“The bitter taste of betrayal” – a personal account of the 2009 Ashraf City massacre

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.

Posted: July 28, 2014. Category: News, Voices of Ashraf.
With Iraq in Chaos, Camp Liberty is in Danger

Arutz Sheva, 19 June 2014

On Saturday, I was informed by one of my contacts at Camp Liberty that AAH forces were amassing just a few miles away. Camp Liberty is the detention centre where 2,900 members of the Iranian Resistance, namely the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – political refugees who came to Iraq in 1986 – are currently held in conditions described by one former member of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) as being reminiscent of a “concentration camp.”

These dissidents – who wish to create a new Iran founded on the principles of secular democracy and the rule of law, and without ethnic, religious or gender discrimination – have been mercilessly attacked by the Iraqi Government and Iran’s various militia groups time and time again for the past 5 years. In the most brutal attack on this group, on 1 September 2013, the Iraqi Army ruthlessly slaughtered 52 unarmed refugees, and then attempted to blame the deaths on “an oil drum exploding.”

Yet more worrying are the recent accusations made by Iranian officials that members of the Iranian Resistance (who, it should be noted, are wholly secular, liberal, Shiite and, crucially, confined to a detention camp with little communication with the outside world) are linked to ISIS.

Posted: June 19, 2014. Category: Featured.
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