Howard Dean: US must keep its word to Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty

Howard Dean: US must keep its word to Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty

Published by on June 17, 2015

Howard-Dean-Paris2015The 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.

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

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