Jessamy Nichols, Africa CorrespondentLast Modified: 14:41 p.m. DST, 16 September 2013
CAMP ASHRAF, Iran - On 1 September 2013, Iraqi soldiers led by a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard entered Camp Ashraf in Iraq and proceeded to kill 52 members and take 7 hostage of the Iranian dissident movement, the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI).
With ties growing stronger every day between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran, an attack on the unarmed residents of Ashraf appears to have only been a matter of time, as the other PMOI camp, Liberty, has already been targeted several times.
After eleven days of pressure, Iraq, a staunch ally of Iran’s government, finally admitted on September 12th to having the hostages in custody. Several human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have released statements urging action to be taken as the hostages are at risk of being sent back to Iran to face execution at the hands of the Revolutionary Guard.
Furthermore, the remaining residents in Camp Ashraf, many of whom were injured in the raid, are being moved to Camp Liberty, which further exacerbates the ongoing refugee situation there. This tense situation has the potential to explode into further violence if further action is not taken by the international community promptly. Otherwise, the Iranian and Iraqi governments may feel emboldened to continue these threatening actions.
This incident comes at a critical time in terms of the global agenda as President Obama has given the Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power the mandate to press forward on human rights, as well as Iran being on the agenda of next month’s UN General Assembly meeting. With attention shifting towards Iran in the midst of Syria’s chaos, Rouhani and his leaders should be pushed to explain the attack, ensure the release of the hostages, and assure freedom from persecution for opposition groups.
- Iranian Exiles Say 7 Members Held by Baghdad - ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- To sign a declaration against the massacre in Camp Ashraf and protection of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty residents (ashrafmassacre.wordpress.com)
- Last Iranian dissidents leave Iraqi camp after violence (theguardian.com)
- Iraq orders Iran exiles to leave camp 'without delay' (dailystar.com.lb)
- Brutal attack to camp Ashraf - PMOI (ireport.cnn.com)