Howard Dean: US must keep its word to Iranian dissidents in Camp LibertyPublished by International Liberty on June 17, 2015
The United States government has failed to live up to its promise of protecting members of the main Iranian opposition group in Iraq, former U.S. Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean has said.
Dean, a former Governor of Vermont and Presidential candidate, spoke at the Iran Freedom rally in Paris on 13 June 2015.
Iranians and their international supporters on Saturday held the largest rally in support of democratic change in Iran.
Dean said the US needed to have “moral force” in living up to its obligations towards the residents of Camp Liberty in Iraq.
“The only way that the US can have moral force on its side is that we keep our word.”
“There are approximately 2400 Iranian dissidents in what amounts to a prison camp in Baghdad airport because America did not keep its promise,” Dean said.
At the grand gathering on Saturday, in addition to Howard Dean, several former senior American military officials pressed the Obama administration to “keep America’s word” in protecting the Iranian dissidents at Camp Liberty from terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime and its Iraqi proxies.
General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “Our failure to stand for basic principles and rights only encourages the regime to violate them further with impunity.”
Col. Thomas Cantwell (ret.), former US Military Commander at Camp Ashraf, and Col. Wes Martin (ret.), former Chief Protection / Antiterrorism Officer of the coalition forces in Iraq, also called for the protection of Camp Liberty residents.
Attacks on camps Ashraf and Liberty by Iraq’s armed forces and militias loyal to the mullahs’ regime in Iran since 2009 have led to 116 deaths. A further 26 residents of the camps have died of lack of timely medical treatment due to the medical siege imposed by the Iraqi authorities.
In his speech to the rally on Saturday, Gen. Shelton also condemned the Iranian regime’s export of fundamentalism and terrorism in the region. “There should be no direct or indirect cooperation with Iran under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Iran has been a major engine of Islamic extremism and fundamentalism. It is globally recognized as the primary sponsor of terrorism”, he said.