Camp Ashraf: 6 Years Later

The 2013 Camp Ashraf massacre (also referred to as the September 1 massacre) was a terrorist attack on the Camp Ashraf refugee camp of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), leaving 52 PMOI members dead and 7 missing. Iraqi security forces were responsible for the assault, with guidance and support from the Iranian IRGC.

Accounts of the violence given by MEK spokesmen and different local officials vary. MEK officials said Iraqi forces attacked Camp Ashraf early on Sunday September 1st, firing mortar rounds. Some Iraqi reports confirmed that mortar rounds had been fired without identifying their origin, but said the deaths came during subsequent clashes. Others said the blasts heard at the camp were caused by oil and gas canisters exploding. Another source said there had been a raid on the camp overnight, but put the death toll at only 19. But the reality is 52 innocent people were killed in the attack.

(Below is a copy of the Iran Liberation Issue #362 that was published right after the attack on Camp Ashraf)
Iran Liberation Issue #362

On that day, Iraqi special forces under the command of al-Maliki raided Camp Ashraf, brutally murdering 52 residents and abducting seven others. The camp was home to 100 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main opposition to the dictatorship ruling Iran. Back then, Al-Maliki was hoping to gain support from the Mullahs for a third term as prime minister.


The victims, all protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and classified as “persons of concern” who enjoy “international protection” by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.N. refugee agency, were residing in the camp based on assurances given by the U.N., the U.S., and the Iraqi government.

While undeniable evidence proved that the highest levels of al-Maliki’s government were directly involved in planning and staging the massacre, the U.S. and U.N. abstained from investigating the crime, leaving the task to al-Maliki’s government itself. The results were predictable.

After six years, not a single person has been arrested. The incident has once again become the focus of attention among human rights groups and activists. On that day, 52 innocent people died. Justice must be served.

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