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Question of the Day
WILL U.S. BREAK PROMISE?
Two Republican senators are pressing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to guarantee the safety of thousands of Iranian dissidents in Iraq, where the government is planning to evict them from a former military camp by the end of the year and possibly deport them to Iran, where they would be killed as terrorists.
Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked Mrs. Clinton in a recent letter how the United States can keep its promise to protect the 3,400 unarmed residents of Camp Ashraf after all U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31.
“These individuals seek protection from the oppressive government in Iran and fear, with good reason, that a forced return to Iran would be tantamount to a death sentence for them,” said Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Once U.S. troops have fully withdrawn from Iraq, it is hard to see how the United States will be able to honor our pledge to protect the lives and basic human rights of the civilian population of Camp Ashraf.”
However, Iraqi troops repeatedly have raided the camp, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. They also have cut off supplies to the residents.
The congressional support comes as the Iranian dissidents are gaining support from former U.S. officials, members of the European Parliament and about 2,500 tribal leaders inside Iraq who gathered about a million signatures on petitions opposing the eviction at Camp Ashraf.
“We believe the Iranian dissidents have a valid status, and we consider them our guests, and we call on the government and all peace-loving people around the globe to find a solution for them,” Sheik Youssef al-Aziz, chief of the al-Baeeg clan, told the Agence France-Presse in Baghdad.
Some of the strongest support for the Iranian dissidents is coming from the European Parliament, where Struan Stevenson, a Conservative Party member from Scotland, is leading the effort to prevent their eviction.
He accused Iraq of working with agents from Iran’s intelligence agency to prepare for the expulsion of the residents. Mr. Stevenson said Iraqi forces plan to separate the men from the women and transfer them “to various locations around Iraq.” The 120 leaders in the camp will be arrested and deported to Iran.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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