Mar 25 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thom Tillis recently led a Senate resolution calling on the protection of Iranian political refugees in Ashraf–3, in rejection of the Iranian regime’s demands, and stating they must be afforded their fundamental rights of freedom of expression and assembly and legal political activities in Albania. The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).           

“The Iranian regime has been intent on eliminating the Iranian political refugees who survived Tehran’s repression and were first based in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, in the mid-1980s. Starting in 2012, the United States Government and the United Nations initiated the relocation of nearly 3,000 Iranian dissidents from Camp Ashraf, Iraq, where they were repeatedly attacked by the Iranian regime’s proxies, and facilitated their gradual relocation in 2013, 2014, and 2015 to Albania. The relocation of these Iranian political refugees to Albania from Iraq was completed in September 2016, and the refugees, a third of them women, are now residing in Ashraf–3 near Tirana in Albania,” the senators wrote.

“Over 900 women and men of Ashraf–3 are former political prisoners who endured torture while in prisons and many of them are witnesses of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and other political killings in Iran, among them eyewitnesses of crimes committed by Ebrahim Raisi. These witnesses must be fully protected for potential testimonies before international courts investigating the 1988 massacre and other grave human rights violations in Iran,” the senators continued. 

“The Iranian regime has stepped up terrorist attacks against its opponents and has used blackmail, terror threats, hostage-taking, sham judicial proceedings, and other means of intimidation against western nations to compel them to silence Iranian opponents living abroad. On several occasions, including in the last week of December 2023, the Iranian regime carried out large-scale cyberattacks against Albania to pressure the Government of Albania to undermine or end its hosting of Iranian political refugees. The Iranian regime is doing its utmost through any means to prevent Ashraf–3 residents from speaking up against the regime,” the senators concluded.

Read the full resolution HERE