Dear President Obama,
I am writing on behalf of the Interreligious Committee in Support of Protected Persons in Ashraf, Iraq. US Forces disarmed this legitimate Iranian opposition group in 2003, with the absolute guarantee of protection from Iranian extradition and harassment, especially as carried out by Iranian factions within the Iraqi government.
On July 27, 2009, Iraqi forces brutally attacked the Camp and its residents, destroying fences and buildings, and seriously beating and wounding residents. Ashraf residents have indicated their willingness to be repatriated to Iran, should certain conditions be met and their safety guaranteed by international monitoring bodies. There is NO reason for the current siege and assault on the residents in Ashraf, and it is clearly a defensive move by the regime in Iran in order to make sure there is no coordinated effort organizing protests in Iran against sham elections, and the brutal suppression of dissent, as seen in the shooting of innocent protesters, such as Neda Agha-Soltan. As the 40th day after her death approaches, Tehran fears that the world will see once again to what lengths they are willing to go to undercut and deter true reform through the political process.
Please, Sir, we have given them our WORD; we have made them promises that must be honored. We demand that you use whatever means possible to pressure the Iraqi government to cease and desist, and direct Gen. Odierno to supply support and protection to those who have no other hope but the good word of the United States of America.
This is not simply a matter of reputation and politics; there is a moral dimension to honoring our commitments to this courageous pro-democracy group standing firm against the heresies of opportunistic, pseudo-religious fascism. We ask you in the name of the Holy One of Israel, Jesus the Christ, and Mohammed the Prophet (PBUH), to do the right thing and protect these people. You must stand as guarantor of the promises made by our military and government bodies, and do your duty: you can do nothing less; you need do nothing more!
Carole R. Fontaine
Taylor Professor of Biblical Theology and History
Facilitator, Interreligious Committee in Support of Protected Persons in Ashraf, Iraq (ICSPPAI)
Jennifer A. Shaw
General Secretary, ICSPPAI