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Iraq/Iran — Stop attacks on Iranian refugees

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The Committee for a Workers’ International issued the following statement on 11 August 2009 and asks that protests be sent to local Iraqi embassies and to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wajdan Mikhail Salam at [email protected]


The Committee for a Workers’ International condemns the recent Iraqi government attack on the Ashraf refugee camp, run by the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahideen (PMOI), in Diyala province. This attack, on July 28 and 29, killed at least 9 and injured over 400 people from the camp, while 38 are still be detained by the Iraqi authorities. Since then a large number of Iranians at Ashraf have been on hunger strike.

We believe that this assault is a product of rivalries between competing elites within Iraq alongside the struggle between different powers for influence and control within the region. The US military has, for its own reasons, said that it has had “promises” that these Iranian exiles would be treated “in a humane fashion”, but at the same time does not want to have a head-on conflict with the Iraqi government. The US government tolerates Iranian exiles in Iraq as a bargaining counter against the Iranian regime. At the same time, it is trying to reach a deal with Tehran both in relation to Iraq and regionally. This means that Washington, as well as the Malaki government in Iraq, want to keep the Iranian exiles under tight control.

The CWI demands that the assaults on the Ashraf camp stop and all the detainees are released immediately. The CWI internationally calls for decent treatment of and free movement for all exiles and refugees whether they are in Iraq, Sri Lanka or elsewhere. We call upon the workers’ movement internationally to support these demands to end the attacks on Ashraf.

The CWI believes that the recent assault on the Ashraf camp is another example of why workers, youth and poor people cannot put their hopes and trust in any capitalist governments or international organisations. Only by building a socialist movement can the workers and youth in the Middle East struggle to fully free themselves from oppression and misery. This would bring genuine freedom, not just for the millions of refugees in the region – Iranians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Kurds and others – but for the working masses as a whole.

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