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Thirty Seven Executions in Iran Following Raisi’s Presidency, Is the Result of Impunity

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Days after Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration, ten prisoners were executed in different cities across Iran. Given Raisi’s dark record of human rights violations, these executions and other examples of human rights abuses in recent days foretell the era of “maximum oppression.”  

On Monday, the clerical regime executed Nabi Noti-Zehi, and Ebrahim Ghanbar-Zehi in Kerman prison, southeast Iran. On Sunday, the mullahs’ regime executed four prisoners in Isfahan and Birjand prisons. 

These recent executions bring the total number of executions in the last 18 days to 37. 

On Sunday, August 8, only three days after Raisi’s inauguration, the regime’s thugs attacked two Iranian women in Urmia, northeast Iran, under the pretext of mal veiling. The women were seriously injured after a man ran over them with his car. Reports from Iran indicate one of these women is in critical condition. The so-called headquarters of “the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” in Urmia acknowledged that the perpetrator is a member of this oppressive headquarters. 

It is noteworthy that Raisi was the first Secretary-General of the so-called “Headquarters of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. 

While all recent cases of Human Rights violations foretell an increasing trend of human rights violations, the regime’s judiciary acquitted Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran’s Prosecutor General, notorious for his crime during the Iran protests in 2009. He was charged with unlawful possession and negligence in performing his duty.  

Mortazavi was acquitted for his role in the 2009 killing of three detained protesters at a notorious prison he oversaw. Mortazavi’s clampdown on the freedom of the press, including closing more than 120 newspapers, has earned him the title “butcher of the press” among Iranian people. Mortazavi personally interrogated, raped, and killed Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian journalist, in the early 2000s.  

There are no illusions about the regime’s judiciary headed by another criminal, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, and when Raisi becomes the regime’s president. Mortazavi’s acquittal, Raisi’s presidency, and Ejei’s appointment as the judiciary once again underline systematic impunity human rights violators enjoy in Iran.  

This fact was highlighted by Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, on June 19, after Raisi was announced the regime’s next president.  

“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” Ms. Callamard said.  

Raisi and Ejei participated in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. Raisi particularly played a key during the 1988 massacre as one of Tehran’s “Death Commission members.” The so-called “Death Commissions” decided the fate of thousands of prisoners.  

Raisi’s crime is not limited to the current human rights violations. As the regime’s Judiciary Chief from 2019 to 2021, Raisi “presided over a spiraling crackdown on human rights which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained,” according to Amnesty International.  

Under Raisi’s watch, the regime’s judiciary also “granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women, and children and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests and at least hundreds to enforced disappearance, and torture and other ill-treatment during and in the aftermath of the nationwide protests of November 2019,” according to Amnesty international.  

Despite Iran’s ongoing human rights violations, the European Union sent Enrique Mora, the Deputy High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to Raisi’s inauguration. The EU leaders in recent days have also formally congratulated Raisi’s presidency.  

Mora’s participation in Raisi’s inauguration was a disgraceful act of appeasement and prioritizing economy over human rights. By sending Mora to Iran, the EU betrayed its own values of human rights.   

This weak reaction to the presidency of the “butcher of Tehran” fuels the systematic impunity that has resulted in human rights abuses being promoted to top positions in the regime.  

The international community, particularly the EU, has failed in holding the regime accountable for its crimes against humanity. When the 1988 massacre started, the international community refused to act despite repeated calls by the Iranian Resistance, human rights organizations, and lawmakers.  

This failure to act “had a devastating impact on the survivors and families as well as on the general situation of human rights in Iran,” as highlighted in a letter of the Seven United Nations experts in December 2020.  

The recent executions in Iran are a part of the devastating impact of the international community’s failure to uphold its obligations.  

The world leaders, mainly the EU leaders, should not turn a blind eye to Iran’s human rights violations. They should hold the regime, mainly Raisi and other human rights abusers, to account. This would coincide with the EU’s human rights values and prevent the regime from further abusing the Iranian people’s rights.