."

According to General Thomas McInerney (Lt Gen, US Air Force Ret, Chair of the IPC Advisory Council), "The continued designation of the main Iranian opposition groups as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department is unwarranted by the historical facts, contrary to the rule of law, and incompatible with the American interest to counter the threat of a surging Iran. Now that the European Union decided the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, (MEK) should not be listed as a terrorist organization, U.S. designation is out of step with our primary allies. Such continued designation encourages Baghdad to extradite the leadership of the main Iranian opposition groups from Iraq to Iran where they could be subject to persecution and provides a rationale for countries unwilling to accept the rank and file members of such opposition groups for fear of being threatened by the Iranian regime."

As the EU reaches out to the main Iranian opposition, Tehran pressures Baghdad to disperse MEK members from their camp in Iraq. On Friday, 23 January 2009, Iraq's national security adviser, Muwafak al Rubaie, while in Tehran, stated Baghdad's intention to extradite Iranians, who have protected persons status, to Iran, where they would likely face persecution: "Some who have Iranian blood on their hands we can hand over to Iran."

Rubaie went on to say, "Over 3,000 inhabitants of Camp Ashraf have to leave Iraq and the camp will be part of history within two months." MEK members at Camp Ashraf, Iraq were awarded protected persons status by the United States in 2004. In this respect, such dispersal may be incompatible with the Fourth Geneva Convention, notwithstanding Rubaie's acknowledgment of "international humanitarian regulations and international laws."

According to MG Paul Vallely (US Army Ret, IPC Advisory Council), "Now that Iraqi Security Forces have responsibility for Camp Ashraf and some 3,000 plus Iranian residents, the Iranian regime's modus operandi clearly suggests that there will be increased pressure from Tehran to extradite Ashraf residents in violation of their protected persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Given the political climate in Baghdad, the pressure could be too great for Baghdad to resist."

Gen. Vallely continued, "At the time that Tehran is promoting violence by Hamas in Gaza, it is continuing to fill a vacuum in Iraq as the United States Forces is gradually drawing down. As well, Iran is moving closer to having deployable nuclear weapons and now is not the time for the United States to make concessions to the Iranian regime by ceding responsibility for the main Iranian opposition to Baghdad."

According to IPC Board member, Captain Chuck Nash (Ret, USN), "As a result of expulsion or extradition of MEK members at Camp Ashraf, the United States would lose an historically valuable intelligence asset, an important conciliator between U.S. Forces and Sunni insurgents, and an effective mediator between Sunni and Shiite Iraqis. Furthermore, because the United States military continues to play a monitoring role over the Camp to ensure the security of protected persons, Washington could be implicated in any human rights violations that befall protected persons forcibly sent to Iran."

According to R. Bruce McColm, President of the Institute for Democratic Strategies, IPC Board of Directors, "The Fourth Geneva Convention protections of the people in Camp Ashraf and declarations of Amnesty International dictate that Ashraf inhabitants should not be sent involuntarily to Iran. Membership in the MEK is constitutionally illegal in Iran, and MEK members continue to be executed in Iran; despite assurances from Tehran to the contrary, extradition is bound to result in severe harm to residents of Ashraf."

McColm states, "The way Baghdad treats the main Iranian opposition housed in Iraq could be a bellwether of its independence from Tehran; such independence is in the U.S. interest because of the growing danger of a de facto political merger of the Islamic Republic of Iran with what would become a sister Islamist regime in Baghdad; such alignment would threaten the moderate Arab Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, as well as American bases in the region, and the State of Israel."

Paul Welday, IPC Board of Directors, former chief of staff to Rep. Joe Knollenberg, said, "The EU decision to delist the MEK provides an example for how Congress could follow its European counterpart, the EU Parliament, to forge an evenhanded policy with respect to the Iranian people and the Iranian regime. With the advent of the 111th Congress, delisting the main Iranian opposition would provide an opportunity for Congress and the Obama Administration to stand with our European allies for liberty and against the tyranny of Tehran."
Paul E Vallely
Chairman Stand Up America Project

1 comment:

Bluegrass Pundit said...

Barack Obama is trying to be nice to fanatics in the hope they will kill us last

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are preparing to write a nice "make up" letter to Iran. They do not understand that the leaders of Iran are fanatics who want to kill us or forcibly convert us to their brand of Islam.