In a press conference in Paris, Mohammed Javad Firouzmand-former senior member of MKO- talked about the condition of this organization in Iraq.
After the US invasion to Iraq, he escaped from Camp Ashraf- MKO’s main headquarter led by Massoud Rajavi- and returned to Iran by the assistance of the international Red Cross. He left Iran illegally in a while and arrived in Europe via Turkey. In an interview with BBC, he said of his escape from Camp Ashraf:
– After the Americans took control of Camp Ashraf and its surrounding areas, they started to identify the members of the MKO. They said they wanted to verify that the members were not dangerous. Indeed, two times, they interrogated the members, fingerprinted them and opened a file for each one. The first time, this process was done with the presence of the MKO officials and therefore, it was not possible to escape. But the second times, none of the MKO officials were there. This was the only chance for me to escape the MKO without announcing my intention. I should say that I had once escaped the camp in 2001 but I was arrested by Saddam forces and I was imprisoned and tortured by Mojahedin, and then Massoud and Maryam sentenced me to death. Anyway, I escaped the US-run camp in northern side of Camp Ashraf.
* How many people are now in the US-run camp?
– If we consider it since about 18 months ago, when the first defectors started leaving the MKO, around 700 members have left the MKO so far. Around 500 of this number have returned to Iran under the supervision of International Red Cross and there are now more than 150 former members in the US-run camp, protected by Americans.
* How many remained in Ashraf camp? What’s your estimation of the number of those who want the leave the MKO?
– Around 3000 to 3100 are now in Camp Ashraf under the control of the MKO, without a clear future. Well, it can be said that all of them like to go. In past 17 months more than 700 escaped from MKO and this is unprecedented. And this loss of forces will take the MKO to a deadlock.
* How were you able to get to Europe? What events did you pass?
– In March 2005, under the supervision of Red Cross, there was no way out of Iraq and I was looking for a path to save myself from the hell of Iraq. Iran was the only solution, but a risky one. I said this to the Red Cross. I asked them whether they guaranteed my safety in Iran, because I had a long record of fighting the regime. They said no and that they couldn’t guarantee that in any form, written or verbal. Well, I accepted this risk.
* How did they, Iranian security agents, treat you in Iran? You and others who had returned from the MKO? during the interrogations?
– More than 500 former members returned to Iran. Around 14 returned to Iran just last week. I swear to God, and with 25-year record of fighting this very regime I frankly say that fortunately the elements of the regime received us from the Red Cross and delivered us to our families. They had no negative or bad behavior and I didn’t see any negative effect in their words or practices. This is a reality that I should say.