Regime Advisor Defends 1988 Massacre, Vows to “Eliminate MEK”
In a July 24, 2019 interview with the state-run Mosalas magazine, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Advisor to the Iranian regime’s Judiciary Chief and former Interior and Justice Minister defended the regime’s mass execution of 30,000 political prisoners in the 1988 Massacre and further vowed to carry on the regime’s efforts to seek out and kill MEK members until the group was eliminated.
The 1988 Massacre
Pour-Mohammadi was appointed to Tehran’s Death Commission in the summer of 1988 by regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini. The Death Commissions were tasked with carrying out Khomeini’s fatwa decreeing that all MEK political prisoners in Iran must be executed.
In those days, nobody found out what happened
2d freedom-loving youth, & unfortunately,
Western societies stayed silent with their appeasement
and securing their interests, pic.twitter.com/Van5YMPWBa
— NCRIWomen'sCommittee (@womenncri) July 30, 2019
More than 30,000 political prisoners were executed over the course of the summer of 1988, most of whom were MEK members. To date, none of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity have been brought to justice. Many of those responsible for the executions have gone on to serve as high-ranking members of the regime.
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi’s Interview with Mosalas Magazine
Pour-Mohammadi made a number of shocking statements about the 1988 Massacre, along with direct threats to the MEK, some of which are translated and excerpted below:
Unfortunately, he has no shame about his role in the #1988Massacre
He recently had an interview with Mosallas sate-tTV, he said: We are not yet done with #MEK, this is no joke!
No time to talk but only to clear them out. They must be trialed. @UNGeneva @USUN #HumanRights pic.twitter.com/2l70tWUquf
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) July 30, 2019
Question: A major accusation against the Islamic Republic, which is usually picked up by foreign news organizations, relates to the issue of the ‘Hypocrites’ [MEK] and the manner in which the Islamic Republic dealt with the MEK, the height of which was in 1988. You were in the Foreign Intelligence Department and had a role in this affair. You can explain how you were involved.
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi: Look, your enemy is lying. It is making accusations. It is resorting to any evil act. It has no barrier. It is coordinating in detail with your enemies and does not hesitate to carry out any action against you. Imagine we are in the middle of this. Do you expect us to simply announce all our operational plans and those issues that they can use to their advantage and clobber us with every day? So that they sideline and cover up 100 of our logical and correct statements in the media, and expose two of our points which we accept are our weaknesses so that they can present an important point of history using just two or three issues and events, and cast this image in the public mindset? This is certainly not the right thing to do. They are blowing their propaganda horns and concentrating on this story.
When the criminal, traitor enemy [MEK] is carrying out operations as a brigade of the enemy [Iraq], are we really expected to talk about legal debates and civil and humanitarian protections when we are in the middle of a war, and say, ‘this happened here’, ‘that happened there’?..
Question: So the context of this saga was the war that was taking place.
Pour-Mohammadi: … Can you have an enemy that is worse than that? They destroy your image all around the world. There has not been a single case of such destruction in the past 40 years, other than those in which the MEK has had the leading role. We have not yet settled the score with the MEK. We will discuss these matters after we eliminate them. We are not joking. They need to come and answer for their crimes and treachery. … And now you want me to come forward and answer, in legal terms, why I threw a grenade into the wrong place or acting incorrectly? The MEK are all criminals. They must all be prosecuted in court. Under any law in this world, all of them have killed people and have waged war, and they must all face capital punishment.”
Question: Even those who were in prison [at the time]? Except for those who repented?
Pour-Mohammadi: Look! When you commute a sentence, on a temporary basis, for a criminal terrorist in prison, and then he behaves like he is taking part in the depth of the conspiracy and is cooperating [with the enemy], are you supposed to be dimwitted and simplistic and let him carry out any operation? Who would do that?
Question: Those who were executed were all collaborators?
Pour-Mohammadi: Look. These were the minimum legal protocols that were adhered to. No one doubts this. We were told to accept the word of even those who falsely repented. But when someone is involved in an operation plot, has plotted his escape, is planning to take over Jamaran [Khomeini’s home] the next day, kill the Imam [Khomeini] and his entourage, and take over the state broadcaster and all government centers, and has received an operational plan telling him where to go; are we supposed to be simplistic and say: ‘No, you weren’t on the frontline. You were backup forces. You were spying. You were a mechanic [for their] vehicles.’ Huh? Is that what we were supposed to say? Whoever is in the enemy lines is the enemy. What are we supposed to do to the enemy? We are supposed to fight the enemy. We have not yet eliminated them. Now’s not the time for such talk. Now’s the time to root them out. Today as well, the MEK is the most treacherous enemy of this nation. They need to come and answer and stand trial. We have to deal with each and every one of them…
I think the issue of the MEK is clear. We have no ambiguity about the MEK. We are at a time of war. Now is not the time for talk. Now is the time to fight them, now is the time to subdue them. Now is the time to conduct prosecutions. It is time to put the criminal world that defends terrorism in its place. Now is not the time to give legal answers and say for example, ‘this judge acted well’, ‘this judge acted poorly’ or to ask whether this file was closed properly. Yes, perhaps the Judiciary might have many weaknesses, and it might make a mistake now and then. Are we supposed to defend our mistakes? But, the issue is not about a mistake having been made. This whole issue is immaterial and does not merit attention. But, I think once, God willing, we get rid of the MEK, then these matters will become more clear with greater detail.
Statement from Amnesty International
Amnesty International issued a statement in response to Pour-Mohammadi’s interview expressing alarm at the lack of accountability from the perpetrators of the 1988 Massacre and the continued threats to the family members of the victims of the crime. The statement read, in part:
— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) July 31, 2019
“The organization is particularly concerned about comments by Mostafa Pour Mohammadi accusing those advocating for truth and accountability of ‘terrorism’ and ‘collusion’ with Iran’s geopolitical enemies, and warning that they shall face prosecution. These comments, coupled with the appointment, in March 2019, of Ebrahim Raisi, who, like Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, was involved with the mass extrajudicial executions of 1988, to the position of the head of the judiciary, put survivors, family members of those executed and human rights defenders at increased risk of harassment and persecution simply for seeking truth and justice.”