Round-the-Clock Protest at State Department to Demand Swift Decision to Delist MEK and Good Faith Action to Resolve the Humanitarian Crisis at Camp Ashraf

Aug 02, 2011, 15:28 ET from US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Families of Camp Ashraf residents will join Iranian-Americans to begin a round-the-clock sit-in across from the Department of State in protest against the Department's unlawful delay in completing the Court of Appeals mandated review of the status of Iran's main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and delist the group; as well as the failure to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, home to 3,400 MEK members.

According to state television, Al-Iraqiya, 30 July, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said, Iraq may "sue those … governments that provide refuge to them," dismissing the possibility for Ashraf residents to move to third countries.

In June, Maliki invoked the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of MEK by the State Department as justification for not allowing a U.S. congressional delegation to visit Ashraf to investigate the April attack by Iraqi forces, which left 36 residents killed and hundreds wounded.

A bi-partisan group of 93 lawmakers, including Chairs of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Armed Services Committee, Financial Services Committee, and Oversight and Government Reform Committee, have cosponsored H.Res.60, "urging the Secretary of State to remove the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from the Department of State's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations."  

In July, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, unanimously adopted a language in the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill which would make it the policy of the United States "To take all necessary and appropriate steps to prevent the forcible relocation of Camp Ashraf residents inside Iraq and facilitate the robust presence of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq in Camp Ashraf."

Ironically, some State Department officials insist the residents should be moved from their homes for the past 25 years in Ashraf to other locations, totally at the mercy of the Iraqi forces and Iranian regime's proxies away from the attention of the International community, and disband their organization. These officials suggest that this option is "a bit safer," even though, as acknowledged by many lawmakers, prominent U.S. national security figures, and human rights organizations, it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for Ashraf residents.

This option is also in contrast with the European Parliament's proposal, agreed to by the residents, which urges the relocation of residents to Europe and other democratic countries.

SOURCE US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR)