After all, Iranian Resistance group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), who were at this point living in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, had already exposed Iran’s covert nuclear weapons programme and would eventually reveal Iran’s ties to both Shiite and Sunni terrorist groups as a way of causing chaos and keeping power in the Middle East.
In fact, when documents from Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan compound were declassified last year, the world found out that Iran had actually sheltered the 9/11 plotters during the US invasion and even tried to use them as leverage to get the US to return the MEK to the mullahs.
What happened to the MEK during the war?
Prior to the US-led war in Iraq, the MEK declared themselves neutral and refused to have any part in the conflict.
As non-combatants, they should have been left alone by both sides, but sadly this was not to be. The MEK’s bases at Camp Ashraf were repeatedly bombed by Coalition forces, causing mass casualties and enormous structural damage, because Iran had made a deal with the US.
Finally, in April 2003, US forces signed a ceasefire agreement of “mutual understanding and coordination” with the MEK. Then in May, the MEK voluntarily laid down their weapons for good in exchange for US protection of Camp Ashraf and its residents, following lengthy negotiations with US General Ray Odierno.
Sadly, as we know from previous articles, this was unable to protect the MEK for long and they were subjected to great amounts of violence from the Iranian Regime and their proxies in the new Iraqi government.
The MEK gain protected persons status under the 4th Geneva Convention
Following this agreement with the US, every member of the MEK at Camp Ashraf was investigated by seven different US government agencies for over 16 months and none of them was found to have broken any American law. The US also officially declared them to have been “non-combatants” during the 2003 war.
In 2004, the US-led Multi-National Force in Iraq (MNF-I) formally recognised all MEK members at Camp Ashraf as “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the US took responsibility for their protection, reiterating the responsibility on numerous occasions.
In a letter dated October 7, 2005, Major General William Brandenburg said: “The residents of Camp Ashraf have the right to protection from danger, violence, coercion, and intimidation, and to special protection for the dignity and rights of women.”
However, in January 2009 the security for Camp Ashraf was transferred to Iraq, with no credible guarantees for the safety of the MEK, against the advice of the MEK and distinguished jurists.
The US said that the Iraqi government had presented a written guarantee respecting the rights of the MEK at Camp Ashraf, but as numerous people explained, the Iranian Regime had already taken hold and the MEK were in grave danger.