“The Link For Freedom Foundation campaigns to assist Iranian supporters of the third way, achieve peaceful democratic change for the better in Iran. These organisations are in turn supported by International Parliamentarians, current and former Ambassadors, and Military Organisations familiar with events on the ground in Iran."
Challenges and Successes
 

Challenges and successes achieved.

One of the greatest symbols of the success of all the efforts made to support the Iranian resistance movement through its darkest days was the 11th April 2013 re-opening of the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) office, (closed by the State Department in 2002), near the White House in Washington, which marked the final stage of rolling back a shameful 15 year history of appeasement to the Iranian regime by Western governments.

This is an amazing achievement and needs to be put in context of all the challenges and successes that led up to this moment, setting the scene for the final challenges to be overcome before the goal of freedom and democracy for Iran is attained.

  1. The policy of appeasement to the Iranian regime put the PMOI/MEK on terrorist listings in US and Canada - 1997, UK - 2001, EU - 2002. It became illegal to support the group in any way, including association and fund raising.

    Successful court proceedings and supporter pressure finally reversed the listings. The PMOI/MEK and NCRI were taken off the UK list - 2008, EU - 2009, US and Canada - 2012

  2. 2003 was a critical year as the appeasement policy and terrorist listings led to attack by coalition forces on the 3,400 men and women in Ashraf, Iraq, in conjunction with the Iraqi Freedom War, and an assault on NCRI HQ in Paris, France, by 1,500 French police who arrested Maryam Rajavi and over 150 NCRI personnel on various charges.

    Fortunately for both the attacks were not quite synchronised and, in Iraq, the American troops, far from zealously obeying orders, decided that “these were not terrorists and the State Department was wrong” and acted to ensure their protection; while in France, the strength of support from its neighbours achieved Maryam Rajavi and the other’s release. Subsequent court proceedings found them innocent of all charges.

  3. 2009 was another big challenge as protection for Ashraf was handed over by the coalition forces to the Government of Iraq (GOI), despite many concerns being expressed about the influence of the Iranian regime. Within days Ashraf was turned into a prison camp under siege conditions. In July, following the brutally suppressed demonstrations in Iran, protesting the results of the sham election, GOI forces attacked Ashraf in strength, killing 11, injuring hundreds and taking 36 hostage.

    Hunger strike camps took root outside the White House and US Embassies in Grosvenor Square, London and many other cities around the world. The courage and perseverance of the ordinary Iranian people around the world prepared to sacrifice their lives for their fellows and the cause of freedom for Iran, galvanised support and after 72 days the hostages were returned to Ashraf. This was a massive turning point and brought into sharp focus the “thunderous silence from the corridors of power” as the United Nations, the media and Western governments declined to comment on the situation..

  4. 2010 the challenge was to maintain momentum with the people of Iran heavily oppressed to ensure no further uprisings and the men and women of Ashraf “locked down” under heavy siege conditions and with loudspeakers, eventually numbering well over 300, broadcasting death threats and insults into Ashraf day and night.

    This was the “year of conferences” as the International community, ever growing in strength and numbers spoke out again and again to pledge their support for the people of Ashraf. During this year, the all-party majority of the US Congress, UK Parliament and of 27 other European parliaments was achieved.

  5. As the Arab Spring erupted in 2011, the Iranians again came out onto the streets in February to protest against the regime and were again brutally suppressed. On 8th April, 2,500 Iraqi government forces supported by the Iranian Qods force attacked Ashraf in the early hours of the morning, resulting in 36 dead and hundreds injured.

    This was a determined effort by the GOI as proxies of the Iranian regime to eliminate Ashraf as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the Iranian people. However, they underestimated the speed and strength with which the International community would mobilise once they were alerted and the massacre was halted. This time the United Nations and Western governments issued statements of regret, although no effective action was taken.

  6. Stalemate for the rest of 2011, with the threat of further attacks on Ashraf and the GOI Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, declaring that Ashraf would be closed by the end of the year, led to the UNHCR designating them as official asylum seekers and the agreement between Martin Kobler, Special Representative to the UN Secretary General and Al-Maliki, for the re-location of the people of Ashraf to Camp Liberty.

    The agreement to move to Camp Liberty demonstrated good faith and flexibility on the part of the people of Ashraf, who sacrificed their exile home of over 25 years, to facilitate their processing as refugees, in return for guarantees of their safety and well-being until the completion of the process and their transfer to third countries.

Remaining challenges and forthcoming successes.

The completion of the move to Camp Liberty, together with the removal of the PMOI from all terrorist lists in 2012, means the onus is now on Western governments and the United Nations to fulfil their obligations towards these people according to moral, humanitarian and International law.

  1. The report on the conditions in Camp Liberty were deliberately falsified to make it appear better than the “concentration camp” it is being called.

    The testimony of Mr.Tahar Boumedra, who resigned from his position as United Nations Head of Human Rights in Iraq during 2012 as a matter of conscience, clearly points to the complicity of the UN Special Envoy to the UN Secretary General, Martin Kobler, in this falsification. Silence on the part of Western governments signifies that this is acceptable to them.

    This situation must be rectified. Western governments and the United Nations must discard the policy of appeasement towards Iran, recognise the NCRI as a legitimate resistance movement and ensure the safety and well-being of its members in Iraq.

  2. The safety of the people of Ashraf was guaranteed. After the rocket attack of 9 February which killed 8 and injured hundreds, the GOI has said it can no longer guarantee their safety,

    The UN and US must step up to their responsibilities and provide protection for the people of Ashraf, either in Camp Liberty, or returned to Ashraf, or in a third country.

  3. The preparations for the elections in Iran are showing huge internal rifts within the regime. As the election day approaches, the challenge is to support the people of Iran in their right to seek to see regime change in Iran.

    The success will be seen in the flowering of democracy in Iran. In the words of the late Lord Corbett “Ashraf will live. Iran will be free.”

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