Saturday, March 05, 2005

Embassy Row - Terrotrist Organizer Ramesh Sepehrrad Lays Seige to French Embassty

Embassy Row - The Washington Times: Embassy Row: "Embassy Row

By James Morrison
Protest targets French
The French Embassy is under siege from Iranians protesting the arrest of Iranian opposition members in Paris and from Congress, where anger is growing over reports that France might deport them to Iran.
Sen. Sam Brownback wrote French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, accusing France of "doing the dirty work" for the repressive theocracy in Iran.
The Kansas Republican, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on South Asia, last week called on Mr. Levitte to urge his government to stop the prosecution of more than two dozen members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
In Iran yesterday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the government expects France to extradite the opposition members. However, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman last week said European Union law prevents France from extraditing anyone to a country where he may face the death penalty.
Mr. Brownback fears France could extradite them to another country, which then would send them to Iran.
France last week detained about 160 members of the Iranian coalition, which included members of the People's Mujahideen, or Mujahideen Khalq, on suspicion they were planning to use France as a base to plan the military overthrow of the Iranian regime. Twenty-six are still being held, including Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the resistance council.
The State Department lists the People's Mujahideen as a terrorist organization, although the group has many supporters in Congress who consider them freedom fighters.
In addition to Mr. Brownback, Reps. William Lacy Clay, Missouri Democrat; Dennis Moore, Kansas Democrat; Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican; and Edolphus Towns, New York Democrat, have written French President Jacques Chirac to protest the arrests.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, expressed her support for Mrs. Rajavi.
"I am very disturbed when a voice who is seeking, among other things, people's freedom and just treatment has been arrested or taken into custody," she said.
A French Embassy spokesman declined to comment yesterday on the letter, but said the demonstrations have not disrupted the embassy.
Mr. Brownback told the ambassador, "It should be made crystal clear that such an action [extradition] will result in the certain death of these individuals as reprisal for political criticism and revealing sensitive information about Iran's nuclear program.
"I urge the nation of France, which has long prided itself on being a protector of human rights and freedom of expression, to live up to its ideal and avoid action that would put it in league with the terrorist state of Iran."
Mr. Brownback reminded Mr. Levitte that the United States "shares [France´s] concerns about the People's Mujahideen group."
"But no group of people deserves the fate you are considering," he added. "By handing these people to the Iranian regime, you may incur some short-term favor in Tehran, but you will most certainly lose respect around the world. ...
"I urge you not to turn your back on your country's own rich tradition of supporting freedom by doing the dirty work of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Outside the French Embassy in Georgetown, demonstrators have been on a hunger strike since last week, demanding the unconditional release of Mrs. Rajavi. The round-the-clock protest has drawn an average of 100 demonstrators a day, organizer Ramesh Sepehrrad said.
"Iranians call upon the democratic governments of the world to stand by the millions of Iranians and their resistance movement against the terrorist regime of Iran and its dirty plots in France," she said.
Ms. Sepehrrad said protests also are being held outside French consulates in Denver, Houston and Los Angeles, and in Canada at the French Embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.

•Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com."

The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - SEPEHRRAD Publicly Backs Terrorists

Letters to the Editor - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED: "Iran and Iraq: Sever the tie
The article "Saddam capture seen as aid to ties" (Page 1, Tuesday) clearly reveals Tehran's role in Iraq and its goal to eliminate its most serious opposition force in the region. Our organization has been monitoring the news on the Iranian mojaheddin in Iraq. The Iraqi Governing Council's statement to expel the Mujahideen Khalq sparked a protest by the relatives of Iranian mojaheddin in the United States and leaders of the Iranian-American communities. These protests include nightly candlelight vigils in front of the White House. Although Ambassador L. Paul Bremer said Saturday that the Iranian mojaheddin would not be extradited to Iran, the decision to send them to other countries is still in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Let us review the mojaheddin's activities in Iraq over the past several months. The Iranian mojaheddin were not party to the recent conflict in Iraq, and they announced that before the beginning of the war. Although they signed a cease-fire agreement with the coalition forces in April, they did not fire a single bullet during the conflict. On May 11, Iranian mojaheddin leaders agreed to disarm and cooperated with the U.S. forces. Gen. Ray Odierno, who managed the disarmament agreement, is on the record saying, "[T]hey have been very supportive of the U.S. through this operation."
It is no secret that Tehran's regime is behind the recent decision of the Iraqi Governing Council to expel the mojaheddin. This decision is politically motivated. The status of the Iranian mojaheddin in Iraq, given the Fourth Geneva Convention and the role of the U.S. forces as the "occupying forces," should not subject them to expulsion. This decision is in contrast to the good will of the Iraqi people as many of their leaders called for reversing the IGC's decision in its press conference in London last week. Tehran's regime has the audacity even to threaten Europe if the Iranian mojaheddin are sent there. Iran's general prosecutor said Sunday that the transfer of mojaheddin will have "many political, economic and security consequences."
President Bush should intervene urgently. Iranian mojaheddin should remain in Iraq, as it is their legal right based on international law. Tehran should not be given a free hand in Iraq.

RAMESH SEPEHRRAD
President
National Committee of Women for Democratic Iran
Washington"