MEK Iran Reaffirms Khomeini’s Fatwa
The Iranian regime nominated a prominent human rights perpetrator as its next president on June 18. Ebrahim Raisi was a member of the “death commission” tasked with carrying out then-Supreme Leader Rohullah Khomeini’s fatwa against the main opposition, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), which resulted in a historic slaughter of political prisoners.
The 1988 massacre
Between July and September 1988, the MEK was the primary target of the massacre, accounting for the vast majority of the 30,000 political detainees killed at that time.
Iranian authorities have, naturally, never acknowledged the death toll. In the three decades since the tragedy, they have taken every effort to keep the details of it hidden. However, current evidence, like conversations amongst regime officials, makes the MEK’s estimations inherently credible.
Montazeri pleaded with the supreme leader
On July 31, 1988, while the massacre was still going on, Hossein Ali Montazeri, the supreme leader’s successor, wrote to Khomeini to express his displeasure with the indiscriminate nature of the deaths.
Montazeri pleaded with the supreme leader to at least direct execution commissions to “spare women with children” in that letter. In the absence of such constraint, he claimed that the current proceedings could result in “the execution of several thousand prisoners in a matter of days.”
The MEK are waging war on God
“I am religiously responsible for the said verdict. You should not be concerned. May God obliterate every one of the MEK.” This remark was hardly more extreme than the language of the fatwa itself, which decreed that any political prisoners who “remain steadfast in their support for the MEK are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”
The fatwa continued by saying that showing mercy to its targets is “naive,” and that those charged with carrying out the killings “must not hesitate, show any doubt, or be concerned about details” of the decree’s implementation.
MEK members are “enemies of God”
The Guardian Council’s head, Ahmad Jannati, reaffirmed the fatwa’s claim that MEK members are “enemies of God” the following month. “Religious duty demands that we amputate their hands and legs, exile them, and hang them,” it claimed. In 2021, the Guardian Council used its vetting power to remove all viable candidates for the Iranian presidency except Ebrahim Raisi, who had been appointed to lead the judiciary in 2019 by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as part of an ongoing series of rewards for those who assisted in the massacre in 1988.
The culture of impunity
Raisi’s appointment to the presidency not only strengthens the culture of impunity that surrounds the 1988 massacre and other crimes against humanity, but it also promises to bring the tragedy much more attention than Montazeri’s tape did in 2016.
However, it is the international community’s moral and humanitarian responsibility to respond in a more assertive and organized manner this time, in order to hold Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, and those who have suffered no consequences for this crime for more than 30 years accountable.