Sunday, August 21, 2016

   Tehran Tries to Throttle MEK Opposition through Iraqi Allies

Prof. Daniel M. Zucker

Global Politician, July 7, 2008

On Saturday, June 14, 2008, the Solidarity Congress of the Iraqi Peoples[1] held its fourth annual meeting[2] at Camp Ashraf in Diyala Province where it was hosted by the Iranian Opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq [MEK] (aka: People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran/PMOI). At the meeting, a petition was presented with the signatures of over 3 million Iraqi Shiites calling for the expulsion of the Iranian regime and its agents from the territory of Iraq, as well as the removal of restrictions from the PMOI in Iraq. The petition stated the following: “Today, it is beyond a shadow of doubt that all these crimes and atrocities are planned by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corp (IRGC), the terrorist Qods Force, the Intelligence Service, and the embassy and the consulates of the Iranian regime in Iraq. Iranian rulers explicitly announce that slaughter and terror in the “streets of Baghdad” is their “superiority” over the United States, and at the same time they accuse their opposition in Iraq, the PMOI, of terrorism, explosions, targeting civilians and murder and abduction with US forces assistance.”[3]

The signatories to the declaration underscored the following demands:[4]

1. Expulsion of all members and agents of the Iranian regime’s IRGC, Intelligence, and the terrorist Qods Force from all governmental or non-governmental institutions of Iraq, especially the security systems and the police,
2. Closure of (the) Iranian embassy and consulates that support terrorist operations and the imposition of Iranian regime’s dominance in Iraq.
3. Removal of restrictions from the Ashraf residents and return of the PMOI’s properties according to The Hague Conventions.
4. Enforcement of verdicts by the European Court of Justice and the UK Court by the European Union , and the annulment of terrorist designation of the PMOI by the U.S.
Reaction by the Islamic Republic of Iran was swift; the regime mobilized its Iraqi allies among the Shiite fundamentalist camp, including Abdul Aziz al-Hakim’s SICRI/SIIC and the al-Dawa Party of Prime Minister Dr. Nouri al-Maliki and Moqtada al-Sadr, in order to avenge and counter the demands of the Solidarity Congress. Tehran insisted that the Iraqi government introduce legislation in the Iraqi National Assembly[5] banning contact with the PMOI and calling for the removal of the Multi-Force protection of the PMOI’s Camp Ashraf, as well as the expulsion of PMOI personnel from Iraq. The Shiite Dr. Ali al-Dabbagh, official spokesmen for the Government of Iraq since his appointment at the beginning of Prime Minister al-Maliki’s tenure in 2006-formerly a member of the Iraqi National Assembly as a part of the fundamentalist-block United Iraqi Alliance led by SICRI/SIIC leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim-as spokesman for the Iraqi cabinet, announced: “The cabinet decided to emphasize the decisions made previously that consider the MKO as a terrorist organization that should depart Iraq.”[6]

Tehran’s wishes were clearly granted as the Iraqi government Tuesday (June 17) decided to prohibit any dealings with the PMOI. “The decree encompasses any organization, party, institution, and individual, Iraqis or foreigners, inside Iraq, and that anyone who violates this decree will be charged according to the terror law.”[7] Predictably, the Iranian embassy in Baghdad expressed its satisfaction with the Iraqi cabinet decision through its “media advisor”, Manuchehr Tasleemi.[8]

Not content with blocking the demands of the anti-fundamentalist Solidarity Congress and its 60% moderate Shiite membership, the Shiite fundamentalists in the National Assembly, led by MP Hassan al-Sineed of the United Iraqi Coalition aka United Iraqi Alliance (UIC/UIA-Shiite fundamentalist parliamentary block)[9] called for the arrest of the Sunni MP Dr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, leader of the Arab-block Iraqi Front for National Dialogue[10], the second largest Sunni party and the fifth largest political list in Iraq’s parliament, because of his visitations to Camp Ashraf and cordial relations with the PMOI.

Told of these demands, Dr. al-Mutlaq replied: “I would be honored if I would be detained, because I stood with the oppressed. In each visit I made, I found this organization totally disarmed, and working day and night to live. Relations with the MKO is against the Iranian intervention in Iraq, and is much less dangerous than relations with Iran….This is a visit to thousands of Iraqis, and a meeting with thousands of Iraqis that have no safer place to meet.”[11]  Dr. al-Mutlak added a note from Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, saying: “There is a message from the Iraqi Foreign Minister saying that we had no damages from the MKO, and that this organization’s presence is for Iraq’s interests.”[12]

Meanwhile, the MEK and its political coalition partners in the Iranian parliament-in-exile-the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)-issued statements about the recent action of the al-Maliki government against the MEK/PMOI. The MEK statement included the following text: The stance taken by Mr. Dabbagh, the Iraqi government spokesman, against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran is the reflection of hysterical pressures of the religious fascism ruling Iran and its embassy in Baghdad on the Iraqi government to take revenge on the PMOI because three million Iraqi Shiites have rejected the Iranian regime. . This stance is the (sic) flagrant breach of International law and conventions, especially the non-refoulement principle, Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions and the International Humanitarian Law, and is in shameful contrast with the stances of ICRC , UNHCR, UNAMI, and the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the European Parliament.[13]

The statement by the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran included the following text:

The unlawful remarks by Dabaq [Dr.Ali al-Dabbagh] are flagrant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the common article three of the Geneva Conventions, the International Humanitarian Law, the principle of non-refoulment and many other international conventions which offer protection to Ashraf residents. 
As the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNAMI and many other international bodies have emphasized; the above-mentioned treaties and principles prohibit extradition, forced expulsion from Iraq or involuntary displacement within Iraq. Also, their transfer to any other country or authority which might jeopardize the implementation of the principle of non-refoulment is unlawful. 
The presence of the PMOI in Iraq is within the framework of the international law and welcomed by the people of that country. The declarations by three million Iraqi Shiites (June 2008), 5.2 million Iraqis (June 2006), 12,000 Iraqi jurists (April 2006), 3,000 Iraqi Sheikhs and tribal leaders (June 2007) and dozens of other statements by different sections of the Iraqi society have expressed support for the PMOI’s presence in Iraq. This has also been expressed by political leaders as well as democratic and nationalist Iraqi parties. 
Remarks by Dabaq [Dabbagh] come at a time when he is absolutely silent on the criminal actions taken by the clerical regime against the PMOI and the residents of Ashraf City in Iraq including bombing of Ashraf water pumping station, missile attack on Ashraf, bombing of a bus carrying Iraqi workers to Ashraf City, assassination of Iraqis who support the PMOI and many others. 
However, when three million Iraqi Shiites call for an end to the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and expulsion of agents of the regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Qods Force from that country, Dabaq [Dabbagh] reacts by calling for expulsion of the PMOI, declaring ban on any contacts with it and calls on the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) to hand over the PMOI and its members.
These are the conditions under which the residents of Camp Ashraf toil every day, as they attempt to reconcile the various sects, ethnic groups, and political parties in Iraq in order to help the Iraqi people to reject the domination of their nation by the fanatical, mullah regime of Iran, and as they work to bring freedom and a secular democratic government to their long-suffering Iranian homeland. This writer salutes the brave members of the MEK, and their allies in the Solidarity Congress of Iraqi Peoples. May both succeed quickly, Inshallah!

Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching government officials and the public of the dangers posed by Islamic fundamentalism and the need to establish genuine democratic institutions in the Middle-East as an antidote to the venom of such fundamentalism. The organization’s web site is


[1] See footnotes 6-15 in Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker, “Iraq: Battleground Between Islamists and Secularists”, World Defense Review, June 17, 2008, for details about the Solidarity Congress of the Iraqi Peoples. [Note: WDR web-site is defunct; however article can be accessed at:]
[2] Dan Rabkin, “Iraqis Stand United Against Iran”, International Analyst Network, June 14, 2008,
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Voices of Iraq (VOI), “Parliament debates Mujahideen Khalq presence in Iraq”, Aswat al-Iraq, June 18, 2008, .
[6] VOI, “Iraqi government prohibits dealing with Iranian MKO”, Aswat al-Iraq, June 18, 2008, .
[7] Ibid.
[8] VOI, “Iranian embassy welcomes Iraqi govt. stance against opposition group”, Aswat al-Iraq, June 18, 2008, .
[9] For a breakdown and analysis of the various components of the UIA/UIC block, see: Reidar Visser, “SCIRI, Daawa and Sadrists in the Certified Iraq Elections Results”, Historiae, February 11, 2006, .
[10] The Arab-block Iraqi Front for National Dialogue holds 28 seats out of a total of 275 in the Iraqi National Assembly.
[11] See note 6, op. cit.
[12] Ibid.
[13] PMOI, “Revenge on PMOI because of the rejection of Iranian regime by 3 million Iraqi Shiites”, June 18, 2008, .
[14] NCRI, “Frantic reaction to the declaration of three million Iraqi Shiites by agents of the Iranian regime”, Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, June 18, 2008, .

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