Raymond Tanter

Given prior intelligence revelations by the dissidents, it is hardly surprising that during June 2009 uprisings in Iran, Baghdad acting on behalf of Tehran attacked Camp Ashraf on July 30. Iraqis raided the Camp, killed eleven, held 36 as hostages, and then released them in October.

After unrest recurred in Iran during February 2011, Baghdad attacked Ashraf on April 8. There is video evidence of Iraqi forces directly aiming and firing at female Camp residents.

Rocket and mortar shells fell on Camp Liberty, another site where Iranian dissidents are resident, killing six and wounding over 50, on February 9, 2013. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called this attack, “a despicable act of violence” and described residents of the Camp as asylum seekers entitled to international protection.

On September 1, 2013, Iraqi forces assaulted Camp Ashraf killing 52 and seizing seven hostages. The forces attacked those left behind by mutual consent of the UN and Baghdad to care for personal property of 3,000 residents who transferred to Camp Liberty. “According to reports reaching UNHCR, the missing persons are reportedly being held somewhere in Iraq and may be at risk of being returned involuntarily to Iran, which would be a serious breach of international law. These seven are all known by UNHCR to be asylum-seekers…”

Not only are there lives at stake in safe passage of Iranian dissidents out of Iraq, there also is a need for human source intelligence as lead information to compare with data obtained using other sources and methods. Now it is time for Washington to support the Iranian dissidents in Iraq so Baghdad and Tehran do not kill additional dissidents and destroy a valuable source of human intelligence about adherence of Iran to the nuclear deal.

By bringing Iranian dissidents from Iraq, e.g., to America, they can help U.S. intelligence monitor Iran’s compliance with the Geneva accord. From the perspective of U.S. interests, this idea is as important to intelligence as contingent sanctions are in providing insurance in case the Geneva-Vienna talks fail to result in a permanent accord by July because of Iran’s evasions.

Exposing cheating, inspections, and sanctions pressure Tehran to retreat and negotiate sanctions relief in exchange for its nuclear weapons program. Only if revelations, inspections, and sanctions work together is it likely Iran would forsake becoming a nuclear-weapons capable state.


Raymond Tanter

Raymond Tanter served on the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. His latest book is "Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents."