By: Sanabargh Zahedi, Chairman of the Judicial Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
A former cultural advisor to the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who turned against him following the suppression of 2009 anti-regime protests has confirmed that more than 33,000 people were executed during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
Artist and film director Mohammad Nurizad is now openly criticizing Khamenei after producing and directing around 20 movies and TV series in favour of the regime, and having articles published in Khamenei's mouthpiece the Kayhan daily.
Since his breakaway from the regime, Nurizad – who had extensive connections with senior regime officials and in particular with Khamenei’s inner circle - has been writing open letters to Khamenei protesting at the suppression of the Iranian people by the regime's forces.
In an article posted on his website on April 13 entitled 'They are the ones that will lose', and where he also refers to the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda massacre, he wrote: “In our country (Iran) too we have conducted such massacres; massacres that due to purposeful silence and state red lines, never been cited in official internal or international statistics."
He continued: "In our Iran too, governance is the rule of a minority over an enchained majority… Here too in a span of two to three months, they beat up and murdered 33,000 imprisoned girls, boys, women and men and transferred their corpses by tipper trucks to Khavaran (a cemetery in south-east Tehran ) and unknown deserts and buried them in groups and then they rubbed their hands in delight’.
In one of his letters he said: “The society is on the verge of a tremendous explosion and the apparent calm is only due to battering and at gunpoint.”
His writings caused him to be arrested and detained. And from prison, it was written: “The Tehran’s General Prosecutor suggested he write a request to Ayatollah Khamenei and plead for forgiveness, but he rejected the offer”.
In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra judicially executed over 30,000 political prisoners held in jails across Iran.
The Iranian regime has never acknowledged these executions, or provided any information as to how many prisoners were killed.
The majority of those executed were either serving prison sentences for their political activities or had already finished their sentences but were still kept in prison.
Some of them had previously been imprisoned and released, but were again arrested and executed during the massacre.
The wave of massacres of political prisoners began in late July and continued unabated for several months.
By the time it stopped in the Fall, some 30,000 political prisoners, the overwhelming majority of them activists of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were slaughtered.
After a detailed study of irrefutable evidence that included thousands of reports and documents, interviews with the families of victims, the Iranian Resistance declared the number of those slaughtered in 1988 to be 30,000.
It is common knowledge that given that this colossal atrocity was conducted in full secrecy, the international bodies were not given the opportunity to learn of the actual scale of this crime against humanity, especially that in many prisons not even a single prisoner was left to recount the catastrophe.
However, as time passed, many independent experts, witnesses and political figures gradually arrived at this truth and testified to it.
Nurizad is closest man from the regime’s inner circles that is testifying to the dimensions of this atrocity.
Prior to him, Reza Malek, a senior official of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) who spent many years in Evin Prison for unveiling some aspects of regime’s 'Chain of Murders', secretly sent a video clip abroad in 2008 addressed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In this video clip, Mr Malek, spoke of the crimes committed by the regime of Velayat-e faqih, particularly in the prisons.
Speaking of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, Mr Malek said: “The atrocity of this regime is such that in 1988 in just a few nights over 33,700 (thirty-three-thousand seven-hundred) prisoners with sentences of five, two and one years in prison were executed and were buried in mass graves by using bulldozers. In face of this bloodthirsty regime and the deceptive and criminal mullahs they were innocently buried in the earth. This is the fruit of the absolute rule of Velayat-e faqih. It engulfs all that a human being has with death and destruction. The Vali-e faqih [Supreme Leader in the clerical regime] considers himself the proprietor of everyone’s property, honor and life…”3
Now, Mohammad Nurizad is more or less confirming this same figure.
What makes his remark more significant is that Nurizad in his own words had been working in the cultural section of the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq war] for the regime and there was never any doubt about his loyalty, affiliation and association with the hard nucleus of the country's rulers, i.e. Khamenei’s inner circle.
As an example of his loyalty and intimacy with Khamenei’s inner circle, during Khatami’s Presidency, he actively worked against the “reformist” Mohamad Khatami faction and defended Ali Khamenei and the rule of Velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of clergy).
After writing various direct letters to Khamenei, after being imprisoned, beaten up… he has now crossed one of the clerical regime’s red lines by announcing the number of political prisoners massacred in 1988.
Regretfully, over many years, many of those with material interests worked to distort the reality and markedly diminish the extent and the magnitude of the members of PMOI (MEK) who were victims of the 1988 massacre, to downplay the atrocity of Khomeini, Khamenei, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and all other criminal mullahs and their Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) involved in that massacre.
It is time now for all those who whitewashed the evil portrait of the atrocious mullahs by minimizing the number of executions of political prisoners in general, and the 1988 massacre in particular, to loudly ask for forgiveness before history and the enchained people of Iran.
Meanwhile, and now with further confirmation of the magnitude of the great atrocity of 1988, all popular forces and figures should concentrate their endeavors on bringing the perpetrators of this crime who are none other than all the leaders of the criminal regime ruling Iran, to the international criminal courts.
Interview with former Iranian political prisoner Mostafa Naderi