Iranian exiles vent fury at US over Iraq attacks

10 09 2009

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER | Associated Press

Twelve Iranian dissents say they’ve been on hunger strike in front the U.S. Embassy in London for more than six weeks, and vowed Wednesday to continue until President Barack Obama agrees to protect their compatriots in Iraq.

Members of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran _ a resistance group opposed to the clerical regime in Tehran _ accuse the United States of failing to protect their brethren at Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, where Iraqi soldiers launched a bloody raid in late July.

“Mr. Obama … you should be ashamed,” said 22-year-old Farzaneh Hosseini, whose father Reza is among the hunger strikers. “You promised to protect these people, and you failed them.”

Some of the protesters claim they have been fasting for 44 days under a small cluster of tents outside the concrete U.S. Embassy building on London’s Grosvenor Square.

Their claims could not be independently verified, although London’s ambulance service said it had been called to the square 23 times since the protest began.

The hunger strike is one of several demonstrations being held by exiles in Europe and North America in solidarity with the residents of Camp Ashraf, a 30-square-mile (80-square-kilometer) compound which serves as the group’s base in Iraq.

The People’s Mujaheedeen _ also known by the Farsi-language acronym MEK _ has called on the American military to re-establish control over Ashraf, which is now under Iraqi control.

The U.S. considers the group a terrorist organization but says Iraq has promised to treat the camp residents humanely.


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