MEK Iran: British Committee for Iran Freedom Calls for Justice on the 1988 Massacre.
On 10 September 2020, the UK Parliament’s British Committee for Iran Freedom held an online event to call for justice and accountability over the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. Most of the victims were members of or affiliated with the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).
The conference was chaired by MP David Jones who was joined by British dignitaries and other peers across political parties. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was the keynote speaker of the event. The aim of the meeting was for the speakers to voice their support for ending the impunity of the mullahs’ oppressive regime.
Seeking justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran
September 10, 2020 12:00 CEST
Follow live on @iran_policy#1988Massacre #NoImpunity4Mullahs #Iran https://t.co/MEBLhcGTHd
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) September 10, 2020
The Chairman of the conference, MP David Jones, addressed the current appalling human rights violations in Iran and how a historic lack of accountability for the regime has enabled this. The 1988 massacre of political prisoners is a key example of an atrocity, which many consider being the worst crime since the Second World War, which the Iranian regime has been allowed to commit without consequence.
“The issue of accountability is an important process of stopping Tehran’s malign activities and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The investigation of the 1988 massacre and the accountability of those who perpetrated this crime has widespread support in both houses of the United Kingdom Parliament.”
“The UK must work with allies to make sure this year’s United Nations General Assembly resolution calls for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre. The international community must act on three major concerns with Iran: Its human rights violation, destabilizing activities, and nuclear program.”
British MP Steve McCabe emphasized the need for transparency from the regime and to ensure that the international community is fully aware of the regime’s horrific acts to ensure full accountability:
“We have already failed the Iranian people by ignoring the 1988 massacre, by giving the regime billions of pounds as a result of the failed nuclear deal, by not recognizing the opposition and NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi. The people we are dealing with, like Ebrahim Raisi, are responsible for the 1988 massacre. They continue to slaughter people, including 1,500 people in the November 2019 protests.
Amnesty International recently published a report on the crackdown against the 2019 protests and the regime’s violence against innocent people. They are subjecting prisoners to inhuman torture. They feel they can act with impunity. This is why Madam Rajavi has said the regime cannot be allowed to buy a single bullet and must be held to account for its violation of fundamental rights of the people.”
“We must expose the truth for the world to see. Nothing else will do.”
A shocking report published by Amnesty International on 2 September 2020 detailed Iran’s human rights violations and inhumane treatment of its prisoners, particularly those detained after the 2019 protests. NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi highlighted this: “The extent of savagery, before anything else, indicates that the regime has failed to put out the flames of resistance despite massive crackdown and killing of at least 1,500 protesters in November.” (Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK Iran/PMOI) said yesterday that there have been at least 1500 killed in the recent uprising in Iran which began on 15 November 2019. MEK Iran also released the names of 504 slain protesters.)
Further to this, the regime recently issued death sentences and extensive prison terms to three brothers who took part in the 2018 anti-regime protests. One of whom was Navid Afkari, Iranian wrestling champion, who has been subjected to brutal torture and now a double execution. The Iranian regime is using Afkari’s high-profile status to make a public example of him and deter others from protesting the oppressive government.
Rajavi discussed the importance of acknowledging and investigating the 1988 massacre, as well as the necessary steps that should be taken going forward to ensure such a crime can never again be committed by the regime: “These days also mark the 32nd anniversary of the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. The vast majority of the victims were members and supporters of the (PMOI / MEK Iran). The international community including Europe turned a blind eye on this great crime because they wanted to appease the mullahs’ tyranny for petty economic interests. So, they ignored the values and principles for which millions of Europeans and others sacrificed their lives.”
The international community has not responded to all these arrests and carnage properly by the mullahs regime. The time has come to pressure the regime to stop torture and execution of those arrested during #IranProtests. #FreePoliticalPrisoners pic.twitter.com/EGcJgox9li
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) September 9, 2020
“To put an end to the crimes of this regime, and to counter its warmongering actions in the region, the following steps are necessary:
- An international fact-finding mission must be set up to seek justice for victims of the 1988 massacre, and hold the perpetrators of this grave crime against humanity accountable.
- The UN Security Council must address the terrible situation of human rights in Iran. The UN Security Council must send to Iran an international delegation accompanied by representatives of the Iranian Resistance. They must visit the regime’s medieval prisons, visit the prisoners and particularly, meet those arrested during the November 2019 uprising.
- As the Iranian Resistance (PMOI / MEK Iran), called for, just a few hours after signing of the JCPOA, the six UN resolutions must be re-imposed and all sanctions on weapons sales to Iran must be re-imposed.
Supporting the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime ruling Iran is necessary for peace and stability in the region.”
MP Bob Blackman discussed the importance of the UK and its allies in the United Nations to seek justice for the victims of the regime over the last four decades and stand against the human rights violations it continues to commit:
“I was very disappointed that the UK abstained from the vote in the UN Security Council to extend the weapons embargo on Iran. Sadly, we are aligning ourself with the failed policy of appeasement pursued by the European Union, which for the last four decades, has provided the regime in Iran with impunity for its egregious human rights violations including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, and on its terrorism to preserve diplomatic dialogue, prioritize trade and, in recent years, keeping alive a disastrous and flawed nuclear deal that will allow Iran to advance its nuclear and missile program.”
It is clear that the appeasement policy pursued by the EU has been counterproductive and has only emboldened the regime. The regime’s terrorism has reached European territory. We now know that one of its diplomats is awaiting prosecution for planning a bomb plot against the gathering of the pro-democracy opposition, the NCRI and (PMOI / MEK Iran), in Paris in June 2018.
“Obviously, this must change, and the UK should respectfully reject the EU’s approach to Iran and join our American ally in exerting maximum pressure on the regime in Iran. Make no mistake, the regime in Iran only understands the language of firmness.”
The British Committee for Iran Freedom of the UK Parliament held an online event on Thursday, September 10, calling for justice for the victims of the horrific summer #1988Massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners across Iran.#NoImpunity4Mullahshttps://t.co/WCO6miuxED
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) September 10, 2020
“Therefore, it is time now for accountability. If the FCO wants to see real change in the human rights situation in Iran, it must bring the issue of accountability into the resolution on Iran in the coming UN General Assembly. This is how the mullahs start taking the international community seriously and they will know that the game is over and they cannot fool the world with their deceptions in all fields.
The UK Government must use its new global sanction regime to announce punitive measures against those who are responsible for the 1988 massacre and serious human rights violations in Iran today, which tragically are the same people, like the regime’s chief justice Ebrahim Raisi and the current justice minister Alireza Avaei.
The UK must take the lead at the international level and work with allies at the UN to establish an independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran by including the demand for such investigation in this year’s UN resolution on Iran.
These three steps should be completed with public support of the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance movement (PMOI / MEK Iran), the NCRI, led by President-elect of the NCRI, Madame Rajavi.”
Former MP Sir Alan Meale acknowledged the failings of the international community in supporting the Iranian resistance: “This is a very timely and important conference about the appalling 1988 massacre in Iran. Let me start by being completely forthright in saying that the UN and the international community have failed you, entirely.
Our governments should insist that the UN Security Council adopts a resolution and imposes sanctions on the Iranian regime. The leadership of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) must be held to account for their actions in the last decades. We must not turn a blind eye. We will fight back and be heard” he stated.
Kirsty Brimelow QC, an international human rights lawyer accounted for the evidence against the regime of the 1988 massacre: “The evidence reported has not been denied by Iran. I have heard accounts of family members and survivors of the 1988 massacre, including a father who was told to pay for the bullets used to kill his daughter.
One woman said she believed her son might still be alive. She said she still sleeps near the door so she does not miss the news of the return of her son.
There is plenty of evidence. We have a framework to address this and the suspects are known. Many of those people have made public statements, including Mostafa Pour Mohammadi who tried to justify his part in the “Death Commissions.”
The tribunal does not need Iran’s cooperation. It can be set up by the UN. There is no time limit on crimes against humanity. We need to act swiftly because the regime is destroying the evidence. It is time that this process starts within the UN.”
MP Sir Roger Gale discussed the parliamentary support for holding the regime accountable for the 1988 massacre: “We are all aware there is overwhelming evidence on this crime. There is international law that can and must intervene.
I want to reiterate the fact that there is a significant number of parliamentary colleagues who support this cause and the righting of wrongs and the right of people to freedom and democracy.”
Former Irish Senator Michelle Mulherin highlighted the responsibility of the international community to protect the people of Iran: “When a government turns on its own people, it is the obligation of the international community to take action. There are families who very much want to achieve justice.
I support the call and the efforts and it is an issue that I have taken up with our Minister of Foreign Affairs and I will continue to do so.”
NCRI UK representative, Dowlat Nowrouzi, called attention to the need for the international community to support the Iranian resistance and show support for the people of Iran who are suffering at the hands of the regime:
“Unfortunately, the international community and proponents of the appeasement policy have taken up actions that are damaging to the Iranian people. After the nuclear deal, the lives of the Iranian people turned into terrible misery because of institutionalized corruption in the regime. More than $200 billion are at the disposition of Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC.
This regime is the leading state in executions per capita. They are spending money not for the people but on terrorism and supporting tyrannical regimes such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The regime is supporting Hezbollah which plays a role in terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and even Iran.
The illusion is no longer valid. The international community must take substantial steps to bring the regime to account. They do not represent the Iranian people. They must be held responsible for their crimes against the Iranian people and the people across the region.
Members of parliament in Europe, the U.S., and around the world must cry out and stand with the people of Iran and say the international community must stop supporting the regime in its crimes, its continued executions of protesters.
We need substantive steps, support for the opposition, Mrs. Rajavi and her platform. Secondly, the embassies of this regime must be shut down. They are not used for diplomatic and mutual interests. They are just established for the regime to carry out terror plots and bombings against dissidents NCRI and (PMOI / MEK Iran) members. All sanctions must be reimposed immediately.”
MP Martin Vickers voiced his support for the NCRI and (PMOI / MEK Iran): “There is growing evidence that Iran is involved in warmongering and causing instability. I thank the NCRI for all their efforts here in Westminster. I will continue to support you.”
Irish Senator Ivana Bacik expressed her support for an investigation into the crimes of the mullahs:
“As Amnesty International documented, Iranian authorities have treated the killings as state secrets. No official has been brought to justice.
“I support your call for the establishment of an investigation into this crime. Along with my colleagues, I will be proactive to bring attention to this cause. There should be an investigation in the extra-judicial killings.
The responsibility lies with us to not let this issue be swept under the carpet. The regime should know that the world is watching.”
Former Irish member of the European Parliament, Jim Higgins, criticized the international community for choosing diplomacy over accountability and justice:
“It is appalling that 32 years after this atrocity, nothing has happened. It is appalling that the perpetrators are still out there. It is appalling that there is substantial evidence that this was authorized by the highest authorities. It was decided that the victims were to be buried in mass graves and those graves still exist.
Why have we had no independent inquiry? The international community has idly stood by. I have raised the issue time and again but our foreign policy chief has stood idly by and decided that diplomacy is the best strategy. Joseph Borrell has again decided that appeasement and diplomacy is the best plan. This regime does not abide by international norms.
Let us not be back this day next year or in 33 years wondering why nothing has happened. We need action by the U.S, the UK, and the EU to bring an end to this regime. The resolution is there, it needs support.”
Omid Ebrahimi described the impact that the devastating crimes of the regime have had on his family: “I lost five of my mom’s relatives supporters of the (PMOI / MEK Iran), to the regime, including two aunts who were killed during the 1988 massacre. My mom’s brother was sixteen years old when he was taken and they never saw him again until seven years later when they heard of his execution.
My grandmother’s family were told to pay for the bullets used to kill my mom’s uncles and aunts. My dad MEK supporters was a direct witness to the regime’s crimes. When he talks about it, he says that some of his best friends were those he made in prison. He also says that the tortures he witnessed were medieval and barbaric.”
Damona Taavoni, a member of the MEK, recounted her first-hand experiences of the brutality of the regime: “I was arrested with my mother when I was six years old. I remember the interrogation rooms, the prisoners shouting and crying out while they were being tortured. My father was executed when I was ten years old.
Each prisoner was asked one question in a one-minute trial: Do you support the MEK? Anyone who said yes was executed. One of my father’s cellmates said he was severely beaten when he was taken to court. I shed tears for my father, but I was also proud of him to stand up for the freedom of his people.
I will be the voice of those who never had the chance to talk. I know their message was that they love the beauty of life so much that they decided to sacrifice their lives so that no one should live in misery. Iran is not truly represented by the ruling mullahs but by those 30,000 individuals.”
The former head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Human Rights Office, Tahar Boumedra considered the necessary action that can be taken moving forward:
“The UN has been informed. The successive special rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran have consistently called on Iran to investigate this crime. The special rapporteur has been banned from visiting Iran.
It is clear Iran is unwilling to investigate. The UN has proven to be reluctant to impose such an investigation. What is next? The reality is the UN General Assembly resolution should focus on setting up an independent investigation into this crime instead of calling on Iran to investigate on its own. We have to be realistic and take action. And that action is setting up an independent commission and investigation.”
MP Samy Wilson called for support for the people of Iran and listed the steps that the UK government can take to hold the regime accountable:
“It is important that we continue to press our government and keep up the pressure. Our government can do three things:
1. Make sure this is raised at the United Nations
2.Impose sanctions on the perpetrators
3.Establish an independent inquiry by the international community, not the mullahs themselves
We have obligations across the world to make sure genocidal regimes are not allowed to treat their people in the way Iran has treated its people. It is important that we do not turn a blind eye to what happened.”
Lord Ken Maginnis of Drumglass emphasized the importance of taking immediate action to put pressure on the regime in its current weakened stated:
“The subject of this discussion is so important that it cannot be delayed until after the pandemic. We were previously told regime President Hassan Rouhani is a moderate who is interested in reaching out to the West and reforming Iran’s malign behavior.
Iran was showered with incentives under the 2015 nuclear deal. Yet the only change was the worsening of the regime’s malign behavior, including its human rights violations, destabilizing activities, and nuclear program.
The sad reality is the FCO’s elusive belief in the emergence of a moderate faction in the regime has paralyzed the government and prevented it from adopting an effective policy toward Iran.
Today, the FCO is guided not by illusion but by fear of the regime. The regime is not as strong as it claims. It is at its weakest point. Our government is still sending a weak signal to the regime.
The UK government must adopt a firm policy on Iran and put maximum pressure on the regime in all areas. The UK must stand with the Iranian people and their resistance movement led by Madam Rajavi, who is the real driving force for change in Iran. The brutal leaders of Iran must be held to account. We must demand an international inquiry into the 1988 massacre, which is also demanded by the people of Iran.”
Professor Sara Chandler, Honorary QC and Vice President of the Federation of European Bar Associations highlighted the need for an independent judicial system in Iran:
The international legal community upholds the rule of law and ensures it is upheld in every country. This means there should be an independent judicial system. There is no independent judicial system in Iran.
There is no doubt the agonizing suffering imposed on the families of the victims violates international law. The regime is incapable of conducting an independent investigation of its own crimes. Amnesty International described this as extrajudicial killings, the unlawful deliberate killing of persons by the government, and with no legality.
Given there is no prospect for justice for the victims of these crimes in Iran, the international community must set up an independent investigation and make sure the families of the victims receive reparations. Those suspected of responsibility must be prosecuted. Western democracies, especially the UK, must demand this investigation at this year’s resolution on Iran in the UN.”
Former Irish minister, John Perry, called upon the governments of the EU and the UK to hold the regime accountable in order to prevent further human rights violations:
“The United Nations has not carried out its long-overdue duties in this regard. Western governments must:
– Strongly condemn this heinous crime against humanity and launch their independent investigations and inquiries into it.
– Take this case to the courts with international jurisdictions.
– Implement diplomatic and economic sanctions on the regime.
It is time that we on this side of the Atlantic, in the EU and the UK, join them in support and send a strong message of solidarity to the people of Iran, and send a strong message of condemnation to the Iranian regime and make sure they understand that this time, we mean business and we will not stop until we help the people of Iran and their legitimate Resistance, the NCRI and (PMOI / MEK Iran), achieve justice their ultimate goal of that is a democratic and free Iran.”
MP Egidijus Vareikis voiced his support for an independent investigation in the 1988 massacre:
“The realities on the ground in Iran require the attention of the international community. Iran cannot investigate its own crimes. I support the re-imposition of UN sanctions on the regime.
The international community must hold the regime to account for human rights violations, warmongering, seeking nuclear weapons, and it must support the Iranian people and its resistance movement. We must unite to hold the regime to account.”
Dr. Jocelynne Scutt discussed the relevance of the 1988 massacre 32 years after the mass execution of the political prisoners in Iran:
That 30,000 human beings were killed by the Iranian regime shows what the country’s leaders can do and will do when they believe they are above the law and when the international community simply stands by. This is what happens when a regime has no obligation to honor the lives of its people.
The global denial of these executions, the deliberate worldwide ignorance, cannot be allowed to continue. That the regime responsible remains in power is concerning. This gross lack of action must not continue. These crimes against humanity must be acted upon.”
Jurist Malcom Fowler further emphasized the importance of investigating the massacre decades later as its impact can still be felt in the current state of Iran:
“The atrocious crimes of 1988 matter. They mattered yesterday and they still matter today, 1988 is with us still now. The atrocities continue as if they were perpetrated yesterday because they still go on. In all conscience, the flames are still being fanned by this violent regime. We must pursue the perpetrators. There is plenty of evidence.
We need scrutiny of what went on. Let right be done. It must be done now. We must eradicate this injustice.”
Roger Lyons, former General Secretary of the MSF trade union, called attention to the criminal perpetrators of the 1988 massacre who now hold high-profile positions among the regime:
“Ebrahim Raisi, who was involved in the massacre, is now the head of the judiciary in Iran. This shows that the regime in Iran needs criminal perpetrators like Raisi to hold on to power. We are seeing a terrible crackdown on workers in Iran, including Haft Tappeh workers who have been on strike for several weeks for unpaid wages, poor working conditions, and more.
The authorities are terrified of popular protests, so they are intimidating and arresting protesting workers. Without international action and intervention, the regime’s judiciary, led by Raisi, will resort to another mass murder campaign to quell growing dissent.
The UK should pursue an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre and ongoing crimes in Iran. The interests of the UK and the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people converge. We must show solidarity.”
The British Committee for Iran Freedom’s conference on the 1988 massacre highlighted the growing parliamentary acknowledgment for the regime to be held accountable for its crimes. This is necessary in order to gain justice for the over 30,000 political prisoners, many of which were members of the MEK, and to bring clarity for the victims’ families. It is also necessary to protect the future of the Iranian people and send a clear message to the regime that they cannot continue to commit such heinous human rights violations.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in July 1988 ordering the execution of imprisoned…