The following is a response by a spokesman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Mr. Shahin Ghobadi, to a New York Times editorial titled “Iraq: Iranian Group May Return to U.S. Terrorist List Over Camp” published as a news article on August 16, 2012. The response was published on August 23 in the opinion pages of the New York Times.
The position of the State Department regarding possible redesignation of the People’s Mujahedeen, an Iranian opposition group, on the terrorist list, because of the insistence of the residents of Camp Ashraf for basic humanitarian needs, including running water, before completing their transfer to Camp Liberty in Iraq, is illegal and illegitimate.
Some 2,000 Ashraf residents (two-thirds of them) have already gone to Camp Liberty in complete good faith, and the threat of relisting is a pressure move on the rest of the residents to go unconditionally to Camp Liberty, which the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has described as an “an open-air detention center.”
The government of Iraq has carried out two massacres at Ashraf, using the United States listing as an excuse. The relisting would be nothing more than a license for another massacre of defenseless residents at Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, for which the State Department would be fully responsible.
If as the article suggests, the international standards and minimum humanitarian needs are being met at Camp Liberty, why, despite three statements by the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, do the doors of Camp Liberty remain closed to lawyers, parliamentarians, human rights activists and even former senior United States military officers who have requested to visit?
Instead of resorting to such threats, State Department officials should focus on fulfilling the residents’ minimum humanitarian needs so the relocation can be completed.
National Council of Resistance of Iran