Statement of American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC)
Workers World, Sept. 6, 2007
Aug. 31 - On Aug. 28, 2007, U.S. troops at a checkpoint near the Tigris River had verified the legitimate and legal traveling documents of the members of an Iranian Energy Ministry delegation and allowed them to proceed to their destination at the state-owned Sheraton Ishtar Hotel nearby. The entire delegation, which included two Iranian diplomats, was officially invited by the government of Iraq to help resolve Iraq’s electrical power crises, which condemn a great majority of the people of that country to 110-degree heat of the day and darkness of the night.
Barely an hour had passed from their arrival at the hotel and meeting with the Iraqi Energy Ministry officials for dinner that U.S. military forces, following orders, raided the hotel, blindfolded and handcuffed eight of the Iranians and paraded them in front of rolling cameras of reporters already stationed there for the ‘event.’ Although Iraqi representatives had clearly informed the U.S. troops that the Iranian delegation was invited by the Iraqi government and all documents were in order, the U.S. military hauled the eight Iranians off to U.S. interrogation chambers. To justify their criminal enterprise and flagrant disregard of all international laws governing the relations between nations and sovereign states, the U.S. military officials at first claimed that the Iranian delegation had unauthorized weapons, but were forced to retract that excuse when the Iraqi government publicly announced that the weapons belonged to the Iraqi officials. Regardless of the facts, the U.S. government does not admit guilt or wrongdoing and pays no cost for its illegal, aggressive acts.
It is crystal clear that these arrests and the harassment of the Iranians were directly guided by President Bush’s statement made a short time before at the American Legion Convention that he had given the order for U.S. troops to “confront” Tehran’s activities in Iraq.
The American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) urges all honest and fair-minded Iranians and Americans to protest this latest act of instigation to raise tensions and animosity and conflagrate more crises in the war-weary Middle East. Our unified response protesting the Bush Administration’s insatiable drive to continue the war in Iraq and expand it into Iran is urgently needed. AIFC, along with millions of other Iranians and Americans, holds President Bush and the Congress of the United States responsible for these provocative acts of war.
Let us not forget that the U.S. government has not released the five Iranian diplomats taken hostage by a U.S. commando raid in Irbil, Iraq, in January of this year, again in violation of the international rules governing occupying powers.
Please contact: American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), 914-589-0744 or email AIFC@optonline.net