When Americans say we are going to do something, we do it. When we make a promise, we keep it. Our word is our bond.
Sadly, that is not the case right now regarding a group of Iranian dissidents in Iraq who are living in an extermination camp under constant threat of attack. Indeed, not only has the U.S. failed to keep its word regarding the dissidents’ safety, but so has the United Nations.
The abandonment of pledges by the U.S. and U.N. is a clear breach of faith. These people run the risk of being slaughtered for the sake of a questionable nuclear agreement with Iran.
The only real way to assure that Iran does not achieve nuclear weapon capability is to replace the present rulers of Iran with Iranians who want true democratic principles, women’s rights and free elections.
Those are the goals of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the umbrella organization of Iranian dissidents, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and I am pleased to join with countless other leaders across the political spectrum to support their aspirations.
The mullahs will do anything they can to undermine these efforts, and unfortunately, they have the support of the regime in Iraq that we put into place.
Talk about winning the war and losing the peace.
Right now the Iranian dissidents in Iraq are confined to what the Iraqis call a “relocation camp” known as Camp Liberty (how’s that for a misnomer?) after having been moved from the peaceful city they developed called Camp Ashraf.
Camp Liberty is not a relocation camp; it is a concentration camp. Only a couple of months ago, more than 50 Iranians were murdered at Ashraf and seven more were taken hostage, six of them women. These people at Ashraf and Liberty were promised protection by the U.S. and U.N., and they spend every day in legitimate fear of imminent death. This is a critical time for the people of Liberty and for their safety and survival.
The agreement itself seems tragically mis-timed. It almost appears as if, right at the very last moment, we snatched the defeat from the jaws of victory. Iran was being crushed by the sanctions; it was encountering such isolation that it elected as president a so-called moderate — all of which came about because of the effectiveness of the sanctions.
The sanctions were crippling; their devastating effects pushed Iran to do something it had not done in many years. Iran was desperate for an agreement and, I believe, ready to make substantial concessions. You never know if your adversaries will make substantial concessions until you demand that they do.
So what happened? Did we demand that Iran give up all its nuclear facilities? Did we demand that it disclose a complete list and allow inspections of all facilities? Did we demand that the agreement make clear that the six United Nations resolutions that Iran has violated — agreements that say Iran must not enrich uranium — finally be regarded as valid?
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.