On the eve of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, a group of prominent European lawmakers held a conference regarding Iran’s deteriorating human rights situation. Members of the European Parliament, called on the Union and its member states to recognize the “1988 massacre in Iran as genocide and a crime against humanity.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, also joined this conference virtually, delivering the event’s keynote speech.
Tuesday’s event and its participants underlined that since Ebrahim Raisi, “henchman of 1988 massacre,” became the regime’s president in June, Iran’s already deplorable human rights situation has deteriorated.
This conference urges the international community to launch an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners and other crimes committed by the mullahs’ regime, including the brutal killing of over 1500 peaceful protesters during the November 2019 uprising.
This page presents a live report of this event. Its content will be updated throughout the day:
Javier Zarzalejos, MEP from Spain, Vice Chair of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation.
The regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the most flagrant violations of human rights, arbitrary detention of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, dual nationals, secret executions and forced disappearances, arbitrary sentences, use of torture, gender discrimination persisting in law and social attitudes, which includes stoning sentences. It uses excessive and lethal force against nationwide protests.
This meeting is important as we have gathered here today to call out the European Union and its Member States to adopt a firm policy on Iran. It is necessary to translate words into actions, to recognize the 1988 massacre as genocide and crime against humanity, in addition to urging the international community to call for accountability. The perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
The massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 is the most egregious among the mullahs’ countless crimes. And that crime is still ongoing.
The carnage was carried out based on two decrees by Khomeini to massacre all the prisoners who supported the People’s Mojahedin of Iran.
It was an obvious case of genocide, followed by the execution of prisoners of other political groups.
One of the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre has been on trial in the Court of Stockholm in recent months. The court held some of its sessions at the Court of Durrës in Albania to hear the testimonies of several PMOI members at Ashraf 3 who are plaintiffs in the case.
That henchman confessed to one important reality: “Anyone who speaks about the PMOI would be arrested, and the Judiciary is extremely serious about it.”
For several decades now, under the mullahs’ rule in Iran, it has been forbidden to mention the PMOI’s name. The ban is one aspect of the genocide carried out against the PMOI.
Last June, Khamenei selected one of the key perpetrators of the 1988 massacre as the regime’s president.
For their part, the people of Iran launched their call-for-justice movement that calls for the prosecution of Khamenei and Raisi for committing genocide and crimes against humanity.
Europe’s inaction has emboldened the regime in its crimes
As far as the international community is concerned, silence and inaction vis-a-vis this brutal crime amount to appeasing Iran’s ruling murderers.
In September 2020, seven UN Special Rapporteurs highlighted an important development in this shameless policy. They recalled that despite the UN General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution that addressed this massacre in December 1988, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission failed to take any action.
Such inaction emboldened the Iranian regime and led to the worsening of the human rights situation in Iran. The European governments remained silent and turned a blind eye on the slaughter of political prisoners and the crackdown on protests, thereby, giving the regime an open hand to continue its atrocities.
They thought the human rights abuses would be limited inside the Iranian borders. The experience of the past three decades has proven that this was a mistaken view and a wrongheaded policy.
The mullahs considered it as a sign of weakness. They realized that their path to bomb making and to undermining the stability and national sovereignty of countries in the Middle East was wide open.
Last year, a Court in Belgium sentenced one of the regime’s diplomat-terrorists to 20 years in prison for plotting to bomb the NCRI’s annual gathering in Paris, which would have caused a carnage. Why did Europe fail to take any serious action against such a case of state-sponsored terrorism? Why does Europe not end impunity for Iran’s ruling murderers?
Recently, the highest court in Switzerland ordered investigations into the Iranian regime’s 1990 assassination of Prof. Kazem Rajavi, the NCRI’s representative in Switzerland, as a case of genocide and crime against humanity.
Urging international prosecution of the Iranian regime’s leaders
I hope that in your capacity as the representatives of the people of Europe, you would defend Europe’s dignity by rejecting the policy of appeasement and standing for the human rights of the people of Iran.
I urge you to take the lead and initiate a movement so that Europe stands with the people of Iran, with the families and survivors of the 30,000 massacred political prisoners in 1988, with the protesting women and youth, and with the people and innocent children of Isfahan whose eyes were blinded by the IRGC’s pellet guns.
I specifically urge you to adopt a resolution in the European Parliament, which would recognize the 1988 massacre as a genocide and a crime against humanity.
I urge you to support the Iranian people’s demand for the international prosecution of Khamenei and Raisi for the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and the November 2019 killings.
I urge you to call on governments of Europe to condition their relations and talks with the clerical regime on ending the arrest of protesters and torture and executions in prisons.
Milan Zver, MEP from Slovenia, Vice Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education
In 1988 Iran set up a death commission they ordered mass murder of political activists. This death commission was made up of 4 people. Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s current president was one of the four member of death commission.
Marco Campomenosi, Italian MEP
We are here to talk about the 1988 massacre and other human rights issues, but since I am representing the delegation to Iraq I would like to share my experience in this regard. What Iran is doing with its own citizens is important to what they are doing all around and in Iraq. In Iraq they are pushing political movements and militias in Iraq not to accept the election results.
Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR, MEP from Spain, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
We must fight the death penalty across the world. Iran should be compelled to abolish the death penalty as a condition for relations. We must also investigate the 1988 massacre.
Anna Fotyga, Polish MEP, Foreign Minister (2006-2007)
Step by step, we are able to assist the Iranian people wishing their own sovereign, independent, and democratic state. We wish you all the best. Recent court proceedings in Sweden and Ashraf 3 where former prisoners were able to testify give hope for major breakthroughs. Also, the proceedings before the UN in a variety of formats. We still remember the meeting in Paris and condemn the diplomacy of the Islamic Republic of perpetrating acts of state-sponsored terrorism. The UN portfolio for combatting terrorism lacks the tools to scrutinize the actions of autocratic regimes that sponsor and commit terrorism.
And to those who wish to engage with this kind of regime, I would like to remind that 80 percent of Iran’s business is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which was responsible for the killing, murders, and mass murders of their own compatriots. We not only have to condemn but ensure that no one has impunity, including the highest-ranking posts.
Patrizia Toia, MEP from Italy, Vice-Chair, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Former Minister
We want to defend the rights of Iranians, especially the brave women who have led the struggle in the past 40 years. I admire the young women who sacrificed their lives for freedom in Iran. Two years ago, the regime massacred 1500 people in protests. We’ve seen similar force applied against protesters in Isfahan recently.
The human rights situation has degraded significantly in Iran. This is why we must reflect on the situation. I think that we must conduct a real investigation about the forced disappearances and the massacre. We want to use the Global Magnitsky Law to bring human rights violators to justice.
Petri Sarvamaa, Finnish MEP, Vice Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control
Unfortunately, the nationwide and continuing uprising of the Iranian people in various provinces and in recent weeks in Isfahan draws less attention than the nuclear talks in Vienna does; the nuclear talks which have ended without any results.
A man who has the blood of 30,000 political prisoners of the MEK massacred in 1988 on his hands, becomes the president of the country, a president who has not been elected by the people but appointed by the Supreme Leader. The world community must have reacted to this immediately. The EU must have taken a position and acted according to its Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. However, we did not see that, and I feel our democratic principles are being betrayed.
We are aware that the mullahs are deceptively trying to propagate the false idea that there is no alternative to the ruling system in Iran, but we understand that there is a well-organized and well-prepared democratic alternative led by Mrs. Rajavi that is ready.
Therefore, we ask our EU officials and leaders to side with the Iranian people and this viable alternative. The European Parliament could play a key role in this
regard. We must let the Resistance Units inside Iran know that we are with them. We appreciate their brave and courageous activities for which they put their lives at risk. History will remember what they are doing for establishing freedom and democracy in their homeland and we in the European Parliament admire them for that.
Stanislav Polcak, MEP from Czech Republic
It’s our responsibility as Members of the European Parliament to support your resistance. The Iranian regime can’t be our partner. We know this regime; we remember its massacres and crimes against humanity. I support your political movement and a free and democratic Iran.
Isabel Benjumea, MEP from Spain
It is our duty to defend our values not only in our countries but also across the world. This is why we must support the protests in Iran and condemn the suffering of the people of Iran. The 1988 massacre was a crime against humanity. Huge human rights violations in Iran are taking place right now. Many people in the European Parliament support your cause. We must put pressure on the international community to condemn the human rights violations of Iran’s regime.
Liudas MAŽYLIS, Member of the European Parliament from Lithuanian
We support your struggle for freedom, free elections, the abolition of the death penalty, and women’s rights. We fully support your fight for freedom and democracy.
Helmut GEUKINGk, Member of the European Parliament from Germany
We cannot tolerate a regime such as Iran. We have to look at how Iran can find a way for change. It is our duty to facilitate this change, but the change must come from the people of Iran. What happens in Iran today has nothing to do with religion. We have to look at how we can move forward to support regime change by the Iranian people. We stand with you; we are with you.
Alejo Vidal Quadras, Former Vice President of the EP, Chair of ISJ
Thousands of political prisoners are in Iran’s prisons. Being arrested by the IRGC or the Bassij implies torture or an even worse fate at the hands of these butchers. We must multiply our pressure on the European External Action Service and on EU Member States to change their policy toward Iran’s totalitarian theocracy. Iran’s clerics have never ceased their promotion of terrorism in the Middle East, their human rights violations inside Iran, and their non-compliance with the terms of the JCPOA. They have never accepted to be accountable for the 1988 massacre of PMOI/MEK members which was decided by Khomeini, one of the worst crimes against humanity since the Second World War. The High Representatives of European politics have insisted on their weak and cowardly approach to dealing with the cruelest dictator of the world. And it has provoked the regime in its terrorist attacks.
The bombing attack of the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance in the surroundings of Paris is the most recent evidence of the regime’s terrorism.
No serious or reliable business can be made with a corrupt regime whose economy is on the verge of collapse.
We must persist in our fight for freedom, democracy, and human rights in Iran.
Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS, Lithuanian MEP
What happened in prisons in Iran in 1988 was a crime against humanity and a genocide. Testimonies of the survivors prove the current president of Iran was personally involved in the systematic and extrajudicial killings.
We expect High Representative Borrel to recognize the 1988 massacre as a genocide and launch an investigation into this crime against humanity to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Iranian Resistance is making great progress globally to hold the regime accountable for its rights violations. The United Nations and human rights organizations must do their utmost to bring the criminals to justice.
Raffaele FITTO, Italiam MEP
We all want to see a different Iran that doesn’t have nuclear weapons. The Iranian regime’s human rights violations are ongoing. On November 26, the Iranian regime attacked peaceful protesters in the city of Isfahan. It proved the regime’s brutality. The regime is fighting for its survival. This is an important moment for the history of Iran. It is important to have the correct policy on both sides of the Atlantic on human rights and the regime’s nuclear program. We must impose sanctions and prevent the regime from abusing the negotiations to advance its nuclear program.
Isabella Tovaglieri, Italian MEP, Member of Committee on Women’s Rights & Gender Equality
Women are at the forefront of protests in Iran. This is a movement led by Mrs. Rajavi. Women have different roles in the resistance movement, and this gives us much hope for the future of Iran. I support the fight of the women of Iran for freedom and democracy.
We must remember that Iran is a country that has a key effect on the stability of the region. Fighting against the fundamentalist regime is also our fight.
Franc BOGOVIČ, MEP from Slovania
The European Union must stand with the people of Iran who are rejecting the Iranian regime and its murderous president Ebrahim Raisi. He must be prosecuted for the execution of thousands of PMOI members and other activists. Ongoing protests by farmers in Isfahan and other cities show that the people of Iran want change. The Resistance Units are helping the people achieve that. They deserve our support.
I urge my colleagues to support the people of Iran and oppose appeasement vis-a-vis the regime. The IRGC must be recognized as a terrorist organization for killing protesters in the streets of Iran.
I urge Borrel to conduct and investigate the 1988 massacre and the role of Raisi.
Anna Bonfrisco, Italian MEP, Member of Foreign Affairs Committee
The approach of the international community toward the crimes of the Iranian regime is disappointing. Raisi played a key role in the 1988 massacre as a member of the death commission. In the first half of the year, the regime has officially executed 112 people. The commitment to end genocide is our duty.
The regime is using its Middle East allies to interfere in regional countries. The regime’s nuclear program has military aspects.
Veronika Vrecionova, MEP from Czech Republic
It is our duty to condemn the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime. Mrs. Rajavi is fighting for freedom in Iran. I am honored to support her in this struggle.
Radka MAXOVÁ, MEP from Czech Republic
The people of Iran have been oppressed for too long. I’m concerned about the situation of Iranian women. The deterioration of human rights in Iran continues. Human rights should always come first.
Giulio Terzi, Former Italian Foreign Minister
We are here to express our full trust that the only viable alternative to the Iranian regime is the movement led by Maryam Rajavi. The MEK and the ten-point plan of Madam Rajavi is the perfect path to assure freedom for every Iranian and to make Iran a country committed to democracy, a non-nuclear country with acceptable working conditions and respect for the environment. The regime must be held accountable for the genocide of political prisoners in 1988, starting with its president Ebrahim Raisi.
The UN must shed light on the 1988 massacre. The families of the victims must see justice served.
There’s no more room for excuses. Officials have a moral obligation to condemn the regime’s human rights violations.
The European Parliament should also consider the defamation and disinformation campaign carried out against the MEK by the Iranian regime and its proxies, including in the media. This is a heinous crime that should be prosecuted.
Struan Stevenson, Former MEP, President of EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq 2009-2014
The theocratic regime in Iran has a team in Vienna this week again trying to hoodwink the Americans into rejoining the defunct JCPOA nuclear deal under the directions of the elderly and demented supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and their new criminal president Ebrahim Raisi, the so-called butcher, with demands that are impossible for the Biden administration to meet. They want the immediate lifting of all sanctions including even those that were directed at their proxy wars in the Middle East which is something Biden politically cannot entertain.
They also want a guarantee that no future US administration would ever again withdraw from the deal. Again, that is a guarantee that no president would be able to give. Meanwhile, the mullahs have accelerated their program of enriching uranium now at 60% purity, which is only a step away from weapons grade, because their clear objective is to build a nuclear bomb and their pretext of
negotiations in Vienna were only ever a masquerade to hide that reality from the West.
So, the JCPOA is dead in the water and Josep Borrell would be well advised to abandon his appeasement policy of this repressive regime and turn his attention instead to providing EU support for the Iranian people who long for freedom and an end to violence.
Pauolo Casaca, Former MEP
This work can never terminate unless we see this criminal regime that is ruling Iran on trial in an international court. There is no alternative to this path. It is the duty of the entire international community to pursue all those who are involved in genocide. For those who have nurtured the idea of appeasement, Raisi is a criminal, a butcher. He was personally involved in the genocide. The nuclear negotiations circus means the genocidal regime wants the international community to give them a measure of legitimacy. Under the name of peace, they are promoting war because they are giving impunity to the perpetrators of genocide. The regime is murdering people in Isfahan as they have been doing time and time again. This will only end when the international community becomes serious.