SACRAMENTO, April 20 (UPI) — A Sacramento woman documenting an Iranian democracy movement in Iraq was killed by Iraqi soldiers, the United Nations reported.
A U.N. report said Asieh Rakhshani, 30, was one of 34 unarmed Iranian expatriates allegedly slain April 8 by Iraqi soldiers while filming a pre-dawn confrontation over control of the northern section of Iraq’s Camp Ashraf, The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.
“My sister was one of the seven women killed,” said Hamid Yazdanpanah, a University of California-Davis and Pacific McGeorge School of Law graduate. His parents raised Rakhshani until 2000, when she left to rejoin her activist parents at Camp Ashraf.
“She wanted to live in a free Iran. She was sending lots of messages of hope to youth in Iran. She was full of life and joy,” said Yazdanpanah’s mother, Ensieh Yazdanpanah.
The State Department has condemned the violent attack on Camp Ashraf, even though it has been the headquarters of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, “the people’s freedom fighters,” a controversial organization on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, the Bee said.
The MEK allegedly allied with Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran.
“From the beginning, there’s been bad blood between them and the Iraqi government, who saw them as accomplices with Saddam’s regime,” said Abbas Milani, director of Iranian studies at Stanford University.
The Iraqi government has not offered a motive for the attack but said it wants camp occupants out by the end of the year, the Bee reported.
“Regardless of what you think of this organization, these are people who are not armed and (are) at the mercy of their error-prone leadership on the one hand and a very angry Iraqi regime on the other,” Milani said.