The start of the Persian New Year on Tuesday 20 March should have been a happy occasion, but for freedom-loving Iranians in Iraq it began on a note of sadness with the death of a 44-year-old electrical expert, Amir-Mostofian.
This death was totally unnecessary. Amir Mostofian had been a resident of Camp Ashraf for some 20 years. But under harassment by Iraqi forces, the 3,400 residents of Ashraf are being moved piecemeal and forcibly to Camp Liberty, an inhumane facility near Baghdad set up in clear violation of an agreement between the Maliki government and the UN and U.S.
Because the relocation took days when it should have taken hours, Amir was exhausted on arrival at Liberty. After his arrival, he went into a trailer for prayers but did not come out. When his friends went to call him to take part in the Nowrouz (Persian New Year) celebrations, they found him dead. An Iraqi doctor confirmed that he had died of cardiac arrest due to fatigue and pressure.
Last weekend I had the honor to chair an international conference attended by thousands of Iranian exiles dedicated to speeding up freedom for the Camp Ashraf residents and removing their organisation, the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), from the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations.
I have been a supporter of the residents of Ashraf (and now in camp Liberty) for more than 20 years; I stand with them today, and I and the others at the conference will be with them until their final victory, until freedom comes to Iran and the global threat posed by the evil regime of the mullahs is removed once and for all.
Last year almost at this time, the world witnessed a savage massacre in Camp Ashraf in which 36 residents were killed in cold blood - only because they resisted the religious fascism ruling Iran. These 36 and all those who were wounded are symbols of perseverance for us all today. They are our inspiration.
We pledge to continue to put pressure on the international community and in particular on the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union to ensure urgent protection of the residents of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in order to prevent a greater humanitarian tragedy.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian resistance and the keynote speaker of the event declared that with global solidarity, it is possible to turn the New Year as the year of defeat for the religious fascism ruling Iran. She added that the only solution to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb or unprecedented conflict due to the mullahs' instigation of crisis is the regime change by the Iranian people and the Iranian resistance. She pointed out that: "In order to escape their demise, the mullahs have reverted to war with the Iranian people, the people of the region and the international community. At the centre of these measures is their effort to annihilate the organized resistance who holds the key for change in Iran. Attacking Ashraf is done within this context".
Our conference also took place at a time when the pro-Iranian lobby in the U.S. is trying to smear brave American politicians, military officials, and human rights activists who have been defending our course. We were honored to have a number of these officials with us on our panel, including Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York ,Michael Mukasey; former US Attorney General, Secretary Tom Ridge, the first US Homeland Security Secretary ; John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Patrick Kennedy, former member of the US Congress; Glenn Carle, former Deputy National Intelligence for Transnational Threats; Col. Wesley Martin, former Commander of the MNF-I anti-terrorism unit and commander of protection of Ashraf; and Lt. Col Leo McCloskey, another former Commander of protection of Ashraf telling the American government that they will not be intimidated.
Some in the American government claim the PMOI does not have the support of the people of Iran. This is their justification for the continued unjust designation - and what an absurd justification, as well as a totally untrue claim.
The State Department is playing a dirty game. Anyone bold enough to express concern about dubious actions of the State Department regarding the PMOI is chased by the Treasury, and yet the State Department expects the Iranian diaspora to express openly its support for the PMOI. What an irony. Inside Iran, anyone daring to support them, if caught, would be sent to the gallows almost instantly. Now in the U.S., that seems to be the case, too. A different kind of gallows - defamation.
But the State Department is wrong in assuming that the brave backers of the Iranian resistance would go away. They won't. The injustice against the PMOI not only is an injustice to the people of Iran who cry freedom, but it is an injustice to the notion of peace and stability in the Middle East and security of our world. If those so-called reporters who have been repeating the lies would have listened to the people at our conference, they would have thought twice about becoming pawns in this dirty game.
To their credit, UK, and EU courts ruled for the PMOI and it is now delisted in the UK and the EU. Now it is time for similar action in the U.S.