Former Welsh Secrety voices ‘huge concern’ at threat to lives of Iranian ‘democratic opposition’Published by International Liberty on November 7, 2015
BY DAVID WILLIAMSON – Wales Online
Clwyd West MP David Jones is alarmed by a rocket attack on Iraqi base of exiled opponents of the Iranian regime
Former Welsh Secretary David Jones has raised strong concerns about the safety of exiled Iranian opposition members whose base at a former US outpost in Iraq has come under heavy attack.
Amnesty International reported that at least 23 people were killed in the rocket attack on Camp Liberty near Baghdad airport.
The base is home to around 2,250 people, most of whom are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), whom Clwyd West MP Mr Jones regards as “essentially the democratic opposition”.
Mr Jones has written to Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond to express “huge concern”.
He said: “Essentially, the position is that these people need to be treated as refugees and their official status at the moment is so-called ‘persons of concern’ – but we think that they should be treated as refugees and they should be accorded all the protection that goes with that status.
“The Iraqi authorities need to give them proper protection; they also need to ensure that the incident is properly investigated, and they to ensure also that the supplies can come in and out of the camp which has been under a state of virtual siege for some time.
‘We need to look after their interests’
“These are people who are essentially the democratic opposition to the Iranian regime and they have suffered a lot over the years. I believe very strongly that the West, Britain included, need to do a lot more to look after their interests.
Mr Jones is a member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom , alongside former Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Lord Carlile.
The peer has called on the United Nations to “institute an immediate inquiry into why and how this attack happened”.
Mr Jones has pressed the UK Government for detail on what representations it has made to the Iraqi and Iranian authorities in the wake of the attack.
Foreign minister Tobias Ellwood said: “We strongly condemn the attack against the civilian residents of Camp Liberty in Iraq on Thursday , October 29.
“Officials from our embassy in Baghdad raised the attack with the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office on October 30 and made clear the importance of an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the incident and ensuring that all those responsible are brought to justice.
“In all of our engagement with the Government of Iraq on this issue, including at ministerial level and in our statements, we have emphasised the importance of the Iraqi Government doing everything possible to ensure the safety of the residents of Camp Liberty.
“It is the responsibility of the Government of Iraq to protect Camp Liberty.
“We have therefore not raised the attack with the Iranian authorities.”