Ambassador Ken Blackwell, a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, in an article published on TownHall on Thursday, urged the International Community to hold Iranian regime’s authorities to account for their crimes against humanity and terrorism.
“Iran unleashed its proxies in Iraq to attack the US Embassy in Baghdad on the last day of 2019. That speaks volumes about the nature of Tehran rulers. President Trump correctly held them accountable. The ayatollahs’ conduct at home and abroad has been utterly malign. Period. They stand out as one of the most pressing challenges the international community faces as we enter 2020,” Ambassador Blackwell said.
While referring to the nationwide Iran protests in mid-November, Ambassador Blackwell said, “In November, major protests broke out in Iran. The regime’s response was unprecedentedly brutal. International rights group Amnesty International condemned ‘the frequency and persistence of lethal force’ deployed against peaceful demonstrations.”
“Astonishingly, the death toll has now surpassed 1,500. Over 4,000 have been injured, and more than 12,000 are in prisons and at risk of torture,” said Ambassador Blackwell, referring to the report published by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
“There are harrowing accounts. In the city of Mahshahr, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrived with tanks and armored vehicles. After unarmed protesters came under fire and fled into a nearby marsh, the IRGC surrounded them and used truck-mounted machine guns to massacre as many as 100 people,” he added.
“The leading opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), was the most active movement on the ground in Iran. In addition to sending out videos and credible news, its “Resistance Units” also led and guided the protests. On December 15, it said that 1,500 protesters had been killed. Since then, various news agencies and US State Department officials have cited the MEK‘s reported figures as their sources,” said Ambassador Blackwell referring to the MEK’s leading role in Iran protests.
“The NCRI says thousands of detained protesters are under excruciating conditions. The regime’s suppressive forces have reportedly transferred many of the wounded out of hospitals and placed them under torture. Many of the detainees, including those in Shiraz, are being pressured to take part in televised “confessions” and speak out against the uprising and the MEK. Amnesty International has called for those arbitrarily arrested to be released,” he added.
“As Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi has urged, the world community should demand that the regime grant free access to the country for UN human rights experts and other monitors who are committed to safeguarding the rights of protesters throughout the world. The U.S. can play a leading role to this effect,” Ambassador Blackwell supported Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, call on the international community to take immediate action against the Iranian regime’s crimes against humanity.
“Until the international community can effectively guarantee that Tehran’s repressive policies are a thing of the past, no free, democratic nation should willingly engage in trade or diplomatic exchanges with Iran. The regime cannot refuse this ultimatum without affirming its intent to continue murdering its own people,” he added.
“It is an affront to humanity and a serious shirking of moral responsibility for the international community to remain silent in the face of the crimes being committed against humanity in Iran. The U.N. must act now to send a fact-finding mission to Tehran to investigate the regime’s crimes. Tehran’s leaders must face justice, lest more crimes against humanity continue unabated,” Ambassador Blackwell concluded.