ADME Holds Congressional Briefing on Iran and Iraq
November 14, 2006
NEW YORK, Nov. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On Tuesday, November 14, 2006, the Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East (ADME) held a briefing in the United States House of Representatives under bipartisan sponsorship of Members of Congress to support the efforts of the United States Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents. The ADME panel consisted of founder and chairman Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker of New York, Pastor John Gibbs of Houston, and Deacon Shane Hornbuckle representing ADME board member the Reverend Dr. Lames Lee Collins of Atlanta.
The briefing was organized to demonstrate the nation-wide support of religious and civic leaders for the rights of Camp Ashraf's residents to reside in Iraq as political refugees from their native Iran, protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention guaranteed right of asylum.
Ashraf's 3800 residents, as members of the Iranian resistance Mohajedin-e Khalq (MEK), have been threatened with expulsion from Iraq and extradition to Iran where they would face execution. The theocratic Tehran regime has been pressuring Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to expel the residents of Ashraf who have resided in Iraq for over twenty years.
Rabbi Zucker presented a collection of 570 petitions from religious and civic leaders from around the country on behalf of the asylum rights of the residents of Ashraf. Members of Congress also were being asked to lend their support for these humanitarian efforts on behalf of Camp Ashraf.
All three members of the panel called attention to the abysmal record of human rights violations by the Iranian regime, and the threat to regional security and world peace that the Iranian nuclear quest has created.
Pastor Gibbs said: "It is the residents of Ashraf City who are fighting in the frontline battle with Islamic extremism. Although they have no weapons, it is their ideology that offers the antithesis to the warmongering, terrorist vision of Tehran's regime. ...The men and women of Ashraf City have developed a people to people network between Iranians and Iraqis to defeat the thrust of Islamic fundamentalism."
Dr. Collins' letter quoted the July 26, 2006 Congressional Record which reported the declaration of 5.2 million Iraqis that described the Iranian opposition in Ashraf as the most important cultural and political impediment to the Iranian regime's infiltration into Iraq. They called for an end to the Iranian regime's meddling in Iraq and emphasized the political refugee status of Ashraf residents in that country.
Rabbi Zucker called upon President Bush and Secretary of State Rice to recognize that the problem of Iraq cannot be solved until the problem of Iran is resolved. The Tehran regime's meddling in Iraq will only be stopped by forcing the regime to change itself or be changed from fundamentalist Islamic to a secular democracy. Iran's parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which has 27 years of experience and expertise in combating the regime's fundamentalism is prepared to help make those changes because it realizes that religious rule is incompatible with genuine democracy. It is time to recognize and cooperate with the NCRI so as to nullify the efforts of Tehran to spread extremist Islam.
The petition of the International Declaration in support of Ashraf City stated the following three points:
1. Immediate investigation of the situation of human rights in Iran particularly the rights of religious minorities and women, and inspection of the prisons by the United Nations Human Rights Council;
2. Decisiveness on the part of the world community against the Iranian terrorist regime's nuclear projects and meddling in Iraq and the Middle East;
3. Iraqi government's full commitment and respect of international Conventions including the reaffirmation of the rights of Ashraf residents to political asylum in Iraq; protection and respect to the rights of these political refugees under the Fourth Geneva Convention by the Multi-National Force -- Iraq (MNF-I). International Committee of the Red Cross, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Human Rights Council, and the UN Secretary General.