Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 19, 2013 … According to the US State Department, Saddam armed the group with “heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of (PMOI) fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces” near the end of the war. Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the PMOI turned over “2,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and heavy artillery,” the State Department said. The group was also allegedly involved in Saddam’s violent suppression of 1991 Shiite and Kurdish uprisings in Iraq.”The former regime used (the PMOI) to carry out repression” in Iraq, said Dr Adnan al-Saraj, who has written books about the group. Saddam gave …
Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 19, 2013
An Iranian exile group attacked in Iraq this month has moved from terrorism lists to international good graces, but Baghdad wants it out over its opposition to Iran‘s rulers and ties to Saddam Hussein.
On February 9, mortar rounds and rockets slammed into Camp Liberty, a former US military base near Baghdad that now houses some 3,000 members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), killing five people, according to Iraqi security officials.
The attack triggered condemnation from the United States and United Nations, but in Iraq officials are eager to see the group depart.
The PMOI’s “presence in Iraq is illegal and illegitimate,” Ali Mussawi, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s spokesman, told AFP. “Their presence is rejected.”
Iraqi political analyst Ihsan al-Shammari said the “nature of the relationship between the (Iraqi) Shiite political powers and Iran,” Baghdad’s Shiite neighbour to the east with which it has close ties, is a key factor in Iraq’s insistence on the PMOI’s ouster.
Shammari also noted other factors including the PMOI’s links to executed dictator Saddam, under whose rule Iraq’s now-empowered Shiite majority was oppressed.
Saddam allowed the PMOI to establish a base called Camp Ashraf northeast of Baghdad after he launched the 1980-88 war with Iran, in which the group fought alongside his forces.
According to the US State Department, Saddam armed the group with “heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of (PMOI) fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces” near the end of the war.
Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the PMOI turned over “2,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and heavy artillery,” the State Department said.
The group was also allegedly involved in Saddam’s violent suppression of 1991 Shiite and Kurdish uprisings in Iraq.
“The former regime used (the PMOI) to carry out repression” in Iraq, said Dr Adnan al-Saraj, who has written books about the group.
Saddam gave the PMOI four bases in Iraq, buildings in central Baghdad and other perks including Iraqi passports and free petrol, Saraj said.
Almost all PMOI members in Iraq have moved to Camp Liberty from Camp Ashraf, the last of their bases, as part of a UN-backed process that aims to see them resettled outside the country.
But after this month’s attack, the PMOI complained about the slow pace of the process, which has dragged on as few countries have come forward with concrete offers of resettlement.
The PMOI has not taken the move from Camp Ashraf, where some members have lived for decades, quietly, alleging Baghdad is acting at Tehran’s behest.
It has also criticised the UN’s assertion that the camp meets minimum humanitarian standards and complained about a variety of alleged shortcomings including restrictions on using forklift trucks, which it said amounted to “torture”.
While not accepted in Iraq, the PMOI has made strides internationally.
The group, which was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran but took up arms against the country’s new clerical rulers after the 1979 Islamic revolution, successfully campaigned for its removal from US and EU terrorism lists.
The PMOI said it renounced violence in 2001 after carrying out attacks in Iran and elsewhere for decades. It now issues deluges of statements to the media and has enlisted well-known western politicians and officials as advocates.
The language of the official US condemnation of the attack on Camp Liberty also indicates the progress made by the PMOI, which was listed as a “terrorist organisation” by Washington until last year and by the EU until 2009.
The US State Department condemned it as a “terrorist attack,” and also referred to the attack as a “tragedy”.
Although the PMOI has gained international acceptance, Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert and senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the same is not true within Iran.
“They’re widely viewed as a backward and intolerant cult by their opposition peers in Iran,” Sadjadpour said.
(Massoud and Maryam Rajavi the cult leaders)
(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)
(Maryam Rajavi in terrorist cult’s HQ in Paris)
Ex-Officials Say They Were Paid To Attend Pro- Mojahedin Khalq (MEK, MKO, NCRI, Rajavi cult) Events
… Hamilton, who once chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, told reporter Barbara Slavin he was paid “a substantial amount” to appear at a panel in Washington D.C. in February. Zinni, who spoke at a similar event in January, said he had been paid his “standard fee,” without detailing what that is. According to Slavin, both men said they were unaware of the cultish elements attributed to the MEK. The State Department’s 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism, for example, reported the following:In addition to its terrorist credentials, the MEK has also displayed cult-like characteristics. Upon entry into the group, new members are indoctrinated in MEK ideology and …
(Washington backed Maryam Rajavi in terrorist cult’s HQ in Paris)
Eric Lach, TPM, March 04, 2011
Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and retired Gen. Anthony Zinni
Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton (D) and former CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni told the Inter Press Service that they were paid to appear at recent events supporting the MEK, an Iranian opposition group currently considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.
Hamilton and Zinni are among the many big time former government officials and military leaders who have appeared at recent pro-MEK events sponsored by a group called Executive Action, LLC. (The events true organizers remain unclear, Executive Action’s CEO Neil Livingstone would only tell TPM they included Iranian American groups.) Speakers at the events have portrayed the MEK as critical to any chance of regime change in Iran.
Hamilton, who once chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, told reporter Barbara Slavin he was paid “a substantial amount” to appear at a panel in Washington D.C. in February. Zinni, who spoke at a similar event in January, said he had been paid his “standard fee,” without detailing what that is.
According to Slavin, both men said they were unaware of the cultish elements attributed to the MEK. The State Department’s 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism, for example, reported the following:
In addition to its terrorist credentials, the MEK has also displayed cult-like characteristics.
Upon entry into the group, new members are indoctrinated in MEK ideology and revisionist Iranian history. Members are also required to undertake a vow of “eternal divorce” and participate in weekly “ideological cleansings.” Additionally, children are reportedly separated from parents at a young age. MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has established a “cult of personality.” She claims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad and is viewed by members as the “Iranian President in exile.”
“They presented me with a platform that was thoroughly democratic,” Hamilton told Slavin. “Were they misleading me? You always can be misled.”
Zinni was firmer:
“De-listing ought to be done much the way we handled the PLO and the IRA,” Zinni said in an interview.
Zinni, who famously inveighed against the U.S. invasion of Iraq and was a fierce opponent of Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, seemed to have no similar compunctions about Iranian exiles.
“The Iranian community outside Iran has much more influence inside than the Chalabis of the world that we ended up supporting in Iraq,” he said.
Over the years, the Iranian government has arrested and executed thousands of MEK members. Still, experts say that the group actually has very little support in Iran, where people remember how it fought for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian studies scholar Ahmad Sadri told TPM in February that U.S. support for the MEK would anger ordinary Iranians.
Although it was put on the U.S. terror list in 1997, the MEK has a history of support in Congress. While it originally blended elements of Islam and Marxism, the group and its supporters say it has renounced violence and now advocates for a secular and democratic Iran. After the fall of Hussein, who armed and funded the group for many years, about 3,400 MEK members were consolidated at Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. MEK backers also insist that U.S. forces should be permanently stationed at Ashraf, for protection. (Camp residents have been subject to attacks they blame on the Iraqi and Iranian governments.)
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where several lawmakers urged her to delist the MEK. Clinton said that the State Department is reviewing the MEK’s designation in accordance with a Washington D.C. District Court of Appeal’s recent ruling, after a suit brought by the MEK.
“You know it’s proceeding,” Clinton said. “These are very important considerations and reviews and you know as soon as we can we will make such a decision.”
TPM reached out to both Zinni and Hamilton for comment.
UK Government confirms – Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult) leaders deny families access to their captive relatives inside Camp Ashraf
… We are aware of reports that loudspeakers are being used outside the Camp Ashraf entrance. The Government of Iraq have publicly stated that the purpose of the loudspeakers is to allow family members to communicate with residents inside Camp Ashraf, as they have apparently been forbidden any contact by the camp’s leadership. Ashraf Committee is composed of members from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Immigration and Displaced People. The Ashraf Committee reports directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki …
UK Parliament, March 23, 2011
House of Lords – Written Answers
Wednesday 23 March 2011
Iraq: Camp Ashraf
Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 9 March (WA 410), whether they will ask the United Kingdom ambassador to Iraq to establish the purpose of 200 loudspeakers put around the perimeter of Camp Ashraf.[HL7641]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford):
We are aware of reports that loudspeakers are being used outside the Camp Ashraf entrance. The Government of Iraq have publicly stated that the purpose of the loudspeakers is to allow family members to communicate with residents inside Camp Ashraf, as they have apparently been forbidden any contact by the camp’s leadership.
On 20 February 2011, our representatives met UN representatives and the Iraqi Government’s Ashraf Committee to discuss the situation at Camp Ashraf.
We urged the Iraqi Government to ensure the residents’ human rights are respected and we continue to encourage both sides to engage in constructive dialogue leading to a lasting, and peaceful, resolution.
Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 9 March (WA 410), what is the proper title, purpose, membership and position within government of the government of Iraq’s Ashraf Committee. [HL7642]
Lord Howell of Guildford:
We understand that the Iraqi Government’s Ashraf Committee is composed of members from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Immigration and Displaced People. The Ashraf Committee reports directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki. The Ashraf Committee is responsible for implementing the Iraqi Government’s policies regarding Camp Ashraf.
Diabolical Sex Abuse Practiced by MKO Leader, Massoud Rajavi
… I was shocked to see some high-ranking women of leadership Council took off their clothes and went to Massoud. Massoud was saying “yes take off your clothes of heresy and ignorance and dive in the pool to unite yourself with me in order to be resistant enough in every moment of your struggle.” […] Maryam also said, “Get close to Massoud and unite with him.”I noticed that Maryam and some other high ranking members were monitoring us and trying to convince those of us who hesitated to remove their underwear.[…] Maryam said that we were no more jealous to each other so we could fight together.[…]she tried to persuade us to look at the others having sex with Massoud Rajavi …
(Maryam Rajavi and two of the chosen cult members)
Mazda Parsi, Nejat blogger, September 16, 2010
The recently published testimony of Ms. Batoul Soltani, a former member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) revealed new measures of the group’s manipulation and brainwashing. Because of this, and because of previous reported bizarre practices and abuses, the MKO can be accurately labeled by psychologists as a Closed High Demand Group (CHDG) . Formerly, Ms. Soltani had testified against the MKO in front of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, revealing some of the group’s military operations during the Iran-Iraq War.  What she failed to report at that time was the sexual abuse that was imposed on her and many of the other women. Prior to Ms. Batoul Soltani’s escape from the MKO, she was a member of the group’s elite so-called “leadership council” and her new testimony is consistent with reports that Massoud and Maryam Rajavi are the self-appointed leaders of the cult, and that they frequently engaged in abusive practices in order to keep control of the members, especially the females. While abuse by the MKO has previously been documented, Soltani’s recent reports of maltreatment, due to shame and sensitivity, had not been made public. Now, Soltani describes Massoud Rajavi as a deceitful leader who practices a bizarre form of ideological polygamy and frequently engages in “obligatory” sexual activity with many of the women in the cult’s leadership council. In one of her many interviews that have been translated into English and fully documented into over 100 pages on the Sahar Family Foundation Website  Soltani describes a scene she witnessed during her time as a member of the cult’s leadership council—these particular excerpts are obtained directly from the Nejat Society’s website:
I was shocked to see some high-ranking women of leadership Council took off their clothes and went to Massoud. Massoud was saying “yes take off your clothes of heresy and ignorance and dive in the pool to unite yourself with me in order to be resistant enough in every moment of your struggle.” […]
Maryam also said, “Get close to Massoud and unite with him.”I noticed that Maryam and some other high ranking members were monitoring us and trying to convince those of us who hesitated to remove their underwear.[…] Maryam said that we were no more jealous to each other so we could fight together.[…]she tried to persuade us to look at the others having sex with Massoud Rajavi. 
Peculiar coercive sexual practices and polygamy in cults is not unusual. Cult leaders tend to claim they are more spiritually evolved than the rest of the population and therefore they aggressively press cult members to worship them. For some cult leaders, especially male leaders, requiring female members to have sex with them is basically part of that worship, which in turn is meant to create complete devotion—and often it does. But the repercussions are steep; Soltani outlines that there is a total loss of self. Steven Hassan who authored the bestselling book *Combating Cult Mind Control* writes on his website that “unselfishness, kindness, gentleness and compassion should be a basic living principle, not just an ideal. When individuals claim to be spiritually more developed, and put themselves in the role of guru, swami, master, prophet these virtues must be consistently demonstrated. We must not allow our desire to know the ‘Absolute Truth’ to blind us from observing obvious discrepancies in our teachers’ behaviors.”
As a victim, Soltani has a unique perspective. She revealed that under this pretext of “unification with the leader,” the women are told to revere him—and that he is the only source of truth in their lives—then they are exploited sexually. Arnold Markowitz who is a cult expert asserts that members or disciples are often vulnerable and sexual abuse in cults by leaders is rampant. According to him, “a group constitutes a destructive cult when it has a self-appointed, charismatic leader who controls the daily lives of members.” For the females of the MKO, Massoud Rajavi is that charismatic leader, and they are actually able to undergo total submission, even sexual submission, because according to Soltani, their daily lives are tightly controlled, both physically and psychologically. In essence Rajavi’s victims are comprehensively brainwashed. Besides Soltani’s testimony, many sources confirm that Massoud Rajavi became the captivating leader of MKO after he launched his ideological revolution in the mid 1980’s. At that time, he forced couples to divorce under the pretense of freeing themselves so that they could focus all their love, energy, and emotions on Rajavi the Ideological Leader. 
Soltani reports that nobody in the isolated, dominated and filtered atmosphere of the group is allowed to or even dares to question or show concern about Rajavi’s illicit behavior—the women are simply too vulnerable, and Rajavi wants to keep them that way.
The MKO is just one of many cults to use techniques which include the sexual exploitation of women. There are hundreds of documented cults which include polygamy or require deviant sexual acts—all in order to maintain their system of mind control.  Many of these cults’ leaders have been convicted. In 2005, William Kamm, was found guilty on five charges in a New South Wales District Court. Kamm was also known to his followers as “Little Pebble” and he led the Order of St. Charbel, an Australian Christian cult.
His offences include aggravated indecent assault and aggravated sexual intercourse with a 14 year old girl. His practices are similar to the “marriages” Rajavi imposed on the women of the MKO’s leadership council. And while Kamm chose twelve queens and seventy-two princess to become his mystical wives,  Rajavi used verses from the Quran to make his followers believe that his compulsory marriages were justifiable. Until recently, the MKO however, has not been illustriously known for systematic sexual coercion because media coverage of its military activity and its politically charged thunderous tirade against the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran has overshadowed its rather secretive internal core.
For now, three thousand people reside behind the fences of the isolated MKO compound—Camp Ashraf—in Iraq, and many of them are women. According to Batoul Soltani, there are some hundreds women with the leadership council rank—many or all of whom in some way or another are being subject to form a diabolical union with the leader, Massoud Rajavi.
 Furnari, Leona LCSW. “Born or Raised in High-Demand Groups:
International Cultic Studies Association 4.3
(2005): Web. 6 Sep 2010. <
Furnari states that According to Tobias and Lalich
(1994, p.13) the
following characteristics are often present in these environments:
Members are expected to be excessively zealous and unquestioning in their commitment to the identity and leadership of the group. Personal beliefs and values must be replaced with those of the group.
Members are manipulated and exploited and may give up their education,careers, and families to work excessively long hours at group-directed tasks such as selling a quota of candy or books, fund-raising, recruiting, and proselytizing.
Harm or threat of harm may come to members, their families and/or society due to inadequate medical care, poor nutrition, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, sleep deprivation, criminal activities, etc.
Furthermore, Margaret Singer and Janja Lalich (1995), who have done vast amounts of work in the cult field, state that such groups have the following characteristics:
Authoritarian power structure Totalitarian control of members’ behavior Double sets of ethics (one for leader and another for members; one for those inside the group, another for outsiders) Leaders that are self-appointed and claim to have a special mission in life Leaders who tend to be charismatic, determined and domineering Leaders who center the veneration of members upon themselves
Finally, Robert Jay Lifton (1961),a psychiatrist and pioneering researcher in the thought reform, or mind control, field, has proposed that the following eight features create environments of “ideological totalism”:
1. Milieu control—the control of communication within an environment;this creates unhealthy boundaries
2. Mystical manipulation or “planned spontaneity”—experiences which appear to be spontaneous are actually orchestrated in order to demonstrate “divine authority,” which enables the leader(s) to use any means toward a “higher end” or goal
3. The demand for purity—absolute separation of good and evil within self and environment
4. The cult of confession—one-on-one or group confession of past and present “sins” or behaviors, which are often used to humiliate the confessor and create dependency upon the leader
5. Sacred science—the group’s teaching is portrayed as Ultimate Truth that cannot be questioned.
6. Loading of the language—use of terms or jargon that have group-specific meaning, phrases that will keep one in or bring one back into the cult mindset.
7. Doctrine over person—denial of self and self-perception.
8. Dispensing of existence—anyone not in the group or not embracing the “truth” is insignificant, not “saved” or “unconscious”; the outside world and members who leave the group are rejected.
 CORI Research Analysis, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Information on the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) including on the three main military operationsof National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), the PMOI military wing, in 1987-1988 during the Iraq-Iran war.”The military operations are called: “the Sun”,”40 Lanterns/Stars” and “Eternal Light”. Information about the military confrontation in 1991 between the Iranian forces and NLA at the Iraq-Iran borders in Khaniqin and Jalawla (Ex-PMOI members call it Marwarid (Pearl) operation).
Query ID: HCR00008E (21 September 2009): Web. 6 Sep 2010.
 Soltani, Batul [or Batoul] “Interviews of Ms Batul Soltani with Sahar Family Foundation in Baghdad.”
Sahar Family Foundation. 1 May 2009. Web. 9 Sep 2010.
 Nejat Bloggers.
“PMOI Leadership Council’s Women SALVATION DANCE.”
Nejat Society (19 August 2010): Web. 9 Sep 2010
 Hassan, Steven.”Introductions.”
Steven Alan Hassan’s Freedom of Mind Center.
Freedom of Mind Resource Center, 2010. Web. 9 Sep 2010
Wikipedia. Arnold Markowitz
For print-interview reference to Markowitz, alsosee: Read, Richard. “In the Grip of the Guru:
Small ‘cottage cults’ drawing more converts in United
States.” Oregonian 16 July 2001: Web. 9 Sep 2010
 Isikoff, Michael and Mark Hosenball.
“Consider the Source: The State Department says MEK is a terror group.
Human Rights Watch says it’s a cult.
For the White House, MEK is a source of intelligence on Iran.”National News
msnbc.com Newsweek 20 May 2005:Web. 9 Sep 2010
Newsweek’s Isikoff and Hosenball report that “Human Rights Watch alleges that the Iranian exile group known as [Mujahedin-eh] Khalq (MEK) has a history of cultlike practices that include forcing members to divorce their spouses and to engage in extended self-criticism sessions.
More dramatically, the report states, former MEK members told Human Rights Watch that when they protested MEK policies or tried to leave the organization, they were arrested, in some cases violently abused and in other instances imprisoned. Two former recruits told the human-rights group that they were held in solitaryconfinement for years in a camp operated by MEK in Iraq under the protection of Saddam Hussein.”
 Many of the recent cults are documented by the following:
Ross, Rick, Executive Director.
“The Ross Institute Internet Archives.”
The Study of Destructive Cults,
Controversial Groups and Movements.
2010. Web. 12 Sep 2010.
”MAKO – Movement Against Kindred Offenders.”
mako.org.au. MAKO, 16 June
2005 from The Australian. Web. 9 Sep 2010
The secretary of US embassy exposed Mojahedin Khalq(MKO, MEK,PMOI, Rajavi cult) leadership
… The second secretary of the American embassy in Baghdad, published a documented report on the crimes committed by the MEK’s leaders who bloodshed their own colleagues, raped the women of Ashraf, poisoned and executed dozens of the defectors …
Fars News Agency,Translated by Nejat NGO, October 22, 2008
Link to the orginal reprot (Persian)
The Second secretary of US embassy report on the horrible crimes of MKO leader
The second secretary of the American embassy in Baghdad, published a documented report on the crimes committed by the MEK’s leaders who bloodshed their own colleagues, raped the women of Ashraf, poisoned and executed dozens of the defectors.
According to FNA reporter in Baghdad, the second secretary of American embassy in Baghdad, William, revealed the bloody violence of Masud Rajavi, MKO leader, against the dissident members, in the third and forth chapter of the report on the actual situation of Mujahedin.
The American official, who investigated the documents and files on Mujahedin, has been one of the authorities who control Camp Ashraf. The report reads:
Like Malik Farough, the former king of Jordan, Masud Rajavi abuses even his female colleagues.”
In another part of the report you can read:
” Rajavi has expanded sexual relations with the female military, political and administrative ranks of the group. He also ordered the doctors to do hysterectomy surgery on some of them.
He noted that he has watched the films of the confessions of the women.
The second secretary of the American embassy mentioned that Rajavi sent the husbands to the deadly operations so as he can reach the wives and possess them in Napoleon’s way. In the existing documents in Ashraf you find out that some of the deaths in the group were not random but intentionally planned. In his long report William noted three cases of the planned deaths and wrote:
”the confessions of some of group members reveal that Rajavi was involved in 19 cases of death personally ordering the assassination.”
This American authority points out poisoning of the members and writes:
“Rajavi ordered the silent death, poisoning some friends or colleagues.
Now, it is clear for the US that MEK’s leader was involved in the suspicious death of his colleagues who were killed under his order but their death was reported falsely as the result of sickness or accident.
He continued mentioning that the forces of MEK are disappointed at the present time in Iraq and present no benefit to the US administration in the current Iraqi scene.
In a part of the report he writes:
Most of Mujahedin forces are suffering dangerous mental diseases and are likely to commit suicide or homicide.
Besides the Iraqi security authorities stressed that the Americans investigated some individuals who confessed that the MEK leader was involved in the assassination of Iranians residing abroad and some defectors of the group. To commit the assassinations, MKO enjoyed the assistance of embassies of the Saddam’s regime and his security organizations.
British Minister of State: We believe it is in the interest of residents to cooperate peacefully with Iraqi authorities
… Government of Iraq would deal with the residents of the camp with respect for their human rights in co-operation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We believe it is in the interests of the residents to respect and accept the decision made by the Government of Iraq, and to cooperate peacefully with the Iraqi authorities …
House of Commons, British Parliament, March 16, 2010
David Drew (Stroud, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Iraq on the situation in Camp Ashraf; and if he will take steps to ensure that residents of Camp Ashraf are not driven from Iraq.
Ivan Lewis (Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Bury South, Labour)
We have discussed the situation at Camp Ashraf with the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Human Rights Minister, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Iraqi Government’s Ashraf Committee. I met the Iraqi Foreign Minister in Baghdad in December 2009 and underlined the need for the Iraqi authorities to deal with the residents of Camp Ashraf in a way that meets international humanitarian standards. In addition we discuss the issue with the UN, US, and the EU.
The Iraqi authorities have told the residents that they can no longer stay at Camp Ashraf but has given assurances that no residents will be forcibly transferred to a country where they have reason to fear persecution, or where substantial grounds exist to believe they would be tortured. The Iraqi Human Rights Minister confirmed to our ambassador on 27 January 2010 that the Government of Iraq would deal with the residents of the camp with respect for their human rights in co-operation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We believe it is in the interests of the residents to respect and accept the decision made by the Government of Iraq, and to cooperate peacefully with the Iraqi authorities.
UK Parliament – some sensible answers to Mojahedin (Rajavi cult) claims
… In the case of occupied territory, the Convention continues to apply for a year after the general close of military operations, and partially thereafter if the occupying power continues to exercise the functions of government. The occupation of Iraq formally ended on 30 June 2004…
UK Parliament, April 20-21 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Iraq: Mujahedin-e Khalq
David Drew (Stroud, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of alleged attacks on residents in Ashraf City by members of the Iraqi secret service; and if he will make a statement.
Bill Rammell (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Harlow, Labour)
holding answer 20 March 2009
We are aware that such allegations have surfaced in the Iraqi media. We have discussed these allegations with the US, who retain a presence inside Camp Ashraf, and with the Iraqi government. We have seen no evidence to support the allegations.
Monday, 20 April 2009
House of Lords
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that Camp Ashraf residents who are members of the People’s Mujaheddin Organisation of Iran are not expelled to Iran by the Iraqi authorities; and what alternatives to that they have proposed through the United Nations.
Lord Malloch-Brown (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Labour)
Responsibility for the security and administration of Camp Ashraf was transferred on 1 January 2009 from the US to the Iraqi authorities. Prior to this handover the US received assurances from the Iraqi authorities towards their clear commitment to the humane treatment and continued well-being of the camp residents. The US retains a presence at the camp in an advisory/monitoring capacity.
The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights visits the camp and has delivered assurances to a representative body of the residents. The International Committee of the Red Cross follows developments at the camp closely and continues to visit. It also discusses on a confidential basis all of the issues surrounding the camp with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) and the Iraqi and US authorities.
The UN High Commission for Refugees has previously determined that Camp Ashraf residents do not qualify as refugees. While there is no evidence to suggest that the Government of Iraq intend forcibly to relocate the residents, our Embassy in Baghdad has requested a call on the Ministry of Human Rights to make known the level of interest in this issue in the UK and to remind the Iraqi Government of their earlier assurances. Our Embassy in Baghdad is also pursuing the possibility of a visit to the camp by a consular official.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
House of Lords
Lord King of West Bromwich (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Iraq to safeguard the human rights and safety of Iranian residents in Ashraf City; and with what results.
Lord Malloch-Brown (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Labour)
The US held responsibility for the security and administration of Camp Ashraf until 1 January 2009. Responsibility was then transferred from the US to Iraqi authorities. The modalities of the transfer had been discussed by both sides with UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq. Prior to the transfer, the US received assurances from the Iraqi authorities towards their clear commitment to the humane treatment and continued wellbeing of the camp residents. The US retains a presence at the camp in an advisory/monitoring capacity.
The Government of Iraq have stated that no Camp Ashraf residents will be forcibly transferred to a country where they have reason to fear persecution. The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights visits the camp and has delivered assurances to a representative body of the residents. The International Committee of the Red Cross follows developments at the camp closely and continues to visit. It also discusses on a confidential basis all of the issues surrounding the camp with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MeK) and the Iraqi and US authorities.
While no specific representations to the Government of Iraq have been made, our embassy in Baghdad has requested a call on the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights to make known the level of interest in this issue in the UK and to remind the Iraqi Government of its earlier assurances. In addition to this, as stated by my honourable friend, Bill Rammell, Minister of State for the Middle East, during an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall on 25 March 2009 (Hansard, col. 90WH) “the British embassy in Baghdad is pursuing the possibility of a visit by a consular official to Camp Ashraf” to ascertain whether any of its residents might be entitled to consular assistance.
Library of the House of Commons
In brief: Camp Ashraf and the Geneva Conventions
Standard note: SN/IA/05022
Last updated: 20 March 2009
Author: Arabella Thorp
Section: International Affairs and Defence Section
What is Camp Ashraf ?
Ashraf is a settlement in Iraq’s Diyala province, near the border with Iran, which houses the headquarters of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), also known as Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) or Mujahideen-e-Khalq Organisation (MKO). The PMOI is the main body in the coalition of Iranian opposition groups known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and is regarded as a terrorist organisation by a number of states but has now been removed from the UK and EU lists of terrorist organisations. It sided with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, but following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the PMOI surrendered to US forces and 3,800 PMOI members were disarmed and cantoned in Camp Ashraf. Some 370 have since been voluntarily repatriated to Iran , and in 2004 restrictions and controls were removed. The Iraqi government has stated its intention to close the camp and expel all PMOI personnel from Iraqi territory.
Who is responsible for the inhabitants of Ashraf?
The main responsibility to protect civilians lies with the states that have effective control over them. From 2003 until 31 December 2008 US forces protected Camp Ashraf. Then on 1 January 2009, control passed to the Iraqi Government, under the new US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. Both the US and Iraqi governments have given assurances that, within the framework of Iraqi national legislation, Ashraf residents will be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law and with the principle of non-refoulement in particular. The UK considers the issue primarily a US rather than a UK responsibility.
What are the main concerns?
Lliving conditions at Ashraf are not generally a cause for concern, although an explosion damaged Ashraf’s water-supply station in February 2008. The main concern is that its inhabitants would be at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations if they were to be returned involuntarily to Iran. Iraq has reportedly given Ashraf’s inhabitants two options: return to Iran or find a third country for exile. Iraqi officials have however stated that PMOI members would not be forcibly repatriated to Iran and have called upon the international community to offer asylum to Ashraf’s occupants.
People who have left Camp Ashraf voluntarily have reported ‘brain-washing’, forced indoctrination and rough treatment by the PMOI of those who wanted to leave the camp.
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Do the Geneva Conventions apply?
In July 2004, the PMOI forces in Ashraf were declared by the US to be ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, because they had not been belligerents during the Iraq War. The Fourth Geneva Convention protects civilians who, as the result of an international armed conflict or of occupation, find themselves in the hands of a country of which they are not nationals. It states that in no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.
In the case of occupied territory, the Convention continues to apply for a year after the general close of military operations, and partially thereafter if the occupying power continues to exercise the functions of government. The occupation of Iraq formally ended on 30 June 2004.
What other international law is relevant?
Under the international law principle of non-refoulement, no-one should be deported, expelled or repatriated if there is a real risk that they may be subjected to any kind of ill-treatment, or that they may face persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The US has ratified international conventions embodying this principle (the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture), but Iraq has not. However, non-refoulement is widely recognised as a principle of customary international law that binds all states.
Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), 5 March 2009 [available through the Parliamentary Intranet]
Juan-Pedro Schaerer, Iraq: ICRC activities in behalf of Iranian nationals living in Ashraf, 3 December 2008
Zouhair Al Hassani, ‘International humanitarian law and its implementation in Iraq ’, International Review of the Red Cross Vol. 90 No. 869, March 2008
Knut Dörmann and Laurent Colassis, ‘International Humanitarian Law in the Iraq Conflict’, German Yearbook of International Law 47 (2004), 293–342
International Committee of the Red Cross, Protected persons and property and international humanitarian law [viewed 20 March 2009]
Amnesty International, Iraq: No Iranians in need of protection should be sent to Iran against their will, 28 August 2008
Amnesty International, Security agreement puts 16,000 Iraqi detainees at risk of torture, 28 November 2008
Massoud Khodabandeh (former member of PMOI), Camp Ashraf: a test of US-Iraqi relations, 7 April 2008
Iran Interlink, Nejat Society Asks UK to Support Iraqi Government Plans for Camp Ashraf Victims, 11 December 2008
Hon. David Kilgour, J.D., ‘Catastrophe on horizon for Camp Ashraf refugees’, Middle East Times 8 October 2008
House of Lords debate, Iraq: Ashraf City, HL Deb 2 March 2009 cc504-6
- Mohammad Hussein Sobhani
New document on Mojahedin Khalq released by RAND
(The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq, A Policy Conundrum)
RAND, August 05, 2009
A new document (133pages) was released today by RAND
About RAND: … For more than 60 years, the RAND Corporation has pursued its nonprofit mission by conducting research on important and complicated problems. Initially, RAND focused on issues of national security. Eventually, RAND expanded its intellectual reserves …
* * *
… A RAND study examined the evolution of this controversial decision, which has left the United States open to charges of hypocrisy in the war on terrorism. An examination of MeK activities establishes its cultic practices and its deceptive recruitment and public relations strategies. A series of coalition decisions served to facilitate the MeK leadership’s control over its members. The government of Iraq wants to expel the group, but no country other than Iran will accept it. Thus, the RAND study concludes that the best course of action would be …
(Massoud and Maryam Rajavi the cult leaders)
U.S. Handling of Mujahedin-E-Khalq Since U.S. Invasion of Iraq Is Examined
(The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq , A Policy Conundrum)
Jeremiah Goulka, Lydia Hansell, Elizabeth Wilke, Judith Larson, RAND, August 04, 2009
(Massoud Rajavi and Saddam Hussein)
At the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Coalition forces classified the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a militant organization from Iran with cult-like elements that advocates the overthrow of Iran’s current government, as an enemy force.
The MeK had provided security services to Saddam Hussein from camps established in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War to fight Iran in collaboration with Saddam’s forces and resources. A new study from the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, looks at how coalition forces handled this group following the invasion.
Although the MeK is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States, coalition forces never had a clear mission on how to deal with it.
After a ceasefire was signed between Coalition forces and the MeK, the U.S. Secretary of Defense designated this group’s members as civilian “protected persons” rather than combatant prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. The coalition’s treatment of the MeK leaves it – and the United States in particular – open to charges of hypocrisy, offering security to a terrorist group rather than breaking it up.
Research suggests that most of the MeK rank-and-file are neither terrorists nor freedom fighters, but trapped and brainwashed people who would be willing to return to Iran if they were separated from the MeK leadership. Many members were lured to Iraq from other countries with false promises, only to have their passports confiscated by the MeK leadership, which uses physical abuse, imprisonment, and other methods to keep them from leaving.
Iraq wants to expel the group, but no country other than Iran will accept it. The RAND study suggests the best course of action would have been to repatriate MeK rank-and-file members back to Iran, where they have been granted amnesty since 2003. To date, Iran appears to have upheld its commitment to MeK members in Iran. The study also concludes better guidelines be established for the possible detention of members of designated terrorist organizations.
The study, “The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq: A Policy Conundrum,” can be found here.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with the authors, contact Lisa Sodders in the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 393-0411, ext. 7139, or email@example.com.
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