Former Scottish MEP, Struan Stevenson, Speaks at Human Rights Conference in Geneva
Former Scottish Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Struan Stevenson, spoke at a conference in Geneva on the human rights situation in Iran calling on the International Community and particularly the European governments to hold the mullahs accountable for their crimes in Iran. He began by describing how, “after 40 years of a brutal clerical dictatorship, today, 80 million Iranians have had enough.”
.@STRUANSTEVENSON: The mullahs must be held accountable for their crimes in #Iran. Please hear the cries of the oppressed millions of Iranians.#HRC40 #1988Massacre #HumanRights #StandUp4HumanRights @antonioguterres@javaidRehman pic.twitter.com/PdsXARuZJW
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) March 7, 2019
Iranians are making their voices heard at an unprecedented level. In recent months, hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens have taken to the streets to demonstrate the regime’s brutality and violence. “Men, women, students, teachers, truck drivers, sugar-cane workers, business owners, and pensioners,” have come together under the call for regime change and in opposition to the regime’s greed, repression, and warmongering.
The mullahs’ mismanagement of Iran’s finances has left vast swathes of the population living below the poverty line and struggling to put food on the table.
“Instead of trying to mend Iran’s broken economy, the mullahs have used their equivalent of the Gestapo, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), to crack down on the demonstrators, murdering dozens and arresting over ten thousand,” Stevenson told those gathered in Geneva. Despite the very real threat to their freedom and lives, Iran’s brave protestors have not been deterred, but continue to oppose regime oppression and violence wherever it occurs. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest pro-democracy opposition group, work tirelessly to organize protests and raise international awareness to the Iranian cause.
Their effort is necessary. Stevenson said, “Iran is the most repressive country in the Middle East. It executes more people per capita than any other country in the world. Here we have a regime that tortures, rapes, sodomizes, and executes political prisoners.” It uses flogging, amputations, and hanging as methods of punishment and has executed more than 4,000 people under the Rouhani administration.
One of the Worst Atrocities of the Twentieth Century
In 1988, the Iranian regime committed one of the worst human rights abuses of the twentieth century. In one summer, the regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners, many of whom were members of the MEK.
Although Amnesty International recently released a landmark report on the atrocity and have petitioned the UN to investigate, the crimes went largely unrecognized by the international community and no formal international investigation took place.
“The perpetrators of that massacre are still in positions of power within the regime today,” Stevenson exclaimed. “Many have even boasted about their roles.” One of these has been Ebrahim Raisi, President Hassan Rouhani’s head of the Iranian judiciary.
The leader of Iran opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, has frequently criticized the move. In a recent Tweet, she wrote, “the Iranian regime has appointed Ebrahim Raisi, one of the most brutal agents of the 1988 massacre.” She continued, “in doing so, it has made a mockery of justice and trampled upon all legal and judicial standards.”
The Iranian regime has appointed Ebrahim Raisi, one of the most brutal agents of the #1988Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, as the head of the Judiciary. In doing so, it has made a mockery of justice and trampled upon all legal and judicial standards. #Iran
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 8, 2019
In Geneva, Stevenson continued, “despite this appalling record of human rights abuse and crimes against humanity, we still have EU governments that prefer to overlook these issues and seek to continue to sign trade deals as an act of craven appeasement of the vile Iranian regime.”
Many European heads of state have expressed a reluctance to follow the US’s lead in adopting strict economic sanctions against the regime. In what amounts to a gesture of placing profits ahead of human rights, France, Germany, and the UK are actively exploring ways to bypass US sanctions and continue trading with Iran.
Stevenson concluded his address by saying, “appeasing and kowtowing to this brutal dictatorship is a historic mistake and a betrayal of the Iranian people. The mullahs must be held to account for their crimes. They cannot benefit from impunity.” He finished with a call to the UN. “The focus of the civilized world today is on the United Nations. Please heed the cries of the oppressed millions in Iran.”