Tuesday, November 22, 2011

U.N. should stop Ashraf plan

History can be a great teacher ... if we bother to remember it." But, when it comes to the fate of Iranian dissidents in Iraq in Camp Ashraf, it seems history cannot be a teacher simply because we don't want to bother to remember.

The situation is strikingly similar to the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The government of Iraq wants to resettle the 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf to another location in Iraq. This is tantamount to their massacre.

Unlike during World War II, the world now enjoys from the good offices of the United Nations. Would the United Nations succumb to Iraqi pressure and fall into its trap to agree with resettlement in Iraq?

The Ashraf residents, protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention, are members of the principal Iranian opposition movement, the People's Mujahedin of Iran, which Iran considers enemy No. 1.

During the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Ashraf residents remained neutral. The following year, the United States gave written guarantees to all of them that, in return for a voluntary disarmament, the United States would protect them. But, in early 2009, the United States handed over responsibility for the security of the camp to Iraqi forces. Since then, the camp has been under a punishing blockade, with residents deprived of basic services, such as access to proper medical help.