Kennedy writes, “The dissidents are members of the principle Iranian Opposition, (MEK). Thirteen years ago, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. recognized them as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. But in January 2009, their security was handed over to the Government of Iraq. Since then, they were subjected to several deadly attacks by Iraqi security forces acting at the behest of Tehran or paramilitary terrorists in Iraq affiliated with the clerical regime in Iran.”
The U.S. State Department helped guarantee that the resettlement would proceed to its completion. Albania opened its doors to the largest number of refugees, and number of other Western European countries took in smaller groups.
The MEK is the most organized political movement seeking a democratic system in the Middle East, and are the leading constituent of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The NCRI, led by Maryam Rajavi, is working toward a democratic Iran. Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for the future of the country includes a commitment to secularism, democracy, regional non-intervention, and the rights of women and minorities.
“In other words,” writes Kennedy, “it stands for all the things that the current Iranian regime stands against.” He adds, “It is little wonder, then, that Tehran and its regional allies made concerted efforts to halt the resettlement of MEK members and to force the surrender of the Camp Liberty community. All told, before leaving Iraq, 177 people were killed or kidnapped before Camp Liberty was finally emptied this month.”
Over the past 37 years, the Iranian regime has persecuted this movement. Only recently has the world become aware of the magnitude the Iranian authorities’ massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, mainly targeting the MEK and its affiliates. “Following a decree by Ayatollah Khomeini, 30,000 political prisoners were slaughtered in a matter of months because they refused to renounce their affiliation with the MEK,” says Kennedy.
He further says that, “Although the MEK and its decades-long struggle against religious tyranny are not at the forefront of Western policymakers’ minds, we can confidently say that disregard for the Iranian resistance is a thing of the past. The organization has a dedicated roster of hundreds of advocates within the European and American legislatures and their numbers are growing. Their dedication has delivered the former Camp Liberty residents to safety, and just as importantly, it has brought them into closer contact with European governments and the world community, where they can tell their stories and continue their activism in favor of regime change in Tehran.”
Int he future, the MEK will will continue to grow, and the hope is that the liberation of the residents of Camp Liberty represents the beginning of a new era for the Iranian Resistance, as well as a move toward the liberation of the Iranian people.
“By a remarkable coincidence, the resolution of the refugee crisis came close on the heels of the revelation of new information about the 1988 massacre, making it a leading topic of discussion among activists and civil society in Iran. That dialogue is shining new light on the extent of the Iranian regime’s brutality in its early days and how that brutality has shaped the character of the regime over the subsequent three decades,” Kennedy states, adding, “As more of that information makes its way to the West – including the identities of the current Iranian officials who actively participated in the 1988 massacre – it will become more evident that the international communities’ efforts toward Camp Liberty were not only morally right, but absolutely necessary. And in a larger sense, it will become increasingly clear that the same thing is true of the MEK itself and its goals for the future of Iran.”