dissident group said more than 20 of its members in Iraq were killed Thursday when a barrage of Iranian-made rockets slammed into a former US military base near Baghdad where Iraqi authorities have kept the dissidents in a state of semi-captivity for years.
The MEK leaders, who have powerful advocates in Washington and in several European capitals, were quick to pin ultimate blame on the Iranian government and claimed that Tehran-backed leaders in Baghdad willingly allowed the attack to occur.
Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, sharply condemned the attack and said the agency was still trying to determine the number of casualties and the damage to the camp.
“This is a most deplorable act,” Mr. Guterres said. “Every effort must continue to be made for the injured and to identify and bring to account those responsible.”
“The United States strongly condemns today’s brutal, senseless terrorist attack on [Camp Liberty] that killed and injured camp residents,” Kerry said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to the families of the victims, and we hope for the swift recovery of those injured.”
A representative of Camp Liberty residents told The Washington Times that 23 of the camp’s residents, including at least one woman, were killed and two dozen others were wounded. The representative said Iranian-made Falagh missiles were among the rockets that hit the camp.
On Wednesday, German officials announced the arrest of a 31-year-old Iranian man suspected of spying for the Iranian government on MEK members living in Germany.
German prosecutors said Wednesday that Maysam P., whose last name wasn’t given in accordance with the country’s privacy laws, was being held on suspicion that he clandestinely researched Iranian opposition members in Berlin and passed on the information to a contact in Iran’s intelligence service, known as the MOIS, in exchange for money.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who maintains that MEK members have a long record of providing Washington with “useful intelligence” on Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities, convened a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in early October to highlight what he described as a failure by successive US administrations to protect the group in Iraq.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce, California Republican, called the attack “deeply troubling” and a test for the US-backed government in Baghdad.
The Iraqi government made a commitment to protect the camp’s residents, Royce said, and the “US and international community must demand accountability.”
The MEK members lived under US military protection for years but were handed over to the Iraqi government when President Obama withdrew American troops in 2011. There have been repeated reports that Iraqi authorities — seeking to win the support of Iran — have turned a blind eye to attacks that have killed dozens of unarmed MEK members.
The group’s members outside Iraq have engaged in a powerful international public relations push through a wider French- and US-based organization known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran, winning support from dozens of high-level former — and several current — US officials.
At John McCain’s hearing this month, retired US Marine Corps Gen. James Jones said US officials promised before the military withdrawal in Iraq to protect the MEK.
Gen. Jones, who served as Obama’s national security adviser in 2009 and 2010, said Washington has been “slow, ineffective and even reluctant in responding to our humanitarian obligation to facilitate” the group’s relocation out of Iraq and that its members should be treated as refugees.
Mrs. Rajavi also said that “the Iranian regime’s agents within the Iraqi government are responsible for the latest assault.”
“The United States and the United Nations are fully aware of this reality,” she said. “We had warned about such attacks … 26 members of the [U.S.] House of Representatives and 32 distinguished senior political, military officials and 70 members of the French National Assembly had warned the US government, the United Nations and the European Union regarding their responsibility in this regard.”
Outraged Iranians in different cities around the world have come to
streets to protest the rocket attacks on unarmed residents of Camp Liberty. As such in Ottawa since Thursday Iranian-Canadians have gathered in front of US embassy on a daily basis demanding UN and US to protect the residents or armed them for own protection.
This report provides an overview of the prevailing human rights situation, with a focus on systemic issues that pose obstacles to the ability of the Iranian regime to comply with its international human rights obligations and commitments, including recommendations accepted by the Government at the outcome of its universal periodic review in March 2015. Mr. Ahmad shaheed the Special Repportuer on the situation of human rights in Iran says that Iran has the highest number of executions in the world. The Iranian regime has denied repeated requests for Shaheed to travel to Iran.