The Iranian regime launched a coordinated missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations last weekend. This is a blatant act of war, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Following the attack, regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei denied responsibility for the attacks and refused to engage in negotiations with the United States at any level unless “America repented.”
“They send the Europeans… to insist on us to come and have a meeting with the American President and all your problems will be solved. This is because they want to prove that the policy of maximum pressure is a success. On the contrary, we must prove that the policy of maximum pressure is not worth a penny,” Khamenei added.
U.S. sanctions have reduced Iranian oil exports to nearly zero, crippling its already struggling economy and limiting its ability to fund proxy wars in the region. The regime has responded by using its remaining resources to attack oil tankers and installations and threaten vessels in the strategically-important Strait of Hormuz. The mullahs are operating under the belief that if they can’t sell oil, no one can.
Maryam Rajavi’s Statement
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, issued a statement regarding the latest act of aggression by the Iranian regime. She described the act on a neighboring country’s oil installations as a major step and a new phase in the warmongering and aggressive behavior of the religious dictatorship currently in power in Iran. She added that the world must respond with a decisive display of power, as this is the only language the mullahs understand.
Mrs. Rajavi further stated that inaction emboldens the tyrannical regime, and the primary victims of this inaction are the Iranian people. She emphasized that the Iranian regime is the source of all instability in the Middle East, and the only real solution to ridding the world of the continuing threat posed by Iran is regime change by the Iranian people and their organized resistance movement.
Mrs. Rajavi called on the international community to take the following actions in response to this most recent act of aggression by the Iranian regime:
Reinstate the previous U.N. Security Council resolutions on the regime’s nuclear weapons project and the ban on enrichment.
Evict the regime, its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and its mercenaries from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.
Add Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his offices, the IRGC, and the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) to the European Union’s terrorist watch list.
Act immediately within the U.N. Security Council to refer the dossier on the regime’s human rights abuses, particularly those committed during the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners (most of whom were Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK.PMOI, members), to the International Criminal Court.
Recognize the right of the Iranian Resistance to overthrow the ruling theocracy in favor of freedom and democracy.
Iranian diaspora pay tribute to the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran, in Washington DC
The exhibition, sponsored by the Organization of Iranian American Communities, contained hundreds of pictures of the massacre victims, mainly members and supports of MEK, as well as some statues depicting political prisoners who were killed by the Regime and some scenes of torture and suffering.
Democrat Eliot Engel, Chair of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered a speech at the exhibition where he expressed Congress’s support of the Iranian people and their legitimate demands to stop the regime committing human rights violations.
He also stressed that the criminals who oversaw these executions in 1988 were given high-ranking positions in the Iranian regime rather than being prosecuted for crimes against humanity, including current Justice Minister Alireza Avaei and Head of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi.
Democratic Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, also delivered a speech, where he condemned Iran’s violations of the rights of its citizens.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said that the exhibition, which displays real pictures of the massacre victims, sends the world a message that the Iranian people won’t forget their cause against the Regime. He explained that the point of the exhibition is to motivate present and future generations to remember the crimes of the Mullahs’ regime against the Iranian people.
Jafarzadeh explained that these violations are far from over. How could they be when the people who carried out the massacres are still in power; particularly in the judiciary sector? He then called on international non-governmental organizations and the United Nations to investigate the Iranian Regime for the 1988 massacre, which is a crime against humanity, and the ongoing human rights violations of the Iranian people.
So far, the only people who have gone to jail relating to the massacre are those exposing it, including many families of the victims.
Earlier, the representatives of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, urged the international community to find justice for the victims so that the Regime could not repeat such crimes.
NGO representative addresses the Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances and SR on Truth & Justice – 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council- September 9, 2019
Human rights activists from international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council this week to demand a U.N. investigation into the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, most of whom were members or supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq(PMOI/MEK)
The NGO representatives expressed their concerns to Bernard Duhaime, Chair of the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and Fabian Salvioli, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-recurrence, during an “interactive dialogue” at the 42nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 11, 2019.
Appeal to the Human Rights Council
Milica Javdan of the NGO Women’s Human Rights International Association made a passionate argument to members of the Human Rights Council for an investigation into the 1988 Massacre, saying:
“Ms. Vice President,
“In the summer of 1988, 30,000 political prisoners were massacred by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mass atrocity was based on a fatwa by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. His decree called for the execution of all political prisoners affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran [MEK] who remained steadfast in their resistance to the Iranian regime. The victims were buried secretly in mass graves. For 31 long years, the Iranian government has tried to conceal the truth about the mass executions from the International Community.
“To date, the grieving families of the victims have not received any information about the fate of their loved ones. There is no paper trail on the prisoners’ whereabouts, no trial documents and no graves to visit. The victim’s families look to you for answers.
“In August 2017, your colleague, the late Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir, informed the General Assembly about the 1988 Massacre and requested an investigation to discover the truth about the bloody summer of 1988.
“Mr. Salvioli, what measures has your office taken in order to investigate this matter and to seek answers from the Iranian government about the true fate of the victims of the 1988 Massacre? Many of the perpetrators of this heinous crime still hold senior positions in the Iranian judiciary and government, such as Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and Justice Minister Alireza Avaei. On the 25th of July 2019, in an official interview, Mostafa PourMohammadi defended the 1988 massacre and said newly caught Mojahedin activists would face capital punishment. Impunity breeds reoccurrence!
“We appeal to you Mr. Salvioli, to investigate the 1988 massacre as part of your mandate.
In the summer of 1988, regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the executions of all MEK members imprisoned inside Iran. He formed three-member “Death Committees” to conduct trials in the regime’s prisons that lasted only minutes. Those who refused to renounce the MEK were sentenced to death, executed in groups, and buried in mass graves.
Many of those who were executed had already completed their sentences and were waiting to be released. The victims included teenagers, pregnant women, and the elderly.
To date, none of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity have been brought to justice. Some of those responsible have gone on to serve as high-ranking members of the regime. Former Death Committee member Alireza Avaei is now Hassan Rouhani’s Justice Minister. Former Death Committee member Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the regime’s Judiciary Chief earlier this year.
The Front Page photo on the hit piece by Newsweek Propaganda article titled: “Iran’s Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime’s Collapse. Is Anyone Ready? The article is aimed at demonizing the MEK, the principal opposition to Iran’s dictatorship. Published in August 2019.
This summer’s highly-visible protests and rallies by the Iranian Opposition drew increased attention to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) and the imminent collapse of the mullahs’ regime. The rallies were overwhelmingly successful in achieving their aims and received widespread support from international leaders across the political spectrum, it was therefore anticipated that both the supporters of the policy of appeasement and those who have fallen prey to the regime’s anti-MEK propaganda will give lip-service to the Iranlobby and/or Iran’s notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) .
In their August 29th edition, Newsweek published an article entitled “Iran’s Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime’s Collapse. Is Anyone Ready?” The article noted that “something is different now” and that the prospect of the “collapse of the Tehran regime has raised the question of what kind of Iranian government might come next.” This is an excellent question, but Newsweek missed the mark in answering it, claiming that the mullahs’ regime should be preserved and appeased.
500000 Iranian, supporters of MEK, took to street participating in a peaceful rally against suppression imposed by the Iranian regime on Jun 20, 1981, in Iran
The regime is indeed faltering and close to collapse, and the article correctly states that the MEK “is the oldest, best organized and best known of several Iranian opposition movements.” The author falls victim to regime propaganda on a number of counts, though, doubting the MEK’s base of popular support and using a number of discredited and unnamed sources to support an anti-MEK stance that largely arises from political opposition to current U.S. policy towards Iran.
It is important to note that inside Iran, it is deadly to speak in support of the MEK. The regime has murdered more than 120,000 MEK members and supporters since 1981, and those who continue to support the MEK do so at great personal risk. Despite this, regime leaders and state media express daily concerns about their fear of the MEK’s growing influence in the country. The measure of the MEK’s popular base of support can best be measured by the words of those who fear it.
Mr. Broder was invited to the Ashraf-3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, to speak to members and ask questions before writing his article, but he declined. Dozens of other journalists have accepted this offer and painted a different picture of the MEK.
The MEK did not murder Iranian regime, nuclear scientists. In a September 28, 2012 background briefing, two senior State Department officials officially stated, “The United States Government has not claimed that the MEK was involved in the assassination of scientists in Iran.”
MEK Was Not Delisted as Act of Charity
Newsweek contradicted its own reporting on the blacklisting of the MEK. In September 2002, Newsweek reported that the terrorist listing was an act of political goodwill by the Clinton administration. The magazine printed a 1997 quote from Martin Indyk, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, which said, “[There] was White House interest in opening up a dialogue with the Iranian government. At the time, President Khatami had recently been elected and was seen as a moderate. Top Administration officials saw cracking down on the [MEK], which the Iranians had made clear they saw as a menace, as one way to do so,”
The MEK’s delisting was not an act of charity, as claimed in the article. Secretary Clinton was forced to remove the MEK from the FTO list after being ordered to do so by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s second highest court. The unanimous ruling found no evidence that the MEK was involved in terrorism. 100 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle also urged the State Department to delist the MEK.
The assertion that the MEK “support[ed] the takeover of the U.S. embassy” and broke “with Khomeini over his decision to release the American hostages” is patently false. The hostage crisis was an attempt by Khomeini to create anti-American sentiment in Iran in order to ensure the passage of the newly-drafted constitution, which was based on the principle of absolute clerical rule. The MEK strongly opposed the new constitution, and Khomeini sought to marginalize any opposition to his rule. On the sixth anniversary of the takeover, then-Chief Justice Abdol Karim Moussavi Ardabili admitted the motivation for the crime in a Friday Prayer sermon: “[The embassy takeover] brought about the fall of the Provisional Government, the isolation of the liberals and the confusion of left-wing groups and the Monafeqin (the MEK) and exposed their real faces. As Imam Khomeini said, this revolutionary move was greater than the first revolution.”
1988 Massacre Was Not Linked to War
The Iranian regime began executing MEK members and supporters after a peaceful demonstration in Tehran on June 20, 1981, during which the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) opened fire on the crowd of 500,000 protesters, killing thousands on the spot. The 30,000 political prisoners in Iran who were executed during the 1988 Massacre were not associated with the MEK’s incursion into western Iran, as has been explicitly stated by Amnesty International and the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s would-be successor, who was deposed for his opposition to the executions. The regime has long used the war as a justification for the massacre of 30,000 of its own citizens, including teenagers, pregnant women, and the elderly.
.@amnesty press conference revealing new report on Iran now showing video about the thousands of prisoners who were forcibly disappeared & secretly killed in 1988 and their families who continue to suffer today https://t.co/UJdAIBovB9#TruthAndJusticeNow
The author of the 14-year-old Human Rights Watch Report was paid by an Iranian regime lobbying group operating out of Washington, D.C. Retired Brigadier General David Phillips (then an active Colonel), the commander of the U.S. 89th MP Brigade that protected the MEK’s Camp Ashraf in 2004-2005, wrote a letter to HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth in response to the report, stating:
“I believe that your recent report was based on unsubstantiated information from individuals without firsthand knowledge or for reasons of person gain. I have spoken to large groups of MEK/PMOI members and have also had one on one private conversations with individual members. At no time did any member, ranging from young male and females to the very senior leadership, ever report any of the type of conduct outlined in your recent report.”
The President-elect Maryam Rajavi, speaking at Ashraf 3, on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)- September 3, 2019
Friday will mark the 54th anniversary of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK’s) founding. On Tuesday, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), gave a speech at Ashraf-3 in honor of the occasion. Mrs. Rajavi honored the founders of the MEK—Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saeed Mohsen, and Asghar Badizadegan—as well as it is past and present leaders, and she recounted some of the organization’s history and the sacrifices made by its members. She also emphasized the importance of the goals of the MEK and assured those present that they are capable of leading Iran toward freedom and progress.
I want to assure the people of #Iran that the PMOI/MEK is capable of overthrowing the regime by relying on their people.They can replace religious tyranny with freedom, democracy, & separation of religion and state, leading Iran to freedom, prosperity & progress. #FreeIran#MEK54pic.twitter.com/XjDPzgiXMa
The following are some of the highlights from her speech:
Founders and Leaders
“The founders of the MEK stepped into a difficult and unfamiliar path, but they broke through the impasse by an admirable faith and confidence. They started everything anew, a professional struggle based on an ideology which rejected exploitation, and promoted sacrifice and selflessness,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
“Today, the great founder of the PMOI, Mohammad Hanifnejad, is watching us and is present among us. He can see that the seed he planted has now turned into a lush and blossoming jungle,” she continued.
Mrs. Rajavi spoke about how proud she was to be a member of an organization with progressive leadership and values.
“I am proud to be a member of an organization and a resistance movement led by Massoud Rajavi for five decades in a formidable struggle against two dictatorships, and towards progress and evolution,” she said.
Massoud-Rajavi, the historical leader of the Iranian Opposition.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am proud to be a member of an organization and a movement where women have been at the helm for over 30 years of its 54-year existence,” Mrs. Rajavi continued. “The Secretary-Generals leading the MEK in these years are my dear sisters: Fahimeh Arvani, Shahrzad Sadr, Mahvash Sepehri, Beheshteh Shadrou, Mojgan Parsaii, Sedigheh Hosseini, Zohreh Akhyani and Zahra Merrikhi. Every one of them has represented great values in the ranks of the organization. They have been symbols of sincerity and integrity, energy and vivacity, strength and firmness, leadership and resilience, selflessness, modesty and humility, accountability, truthfulness, steadfastness, patience, and triumph,” she added.
The MEK’s Goals
“The People Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/ MEK) is a treasure trove filled with the Iranian people’s historical steadfastness. And I assure you that this organization spearheads the Iranian society’s quest for liberation from tyranny, discrimination, and injustice, and it will realize the true aspirations of the people of Iran for a glorious future,” said Mrs. Rajavi.
“This has been the subject of the People Mojahedin Organization of IranPMOI’s 54-year struggle. It has been the goal of 120,000 of the best children of the people of Iran. This is what hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have been tortured and suffered for, and millions and millions of dissidents have endured its pain under oppression. The essence of the PMOI’s quest is freedom and equality,” she added.
“In contrast to the one-dimensional outlooks of various opposing schools of thought over the past two centuries, the PMOI set both freedom and equality as their goals. They have risen up for breaking the chains of repression, and for eliminating discrimination and injustice. The PMOI has made great sacrifices over the past 40 years in its struggle for freedom. The PMOI’s name is synonymous with the word “freedom.” At the same time, this is a movement determined to obliterate oppression and exploitation,” she emphasized.
Mrs. Rajavi described the mullahs’ history of corruption, beginning with the confiscation of all public property by Khomeini in 1979 and continuing to the present day.
“They have taken over public lands, forests, natural resources, waters, the environment, banks, the national money market, factories, public companies, the lion’s share of oil, gas and petrochemical revenues, communications, and the market of internet software,” she said.
Rajavi stressed that Khamenei’s corruption has led to “destitution, poverty, and homelessness” among the Iranian people.
“Today, the situation in Iran is so disastrous that people have to sell their kidneys; they have to sleep on the streets; women even sell their infants, and destitute women do not have any form of support. All honorable Iranians are deeply upset by such tragic conditions,” she said.
Mrs. Rajavi discussed the MEK’s commitment to democratic Islam and its rejection of “the mullahs’ abuse of Islam to gain power and wealth.”
“In the beginning, Mohammad Hanifnejad rejected those interpretations of Islam which advocated exploitation. He showed that Islam does not defend oppressive classes, but is on the side of the deprived and the oppressed,” she explained.
“A decade later, Massoud Rajavi underlined the threat posed by the reactionary religious outlooks, drew the line between the Islam which the PMOI believed in and the reactionary version which later seized power,” Mrs. Rajavi continued.
“The PMOI believes in the original faith introduced by Mohammad whose emancipating message rejected class oppression as well as racial and gender discrimination. It defends women’s equality and the autonomy of oppressed ethnic groups. It advocates people’s sovereignty and does not accept any form of coercion and compulsion,” she added.
The MEK’s Message Today
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), entering the 54th founding ceremony of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK)
“It is possible to break the chains of repression and exploitation.
“It is possible to liberate society from gender discrimination and create new relations based on gender equality and human solidarity.
“Freedom and justice are part and parcel. It is possible to instate freedom, justice, and equality and the MEK has risen to realize this goal.
“It is possible to have a genuine antithesis based on democratic Islam overcome ignorance, superstition, and reaction disguised in the cloak of Islam,” Mrs. Rajavi stated.
“Having compensated for the shortcomings of the revolutions of the past century, the Iranian Resistance has matured in the 21st century and borne fruit in the course of its struggle for freedom and equality,” she said.
“This is the organization, the tradition, the path and practice of the deprived but aware youths of Iran who created the uprisings of December 2017 and January 2018,” she continued.
“This is the movement and ideal of youths who have formed their resistance units and kept the flame of Iran’s uprising alight in every city across the country and inside the cells and wards of Khamenei’s prisons.
“They are resisting everywhere. By relying on its people, the great Army of Freedom will also take the same path to turn this dark page of Iran’s history,” she declared.
Mrs. Rajavi emphasized the resilience of the MEK in the face of torture and persecution, saying:
“There is not an infinitesimal possibility that the MEK would give up on their plan for freedom and popular sovereignty and the overthrow of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.
And this is the pride which shines throughout the history of the MEK.
“They endured captivity in the cage and coffin, they went through the 1988 Massacre; they went to the gallows by the thousands; they lied down before Humvees and bulldozers in Ashraf; their bodies were hanged from the cliff in Charzebar or from beams in half-constructed buildings in cities across Iran, but they’re never was an infinitesimal possibility for them to give up their fight, and they will not do so until the day Iran is free.
In the contemporary history of Iran, the MEK is known for its commitment to carry on their bloody shoulders any burden that is necessary for the advancement of their struggle.”
Finally, Mrs. Rajavi sent words of encouragement to the people of Iran who are still waiting for freedom from the mullahs’ regime.
“I want to give assurances to the people of Iran that the MEK is capable of overthrowing the regime by relying on their people,” she emphasized. They are capable of replacing religious tyranny with freedom, democracy, and separation of religion and state. They can replace distrust with trust, insecurity, and fear with security, and injustice with equality.
“They are capable of leading Iran towards freedom, prosperity, and progress,” she concluded.
“Iran: Massacred Human Rights: 31st anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.”
Mrs. Rajavi’s speech focused on the international community’s failure to hold the regime accountable for its malign actions, including the 1988 Massacre. She argued that this policy of appeasement places the entire world at risk.
Mrs. Rajavi explained that the 1998 Massacre occurred as the result of a fatwa writing by regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini ordering the execution of all prisoners in Iran who remained loyal to the MEK. Many of those who were executed had already completed their sentences, said Mrs. Rajavi.
“Khomeini’s death decree triggered a wave of killings in prisons across Iran to the extent that virtually no prisoner remained in any of the wards. But this was not enough for Khomeini. He ordered the re-arrest of throngs of PMOI [MEK] supporters who had been previously released from prison. These arrestees were also swiftly executed,” she added.
Thirty-one years later, the people responsible for this crime are among the highest-ranking officials within the regime. Former executioners now hold the positions of Head of the Judiciary and Minister of Justice, said Mrs. Rajavi.
“The regime also continues to refuse giving information on the victims of the 1988 massacre and the families of those massacred are still being persecuted. Despite the passage of 31 years, they still do not know where their loved ones are buried,” she said.
“Just last month, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, one of the key members of the Death Commissions carrying out the 1988 massacre, said, “The Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/ MEK) have desecrated the (regime’s) image throughout the world… Now is the time to fight the PMOI… The PMOI/MEK is the most treacherous enemies of this nation and they must be dealt with one by one.”
Active Pursuit of Massacre
Mrs. Rajavi said that the mullahs’ fear of being overthrown has driven their active pursuit of manslaughter and massacre. She pointed to last year’s foiled bombing attack of the annual Free Iran gathering in Villepinte, France, which led to the arrest of an Iranian regime diplomat and four mercenaries. They are all currently awaiting trial in Belgium.
“This incident proved that the regime is still pursuing Khomeini’s evil intentions and the policy of massacring their opponents,” she said.
“On the international level, this policy amounts to meddling in the region, warmongering, massacre of the people of Syria, attacks on oil tankers, jeopardizing the safety of international waters, terrorism, and hostage-taking,” Mrs. Rajavi added.
Mrs. Rajavi said that the Iranian regime must be dealt with by the Iranian people who seek to overthrow the dictatorship.
“The international community will also have to recognize the desire of the Iranian people and Resistance if they want to get rid of the epicenter of fundamentalism and terrorism in the world. They must not grant concessions to the mullahs,” she emphasized.
“These relations are not only morally reprehensible but are politically wrong because they encourage and embolden the mullahs in blackmailing, hostage-taking and terrorism. Then, in return for massive concessions granted by the West, they take only one step back. In this way, European governments are not only hurting themselves but are putting global peace and security at risk,” she explained.
Mrs. Rajavi stressed that the international community must investigate the 1988 Massacre as part of ending the policy of appeasement. She cited a December 2018 report about the 1988 Massacre by Amnesty International, which stated: “Iran is facing a crisis of impunity… The succession of atrocities in Iran is intractably linked to the impunity that has been enjoyed by the Iranian authorities.”
“The time has come for the international community to end three decades of impunity for the clerical regime’s leaders in accounting for their crimes,” said Mrs. Rajavi.
She urged the international community to demand that the dossier of human rights violation in Iran, particularly the 1988 Massacre, be referred to the U.N. Security Council. She further asked the U.N. to launch an international mission to investigate the 1988 Massacre.
“Khamenei and other leaders of the Iranian regime must face justice for committing crimes against humanity,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
“And the world must recognize the Iranian people’s right to resist and fight for the overthrow of the ruling religious fascism,” she added.
1988 Massacre,Ashraf 3,Free Iran Gathering,Human Rights,International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances,Iran human rights,MEK,MEK Albania,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI
“The Iranian authorities’ continued failure to disclose the fate and whereabouts of thousands of political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret during Iran’s 1988 prison massacres has sparked a crisis that for decades has been largely overlooked by the international community,”
Majid Sahebjam, a MEK member, who was in prison for 17 years for supporting the MEK was one of the witnesses.
“My crime was supporting the MEK. I witnessed many human rights violations. The 1988 massacre was a premeditated and well-planned crime. Some of the people who were directly involved in this crime still hold high positions of power. The regime has done everything in its power to hide its crime. In the short trials, which lasted only a few minutes, the judges only asked one question: They asked about the political association of the defendant. Uttering the word “Mojahed, MEK member” was enough to seal the fate of the prisoner and send him to the gallows…I know at least 20 families who lost two of their children to the regime’s executioners. Many of the executed prisoners were aged 14, 15, and 16 when they were arrested. During the 1988 massacre, dozens of MEK supporters had served their sentences. However, they were kept in prison because they would not repent their support for the MEK. They were executed in 1988 because of their dedication to freedom and human values,” Sahebjam addressed the conference.
Mahmoud Royaie another MEK member who spent 10 years in regime’s prisons also addressed the conference.
“Many of my friends were teenagers when they were arrested. They spent many years in prison and were finally executed. People had served their sentences, and their families were waiting for them. However, they never got to see them. One of my friends was executed five years after his sentence was finished. He was taken to the gallows only because he defended the name of the MEK,” Royaie said. “Some of these families are still staring at the pictures of their loved ones and crying after 30 years. Some lost their sanity when their children were executed. The regime even executed the disabled and handicapped. Yet they stood tall when they went to the gallows. One of my friends had lost his mind due to tortures. However, when they took him to the judge, he stood tall and said, “I’m a Mojahed, MEK member.” He was executed.”
Kobra Jokar, a MEK member also addressed the conference. She managed to escape from prison before the massacre.
“I was in the regime’s prisons for six years. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) arrested me while I was pregnant. I was taken to Evin prison and the torture chambers. I was transferred to Ward 209. In the cell, I saw four torturers torture my husband in front of me. They also tortured me in front of him,” She said. “A few days later, they executed him with 75 others…The regime executed 50 pregnant women, including Masumeh, the sister of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi…I managed to escape prison in 1987. One year later, all of those ladies who shared the cell with me were executed in the 1988 massacre.”
Mostafa Naderi, a MEK member shared his story and said:
“I spent 11 years in prison, five of those years in solitary confinement. During the 1988 massacre, I was hospitalized because of torture. I was unconscious when they called my name for execution, and this is how I survived. In the beginning, they said nothing of the executions, claiming the prisoners were going for family visits. In many smaller cities, not even a single person survived to tell the story of the massacre. In prison, I was severely tortured. After eight months of torture, I and five other prisoners were taken to a mullah who said we would be executed that night. They took us to the place for execution. They tied our hands and we heard the guns being loaded. They fired, but they aimed a bit higher than our heads. We suffered a traumatic experience. One of the prisoners fainted and another lost his eyesight. The 1988 massacre was planned from two years before. However, the massacre continues to this day. We must stop this.”
The time has come for the United Nations to launch an international independent fact-finding mission to determine the fate of victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran.
A monument on the 1988 massacre of the 30,000 political prisoners (mainly MEK members and supporters)
The Iranian regime has a long and brutal history of violently suppressing any individual or group that does not align with its rigid beliefs or who dares to speak in dissent. Protesters, religious minorities, journalists, and trade unionists are all frequent targets of the regime’s wrath, with the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) suffering the largest number of casualties at the hands of the clerical dictatorship.
Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM) released a report on Thursday detailing forced disappearances of political prisoners mainly MEK members and supporters in Iran during the 1980s and the regime’s continued persecution of the family members who seek justice for their family members who were disappeared in the 1980s or executed during the 1988 Massacre.
More than a half-million MEK supporters attended a rally in Tehran on June 20, 1981, to protest against the mullahs’ encroaching totalitarian policies and support freedom and democracy.
After the regime violently suppressed peaceful demonstrations on June 20, 1981, and firmly established its authoritarian rule, it shifted its crackdown to the MEK. This crackdown reached its climax during the 1988 Massacre 30,000 political prisoners, according to the Iran HRM report.
Over the course of a single summer, 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were members of the MEK, were taken before extra-judicial death commissions and sentenced to execution in trials that lasted only minutes. Many of the victims, who included pregnant women and teenagers, had already completed their sentences but had not been released.
Outside of the regime’s prisons, widespread enforced disappearances were taking place at the same time. Former political prisoners and MEK supporters disappeared and were executed in secret.
According to the Iran HRM report, the victims were hanged by forklifts and cranes or from beams in partially-constructed buildings. Some were executed by firing squads. In order to expedite the murders, people were killed in groups of five or six in 30-minute intervals throughout the day.
International law states that the crime of enforced disappearance continues until the state reveals the fate or location of the individual concerned. If the disappeared individual is determined to be dead, the remains must be returned to their family. By this definition, the victims of the 1988 Massacre also count as victims of enforced disappearances under international law.
The sheer number of victims made individual burial impossible, so the regime simply dumped the bodies into mass graves. There are an estimated 120 mass grave sites containing remains of victims of the 1988 Massacre and enforced disappearances, according to Iran HRM.
The number of victims made individual burial impossible, so the regime simply dumped the bodies into mass graves
According to Amnesty International, the Iranian regime did not return any of the bodies of the victims of the 1988 Massacre to their families. They also did not disclose the location of the burial sites to most families, in an attempt to conceal their crimes. Some families were given a plastic bag containing the victim’s possessions, along with an order to never publicly mourn them. Few MEK families ever received death certificates.
Amnesty International reported that authorities in only five cities eventually told family members verbally that their loved ones were buried in mass graves and disclosed the locations. These officials now deny any knowledge of these graves or any other, despite satellite evidence to the contrary.
Officials in a handful of other cities gave family members the locations of individual graves and allowed them to construct headstones, but Amnesty International found that most of these graves aren’t in the cemetery’s online registry, prompting fears that the graves are empty. Several reports say that the gravestones were installed suddenly in 1988 or 1989 without prior digging, leading many to believe that officials lied to families to minimize the number of deaths from the 1988 Massacre. In 2017, one family did discover that the grave they were told their loved one rested in was empty, according to Amnesty.
Iran HRM noted that the Iranian regime has taken extreme measures to destroy all evidence of these mass graves. They have bulldozed the sites and built new cemeteries on top of them, paved over them, and constructed buildings and roads on top of the graves of their victims.
Khavaran- A site of a mass grave for some of the MEK members and supporters that were executed during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran
Family members of MEK who have attempted to find their loved ones’ graves have been arrested and tortured, according to Iran HRM.
Families cannot legally inquire about their relatives inside Iran.
None of the perpetrators of the 1988 Massacre have ever faced justice for their roles in this crime against humanity. Many have gone on to hold high-ranking positions within the regime. Amnesty International considers “the agonizing suffering inflicted on victims’ families for more than 30 years” is a violation of “the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment under international law.”
MEK supporter Ali Saremi was executed by regime authorities in 2011 for his peaceful activism on behalf of the victims of the 1988 Massacre and the enforced disappearances in Iran. Serena served a total of 23 years in prison for his activism. He was arrested in 2007 for delivering a speech at Khavaran Cemetery outside Tehran, calling for justice for the victims buried in mass unmarked graves on that site, and sentenced to death.
Political prisoner Maryam Akbari-Monfared lost three brothers and a sister in the 1980s under regime rule. Her siblings, Roghieh and Abdolreza, were executed during the 1988 Massacre, and while the regime verbally informed Akbari-Monfared’s parents of their executions, it has never revealed where they are buried.
In February 2017, Ms. Akbari-Monfared asked the U.N. for help in finding her siblings. Because their burial locations were never disclosed, the U.N. Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) has recognized the two victims as enforced disappeared persons.
Mansoureh Behkish is one of the many family members of victims of the 1988 Massacre who have been targeted by the regime for seeking justice. After losing six siblings in the 1988 Massacre, she has faced persecution by the regime for a number of peaceful activities, including holding memorial services at her home for political prisoners who were executed or forcibly disappeared during the 1980s, including her sister, four brothers and a brother-in-law; visiting the families of victims; taking flowers to the site of the unmarked mass graves in Khavaran where two of her brothers are buried; and posting about the Iranian regime’s human rights violations on Facebook and other online platforms.
The regime prosecuted Raheleh Rahemipour and sentenced her to two years in prison as retaliation for filing a complaint with the United Nations. The 65-year-old human rights activist reported the forced disappearance of her brother and infant daughter during their detention in Evin in Tehran between 1983 and 1984.
Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) officials informed Ms. Rahemipour would let her go free if she withdrew her complaint from the U.N.
Acts of Impunity
high ranking officials of the Iranian regime who are responsible for crimes against humanity, and were members of the “Death Committee” during the 1988 massacre of MEK supporters, but enjoy impunity and have actually been promoted to higher positions within the mullah’s ranks.
The regime has never had to answer for its crimes against humanity, so its human rights violations continue unabated. Without fear of consequences, regime leaders have no qualms about elevating war criminals to positions of power. Former Death Commissioner Ebrahim Raisi is now the regime’s Judiciary Chief. Former Death Commissioner Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, who is now an advisor to Raisi, recently publicly defended the 1988 Massacre and further vowed to “eliminate the MEK.”
Continued Enforced Disappearances
Enforced disappearances still happen under the mullahs’ rule, and they will continue until the regime is held accountable for its crimes.
Kurdish Political Prisoners
Shirin Alam Holi, Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heidarian, and Farhad Vakili were executed by the regime in 2010. Their bodies were never returned to their families, and their places of burial have not been disclosed. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances recently recognized all four of these cases as enforced disappearances and as such, has asked regime officials to submit documentation of the victims’ fates and locations.
The UN WGEI has recently recognized the cases of Kurdish political prisoners Shirin Alam Holi, Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heidarian & Farhad Vakili executed in 2010, as #EnforcedDisappearances since their bodies were never turned in to their families #Iranpic.twitter.com/W70bBwbqWY
Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panah were executed on September 8, 2018. The executions took place despite widespread condemnation from the international community and months of protests by human rights organizations. Regime authorities refused to release the victims’ bodies to their families for burial.
University Student Protester
Saeed Zeinali was arrested on July 10, 1999, five days after widespread student protests took place across Iran. Zeinali, who was a 22-year-old Computer Science Major at Tehran University at the time of his arrest, has not been seen or heard from since a brief phone call three months after his arrest. Regime officials deny that any knowledge of his arrest.
An Ongoing Nightmare
For the families of the victims of the 1988 Massacre, the crime is far from over. “The families of those secretly killed in the 1988 prison massacres are still living through a nightmare. They and many others in Iran are haunted by the thousands of missing bodies, which have cast a specter over the country’s justice system to this day,” said Philip Luther, Middle East, and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International.
“It is misguided to view the 1988 mass killings as historical events. The enforced disappearances are ongoing and, 30 years later, victims’ families continue to be tormented by anguish and uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones,” he added.
A Call to Action
The MEK and the Iranian Resistance urge the international community, the U.N. Security Council, the U.N. Human Rights Council and its member states, all other relevant United Nations agencies, the European Union, and all advocates of human rights and justice to end impunity for the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre.
The international community, particularly the U.N., Is obligated to hold Iran responsible for its role in this crime. The Iranian regime will continue to flagrantly violate human rights laws as long as it knows it can act without consequences.
The U.N. must refer to the dossier of human rights violations in Iran, particularly the enforced disappearances of the 1980s and the 1988 Massacre, to the U.N. Security Council.
The MEK urges the U.N. to conduct an independent investigation into the fates of the victims of forced disappearances during the 1988 Massacre.
“Crimes against humanity are exactly what the term suggests: crimes so serious that they concern not only their victims, survivors and the state in question but also humanity as a whole,” stated Amnesty International’sPhilip Luther, in calling for an international investigation into the 1988 Massacre.
“U.N. member states must use every opportunity, including the upcoming review of Iran’s human rights record at the U.N. Human Rights Council in November, to press the Iranian government to identify mass graves and reveal the fate and whereabouts of all victims of these tragic events,” he added.
In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners across Iran. The massacre was carried out based on a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
In the summer of 1988, 30000 political prisoners were massacred in Iran. The massacre was carried out based on a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini
“Whoever at any stage continues to belong to the Monafeqin (the regime’s derogatory term to describe the PMOI/MEK) must be executed. Annihilate the enemies of Islam immediately.”
He went on to add:
“… Those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the MEK/PMOI are waging war on God and are condemned to execution… It is naive to show mercy to those who wage war on God.”
More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in a matter of a few months. The vast majority of the victims were activists of the opposition PMOI/MEK.
Many members of the death committees, which ordered the mass killings in different cities, are now senior Iranian regime officials, including the Judiciary Head Ebrahim Raisi and regime Justice Minister Ali Reza Avaei.
Many members of the death committees, which ordered the mass killings in different cities, are now senior Iranian regime officials
The majority of those executed were either serving prison sentences for their political activities or had already completed their sentences but had not been released… While the Iranian regime has brazenly boasted about this massacre, it has not provided any information as to how many prisoners were killed or where the victims are buried.
In an article about the massacre, the British Daily, The Telegraph, wrote:
“CHILDREN as young as 13 were hanged from cranes, six at a time, in a barbaric two-month purge of Iran’s prisons on the direct orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, according to a new book by his former deputy.
More than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in the 1988 massacre – a far larger number than previously suspected. Secret documents smuggled out of Iran reveal that, because of the large numbers of necks to be broken, prisoners were loaded onto forklift trucks in groups of six and hanged from cranes in half-hourly intervals.”
Amnesty International’s statement reads:
“Thousands of the victims’ deaths remain unregistered and, across the country, there are thousands of missing bodies buried in unidentified mass graves. For more than 30 years, the Iranian authorities have failed to officially acknowledge the existence of these mass graves and concealed their locations causing immeasurable suffering to families who are still seeking answers about their missing loved ones.”
Philip Luther, the Middle East, and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International added:
“The families of those secretly killed in the 1988 prison massacres are still living through a nightmare. They and many others in Iran are haunted by the thousands of missing bodies, which have cast a specter over the country’s justice system to this day,”
said Philip Luther.
“UN member states must use every opportunity, including the upcoming review of Iran’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in November, to press the Iranian government to identify mass graves and reveal the fate and whereabouts of all victims of these tragic events.”
“The massacre in 1988 was the horrifying scene of such historic confrontation. But it was not the end. Despite its excruciating pain and agony, it was the beginning of a new confrontation which still continues and will ultimately write the fate of the Iranian nation with the word, freedom.
From this vantage point, one can see that the 1988 massacre is tied to Iran’s freedom and future. It is entwined with the stoned rights of human beings in Iran, with the resistance for freedom and equality, with the betrayal of foreign proponents of appeasement, with the disgraceful cowardice of those who surrendered to the regime, and of course, it is tied to the regime’s overthrow.”
MEK supporters in Norway protest against Zarif’s trip to this country, demanding stop appeasing the Iranian regime
The trip by the Iranian regime’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to Nordic countries raised a series of concerns and questions about western policy toward the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. Rallies in Finland, Sweden, and Norway by the Iranian diaspora against Zarif, drew public attention to violations of human rights in Iran. Many politicians and human rights activists in these countries expressed their concerns about their own governments’ foreign policies. They are asking why should their governments embrace Zarif and lend legitimacy to a government that is on the verge of collapse. Why should they welcome the mouth-piece of tyrants in Iran by turning their backs on the Iranian people, and trampling on their own values and principals at a time that Tehran faces growing signs of dissent, particularly among youth, and when Iran’s economy is falling apart and its international isolation is growing.
Lars Rise, a prominent Norwegian politician and President of the Norwegian committee of Friends of a Free Iran and MEK supporter’s rally in Norway
"Zarif is no stranger to crimes against humanity. He was active as a senior career diplomat in the UN in 1988 while his gov butchered over 30k pol prisoners, members & supporters of the #MEK," writes Lars Rise, former member of Norwegian Parliament. #Iranhttps://t.co/uHM7o3PZdS
“Does believing in diplomacy and not being a proponent of war oblige one to deal with tyrants or embrace their facilitators and enablers? Of course, any conscientious person would say no. So why do Norwegian officials feel obliged to roll out the red carpet for Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, during his Scandinavian tour?”
Describing the nature of the Iranian regime and the true face of Zarif, Mr. Rise adds:
“The Iranian theocracy is based on the concept of Velayat-e faqih, or absolute rule of the supreme leader. Every official is vetted for allegiance to him, and Ali Khamenei himself hand picks a number of ministers, including the foreign minister. So it is unsurprising that Zarif has been complicit for years in the Iranian regime’s malign activities. He has not only been the face and voice of the ayatollahs’ rule, he has personally worked to implement Khamenei’s reckless agenda and to justify and whitewash Tehran’s crimes at home and abroad. In reality, he is more of a propaganda minister than a foreign minister.”
Zarif sitting next to the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Recently the US treasury department sanctioned Zarif, for being a mouthpiece for Khamenei and for advancing his terrorist and malign policies around the world.
Assadollah Asadi, the terrorist diplomat of Zarif’s foreign ministry, who plotted the Paris bombing
“A diplomat from the Iranian embassy in Vienna has been charged with a plot to bomb a MEK rally in Paris in June 2018 and is awaiting trial in Belgium. The ambassador and first secretary from the Iranian embassy in Albania were expelled from that country last December on similar charges. Zarif is ultimately their boss.”
“An appeasement policy was pursued on both sides of the Atlantic for three decades. But that policy is coming to an end, and the Iranian regime can no longer count on the U.S. to be its lifesaver.”
At the end the writer concludes:
“Nobody wants a war with Iran, but the best way to prevent war is to reject Tehran’s egregious conduct wholesale. By rejecting Zarif’s visit and holding him to account, Norway would be taking an ethical and principled position while sending a message of support to the Iranian people who are crying out for freedom.”