The “Free Political Prisoners” chant embodies Iranians’ desire for regime change
For many years, Iran’s theocratic government has used a climate of fear and suffocation to crush any form of opposition. Since 1979, when Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the monarchic dictatorship and installed a religious one in its place, he and his successors have committed crimes in an effort to silence the public’s protests over socioeconomic issues, let alone calls for civil and political rights.
In the past 40 years, the mullahs have imprisoned at least 500,000 political activists, the majority of whom were connected to the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), the main opposition group. Authorities in Iran either denied or defended the massacre of political prisoners—primarily MEK members and supporters—under Khomeini’s fatwa for more than three decades. In a few months, “Death Commissions” established by Khomeini led opponents to the firing squads and gallows before burying them in unmarked mass graves all over the nation.
The families of the victims recount terrifying testimonies of how the executioners celebrated the passing of a loved one. Several parents reportedly lost their lives due to the heart attack, and many more have carried psychological consequences for years.
The bodies of the executed individuals’ possessions were only delivered in a bag, and the families have yet to receive any information regarding their whereabouts. The relatives were also forbidden by the regime from holding any type of memorial service or mourning.
Furthermore, the international community did nothing to hold them accountable, which encouraged them to detain and hang more political activists at home and target dissidents abroad while they were operating with impunity inside Iran.
The 1988 massacre’s perpetrators have risen to important positions in the last 34 years as a result of that impunity, including crucial judicial and administrative positions. For instance, the “Death Commission” in Tehran included Hossein-Ali Nayerri, Morteza Eshraghi, Ebrahim Raisi, and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi.
All of these criminals received political and financial favors from Khomeini and his successor Ali Khamenei. The Supreme Leader of the regime chose Raisi to serve as the eighth president in August 2021. The regime’s response to popular uprisings was the choice of Raisi, called the “butcher of Tehran.”
Indeed, the mullahs’ regime in Iran used horrific torture, executions, and prison terms based on false accusations to crush dissent. However, its atrocities inversely responded, pushing it into an awkward corner and deadly isolation.
The people of Iran today honor political prisoners and show their opposition to the religious dictatorship. Anti-regime demonstrations and activities continue across the nation despite all repressive measures. The MEK has experienced an unprecedented level of social acceptance, which has caused the “Resistance Units,” its domestic network, to grow.
Political prisoners’ resistance and the anti-regime activities of the Resistance Units serve as symbols of the Iranian people’s ongoing struggle for a free and democratic nation, despite the mullahs’ harsh attempts to break the spirit of the resolute prisoners.
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Tags: 1988 Massacre, Disinformation by MOIS, Iran human rights, Iran Opposition, Iran Protests, Maryam Rajavi, MEK