October 10 marks World Day against Death Penalty. While many countries have abolished this cruel sentence or are on the verge of abolishing it, Iran, under the mullahs’ regime, holds the world record of executions per capita. The death penalty is a violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which underlines the right to life of every human being.
Since the mullahs took power in Iran, they started systematic human rights violations. Thousands of Iranians have been executed in the last four decades. The Iranian regime has been using executions as a method to intimidate the public and prevent popular uprisings.
According to independent sources like Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran-HRM), 255 people were executed in 2020. In 2021, there have so far been 267 executions. While the actual number of executions in Iran is much higher due to the regime’s secrecy, the rising trend of executions in Iran in 2021 foretells a tragedy.
This rising trend of executions was predicted once Ebrahim Raisi ran for the presidency as the Supreme Leader’s favorite candidate. The regime’s sham 2021 presidential election ended with Raisi as the new president in June 2021. Raisi is known for his role as a member of the Tehran “Death Commission,” which decided the fate of thousands of political prisons during the 1988 massacre. During that massacre, over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members, and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In a message on this occasion, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI said: “This year’s World Day Against the Death Penalty has been dedicated to women, which is a further cause for condemnation and expression of abhorrence toward the misogynist regime, more than any other regime. The ruling theocracy in Iran carries out the highest number of executions against women in the modern world,”
“The Iranian people demand the international prosecution of Khamenei, Raisi, [regime Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein] Eje’i, and other henchmen responsible for massacres and murders in Iran.”
No to the Regime of Executions & Massacres
The Imperative of International Prosecution of Khamenei & Raisi
Maryam Rajavi’s message on World Day Against the Death Penalty #StopExecutionsinIranhttps://t.co/RKhVzhJner pic.twitter.com/sbxst5zrWG
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) October 9, 2021
When Raisi was selected as the regime’s new president, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said: “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.”
The systematic impunity in Iran underlined by Ms. Callamard was previously highlighted by seven United Nations experts in a letter published in December. While underlining that the 1988 massacre may amount to “crimes against humanity,” the UN experts’ letter highlights “a systemic impunity enjoyed by those who ordered and carried out the extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.”
The systematic impunity in Iran over human rights violations and crimes against humanity has been fueled by the international community’s inaction facing large-scale crimes like the 1988 massacre or daily human rights abuses in Iran.
The UN experts’ letter underlines the failure of the international community to “act” regarding the 1988 massacre, “had a devastating impact on the survivors and families as well as on the general situation of human rights in Iran and emboldened Iran to continue to conceal the fate of the victims and to maintain a strategy of deflection and denial that continue to date.”
Ebrahim Raisi’s ascendency and the rising trend of executions in Iran could be described as part of the devastating impact of the international community’s failure to hold the mullahs’ regime accountable. The world community, mainly the European powers, are unfortunately recognizing this systematic impunity in Iran by engaging in dialogue with the Iranian regime. The European Union went as far as to send a high-ranking politician to attend Raisi’s inauguration on August 5. Thus, the EU formally accepted a mass murder as Iran’s president. These actions are at odds with the human rights values and principles cherished by the European Union.
In a joint statement on the eve of World Day against the Death Penalty, “the European Union and the Council of Europe reaffirm their firm opposition to capital punishment at all times and in all circumstances.”
They underlined that “This year’s World Day is dedicated to women,” yet, the EU is eagerly engaging in negotiations with a regime with the highest number of women executed in the world.
While one could argue that the EU is focusing on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and countering Tehran’s race toward an atomic bomb, it should be reminded that granting the regime impunity over human rights violations is like sending it a message of weakness. The EU’s efforts to revive the highly flawed deal that, as confirmed by the regime’s rapid restoring what it had stopped according to the deal, has only encouraged the regime to continue its provocative steps without facing serious consequences.
Engaging in dialogue with the regime, providing incentive packages, and turning a blind eye on its human rights abuses, would only render impunity and encourage Iran’s rogue government. The EU and the entire world community should hold Iran accountable for human rights violations. They should sever all ties with the regime and condition further negotiations to halt executions in Iran. The EU countries should honor their human rights principles and lead an international effort to hold Raisi as other criminal regime officials accountable for their role in human rights violations. These measures would certainly send a message of strength to the regime, thus forcing it to limit or abandon its malign activities.