MEK Iran: More Political Repression
On June 18, Ebrahim Raisi was ostensibly elected to the office, despite the fact that his candidacy was effectively unopposed and the election was boycotted by the vast majority of Iranians in protest.
Less than 10% of the people actually voted
Iranian authorities and official media admit that voter turnout was lower than in any previous presidential election, with the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) concluding that less than 10% of the people actually voted.
MEK advocated the boycott for months before the election
Several public protests preceding the election, addressed different concerns while publicly encouraging the boycott, while others focused firmly on Raisi’s background and denounced the ruling establishment for promoting him.
Severe political repression
The upcoming inauguration of Raisi, which is set on August 5, could be the most significant step in this trend to date. Many believe it will pave the way for even more severe political repression than has been experienced in previous years, particularly among MEK supporters.
Since the 2018 demonstrations, the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly cautioned against MEK influence, breaking from past propaganda narratives that described the group as a cult with minimal organisational power and no public support. Other officials quickly joined him in this endeavour, and their concerns were proven correct in November 2019, when the MEK staged yet another widespread uprising, this time even larger than the previous one.
Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi
Around this period, Khamenei had appointed Ebrahim Raisi as the head of the judiciary, drawing condemnation from a number of human rights organisations familiar with Raisi’s past. When Raisi oversaw months of torture in reaction to the second revolt, it came as no surprise to those groups.
Thousands of people were tortured after being arrested during the protests, perhaps increasing the death toll from gunshot events, which killed an estimated 1,500 peaceful protestors.
Tortured interrogation is a common tactic
Tortured interrogation is a common tactic used by Tehran to get forced confessions, which are then used to prosecute people on a variety of vague national security offences that carry the death penalty.
Once Iran’s executive branch and the judiciary are both under the leadership of persons with long histories of support for mass execution and extrajudicial assassination, pressure in favour of such prosecution will only grow.
The uprisings in 2018 and 2019
The threat is heightened by the fact that Raisi’s crimes against humanity were targeted directly at the MEK, the same group that led the uprisings in 2018 and 2019 and caused the regime’s frantic crackdowns.
Over the course of three months in 1988, the massacre is claimed to have killed 30,000 political prisoners. The MEK, which had been directly targeted by the fatwa that precipitated the killings, accounted for the great majority of those killed.
Raisi government to continue its record of human rights violations
For far too long, the Iranian leadership has operated with impunity in this regard. If the Raisi administration’s impunity continues after Raisi’s inauguration, it will undoubtedly be seen as an encouragement for the Raisi government to continue its record of human rights violations and attempt to obliterate the MEK and any other opposition to the regime.