This report explores the role of UNSCR 1325 in establishing a constructive, threat-free atmosphere among Iranian political exiles, the women of the PMOI, living in Ashraf, Iraq since 1986. Due to a campaign of relentless disinformation by Tehran, this legitimate opposition group opposing theocratic dictatorship was declared to be terrorists and became military targets during the invasion of Iraq by the United States and coalition forces in 2003. Their bases were bombed based on false intelligence from Tehran, and subsequently, the citizens of Camp were disarmed by Multi-National Forces in Iraq who established a military base there (Camp Grizzly) in 2003. After thorough investigation of all of the members of the group, the US Military concluded that no member had ever been involved in any act of terrorism, and the US government and United Nations granted all members of the PMOI full legal guarantees of safety as Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The right to full protections for the dignity and rights of women—a key value in UNSCR 1325—was spelled out to the members of the Camp by US Military leadership. Since the PMOI had made gender a critical component of their platform for democratic elections in Iran by blending critical feminist theory with a progressive version of Islam, women had been deliberately groomed and promoted, taking high positions of leadership in every aspect of the group’s life and mission. Before transfer to Iraqi sovereignty in 2009, these women—formerly combatants in a national movement—turned to their legacy of non-violent, political origins to formulate a new way of reaching out world-wide: to their sisters inside Iran, to women in Iraq newly threatened with a lessening of their rights for religious reasons, and to women throughout the world. This was only possible in the presence of the guarantees and monitoring provided by UNSCR 1325. This is a story of their new role as peacemakers and political change agents, and is told through the voices of the women members, and their supporters from women’s NGO’s.
This resource was submitted as part of the 1325+10 PeaceWomen initiative to compile a repository of papers dealing with a broad range of issues around the implementation of 1325, as part of the Women, Peace and Security: From Resolution to Action Geneva High-Level Consultation 15-16 September 2010, Geneva.