I made a background check and was able to identify the fact that it included the notorious Colonel Sadeq, who now has a commanding role in Camps Ashraf and Liberty, home to several thousand Iranian dissidents in Iraq and who is indicted in the Spanish Courts for his alleged involvement in the two massacres at Ashraf.
I quickly informed security at the European Parliament. When the group of 14 arrived that Tuesday morning, led by the Iraqi ambassador and the deputy foreign minister, Sadeq was barred from entry and there was some confrontation at the main entrance to Parliament.
As a result, the group, minus Sadeq, arrived 20 minutes late for our meeting, looking very red-faced and angry and we then had a heated debate about the appalling conditions in Camp Liberty and the Iraqi government's failure to provide even the most basic humanitarian requirements for the 2,000 residents.
We forcefully argued that Liberty should never have been labeled as a Temporary Transit Location. Already some refugees have lived there, in appalling conditions, for more than 4 months. It must be re-designated as a Refugee Camp and provide with all of the facilities appropriate to that designation. But George Bakoos, from the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told us that these people cannot be described as refugees and have no legal status in Iraq.
What was interesting about this whole episode was the fact that the visit of these 14 Iraqis to Brussels seems to have been on the radar screen of the U.S. State Department for several weeks before we got to hear about it. Indeed Ambassador Dan Fried, U.S. special envoy for Ashraf, had even flown across the Atlantic to meet the group, a senior State Department official told a press briefing that "the USA supports this delegation."
I think it is disgraceful that the United States should support a delegation that contains an accused alleged murderer and should collude with attempts to bring such a person into an official meeting of the European Parliament. The U.S. State Department has never covered itself with glory in its dealings with the People's Mujahedin of Iran but this is surely scraping the bottom of the barrel.
It is great news that two days later the French police arrested Colonel Sadeq for his alleged involvement in torturing and killing innocent refugees. Let this episode be a lesson to the arrogance of the Iraqi authorities. You cannot expect to shoot down and massacre innocent refugees like rabbits in a field and get away with it. Their arrogance in thinking that they can even bring one of the leading alleged criminals involved in these events to an official meeting of the European Parliament is quite breathtaking. They will answer for these crimes and their threats and intimidation of the residents of Camp Liberty and Ashraf will backfire. Sadeq is only the first to understand that European justice has a long memory and an even longer reach.
And the U.S. State Department should bow its head in shame at their involvement in this whole sorry episode. While U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to defy the findings of the U.S. federal courts on delisting the PMOI, she simply gives encouragement to those who wish to use violence against the refugees in Ashraf and Liberty.
The blacklisting of the PMOI has been a dedicated Clinton project from the start. It was U.S. President Bill Clinton who first listed the PMOI as an act of appeasement to the mullahs in Iran. He used a bogus dossier based on propaganda and downright lies supplied by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. The problem is that now people like Dan Fried and his State Department colleagues accept this dossier as Holy Writ, despite the fact that eminent judges from London to Washington have scorned the evidence and thrown it out.
It is time for America to face the truth. Appeasing the mullahs is a failed policy. They will not stop building nuclear weapons. Only regime change in Tehran will bring peace and stability back to the Middle East.
(Struan Stevenson, MEP, is president of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq.)
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)