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To Stop Executions in Iran Permanently, World Should Hold Mullahs To Account for 1988 Massacre

To Stop Executions in Iran Permanently, World Should Hold Mullahs To Account for 1988 Massacre
Stop executions in Iran

The Iranian regime executed a woman and three men on Tuesday. Previously, on August 5, Mostafa Salehi, who was detained in the 2018 major Iran protests was executed. The mullahs’ incessant executions and human rights violations will continue as long as they enjoy impunity over 1988 massacre of political prisoners. 

Since taking power in 1979, the Iranian regime started oppressing any dissent voice. In other words, executions in Iran are a political tool for the mullahs to maintain their grasp on power. The goal of the regime’s Judiciary, unlike other countries, is to further fortify the regime’s foundations. With hundreds of detained lawyers, such as Nasrin Sotudeh, there is no real “independent lawyers center” or a defense system.  

Despite their peaceful activities, dozens of supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) were executed between 1979 and 1981. Simultaneous with the beginning of organized resistance against the regime, the mullahs’ regime started a political purge to maintain its power and quell the restive Iranian society.   

When the regime’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, was forced to accept ceasefire with Iraq, his real concern was over the Iranian resistance movements activities and a war-torn and restive society. To pacify this society, he ordered the massacre of all political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the MEK, who refused to succumb to the regime’s demands.  

Thus, 30,000 innocent prisoners were executed only for preserving their ideas, despite all of them previously being tried by the regime’s Judiciary and sentenced to prison terms. The so-called “death commissions,” who were responsible for sending prisoners to the gallows simply asked one question: What is your charge? If the person said “MEK” or “MEK supporter,” or the word “Mojahed” his or her fate was sealed. 

In this regard, Amnesty International listed some of the questions by the “death commissions” on its Farsi Twitter account: Are you ready to condemn the “hypocrites” [the term the mullahs use for the MEK] and their leaders? 

Are you ready to step on a minefield to help the military forces of the Islamic Republic? 

Are you willing to join the execution squads?”   

Saying no to any of these questions also resulted in execution. 

Ongoing human rights violations 

Since the 1988 massacre, the regime has never stopped its human rights violations. Although the 1988 massacre is the regime’s harshest crime and the worst massacre of political prisoners since World War II, the ongoing executions in Iran, and brutal oppression of protests, such as killing over 1500 protesters during the major Iran protests in November 2019, indicate how the mullahs use execution and repression to prolong their rule. These events also confirm how the mullahs enjoy and use their impunity over the 1988 massacre as a license to kill and further brutalize the Iranian society. In fact, many of the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre – such as Ebrahim Raisi, current head of the regime’s Judiciary hold top positions in the regime.  

Meanwhile, the 1988 massacre and the blood of its martyrs are never forgotten, like the blood of slain protesters in November. The regime’s concealment or destroying the graves of the martyrs of the 1988 massacre shows the mullahs’ fear of the impact that this unpunished crime could have on the Iranian society.  

Now, to end the regime’s ongoing human rights violations, the world community should hold the mullahs to account for the 1988 massacre and end their impunity. This will also help the Iranian people in their quest for freedom and democracy, because an end to the regime’s human rights violations is tantamount to the end of the regime in its entirety.  

The world community has an opportunity to stand with the people of Iran. The United Nations and its members states should take action regarding the 1988 massacre during the upcoming UN General Assembly in September. This is the only way to deter the regime’s human rights violations.