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Leaving 1988 Massacre of MEK Unpunished Emboldens Iran’s Regime to Continue Human Right Abuses – Remarks by Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Leaving 1988 Massacre of MEK Unpunished Emboldens Iran’s Regime to Continue Human Right Abuses – Remarks by Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras
Ashraf 3, Albania, headquarters of the MEK – Call for Justice Conference, July 19

The 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), has gone unpunished for 32 years. The more the international community persists in its inaction, the Iranian regime continues its human rights violations. As Daniel Webster said: “Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life.”  

The Iranian regime has continued its human rights violations because the international community has either closed its eyes or demanded the regime itself to “conduct investigations.” In other words, asking a murderer to investigate his own crime, therefore, allowing the mullahs’ regime to get away with the crime.  

The regime’s ruthless crackdown on the nationwide Iran protests in November 2019, with over 1500 martyrs, the ongoing executions in Iran, issuing harsh sentences for political activist are a testament to this reality.   

Although the 1988 massacre left thousands of families in incessant chagrin, leaving it unpunished emboldened the regime to continue human rights abuses. But it has also added to the public hatred toward the regime. The Call-to-Justice Movement, initiated by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in 2016, has had a huge impact both on the Iranian people and the regime. This movement prevented the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to choose Ebrahim Raisi, a key member of the “Death Commissions” who carried out the 1988 massacre, during the last sham presidential elections. This intensified the regime’s infightings.  This movement has been able to attract the international community’s attention to this heinous crime. On July 17, Morgan Ortagus, the spokesperson of the United States State Department, in a video message on Twitter, said: “July 19th marks the anniversary of the start of Iran’s so-called Death Commissions on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini. These commissions reportedly forcibly disappeared and extra judicially executed thousands of political dissident prisoners. The current head of the Iranian judiciary and current minister of justice have both been identified as former members of these death commissions. The Iranian judiciary is widely perceived to lack independence and fair trial guarantees. And the revolutionary courts are particularly egregious in ordering violations of human rights. All Iranian officials who commit human rights violations or abuses should be held accountable. The United States calls on the international community to conduct independent investigations and do provide accountability and justice for the victims of these horrendous violations of human rights, organized by the Iranian regime.” 

The second day of the NCRI’sFree Iran Global Summit,” which lasted for three days, was over the 1988 massacre. This conference and its participants called on the international community to end the impunity for the regime’s authorities, such as Raisi who is the regime’s current Judiciary Chief and Khamenei who was the regime’s president in 1988, and hold them to account for their crimes against humanity.  Many renowned politicians were among the speakers of this event. The following is the full text of remarks by Dr. Alejo VidalQuadras, former European Parliament Vice President, during the “Free Iran Global Summit”: 


Thank you. Good evening. The pain of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners remains in the heart of families because justice has not been achieved yet. It’s time that we talk about the crimes committed by the religious dictatorship ruling Iran, like the 1988 massacre or indeed the latest case of arbitrary arrests and carnage during last November protest in almost 200 cities in Iran.  

We hear from the international community sentences like, we call on the Iranian authorities to make investigations and punish the perpetrators. Frankly, these kinds of statements sound as a cynical joke. It is clear that the regime’s national courts will not investigate the massacre. The minister of justice himself was one of the perpetrators of this horrible crime. The Supreme Leader Khamenei was involved in it and defends such atrocity. So, it is incumbent on the international community to take the initiative and obtain justice over this crime against humanity.  

A question that many people make is the following. Why is the international community, the United Nations, United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and indeed the European Union, why all these organizations and so many governments are so hesitant to do what they should do? In some cases, there is a matter of trade interests which overcomes justice. Sometimes, it is due to political considerations as the appeasers feel shy to convey to the Iranian authorities that they cannot be tolerated by the world community. If this is the case, it should be clear that they are acting against our own democratic values and principles. We also hear things like, “Oh, we cannot interfere with internal matters of Iran.” But let’s be serious. This is not an internal matter for Iran. It is indeed an international matter, as it is closely related to our international commitments, respect for the rule of law, and our democratic principles.  

And last but not least, sometimes international community fears the regime’s retribution through terrorist activities or arbitrary arrest of their citizens in Iran. Then we must not forget that (even) for this regime it’s very cruel and brutal, it lies about everything, including its true strength. It has always been weaker than what it pretended to be and right now it is at its weakest point.  

There is a recent example that should convince the international community not to fear the regime and pursue justice. We all know that trial of Assadollah Assadi, the terrorist bomber diplomat of Iran was to bomb the large gathering of the Iranian resistance in Villepinte in July 2018. We know that this trial started in Belgium four days ago. Over the past two years, the clerical regime made every effort, including diplomatic pressure, economic incentives, taking European nationals hostage, and even terrorist threats to prevent Assadi’s trial and to secure his release. But all these attempts proved to be futile due to the will of the relevant Belgian authorities.  

Therefore, it is indeed a matter of political will of the international community to pursue justice. Then we will see that the regime is unable to bully us and justice can be achieved. The mullahs are aggressive when they see the fear in their interlocuters. But they stood back as the coward they are when they confront strong and resolute opponents.  

In the end, as president of the International Committee in Search of Justice let me declare that ISJ is committed to serve justice in this case to ensure that all the perpetrators of this crime against humanity which has remained unpunished for too long will be held accountable in international courts and punished for committing a crime that is unprecedented in its cruelty and evil nature since the horrors of the Second World War. Thank you very much.