Masoud Rajavi has repeatedly reiterated, as done in his message of December 27, that the rights of Ashraf residents in particular have to be recognized according to international conventions. After the fall of Saddam in Iraq, and Mojahedin’s disarmament in particular, this has been the focal point of all Rajavi’s messages as well as the feed of the group’s propaganda machine mainly to deter the decision taken by the Iraqi government to expel Mojahedin. In fact, the organization seeks to force itself on Iraq as recognized refugees with granted rights far beyond those conventionally granted. However, the question is that is it actually possible to grant asylum to MKO members and is the Iraqi government forced under any convention to recognize the group as refugees?
Unfortunately, no judicial organ has either confirmed or rejected the claims made by Rajavi to suggest a legal solution for the crisis posed by Mojahedin in Iraq. Furthermore, the position takings of Masoud Rajavi and Maryam Azdanlu imply that their main concern is hardly asylum seeking. For instance, Rajavi in his stated message refers to some points that are to be pursued legally. He refers to his motivation of entering Iraqi soil and says:
NCRI, in which MKO has membership, in its formal letter of February 4, 2003 to Colin Powel, the US Secretary of State, and also to the UK Defense Minister once more declared that the presence of a division of MKO forces in Iraqi soil aims just at fighting against the religious and terrorist dictatorship governing Iran and has pointed out that this organization had not taken part in any war in Iraq in the past neither would do it in the future.
This claim in itself puts the following questions to international bodies including the UNHCR:
1. What is the role of NCRI that is claimed to be legal defender of MKO in this issue? If NCRI was recognized as a legitimate group and political refugee in Iraq, this statement was relevant. It seems that Masoud Rajavi pretends the issue of asylum application of MKO as a subcategory of that of NCRI and gives first priority to it. He further states that Mojahedin have entered Iraq under the support of NCRI whereas neither at that time nor in the present, NCRI has nothing to do with MKO-Iraq conflict and it has not even been recognized as a formal group to qualify as refugees.
NCRI consists of real entities whose right of seeking refuge is recognized legitimate in many countries and is different from that of an opposition group. In contrast to Rajavi’s words, NCRI is an alias to MKO and any movement of its members from the Europe to Iraq and vice versa came about under Rajavi’s command. What Rajavi is after by reversing the relationship of NCRI and MKO is a significant issue to be investigated.
2. Rajavi reiterates that “The presence of a division of MKO forces in Iraqi soil aims just at fighting against the religious and terrorist dictatorship governing Iran”. Here Rajavi intentionally makes a false claim of the obligatory presence of just a division of MKO members in Iraq. He refrains to clarify what he means by a part of MKO members while it is evident that for example, in the “Operation Eternal Light” all MKO members as well as a number of NCRI members had to take part. What he aims by pretending that not all but some MKO members participated in terrorist activities of Mojahedin in Iraq is another issue to be the subject of a thorough investigation.
3. Rajavi acknowledges that Mojahedin have entered Iraq just for overthrowing the Iranian government and they aim to follow the same path in the future. According to the organizational manifesto and strategy of MKO, the achievement of this objective is possible just by means of armed struggle. Now the question arises that whether political refugees can initiate armed struggle against an independent country that is also a member of the UN and enjoys international legitimacy from the soil of a country that has provided them with asylum? What are the international rules and conventions that justify committing terrorist activities by a group of refugees?
4. Even if terrorist activities of MKO against Iran through Iran-Iraq war under the command of Saddam are justified, is the present legal government of Iraq enforced to bear the presence of Mojahedin based on the same mechanisms in a condition when the fighting parties are in a state of peace and have to hew to clauses of piece agreement? Is Iraqi government to let Mojahedin misuse its soil to pursue its strategy of overthrow by means of armed struggle and terrorist activities? Rajavi insists on saying that their settlement in Iraq aims at overthrowing Iranian government and nothing else:
If even mountains quake, the greathearted children of Iran would not move from their position of supporting freedom, democracy and legalism aiming at overthrowing religious fascism.
This is the direct warning of Masoud Rajavi in Mojahedin’s using of Iraqi soil for fighting against the Iranian government that in itself gives due subterfuge to Iraqi government to insist on its decision of expelling Mojahedin from Iraq otherwise it means contravening piece agreement signed by Iran.
Further, Rajavi refers to Camp Ashraf, the ideological and strategic bastion of Mojahedin in Iraq, and writes:
Ashraf, as expounded on below, and as confirmed by multinational forces in the last 5.5 years, is a disarmed non-military zone to which no armed person or military force can enter. Therefore, we have called it Ashraf city since 2004.
Rajavi’s replacing the title Camp Ashraf with that of Ashraf city is just a propagandist and formal gesture that has nothing to do with the present challenge posed to them in Iraq. In addition, as it is evident, there occurred no change in the strategy of armed struggle followed by Mojahedin for furthering the objective of overthrowing the Iranian government without which, as Rajavi states, their settlement in Iraq is futile and of no use. Therefore, in the present conditions, the presence of Mojahedin in Iraq poses a danger for the piece and security of the region, and Iraq in particular, the keeping of which has been repeatedly referred to as the main goal of the presence of American forces therein.
Rajavi openly declares that MKO is not a political group seeking refuge in Iraq rather it is an opposition group pursuing a way to overthrow the Iranian regime. It is on the part of international organs and European advocators of MKO to evaluate the legitimacy of their insistence on remaining in Iraq based on international rules and conventions. Furthermore, the Iraqi government is to strengthen its security measures concerning Mojahedin and their stronghold. In addition, Rajavi has repeatedly warned Iraqi officials of the possibility of the occurrence of an imminent cultic reaction by MKO members that might lead to destabilizing the relative peace and security of Iraq.
Years ago, France banned the presence of Mojahedin in France and expelled it as it was an official decision that no other power could question its execution. Now it is repeating again with the same notorious terrorist group but in Iraq for the restoration of security in the war-torn soil. Is actually anything going against the international conventions or are people dispossessed of any right? Just a country is determined to clean its soil of unwanted particles that are jeopardizing the security of the country in particular and the region in general.