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Mother fears for daughter's life in Iraq
AN ELDERLY mother has spoken of her anguish as she fears for her daughter’s life following a violent attack in Iraq.
Fatemeh Mohammad, 75, said she “cries all alone” at her home in Hendon, thinking about her daughter Maryam Mohammad, 49, in Camp Ashraf which was attacked by the Iraqi Army.
It was reported on April 8 the army shot unarmed civilians in Camp Ashraf, leaving 34 dead and hundreds more injured.
Director of Association of Anglo-Iranian Women in the UK, Laila Jazayeri said: “They attacked the camp with heavy machine guns, armoured vehicles and automatic guns and grenades, targeting the heads and chests of our loved ones deliberately to kill.”
Fatemah said she nearly fainted when she heard the news and despite her daughter surviving the incident, she mourns for the loss of those “who have suffered”.
Camp Ashraf has become an icon of hope for a free democratic Iran and is occupied by 3,400 members of the Iranian resistance, Peoples of Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) including Fatemeh’s daughter Maryam.
The movement has been based in Iraq since the 1980s and raises awareness about human rights violations in Iran and calls for an end to what it refers to as a "two-year-long inhumane siege of Ashraf”, suppressing residents and limiting supplies including medication.
Fatemeh was born in Iran but moved to Watford Way in Hendon 25 years ago with her late husband Pedar Mohammad after members of the Iranian regime realised they were supporters of PMOI.
The couple had been visiting their two sons and Maryam who were living in England, when they received a phone call from a family friend warning them not to return to Iran.
Fatemeh said: “We were a very wealthy family with four different flats, eight shops, I had a top of the range car and we had a nice lifestyle.
“But the Iranian guards had confiscated everything we owned. “My friend said if we went back we would be arrested and it would be the end.”
Whilst living with her mother and father in Hendon, Maryam decided to join the liberation movement PMOI in Camp Ashraf.
Fatemeh said: “Maryam left about 20 years ago – She has always had a character to want to help people. “She told me she wanted to bring about change for her country and said she must go.”
Fatemeh last saw Maryam seven years ago when she had visited the camp and since then she has only spoken to her daughter twice because there is limited means of communication in Camp Ashraf.
Fatemeh said: “She called once in 2008 and once in 2009 telling me she is so happy there and she is having the best life.
“In the last call she told me not to worry but as a mother, even though she is grown up, she is still my baby and I do worry.”
Anglo-Iranians living in the borough are concerned Camp Ashraf could be attacked again. Ms Jazayeri said: “The Iraqi army has taken over part of the camp.
“They have also stopped drugs, medication and medical equipment from going into the camp.
“Something has to be done to put a stop to this.”
Despite finding it difficult to walk, Fatemeh protests almost every day alongside hundreds of fellow Anglo-Iranians outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and US Embassy in Westminster calling for the protection of exiles in Camp Ashraf.