Mass Rally of Iranians Against Maliki's Visit to White House with Participation of U.S. Dignitaries in a Bipartisan Move

Nov 01, 2013, 16:13 ET from Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

PARIS, November 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Demonstrators shouted: Maliki is lying to America on the assault on Ashraf, taking seven Ashraf residents hostage, and democracy in Iraq

President Obama should ask Maliki to immediately release the hostages

Concurrent with the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to White House and his meeting with President Obama, Iranians staged a mass rally in front of the White House strongly condemning Maliki's atrocities against Iranian dissidents in Iraq and called on President Obama to ask Maliki to immediately release the seven Iranian dissidents he has taken hostage.

On September 1, Iraqi forces attacked residents in Camp Ashraf, place of residence of Iranian refugees in Iraq who are protected persons according to Geneva Conventions, mass executing 52 and taking seven residents, including six women, hostage.

Prominent U.S. dignitaries, including Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate (2012); Tom Ridge, First Secretary of Homeland Security; Senator Robert Torricelli (1997-2003); Patrick Kennedy, Congressman (1995-2011); and Col. Wesley Martin, former Senior Anti-terrorism Force Protection Officer for Coalition Forces in Iraq and U.S. commander for protection of Ashraf, were speakers to the rally.

A video message of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance stationed in Paris, was broadcasted during the protest rally.

In her speech Mrs. Rajavi said: "There is no doubt in anybody's mind that the massacre of the 52 residents of Ashraf and the hostage-taking of seven others were carried out by the Iraqi government and with its cooperation. Therefore, it is incumbent on the U.S. government to say why it is concealing this reality? Besides, when it welcomes this man at the highest level, it implies that it is accepting to shoulder responsibility vis-à-vis his policies. That is why we say: Mr. President, after your meeting with Maliki, your responsibility with respect to the fate of the hostages and the 3,000 members of the MEK in Liberty prison is two-fold.

"Demand from the Iraqi Prime Minister to release the hostages and not to hamper provision of protective and security requirements for Liberty. In the face of any such obstructions, cut off economic aid to and weapons ties with Iraq. You bear responsibility to hold Maliki accountable with respect to his commitments."

Iranians who had gathered in Washington from all over America shouted in this demonstration: "Maliki is directly responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Ashraf residents. He is lying to America on the Ashraf massacre, taking residents hostage, and democracy in Iraq."

Protestors called on President Obama for the U.S. to adhere to its commitments to the Iranian dissidents in Iraq and to explicitly ask Maliki to immediately release the hostages. They said that any aid to the government of Iraq, in particular any sale of weapons by the U.S., should be linked to the release of the hostages. The U.S. government had given written guarantees to each and every resident of Camp Ashraf for their protection and security. They emphasized that the U.S. should take practical, meaningful and concrete steps to guarantee the security of around 3,000 Iranian dissidents who are presently at Camp Liberty near Baghdad and it should compel the government of Iraq to agree to these measures.

In recent days, in a bipartisan initiative, 45 U.S. Congressmen and 36 personalities, including some of the most senior former officials and American senior officers, in their letters to President Obama had stressed that any aid or sale of weapons to Iraq should be tied to freedom of hostages and assurance of protection of Iranian dissidents in Iraq.

SOURCE Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran