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British MPs Call on U.S. for Release of Hostages and Safety of Iranian Dissidents

INU- On Monday, cross-party British members of parliament and their peers urged U.S. President Barack Obama to refuse to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki until more than 3,000 Iranian dissidents in Iraq are properly protected and Iraq releases seven hostages being held by their forces.

The call on Obama was made at a conference held in London and chaired by Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC in Church House. Speakers at the event included former House of Commons Speaker Rt. Hon. Baroness Boothroyd, David Amess MP, Brian Binley MP, former head of UNAMI human rights office Dr. Tahar Boumedra, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Baroness O’Loan DBE, former Labour Party chairman Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE, Steve Mccabe MP, Dr. Matthew Offord MP, Margaret Owen (London barrister) and Dowlat Nowrouzi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Iranian Resistance President-elect Maryam Rajavi addressed the gathering through a video message

The conference was held in response to the most recent attack on Camp Ashraf in Iraq on September 1, 2013, where 52 Iranian dissidents were massacred and seven individuals were taken hostage. The hostages are now being held in Baghdad and are at risk of extradition to Iran. 

Baroness Boothroyd urged Prime Minister Cameron and Foreign Secretary Hague to pick up the phone and press Iraq to release the seven hostages. “The inaction of the UN, U.S, and UK is unacceptable. UN blue helmets must be deployed to Camp Liberty without delay,”she said. 

The Parliamentarians urged the Foreign Office, the U.S. government and the UN to heed the demands of hundreds of Iranians who have been on hunger strike for 58 days, since the September 1 attack on Camp Ashraf.  Demands of these hunger strikers, who are participating in five countries around the globe, include the immediate release of the seven hostages and the protection of UN Blue Helmets in Camp Liberty. 

 “Illustrating its violent and intolerant approach to political opposition, the Iranian regime continues to order Iraq’s Maliki government to attack and slaughter Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf and Liberty … we urge the UK government, the U.S. and the UN to press for the immediate release of the 7 hostages by Nouri al-Maliki’s Forces. Our government should press for an independent international commission of inquiry to bring the perpetrators of the heinous massacre in Camp Ashraf to justice,” Lord Carlile explained in response to the Iranian regime’s continued violence against the residents of Camps Ashraf and Liberty.

Lord Maginnis pointed out the U.S. government’s legal and moral duty to ensure the safety and well-being of Camp Liberty residents based on the 4th Geneva Convention, the written agreement the U.S. signed with all the residents in 2004.

Condemning the “shameful and deafening silence” of the Foreign Office in the face of massacre of unarmed and defenseless refugees by an Iraqi government, David Amess MP pointed out that the UK actually helped bring this force to power. Amess further urged the UK to bring Iraq’s human rights violations against the camp residents before the UN Security Council. 

In conclusion to the conference, the participating parliamentarians called on the international community to support democratic change in Iran, put a stop to all human rights violations to bring the perpetrators of the Ashraf massacre to justice. 



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