By Amir Basiri*
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the first deadly attack by Iraqi security forces against Ashraf City, located in Iraq’s Diyala Province and home to thousands of Iranian refugees. Although the raid on the camp was perpetrated by the Iraqi government at the behest of the Iranian regime, the wrong decision and actions – or lack thereof – of the US government played a pivotal role in facilitating the tragedy that occurred five years ago on this day.
Ashraf, which had been inhabited by Iranian dissidents striving for an end to tyranny and suppression in their country, had been a perennial thorn in side of the Iranian regime, and a beacon of hope for millions of Iranian people living under the iron-fisted rule of the mullahs in Tehran. As an Ashrafi, I was proud to be part of a community that symbolised an Iran founded on the principles of freedom, democracy and equality – a nuclear-free Iran that would peacefully coexist with its neighbours in the region and all the nations of the world.
In short, Ashraf was everything the Iranian regime wasn’t, so the mullahs seized every opportunity to strike at Ashraf and make life unbearable for its inhabitants.