Posts Tagged ‘1988 Massacre’

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scenes of the November 2019 uprising across Iran

Dallas Morning News Op-Ed Calls on World to Support Iran Uprising

scenes of the November 2019 uprising across Iran

scenes of the November 2019 uprising across Iran

In a November 24, 2019 op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, Homeira Hesami of the Iranian-American Community of North Texas argued that the international community lacks a complete picture of the Iranian regime’s response to the nationwide protests that are raging throughout the country. Because Internet access in Iran is still limited to government officials and state-run media, the world has only had a glimpse of the crime against humanity that is currently taking place.

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The British website the Daily Star Online reported the release of a new book about the 1988 Massacre in a November 12, 2019 article.

Daily Star Describes Release of New Book about 1988 Massacre

The British website the Daily Star Online reported the release of a new book about the 1988 Massacre in a November 12, 2019 article.

The British website the Daily Star Online reported the release of a new book about the 1988 Massacre in a November 12, 2019 article.

The British website the Daily Star Online reported the release of a new book about the 1988 Massacre in a November 12, 2019 article. The book, entitled “Crime against Humanity,” was written by members of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and describes the “Death Commissions” which were tasked with carrying out the mass executions of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988, most of whom were the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) members.

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BBC fake news against Iranian opposition MEK

#AyatollahBBC Trends on Twitter in Response to BBC Hit piece

 

BBC fake news against Iranian opposition MEK

BBC fake news against Iranian opposition MEK

MEK supporters around the world are reacting to the recent false BBC reports about the MEK with anger on social media. People on Twitter used the hashtag #AyatollahBBC to express their displeasure with the BBC’s biased reporting on the MEK.

The hashtag had more than 20,000 tweets in a two-hour period on Wednesday night and quickly began to trend worldwide. As of Thursday, Twitter monitoring records show that the hashtag has been shown to Twitter users more than 20 million times.

The Original Report

The BBC attracted the ire of the Iranian diaspora on November 7, 2019, when it aired a report on the MEK that rehashed old regime propaganda. The sources used in the report were MOIS operatives claiming to be “former MEK members,” a regime tactic that has been repeatedly exposed.

The report focused on MEK members living at Ashraf-3, the MEK’s new headquarters in Albania, which has been the target of attempted terrorist plots by the Iranian regime and vicious smear campaigns attempting to discredit the organization and lay the groundwork for future attacks.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) Security and Counter-Terrorism Committee released a statement on the day the report was broadcast clarifying the allegations made in the report and noting the attempts made by the Iranian regime to discredit the MEK using “former MEK members.”

The Censored Report

Four days later, on November 11th, the BBC’s English and Persian websites posted a censored version of the broadcast to appeal to the Iranian regime’s media outlets and Friday prayer leaders. The censored version of the broadcast was less than half the runtime of the original and excluded any positive mentions of the MEK. The BBC’s accommodation of the Iranian regime’s propaganda machine clearly showed the lengths to which the outlet had chosen to go to serve the clerical regime, even as the religious tyranny is faltering under the weight of Iranian people’s resistance, tightening economic sanctions, regional developments, and increasing international isolation.

Later that day, BBC Persian TV invited the “former MEK members” to come on air and repeat their allegations about the MEK once more on television.

Origin of Ayatollah BBC

The phrase “Ayatollah BBC” was coined after the 1988 Massacre when the BBC Persian reporter

Sadeq Saba went into Iranian prisons to interview prisoners. Saba broke the journalist’s ethical code and interviewed prisoners who had been tortured to the point of submission and gave false information out of fear for their lives. The Iranian regime used these interviews to whitewash the crimes that took place inside its prisons, to delegitimize the MEK, and to justify their continued repression of MEK activists.

30,000 political prisoners were executed during a single summer during the 1988 Massacre, most of whom were MEK members. Many of them were tortured before they were shot or hanged and then buried in mass, unmarked graves. To date, none of the perpetrators have ever faced justice for their roles in this crime against humanity.

BBC Persian has never apologized for the role it played in assisting the Iranian regime in oppressing its people, not has it acknowledged its role in helping the perpetrators of the 1988 Massacre evade justice.

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Hassan Heidari, the young poet, killed by MOIS agents in Ahvaz

MEK: Protests in Southern City of Ahvaz (Shadegan)

Hassan Heidari, the young poet, killed by MOIS agents in Ahvaz

Hassan Heidari, the young poet, killed by the MOIS agents in Ahvaz

Following the dubious death of a young poet, Hassan Heidari, 29, on Monday, November 10, angry people took to the streets in Shadegan-Ahvaz, blocking the roads.

Confronting the angry people, the Iranian regime deployed its suppressive security forces in the streets. In the face of oppressive forces, the defiant youth torched lights and blocked the roads.

About the dubious death of Hassan Heidari, one of his relatives said: ” First, Hassan felt he was suffering from food poisoning, so we took him to the hospital, at midnight. Nurses tried to help him, however, he suffered a shock and died subsequently. We were told he died due to poisoning.”

“He was a full-bodied healthy man and he had no heart problems and illnesses what-so-ever. The Iranian Regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) is responsible for his death.” The relative added.

Because of his poems, Hassan Heidari had been arrested by the notorious agents of the MOIS several times in Ahvaz. He was arrested in August for the last time and later released on bail.

According to the reports, the defiant youth of Ahvaz joined the protesters in Shadegan.

Al-Arabiya TV reported a night of protest in Ahvaz. Al-Arabiya added that following the news about the assassination of a poet, Hassan Heidari, hundreds took to the streets at night, blaming the authorities for the assassination. The social media activists posted images and videos showing hundreds of youth marching in Ahvaz’s streets chanting slogans against the authorities asking for the reason for the death of the young poet who had been arrested for his political poems and his activities in favor of his countrymen. The protesters blocked the main roads.

The young people in Ahvaz continued marching toward the main squares of the city chanting: “Ahvaz, rise up”.

People in Shadegan continued protesting until the early morning of November 11.

This is not the first time the Iranian regime assassinates dissidents. The Mullahs try to intimidate the society and silence dissidents; however, the events in Ahvaz and Shadegan once again proved that these assassinations just fuel the protests against this cruel regime.

This is the nature of mullahs’ regime, on the one hand, it kills its own people, and on the other hand, suppresses and kills the people of other states like Iraq and Lebanon by its proxy forces.

Committing a massacre in 1988 in which 30,000 of Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) members and supporters were slaughtered, killing and imprisoning journalists and environmental activists, meddling, and fueling terrorism in neighboring countries are just a part of this regime’s record in the past four decades. In recent uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon people demand eviction of the Iranian regime of their countries.

A new era has started and a bright future is on the horizon for the Iranian people as well as the people of the region. The new chapter of history will be written by the Iranian people and the MEK’s resistance units and also the people of neighboring countries.

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Iran Claims All Evidence for Its Human Rights Abuses Comes from MEK

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland

The Iranian regime’s representative at the review session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva claimed that his country is one of the largest democracies in Western Asia and doesn’t need a Special Rapporteur, even though Amnesty International and Western governments have repeatedly and strongly condemned the regime’s violation of human rights.

Javad Larijanithe Iranian regime’s representative to the Human Rights Council, claimed on Friday that UN Special Rapporteur Javaid Rehman had formed his opinion based solely on the information provided by Iran’s main opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK).

This bizarre claim about the MEK came just two days after Amnesty International urged the international community to “publicly condemn the deterioration in Iran’s human rights record” during the review session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said:

“From horrific execution rates, to the relentless persecution of human rights defenders, rampant discrimination against women and minorities, and ongoing crimes against humanity, the catalogue of appalling violations recorded in Iran reveals a sharp deterioration in its human rights record.”

Larijani’s ridiculous comments about the MEK did not stop Western countries from condemning Iran’s human rights violations in the session, with representatives from around the world criticizing the regime for executing over 120,000 MEK members for peaceful political activism; 30,000 of whom during the 1988 massacre.

United States representative Mark Cassayre said:

“For decades Iran has flagrantly violated its citizens’ human rights: We urge the government to allow the Special Rapporteur on Iran to visit the country and investigate existing practices.”

While Miriam Shearman, Britain’s deputy representative to the UN in Geneva, said:

“We remain deeply concerned by Iran’s failure to uphold international legal obligations, and its arbitrary detention of citizens and dual nationals arrested on unclear charges, denied due process and subject to mistreatment.”

And it should be noted that despite the Regime’s massive efforts to cover up the executions of the MEK, one member of the 1988 “Death Commissions” that sent the  MEK members to their deaths, defended the massacre in July. Amnesty responded to former Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi’s comments about the massacre of the MEK by saying that these

“provide shocking confirmation of the authorities’ wilful flouting of international human rights law both at the time and now and a stark reminder of the sense of impunity that senior officials linked to the killings enjoy”.

Amnesty was “particularly concerned” that he accused those advocating for truth and accountability regarding the massacre of the MEK of ‘terrorism’ and ‘collusion’ and threatening them with a prosecution. Amnesty said Iranian officials must not be allowed to protect themselves from accountability in the MEK massacre.

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US Treasury Dept sanctions Iranian top officials

US Sanctions on Iran Major Boost for Iranian Resistance

US Treasury Dept sanctions Iranian top officials

US Treasury Dept sanctioned Iranian top officials on November 4, 2019

On  4th November, the government of the United States announced that it was issuing fresh sanctions against a number of high-level officials in Iran. The US Department of the Treasury announced the news on the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis in which the US Embassy in Tehran was stormed in 1979. The standoff lasted 444 days and 52 American citizens and diplomats were held hostage during this time.

The US Treasury Department announced that the sanctions would affect Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff and nine individuals that are linked to the country’s Supreme Leader – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It said that the sanctions are part of an effort to “block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world”.

One of the concerned individuals is former presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi who currently serves the regime as head of the judiciary.

It has also been rumored that a number of American senators are calling for further sanctions against the regime.

These latest sanctions are highly significant because of who is targeted. Raisi was part of a so-called “death commission” during the 1988 massacre – one of the most horrific crimes against humanity in recent times in which more than 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members and supporters of Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/Iran), lost their life. He personally decided the fate of numerous political prisoners who were extrajudicially murdered following a fatwa that was issued by the Supreme Leader at the time.

 

For the first time ever, the 1988 massacre has become the direct subject of sanctions imposed on Iran. This is a major boost to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the entire Iranian Resistance movement that has been calling for justice for the victims of this terrible crime against humanity. Years of appeasement have allowed the regime to enjoy impunity for this entire time.

The US Treasury Department also emphasized the regime’s warmongering and acts of terror across the region and beyond. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said: “Today the Treasury Department is targeting the unelected officials who surround Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and implement his destabilizing policies. These individuals are linked to a wide range of malign behaviors by the regime, including bombings of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in 1994, as well as torture, extrajudicial killings, and repression of civilians. This action further constricts the Supreme Leader’s ability to execute his agenda of terror and oppression.”

The US authorities also pointed to Iran’s meddling in Iraq, saying that the regime’s destructive policies are highly concerning.

For years, many countries have led policies of appeasement towards Iran. This has done nothing more than embolden the regime and the United States’ move to hold the regime accountable for its actions is long overdue.

For many of the more worrying aspects of the regime’s behavior to be addressed directly through sanctions is positive and one can only hope that other countries follow suit.

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Prof. Sheehan

Prof Sheehan: The Main Target of 1988 Clerical Edict Was MEK

Prof. Sheehan

Prof.Ivan Sascha Sheehan

The 40th anniversary of Iran’s hostage crisis reminds us of the terrorist nature of the ruling regime in Iran. In 1979 a number of thugs seized the American embassy in Tehran and took 55 embassy employees and diplomats hostage for 444 days. Hostage-taking and warmongering as well as exporting terrorism have always been the fundamental strategy and diplomacy of this regime.

In an article published in Town Hall, Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan,  director of the graduate programs in Negotiation and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, discussed the Iranian regime’s four-decade history of terrorism, saying: “For four decades, Western powers have regrettably but repeatedly failed to address the looming Iran threat or the belligerent regime’s underlying ideology,”

Dr. Sheehan then refers to the regime’s ongoing hostage-taking and writes: “At present, at least 17 dual nationals are held captive by Iranian authorities, often on the flimsiest of pretenses.”

Referring to the execution of 30,000 Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) members and supporters in 1988, the article reads: “Mass arrests are a reminder of the Islamic Republic’s past crimes against humanity, particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. That incident stemmed from a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini which declared all opponents of the theocratic system to be at war with God himself, and thus subject to summary execution.”

The writer points to the regime’s animosity toward its main opposition, the MEK and writes: “The main target of that clerical edict was the highly capable resistance organization known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and this group made up the overwhelming majority of the massacre’s victims.”

Dr. Sheehan, then discusses the MEK’s leading role in an ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy in Iran, saying: “The movement endured in spite of the fierce persecution and even thrived in the ensuing decades. Last year, it was credited with leading the countrywide anti-regime protests and giving voice to the people’s progressive aspirations. But Khomeini’s fatwa remains in force, and political prisoners have been executed for actual or perceived support of the MEK.”

Pointing to the disastrous policy of appeasement toward the religious fascist regime ruling Iran, Dr. Sheehan writes: “These tactics were used, for instance, in 2016 around the time that the Iran nuclear deal was implemented. Four Americans were released in January of that year, but only in exchange for the U.S. settling an old debt to the previous Iranian government, as well as releasing or dropping charges against 21 Iranian nationals” he continued, “this only served to reinforce the impression that hostage-taking is a potentially lucrative endeavor. It is, therefore, no surprise that all four of the American hostages were promptly replaced by others.”

Finally, Prof. Sheehan concludes: “The only way this phenomenon’s recurrence can be prevented over the long term is if Tehran’s behavior – or the regime itself – changes completely,” “Domestic unrest demonstrates that there is no need for Western powers to actively pursue regime change. But they most definitely should promote an alternative vision for Iran’s future,”

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Amnesty International report on 1988 massacre in Iran

Iran: Amnesty International Calls for Condemnation of Iran’s Deterioration of Human Rights Record at the UN Human Rights Council

Amnesty International calls on publicly condemn the deterioration in Iran’s human rights record during the country’s upcoming review session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 8 November”

On November 6, 2019, Amnesty International released a statement calling the international community to “publicly condemn the deterioration in Iran’s human rights record during the country’s upcoming review session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 8 November”

The organization urges states taking part in Iran’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to denounce the widespread human rights violations and make concrete recommendations for the Iranian authorities to address them.

“From horrific execution rates to the relentless persecution of human rights defenders, rampant discrimination against women and minorities, and ongoing crimes against humanity, the catalog of appalling violations recorded in Iran reveals a sharp deterioration in its human rights record,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

It is worth noting that on September 20, 2019, Human rights experts from various countries took part in a conference held at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, calling to end the three-decade-long impunity Iranian regime officials have been enjoying in relation to continuing human rights violations across the country, and especially the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Over 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), were then executed in just a few months.

“Why should there now be a tribunal on the crime against humanity committed in 1988? First, because lawyers have examined evidence and know beyond doubt that a crime was committed. If Iran disputes that, we have a process for that,” Kristy Brimelow, QC, an international human rights lawyer, said in her remarks.

“In July 2019, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, mullahs’ former minister of justice, responded to allegations of 1988 executions and defended them as the execution of terrorists. But evidence shows the contrary. Many of the people had been arrested for distributing leaflets, many were children.”

“It is time that we write the history within the judicial setting as to what happened in 1988, and this crime against humanity must be recognized beyond political goals, but within its judicial context. Otherwise, what’s the point of the UN?” said Swiss MP Laurence Fellman Rielle

“We are witnessing progress in seeing the perpetrators of this crime being brought before a court. Since launching the campaign for justice for the 1988 massacre victims, many of the perpetrators have been exposed and the crime has been documented,”.

“Amnesty International has also rallied to expose this crime. It has underlined that if the perpetrators are not held to account before a tribunal, more crimes and massacres will take place. Amnesty called it a crime against humanity. Amnesty has also gathered testimonies from hundreds of witnesses,” she added.

Henrik Hermansson, a political scientist and human rights researcher, reminded the conference of a number of reports covering the 1988 massacre.

“We have the locations of 60 mass graves… The 1988 massacre shaped Iran’s political system. The massacre was carried out by many authorities. Many death commission members now hold important positions in the government,” he explained.

“Iran’s large financial institutions are controlled by the perpetrators. Iran’s current supreme leader, who was the regime’s president in 1988, was directly involved. The 1988 massacre became a career-making moment for many Iranian officials.

“When officials are trained on the mass murder of dissidents, mass murder is how they will respond to protests. The continued impunity of this crime contributes to this continued crime.

“We should understand impunity is a cause of human rights violation and a violation of itself. There’s still a role for the UN and international human rights community to end impunity, even if it has political ramifications.

“I call on member states to discuss the 1988 massacre with the Special Rapporteur to make sure it’s not dropped again. Failure to investigate is also a crime,” he concluded.

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan

Iran Regime’s Deadly Pattern of Hostage Taking and Terrorism

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is the director of the graduate programs in Negotiation and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

Monday was the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis and marked four decades of hostage-taking and terrorism by the Iranian regime and its proxies. But over the course of that time, the West has failed to address the looming threat from the regime and its ideology.

Right now, there are at least 17 dual nationals being held captive in Iran of flimsy pretences, with most of them charged with “national security” crimes, despite a severe lack of evidence. At least four American citizens are serving 10-year sentences, but the regime has hinted that they could be released if the US pays a ransom. Why would any country release people who are real threats to their national security?

Dr Ivan Sascha Sheehan, an expert in global terrorism, counterterrorism, U.S. foreign policy, and international conflict management, wrote: “It is safe to assume that this pattern will repeat for as long as the US and its allies take a short-term approach to address Iranian hostage-taking. The only way this phenomenon’s recurrence can be prevented over the long term is if Tehran’s behaviour – or the regime itself – changes completely. Last year’s public protests underscore the fact that this outcome is within reach. But for the Iranian people to grasp it, they must recognize support from foreign governments that are interested in more substantial goals than the begrudging release of Iran’s hostages du jour.”

But the regime is not just a major threat to other countries’ citizens. In fact, the suffering of the rest of the world is very small compared with the horrors endured by the Iranian people. The number of Iranian political prisoner grew by thousands during the regime’s suppression of pro-democracy protests in early 2018, with many of them facing or serving lengthy prison sentences.

And prison is one of the better sentences for Iranian dissidents, with executions being the regime’s favourite method to punish those who question them. Some 120,000 political prisoners have been executed in the past 40 years, 30,000 of them in the summer of 1988 alone. Most of them were members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), but in spite of their persecution, the group has thrived and gained support from all over Iran. Even the regime has been forced to admit that the MEK has been influential in the ongoing anti-regime uprisings.

The West must support the Iranian people in their quest for freedom.

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The US Treasury

Key Figure in the Massacre of MEK Members Listed by US

The US Treasury

Monday, November 4, 2019, the US Treasury sanctioned top officials of Iranian regime including the son of the Supreme leader and Ebrahim Raisi, head of Iran’s Judiciary and a key member of the Death Commission in 1988 sending 30,000 MEK members to gallows

On Monday the US Treasury imposed sanctions, on the Iranian regime’s Armed Forces General Staff and nine individuals, including Ebrahim Raissi, a key figure in the Death Commission responsible for the execution of 30,000 MEK members in 1988. As the US Treasury statement says, these individuals “are appointees of, or have acted for or on behalf of, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s unelected Supreme Leader whose office is responsible for advancing Iran’s radical agenda.”

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury took the action to “block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world.”

“Specifically, the action targets Ali Khamenei’s appointees in the Office of the Supreme Leader, the Expediency Council, the Armed Forces General Staff, and the Judiciary,” according to the statement released by the OFAC.

This sanction coincides with the 40th anniversary of the seizing by Iranian thugs of the US embassy in Tehran, taking more than fifty Americans hostage for 444 days.

Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, said:

“These individuals are linked to a wide range of malign behaviors by the regime, including bombings of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in 1994, as well as torture, extrajudicial killings, and repression of civilians. This action further constricts the Supreme Leader’s ability to execute his agenda of terror and oppression,”

The individuals who have been sanctioned include: Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s Judiciary and a key member of the Death Commission in 1988 sending 30,000 MEK members and supporters to gallows, Mojtaba Khamenei, the son of Ali Khamenei, the regime’s Supreme Leader,; Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, the Supreme Leader’s Chief of Staff; Vahid Haghanian, an executive deputy for Ali Khamanei; Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Supreme Leader; Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel, a member of the Expediency Council and also an advisor to Ali Khamenei; Mohammad Bagheri, chief of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS); IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, military aide to the Supreme Leader for the Defense Industries and Armed Forces Logistics; and Gholam Ali Rashid, an IRGC commander, who was appointed by the Supreme Leader as the commander of the Khatam al-Anbia Central Headquarters, the most important military headquarters in Iran.

The Treasury statement reads:

“Today, OFAC designated Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s Judiciary, who was appointed by the Supreme Leader in March 2019. OFAC designated the former head of Iran’s Judiciary Sadegh Amoli Larijani Larijani in January 2018 pursuant to E.O. 13553 for his administrative oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime and the torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in Iran, including “According to a United Nations report, Iran’s Judiciary sanctioned the execution of seven child offenders last year, and two so far in 2019, despite human rights law prohibitions against the death penalty for anyone under age 18. There are at least 90 child offenders currently on death row in Iran.” amputations.”

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