German Delegation Visits MEK Camp in Albania
Ashraf 3, the MEK camp in Albania, received a visit from a six-member delegation from Germany last week. Rita Süssmuth, former president of the Bundestag, German parliamentarians Martin Patzelt, Thomas Nord, and Otto Bernhardt, and human rights activists, Hille Gosejacob-Rolf, and Christian Zimmermann made up the members of the delegation.
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During their trip to Tirana from October 21-23, the visitors spent time with MEK residents at Ashraf met with Albanian government officials and political figures and attended a conference with Albanian parliamentarians and NGOs.
On the first day of their visit, the delegation was greeted by MEK members, who briefed the visitors on the camp’s relocation from Iraq to Albania and their efforts to rebuild on a new site. The camp representatives emphasized that all costs of deployment, daily life, and medical care at Ashraf 3 are paid for by the MEK.
Rita Süssmuth expressed her surprise at the resilience and vitality of the camp residents. She was also impressed at how much the MEK members have been able to build over the course of a year. “Your vitality indicates a culture and a new way of life, which is not well known to others.” She said, “I constantly admire you for always starting from scratch and building again,” she said.
During their visit, the delegation toured Ashraf 3’s carpenter’s workshop, sports halls, and volleyball and basketball courts. They were introduced to the camp’s younger members, who shared their interests in music, art, video, history, and comedy. The delegation also toured the camp medical facilities, where they met dozens of MEK doctors and dentists who provide care for camp residents.
After touring Ashraf 3, the delegation sat down with a group of MEK members and discussed the MEK’s goals in Albania. The MEK’s representative from the camp expressed their appreciation to the German Friendship Group for its assistance during the MEK’s relocation from Iraq to Albania and other European countries.
Members of the delegation responded with words of support to the members of Ashraf 3.
Otto Bernhard said, “You have come a long way, but the remaining path to the goal should be short. The goal is to liberate Iran and we must reach this goal together.”
“The power of your eyes and your vitality is motivating to me, and it reflects your belief in the purpose you have,” said Rita Süssmuth. “You are even livelier than when you were in Ashraf and Liberty. Keep Fighting.”
Representative Thomas Nord spoke of the resilience of the MEK members and their willingness to continue fighting the regime. “Always one of my questions was how people can keep fighting decades for freedom and democracy and still be motivated, he said. “I got the answers to my questions today in Ashraf 3. Each of you could have had a good life in a corner of the world while being opposed to the regime, but you have chosen another way and that you are fighting collectively which is important. I wish you and all of us victory on this path.”
Christian Zimmermann was clear in his support of Ashraf 3: “I consider myself an Ashrafi,” he said. “It is now a matter of discussion in Germany and Europe that who is the alternative against Mullahs. I say, whoever wants to know the alternative should come to Ashraf 3.”
Ms. Hille Gosejacob-Rolf praised the women of the MEK for their leadership and gave gifts of table tops featuring the Iranian flag.
Rita Süssmuth led the delegation in presenting a gift of a painting of Reichstag, the German Parliament building, to the MEK representative.
On Monday, the delegation hosted a meeting at the Tirana International Hotel. Entitled “Solidarity with the Iranian Resistance: Disclosure of Islamic Fundamentalism and the Iranian Regime’s State Sponsorship of Terrorism in Europe and the Balkans,” the meeting was attended by political and human rights activists and Albanian supporters of the Iranian Resistance. The event received wide coverage by the Albanian press.
The members of the German delegation spoke about their visit to Ashraf 3 at the conference.
Rita Süssmuth said, “We were surprised by the progress made by MEK, and that could not be possible without the constructive cooperation of the government and civil society in Albania.”
Süssmuth added: They (the MEK) have relied on their financial autonomy and have provided funds for all their expenses and construction costs themselves. They are democrats, volunteers, lively and active, profoundly against dictatorship and committed to the cause of freedom.”
Martin Patzelt spoke of the need to stop supporting Iran: “The situation in Iran is quickly evolving, and we are witnessing that the policy towards the regime is changing,” he said. “Although Europe has been a supporter of a nuclear deal with the regime, the Iranian Regime’s domestic and international crises, as well as its destructive policies and its support of terrorism, has made it difficult for Europe to continue supporting it. A serious crisis in relations between Europe and the Iranian regime is about the terrorist acts of the regime in Europe.”
Otto Bernhard called for the expulsion of all regime intelligence agents. He discussed the case of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian regime diplomat who was arrested by German police for a foiled terrorist attack on the annual National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) gathering in Paris on June 30th and recently extradited to Belgium to await trial on terrorism charges. The Iranian regime attempted to prevent Assadi’s extradition. Because of the Assadi case, France has expelled another regime diplomat and sanctioned the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The Netherlands has expelled two regime diplomats as a result of the case.