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UN Assembly Speech By Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Statement by Hon. David Kilgour
Rally of Iranian Diaspora Communities
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
Manhattan, New York
23 September 2009

All United Nations member states which support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR") should absent themselves from the General Assembly today during the speech of Iran's president.

There are many reasons why we should protest Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the UN. Today I offer you four, two of which were suggested by my friend David Matas, a scholar of the Holocaust. They are as follows:


Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust. Yet, the Holocaust was the catalyst for the UDHR, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Genocide Convention, the Refugee Convention, and the International Criminal Court. Thus, by denying the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad is denying the legitimacy of the entire human rights superstructure that was built upon the lessons drawn from it.

Ahmadinejad calls for a member of the United Nations, Israel, to be wiped off the map. The anti-Semitism of the Nazis led to World War II and the killing of sixty two million people. The anti-Semitism of the Iranian regime threatens the world order today.

His regime is engaged in nuclearization and weaponization of its developing nuclear capacity in violation of international atomic energy safeguards. Nuclear weapons capacity in a state which rejects the international legal order poses a new and grave threat to all members of the human family.

June Election

Ahmadinejad's regime conducted an election rife with ballot stuffing in June and then violently suppressed its political opposition. Part of the violence was the attack on Camp Ashraf on July 28, home of the People's Mujahadeen of Iran (MEK/PMOI), killing eleven, injuring hundreds and arbitrarily detaining thirty six. The attack was by Iraqi forces, but it was done on the request of Iran's regime.

What is the rest of the world going to do?

The UN General Assembly should again pass a resolution condemning Iran's regime for its gross human rights violations. It should mention the suppression of the MEK/PMOI at Ashraf through the instrument of Iraq's government.

The United States should guarantee protection of Camp Ashraf. The Multi-National Forces in Iraq declared the residents of Ashraf to be protected persons under the Geneva Conventions on the Laws of War. Iraq, at the bidding of Iran, has ceased to offer protection. The US has a continuing obligation under international law to protect the residents.

The UN Security Council should refer the situation in Iran to the International Criminal Court for incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity.

As brutal as the attack of July 28 on Camp Ashraf was, its unarmed residents face the threat of even worse. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq ("UNAMI") should establish a permanent observer human rights post in the Camp to discourage this threat.

The government of Iraq should release the 36 arbitrarily detained refugees. Their release has already been demanded by two Iraqi court orders.

The Iraqi government, under prodding from Tehran, has threatened to relocate the residents of Ashraf to an uninhabitable desert in the West of Iraq. A forced relocation would violate international humanitarian law.

Third Option

Iran is vitally important to regional peace and world stability. Those who judge that there are only two policy options available—continued appeasement of the regime in Tehran or bombing strikes against presumed nuclear weapon development sites—are gravely mistaken. All responsible governments must begin working with all democratic opposition groups in Iran.

Among them is the MEK/PMOI. However, because politics and commercial interests have trumped fundamental legal principles and human rights, it is still listed as a terrorist organization in both the US and Canada. The 27 European Union countries de-listed it early this year, following decisions by seven European courts unanimously holding that it could not be considered a terrorist group.

The MEK/PMOI today seeks for Iranians the rule of law, separation of religion and government, a nuclear-free Iran, equal rights for women and all religious and ethnocultural minorities, normalized relations with all governments and representative democracy for Iranians.

The government in Tehran through its Revolutionary Guards has long sought to destabilize the entire Middle East and well beyond. The world's best hope in Iran is Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and her National Council of Resistance in Iran (“NCRI”), in which the PMOI/MEK is the largest component. Let Iranian voters choose their government in a UN-supervised election.

Camp Ashraf

About 3400 MEK/PMOI supporters live in Ashraf. Some of them fled from Tehran in 1981, and others have lived in Iraq since the mid-1980s as refugees. Among them are former political prisoners as well as leaders of student movements in Iran. There is considerable support for the MEK/PMOI and Ashraf among those many Iraqis who want their country to be independent from Tehran.

The ongoing designation of the MEK/PMOI as a terrorist group in the US and Canada is still being used as a pretext to maintain pressure on Ashraf residents and justify their expulsion to Iran, where it is a capital offence to support the MEK/PMOI.


The MEK/PMOI and its supporters in Ashraf have worked for peace and reconciliation between the Shiite and Sunni communities in Iraq. They represent the aspirations of the Iranian people for a democratic society of peace and the rule of law.

The residents of Ashraf continue to be protected persons under international law, pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention. If the government of Iraq is unwilling to abide by the convention, the United States under the established principles of international law is obliged to resume primary responsibility for their security.

Human dignity is ultimately indivisible in the world today. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK recently spoke out in Asia for the residents of Ashraf, and, in particular, the 36 who remain in custody. If other political and religious leaders were to follow suit, obtaining a release of the 36 detainees would become a possibility. And such would end the hunger strikes taking place in various capitals, without any loss of life.


Let us at this moment pay homage to the memory of the eleven Mojahedin in Ashraf who gave their lives for Iranian freedom. Let us also honour the 36 residents held hostage in Iraq who have been on hunger strikes for 55 days as well as those supporting them in Washington, Ottawa, London, Stockholm, The Hague and elsewhere. They are of course unable to join us. A moment of applause for them all please.

Thank you.

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