Year: 2017

Iran is holding the world hostage with its human rights violations

Iran is holding the world hostage with its human rights violations

As the Trump administration tries to rally the world to face off with the Iranian regime on the multitude of threats it poses to world peace and security, Tehran is using every tool at its disposal to prevent a unified global front from taking shape.

Last week, Iran’s foreign minister tacitly threatened that Tehran would resume its nuclear program if European states doubled down on its ballistic missile program and terrorist ventures. This week, the regime tried a different tactic.

In a program broadcast on Iran’s state-owned TV, Ahmadreza Djalali, an imprisoned Iranian dual-national with Swedish citizenship, “confessed” to spying on Iran’s nuclear program for foreign countries. Given Iran’s history of extracting confessions from prisoners through torture and threats, it’s easy to deduce how reliable Djalali’s revelation is.

Sweden happens to be one of the nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Coincidentally, after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley provided strong evidence that Iran was behind in a missile attack against Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport on November 4, Sweden’s U.N. ambassador refrained from confirming that Iran was the culprit.

Djalali is not the only foreign national the Iranian regime is holding as hostage and as a bargaining chip in its foreign policy. British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari Radcliff is also lingering in jail along with several American citizens arrested on dubious national security and espionage charges. Iran has a long history of using human rights abuses and hostage-taking to pursue its political goals. But its greatest hostages are its own people.

The rulers of Iran are well aware and acknowledge that the stark majority of the country’s population is yearning for regime change, and they’ve only managed to maintain their grip on power through sheer violence. Since the early 1980s, the Iranian regime has shut any form dissent down through incarceration, torture, and execution. The most recent instance was the 2009 uprisings that followed Iran’s contested presidential elections. Unfortunately, the international community lack of interest in addressing Iran’s blatant human rights violations enabled the regime to crack down on the protests with impunity.

During the presidency of the self-proclaimed “moderate” Hassan Rouhani, there has been an uptick in the number of executions. That too has been largely ignored by the international community.

However, the aspirations of the Iranian people for living in a free and democratic state have not lessened.

In a recent signed petition to the U.N. secretary-general, 30,000 Iranian citizens called for a probe into the mass murder of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. The event, which has become known as the “1988 massacre,” involved the execution of more than 30,000 dissidents in Iran’s prisons in the span of a few months. The executions were ordered and orchestrated by the highest authorities within the regime, many of whom continue to hold positions of power. The regime subsequently imposed a total media blackout on this crime against humanity, and the international community has refrained from further investigating the 1988 massacre.

“Human rights is the weak spot of the Iranian regime,” a member of the 1988 Truth Group, which has been documenting the massacre and organized the petition, told me on secure chat.

“The West’s silence on human rights in Iran has been a boon to the regime, which has taken advantage of it not only to continue its crimes against the Iranian people, but also to threaten those countries as well,” added the correspondent, who did not want to be named due to security concerns. “A good place to start reversing course is calling for an investigation into the 1988 massacre and holding its perpetrators to account.”

The biggest force of change in Iran are the people themselves. They oppose the terrorist meddling in the Middle East region and reject its extremist ideology. They’ve been its longest-suffering victims. Neither do they have any stake in the regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

A focus on Iran’s human rights record will empower this force for change and weaken the regime’s grip on power both inside and outside the country. This will be a critical component of any firm global policy toward Iran.

Amir Basiri (@amir_bas) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is an Iranian human rights activist.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.


By: Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner

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Panel Urges International Community to Hold Iran Accountable for 1988 Massacre

Panel Urges International Community to Hold Iran Accountable for 1988 Massacre


WASHINGTON, DC – A panel of distinguished policy experts discussed the deteriorating situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran on Friday, emphasizing the need for the international community to hold Iran accountable for numerous, ongoing atrocities.

Among those human rights violations prominent in the discussion was the state-sponsored massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.

Evidence suggests senior officials serving in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet were involved with the 1988 mass murder. The discussion at the National Press Club coincided with the release of a book published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) titled Iran: Where Mass Murderers Rule and Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners and the Continuing Atrocities.

The panel discussion included J. Kenneth Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission; Linda Chavez, former Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison; Adam Ereli, former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain and former Deputy Spokesperson for the United States Department of State; Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. ambassador to Morocco and Deputy Senior Adviser to the President of the United States for Middle East Policy; and Soona Samsami, the U.S. Representative of NCRI and an activist for gender equality.

Friday’s panel discussion coincided with the Congressional review of policy options on Iran.

“There is a passage in scripture that says, ‘Those who would do evil love the darkness,’” Blackwell said. “We know that violent, evil regimes love the darkness.” He added, “It is incumbent upon us as individuals, us as nation states, and as communities of nation states to put the pressure on the regime to give access to the community so that we might shine light— individual lights, collective lights, on the evils that were done in the name of the regime … We, in fact, light their candles. We, in fact, help them punch holes in the darkness.”

Blackwell noted that part of his attempts to drive darkness out with light includes his work with the United States delegation at the United Nations with Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Blackwell indicated that he has ongoing communication with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, including a letter he wrote to her on October 6 suggesting the United States mention the 1988 massacre and demand access and action in Iran in this year’s U.N. resolution.

In her October 20 reply to Blackwell, Ambassador Haley wrote that the 1988 massacre is “a concern that we both deeply share.” However, she also wrote, “Although we support including the 1988 massacre in the text, our partners continue to tell us that any explicit reference would risk the success of the resolution altogether, a risk we cannot afford.”

To that, Blackwell told the crowd:

So even within the context of human rights, there is this reluctance to pinpoint and shine light on that atrocity which would give deep insight into the character of the regime. And so when I hear this juxtaposition that we have to worry about speaking out against human rights violations because it might, in fact, affect our negotiations on the nuclear issue, I basically say well who is it that the nuclear threat threatens? The most precious human right, the right to life. So I don’t—I think it’s a false separation. And so in my argument, I basically say we need to know who our partners are that are afraid to let us have access to the 1988 massacre remains, and two, why do we have this false construction of either or? It is a situation where it is both.

In her letter, Haley also said, according to Blackwell, “We are advocating for text that urges Iran to cease practices of enforced disappearances and noted that in addition to urging the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease practices of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention – specifically those that target foreign nationals. In addition, we are working to include language that urges Iran to ensure that individuals in prison have access to legal representation and adequate medical treatment as well as minimum fair trial guarantees.”

Iran’s systematic denial of due process and fair trials for detainees is well documented, as is the government’s use of systematic torture on its prisoners.

Linda Chavez, who was an independent U.S. expert to the Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, said the book’s publication is important because it presents detailed information about the 1988 massacre in a way that has not been done before.

“There were thousands, tens of thousands of people who were subjected to extrajudicial killings,” Chavez told the crowd. “They were put to death, often in public settings … hung from cranes, hung on Friday in the public square so that it would send a message of terror, really, to the Iranian people. But until recently those reports were not substantiated by hard evidence, and they certainly were not admitted to by those in the Iranian government.”

The bodies of those executed were then believed to be dumped into mass graves which have not yet been discovered.

Chavez also noted her belief that things have not changed for women in Iran.

“We have a society in Iran in which it would be an understatement to say half of the population are regarded as second-class citizens,” she said. “Women in Iran are not even given the rights of second-class citizenship. Their word cannot be taken equal to a man’s word in a court of law.”

She added, “Women in Iran continue to be subject to gross human rights violations. They are not treated as equals under this system. And I think one of the most interesting things that we’re seeing, and you can see it even in the pictures in terms of what’s happening today, is that there is a rebellion by the Iranian people.”

Samsami said, “Members of the Iranian regime have acknowledged both the massacre occurred and admitted their role, with pride, in the summer of blood, paving the way for a UN response.” She noted that other political killings have been investigated by the international community, and said that the time is ripe for the 1988 massacre to be investigated by the U.N.

Ginsberg said the 2016 Human Rights Report issued by the State Department, which was the last report under the Obama administration, was whitewashed:

I’m proud as a Democrat, who has been involved in Democratic foreign policy and has worked for Democratic presidents and vice-presidents to express my deep concern that the Obama administration’s willingness to focus all of its energies in concluding an Iran nuclear agreement at the cost of absolving Iran of its human rights violations, of absolving Iran of how it is mistreating dual nationals, of Iran mistreating its people, of Iran, in effect, being given a pass in order for the administration to achieve its desired goal can conclude this agreement.

He added, “If I had been an ambassador in Iran, and had been asked to report—to write this report, there is no way that I would have permitted this report to have been issued by the State Department under the Obama administration. It represents what essentially is a lack of condemnation of human rights violations across the board, while it details in some respects many of the atrocities.”

Since World War II, arguably the three most heinous murders of political prisoners include the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, the Japanese Army’s death-march of 7,000 American soldiers in 1946, and the Srebrenica massacre of 1995  in which over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed.

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


By: Breitbart


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30,000 Iranians sign UN petition seeking inquiry into 1988 massacre

30,000 Iranians sign UN petition seeking inquiry into 1988 massacre

More than 30,000 Iranians of all walks of life have signed a petition addressed to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres calling for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners in Iran.

The signatories to the petition are all based inside Iran, according to the organisers of the signature campaign, the 1988 Truth group.

“The 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran is the most extensive killing of political prisoners since World War II”, 1988 Truth said in a statement on 10 December 2017, coinciding with International Human Rights Day. It added that the majority of the victims were affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MEK).

The petition text added: “Most of those executed were youths imprisoned for taking part in peaceful street demonstrations and/or reading the opposition’s political publications, and many had already served their time behind bars. These prisoners were executed in groups and then buried in mass graves”.

“From the first day of the Islamic Republic’s establishment, the perpetrators of this massacre have served in the highest political, judicial and security posts. While defending this crime against humanity, they are continuing such killings and executions as we speak”.

“We the signatories are asking you, through the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly to establish an ‘independent committee’ to fully investigate this massacre. This entity should be obligated to collect all documents related to this crime against humanity, along with the names of all the perpetrators, in order to have justice served in this regard”, the petition added.

The UN Secretary General in his latest report submitted to the UN General Assembly stated that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had received a large number of complaints from the families of the victims. They have been calling on the UN and particularly the OHCHR to set up a commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre.

High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on 10 December 2017 in this regard that “I was briefed on this issue quite recently and have asked my office to take a deeper look into it, but clearly when you look at historical alleged atrocities on this scale, they need a response from the UN. But more broadly speaking, we of course campaign for the end of the use of the death penalty; the suspension of it at least in those countries that seems to be heavily retentionist, and Iran is one of the countries we focus on“.

Background note:

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Asma Jahangir, in a report to the General Assembly on 14 August 2017 (A/72/322) referred to newly-emerged evidence confirming the occurrence of the crimes. She wrote:

In August 2016, an audio recording of a meeting held in 1988 between high-level State officials and clerics was published. The recording revealed the names of the officials who had carried out and defended the executions, including the current Minister of Justice, a current high court judge, and the head of one of the largest religious foundations in the country and candidate in the May presidential elections. Following the publication of the audio recording, some clerical authorities and the chief of the judiciary admitted that the executions had taken place and, in some instances, defended them.

On 18 October 2017, the London-based ‘Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran’ (JVMI) published its second report about Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners, exposing the identities of dozens of members of the “Death Commissions”, some of who are current senior members of the Iranian administration including the government and the judiciary, enjoying total impunity.

By: 1988 Massacre

1988 Massacre


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UN High Commissioner asks his office to look ‘deeper’ into Iran’s 1988 massacre

UN High Commissioner asks his office to look ‘deeper’ into Iran’s 1988 massacre

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said that he has asked his office to conduct a deeper investigation into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.

Taking questions via a Twitter Question and Answer session on 10 December 2017 to mark International Human Rights Day, the High Commissioner said that he had recently been briefed on the issue.

Numerous questions were posed to the High Commissioner about how the UN plans to end the impunity surrounding the 1988 massacre during the Twitter Q&A using the hashtag #AskZeid. They included questions from lawmakers, jurists, human rights activists and journalists in addition to Iranians, including family members of the victims of the massacre.

The High Commissioner pointed out that the UN ought to respond to “alleged atrocities on this scale”.

More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in a few weeks in the summer of 1988 based on a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini.

The following is the full text of the High Commissioner’s response on Twitter:

I was briefed on this issue quite recently and have asked my office to take a deeper look into it, but clearly when you look at historical alleged atrocities on this scale, they need a response from the UN. But more broadly speaking, we of course campaign for the end of the use of the death penalty; the suspension of it at least in those countries that seems to be heavily retentionist, and Iran is one of the countries we focus on”.


Background note:

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Asma Jahangir, in a report to the General Assembly on 14 August 2017 (A/72/322) referred to newly-emerged evidence confirming the occurrence of the crimes. She wrote:

In August 2016, an audio recording of a meeting held in 1988 between high-level State officials and clerics was published. The recording revealed the names of the officials who had carried out and defended the executions, including the current Minister of Justice, a current high court judge, and the head of one of the largest religious foundations in the country and candidate in the May presidential elections. Following the publication of the audio recording, some clerical authorities and the chief of the judiciary admitted that the executions had taken place and, in some instances, defended them.

The UN Secretary General in his latest report submitted to the UN General Assembly stated that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had received a large number of complaints from the families of the victims. They have been calling on the UN and particularly the OHCHR to set up a commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre.

On 18 October 2017, the London-based ‘Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran’ (JVMI) published its second report about Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners, exposing the identities of dozens of members of the “Death Commissions”, some of who are current senior members of the Iranian administration including the government and the judiciary, enjoying total impunity.


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Iran: From human rights violations to dangerous meddling

Iran: From human rights violations to dangerous meddling

As we speak, spreading extremism and Islamic fundamentalism remains a cornerstone policy of Iran’s state-run strategy, all hacked into this regime’s constitution.

The real image

Earlier this year Amnesty International’s 94-page report, “Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack,” detailed this regime’s drastic human rights violations, with a specific focus on its extensive overdose of executions.

As witnessed for years running, Iran is the world’s leading executioner per capita, with many hangings continuously and horrendously carried out in public. All the while, secret executions are ongoing in dungeons across the country, including Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison.

This is the real image of Iran, cloaked by the ruling regime and their appeasers in the West for years, who continue to portray Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani as a moderate worth dealing with.

ANALYSIS: Does the Middle East’s stability hinge on Iran’s expulsion?

Rouhani heads a corrupt system responsible for executing around 3,500 people, and counting, from 2013 to this day. 350 such counts have been registered this year alone.

Iran lacks anything even remotely comparable to a justice system and the current Justice Minister, Alireza Avaie, has been on numerous terrorist lists since 2011 for human rights violations.

Avaie is also known to have played a leading role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, consisting of mostly members and supporters of Iran’s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Nursing home

Iran is the godfather of human rights violations and terrorism, known as the main source of systematic human rights violations and expanding conflicts across the region.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and the Quds Force, responsible for the IRGC’s extraterritorial operations, led by Qassem Suleimani, famed for his ruthlessness, are the main parties responsible for Iran’s internal repression, and mainly, aggressively expanding Iran’s influence throughout the Middle East.

For decades the IRGC has been responsible for terrorist attacks in this flashpoint corner of the globe, including the countries of SyriaIraqLebanon and Yemen. In this regard, Tehran’s continuing practice of being the nursing home of proxy extremist groups is no matter of dispute or questioning.

What Iran has maintained a lid on has been its close collaboration with terror elements. For decades, the world has been deceived – conveniently for and by Iran – into believing that significant differences exist between Sunnis and Shiites, and thus cancelling any possibility of Tehran having links with its Sunni rivals.

Tehran has usurped this window of opportunity to portray itself and claim to be a de facto ally of the West in the fight against extremism, especially recently in the form of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Discussions in Washington are ongoing over how the US military, short of a direct conflict, can deter and contain Iran’s meddling in Middle East countries. The Pentagon has refrained from public comments.

One official familiar with the mentality of US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has hinted to the media that Iran is the focus of much attention in the Pentagon recently.

Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chaired a meeting between the US, UK, France and Germany to blueprint US-European collaboration aimed at countering Iran through the course of diplomatic and economic practices. Other senior Trump administration officials have also resorted to significant remarks.

“What the Iranians have done across the broader Middle East is fuel and accelerate these cycles of violence so that they can take advantage of these chaotic environments, take advantage of weak states, to make them dependent on them for support,” US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said to a security forum last weekend.

“We have to address what is a growing Iranian capability and an ability to use proxies, militias, terrorist organizations to advance their aim, their hegemonic aims in the region,” McMaster added.

Game-changing revelations

Newly released documents obtained by US special forces in their raid on the residence of the now dead al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan prove what many scholars have argued for years.

Iran’s regime, known as the beating heart of Islamic fundamentalism, has never considered sectarian differences an obstacle to cooperate with extremists. Tehran seeks to strengthen its resolve in the objective of furthering influence and global support for fundamentalism and terrorism.

These documents prove how the Iranian regime was working closely with al-Qaeda, including bin Laden himself, which could have subsequently led to Tehran’s inevitable cooperation with ISIS.

Iran’s rulers, and their cohorts spread in various countries, seek the same objective of establishing a ruthless caliphate by deploying global jihad. This practice hinges on unbridled brutality, misogyny and immorality to its utmost extent. No limits in barbarity and viciousness is accepted by these parties in their effort to reach their objectives.

Further reports are emerging detailing the growing amount of ties linking the regime in Iran with extremists groups, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. New evidence confirms how despite the existence of various factions of extremist groups such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS, at the end of the day, they all look at Tehran as the main source fueling this infamous mentality.

Flashpoint Yemen

Iran’s support for the Houthis in Yemen has escalated and gained much attention recently. For example, a missile launched by the Houthis on November 4 was strikingly similar to an Iranian-made Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile, added to its collection by Iran in 2010, and yet never before seen in Yemen’s missile arsenal, according to a confidential report prepared by a UN panel of experts missioned to monitor a 2015 arms embargo imposed on Yemen.

One component — a device, known to be an actuator, used to assist in steering the missile — was found among the debris bearing a metal logo of an Iranian company, Shadi Bagheri Industrial Group, known to be the subject of UN, EU, and US sanctions.

The Houthis “obtained access to missile technology more advanced” than what they had prior to the conflict’s birth in 2015, according to the panel report.

“The design, characteristics and dimensions of the components inspected by the panel are consistent with those reported for the Iranian manufactured Qiam-1 missile,” the text adds.

Serious measures

The dangerous nature of Iran’s regime is obvious to all. Parallel to military and terrorist measures throughout the globe, Tehran targets naïve and vulnerable subjects, using them to relay their reactionary mentality. This includes the various Western parliaments and significant international bodies, including UN and EU institutions. Tehran’s demonization agendas have shown to be predecessors to violent attacks.

Only serious measures against Iran’s regime, and ultimately the collapse of this ruthless entity, will mark the end of Iran’s human rights violations, and meddling and support for terrorism being spread deceivingly under the flag of Islam.

ALSO READ: Who is Qais al-Khazaali, godfather of Iranian-backed Shiite militias?

Iran’s increasing meddling abroad is not a policy signaling this regime’s strength. In fact, facing deep domestic crises, Tehran is attempting to cloak its internal weakness by increasing its influence across the region on the one hand, and resorting to saber-rattling to prevent the international community from adopting a firm policy.

Iran entered negotiations and succumbed to curbing its nuclear program due to fears of uncontrollable uprisings resulting from crippling international sanctions. This is the language Iran understands and more major sanctions are needed against this regime.

By: Al Arabiya

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a panel at the National Press Club by the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US), human rights experts called for accountability for Iranian regime’s human rights abuses.

Referring to NCRI’s newly released book, “Iran, Where Mass Murderers Rule, The 1988 Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners and the Continuing Atrocities,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Kenneth Blackwell, called for accountability into the 1988 massacre to “put pressure on the regime to give access so that we might shine light on the evils that were done… [to give] hope to [those] inside Iran.” Blackwell added, “our delegation at the U.N. [should] continue to be a leading voice, not only on international terrorism…by the regime, but …to bring justice to a regime … that is a threat to the basic fabric of humanity across the globe.”

Former Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Linda Chavez, referred to the role of women in the opposition. “It is no accident,” that Iran’s opposition movement “is led by a woman, Madame Maryam Rajavi. She stands as a real affront to this regime. The regime hates and fears the MEK [Mujahedin-e Khalq] because in the MEK women … are allowed to lead others. And men are willing to listen and to follow them; a major threat to a regime that wants to imprison half its people.”

NCRI’s U.S. Representative, Soona Samsami said, “why the regime continues to perpetrate such atrocities and continuing? The answer is simple; it fears its population. Despite harsh crackdown, Tehran has been unable to extinguish the Iranian people’s yearning for change, freedom, and human rights.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsberg emphasized, “The violation of human rights has become an inconvenient truth to those who have decided that the Iran nuclear agreement is what begins and ends our engagement with Iran… We need to begin holding Iran accountable.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, said, “Many of the perpetrators of this crime are in positions of high authority and this has produced a culture of impunity that Iran’s rulers exploit to continue arresting, torturing, and murdering at will and without consequences or penalty… The only way to stop rogue regimes from using terror and murder as tools of their rule is to hold them accountable for their crimes.”


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Paris Conference calls for justice for victims of massacre in Iran

Paris Conference calls for justice for victims of massacre in Iran

An exhibition and a conference were held today at the 5th District Municipality of Paris, focusing on the “massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 in Iran – Right of families of the victims to learn the truth.”


Invited by Mayor Florence Berthout,

The conference was co-sponsored by the Committee to Support Human Rights in Iran and the Committee of French Mayors for A Democratic Iran. A number of political personalities, lawyers and a large number of elected representatives of France participated in the conference and delivered their speeches, calling on the UN, world governments and relevant judicial authorities to show appropriate reaction to this “crime against humanity” which had been forgotten for years, but has been recently brought up in Iran and on the international level.


The speakers included former Algerian Prime Minister, Mr. Sid Ahmad Ghozali, Bernard Kouchner,

Rama Yade, Ingrid Betancourt, William Bourdon, lawyer, and Tahar Boumedra, jurist, expert and former UN senior officer, who called for the formation of an international committee to investigate the extra-judicial executions of 30,000 political prisoners in summer 1988 and the following months upon the fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the theocratic regime in Iran.

Many speakers including former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, Rama Yade, Ingrid Betancourt, Attorney William Bourdon, expert jurist Tahar Boumedra, a former senior UN official, called for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry into the extrajudicial executions of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988, and following month, following a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the ruling theocracy in Iran.


Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran,

sent a video message to the conference, in which she declared, “The international community’s appeasement of the Iranian regime and the immunity enjoyed by its officials over some 40 years has emboldened these criminals. The mullahs who carried out the massacre in 1988, now hold world record in per capita executions.”



Mothers of some of the victims of this crime who are still searching for the bodies of their loved ones, as well as representatives of Iran’s young generation who demand accountability of the Iranian regime’s officials on these crimes, also gave their testimonies in this conference.





Bernard Kouchner recalled that Khomeini decided in the name of God to order the death of 30,000 political prisoners within a few months, which he described as ‘climax of barbarism’. He condemned the fact that a member of the death commission is Rouhani’s justice minister. In the opinion of the former foreign minister, it is time to ask all levels to investigate this massacre.



Ingrida Betancourt noted that the economic benefits of the nuclear deal are taken by the Revolutionary Guards. The IRGC has used this opportunity its aggressions in the region. In the opinion of Ingrid Betancourt, the separation of the nuclear issue from human rights issue has not been but a trap. The IRGC interferes in Syria and Iraq and finances terrorists like Hezbollah. The policy of appeasement gave a blank check to Iran to attack its neighbors and exploit the people of Iran. She strongly criticized the position of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, saying that Europe has made a mistake and has no right to betray itself by turning a blind eye to the sufferings of the Iranian people.

Rama Yade demanded an international investigation into the 1988 massacre, and recalled that the Iranian judiciary, whose minister had a direct role in the massacre, is not competent to investigate this crime. She also criticized the nuclear deal with Iran, saying that the deal served as a permit for the regime so long as repression in Iran and war and terrorism pursued by the regime continue.  She stressed that if the Iranian regime refuses to end its missile program and withdraw its militias from Syria, then we should to re-enforce the sanctions.


William Bourdon pointed out that the 1988 massacre in Iran is the largest massacre of political prisoners since World War II. We must put an end to this impunity of the perpetrators of the massacre. Over the past 30 years, there have been lots of massacres in Iran. It is essential to recognize the executioners of Tehran a criminals because they are today bound to the executioners of Damascus and have formed an ignoble cult of criminals.

The co-chair of the Committee of Mayors of France for a Democratic Iran, Jean François Legaret (mayor of the 1st District of Paris) announced the support for of the conference’s objectives by a few thousand mayors and members of city council, who had signed a declaration after the recent Mayor’s Congress regarding the need for investigation into the 1988 massacre and human rights in Iran.

A large number of documents, photos, film footages, handcraft of martyred prisoners and other artwork were put on exhibition on the sideline of this conference. A versatile combination of people including a large number of students of international law participated in the conference.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, made reference to this crime in his November 2017 report, saying that the UN had received many complaints from families of the victims.

Also, Ms. Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, reiterated in her recent report to the General Assembly on October 25 that the families of the victims have a right to remedy, reparation, and the right to know about the truth of these events and the fate of the victims without risking reprisal.

Comité de Soutien aux Droits de l’Homme en Iran

2017November 28

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Time for Reckoning a Long Hidden Massacre

Time for Reckoning a Long Hidden Massacre

This week, Tehran announced it would continue a missile development program that defense analysts say could allow Iran to launch nuclear weapons. It was a public threat that has understandably stirred strong response from the U.S. and the west: the risk of nuclear proliferation by a fanatical regime is indeed a threat to millions across the region. But there is another, potentially greater threat from within Iran, one made more insidious by the fact that no one outside of Iran seems to care but which nonetheless imperils the values and moral conscience of the civilized world. I am speaking of the massacre of some 30,000 Iranians—including my uncle— at the hands of the state in 1988. And the arbitrary killings and executions continue.

In 1981, during the early years of Iran’s so-called “Islamic Revolution” my uncle Mahmood ‘Masoud’ Hassani was 21 years old and in his second year studying Economics at Tehran University. On June 30, my uncle never returned home from school.

Nearly two traumatic months passed before Masoud called my family to say he had been in jail since his disappearance and had been sentenced to serve ten years in the notorious Evin Prison. Even in absence of any evidence, he was convicted of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘spreading corruption on Earth’ all because he had distributed pro-democratic pamphlets near his campus.

When my uncle was in the seventh year of his sentence, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a notorious fatwa, calling for the immediate execution of Iran’s political prisoners. Death panels were commissioned to demand that blindfolded prisoners repent for their actions and those of their cellmates. Those who complied were granted amnesty. Those, like my uncle, who offered no such apology, were taken through a set of doors from which they would never return.

Without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom or being allowed to contact his loved ones, my uncle was hanged at the age of 27 sometime between July 28th and August 1st 1988.

Unfortunately, his story is not unique. In less than five months, 30,000 of Iran’s brightest students, professors and devoted activists suffered the same fate. Expectant mothers and children as young as 13 were among the victims of these systematic killings, which effectively decimated an entire generation of Iranians who had devoted themselves to the struggle for democracy.

But 29 years later, the mullahs’ regime has still not succeeded in silencing the people’s calls for freedom and justice. Last year, the son of Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, the intended successor to Supreme Leader Khomeini, released an audio recording that detailed the troubling extent of the purges. In it, Iranian jurists themselves described an obvious crime against humanity. For leaking this tape, Ahmad Montazeri was swiftly arrested, but not before unprecedented public discussion began of the 1988 massacres.

Thus, 60 million Iranians who were born after the revolution came to confront an issue that had been long swept under the rug, both by Iranian authorities who fear a public uprising and by thousands upon thousands of victims’ families who, with the most noble of intentions, have silently endured their grief and sadness, for fear of reliving the horrors they know this government to be capable of. Their fears are well-founded: many members of the judiciary who oversaw the execution of Khomeini’s fatwa in 1988 occupy the same posts today.

The newfound scrutiny has forced a number of Iran’s high-ranking governmental officials to speak to the issue head-on and acknowledge the historical record. But they have not done so with contrition. On August 28th 2016, the Iranian prosecutor and politician Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said of the mass executions, “We are proud to have carried out God’s commandment and to have stood with strength and fought against the enemies of God and the people.”

As dissatisfaction, disillusionment and dissent continue to grow among Iran’s young and vibrant population, authorities have begun to feel the pressure and initiate new plans to conceal their history. There are plans to build commercial centers over the unmarked mass burial sites often frequented by families of the fallen. Doing so would destroy crucial forensic evidence that would allow for perpetrators of the 1988 massacre to be brought to justice.

Civil society organizations continue to receive unsettling news about persecution and arrests of surviving family members who have sought information about the location of their loved ones’ remains. Maryam Akbari Monfared, for instance, is currently serving a 15-year sentence at Evin Prison, without family visits or medical care. Three of Mayram’s brothers and her sister were executed in the course of the purges, and her own ‘crime’ consists of having published a letter asking for an explanation of these executions and the subsequent secret burials.

As grassroots efforts surrounding this issue gain momentum, two things should give global audiences pause. First is the ongoing impunity of the Iranian judicial system, with at least 3,100 executions being carried out since Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013. The second is the silence of international governmental bodies tasked with documenting these very sorts of human rights abuses.

For families of victims, like my own, it has become painfully clear that the maintenance of economic ties with an oil-rich country has repeatedly trumped earnest efforts to speak out on Iran’s human rights record. With an abundance of contemporary and archival evidence supplied to the appropriate intergovernmental agencies, how else might we explain their silence if not as an instance of quid pro quo? Judging from the lack of outrage or historical record in the west, do atrocities that do not directly affect others simply not happen? Are these truths inconvenient?


By: Townhall Townhall

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Call for UN commission of inquiry into #Iran’s #1988Massacre at #HRC36

Call for UN commission of inquiry into #Iran’s #1988Massacre at #HRC36

The JVMI participated in a side event about Iran’s 1988 massacre at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 14 September 2017.

The event called on the OHCHR to launch an international commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran.

Speakers at the event included Tahar Boumedra, former head of UNAMI’s human rights office and the lead author of two JVMI reports into the 1988 massacre; Alfred de Zayas, UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; Rama Yade, former Human Rights Minister of France; Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament and current President of the international committee In Search of Justice (ISJ); Kirsty Brimelow, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales; and Laurence Felhmann Rielle, Swiss Federal Councillor. The event was moderated by Perviz Khazai, the representative of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Nordic countries.

A number of survivors and family members of victims of the 1988 massacre also addressed the event about the scenes that they had witnessed at the time.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras started the event by stating that he was encouraged by the recent report of Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which the issue of the 1988 massacre was raised. Vidal-Quadras detailed how the information campaign conducted by the opposition about the massacre has had a very large impact on public opinion and officials both outside and within Iran. He pointed out that the majority of victims of the massacre belonged to the opposition group People’s Mojahedin (PMOI or MEK) and he emphasised that the best source of evidence about the massacre are the PMOI members currently residing in Tirana, Albania.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, President of the international committee In Search of Justice (ISJ), United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

Vidal-Quadras further explained the link between the massacre and the current leadership of the Iranian government, including the fact that two subsequent Ministers of Justice appointed by President Hassan Rouhani have been directly implicated as central actors in this crime against humanity. He concluded that due to the continued presence of the perpetrators at the highest levels of government and judicial system there can be no credible national investigation and the next report of the Special Rapporteur should therefore take the step to recommend the UN refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

Finally Vidal-Quadras entreated European and other Governments to put human rights first when dealing with Iran. The credibility of the democratic world has been damaged by years of appeasement towards the Iranian Government despite their gross violations of human rights, he said. One way to reclaim that credibility would be to include language about the 1988 massacre from the Special Rapporteur’s report in the UN resolutions on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and on the human rights situation in Iran, he added.

Tahar Boumedra gave an overview of the extensive research into the 1988 massacre carried out by the JVMI since the launch of the organisation last year. The JVMI has gathered details about the victims, alleged perpetrators, sites of mass graves as well as applicable laws and treaties, he said. Boumedra explained that the events of 1988 would not have been possible without the Iranian Government setting up a machine of mass killing which remain in place today.

United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

Boumedra went on to show some of the evidence that has been gathered since the publication of the organisation’s first report in February. There have been multiple public confessions by the perpetrators, currently high ranking officials in the Iranian state. Not least, there were several admissions of guilt during the presidential campaign earlier this year, he said.

Boumedra emphasised that although the exact extent of the massacre is unknown there is no doubt whatsoever that thousands of people were executed in an extra-legal process. The killings were systematic and widespread, with as many as 70 death committees set up in all the major cities in Iran.

Boumedra questioned whether it is normal that after twenty-eight years there has not been any attempts at an investigation by the Iranian authorities. The families have a right to know what happened to their loved ones, how they died and where they are buried. He recommended that the UN take a new approach to this issue. He encouraged all relevant UN mandate holders to investigate the events of 1988.

Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order started his intervention by stating that he believed in the cause presented by JVMI and ISJ and in particular that he wished to align himself with Boumedra’s call for an international commission of inquiry. He argued that the matter of the 1988 massacre in Iran impacts international order, truth and justice. It is not simply an Iranian matter. The Independent Expert reminded that there have been countless UN resolutions condemning impunity for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity around the world. The 1988 m

UN human rights expert Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

Rama Yade reminded the audience that there can no peace without justice because without justice there is always the risk of recurrence of the crime. All it took was a fatwa from the Supreme Leader for thousands of people, political prisoners as well as prisoners of belief and conscience, to be killed. Yade asked, without justice, what is to prevent it from happening again? While acknowledging the ‘important and excellent work’ of the Special Rapporteur and her report, Yade argued that the international community must go further and accept its responsibilities. In her view, a fact finding mission is not enough, there must be an independent international commission of inquiry.


United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

The former French Secretary of State outlined one of the largest potential problems of any investigation into the events of 1988, the fact that the Iranian authorities consistently find, intimidate and punish any individual who cooperates with UN Special Procedures or human rights organisations. In order for an investigation to be successful, witnesses must be able to come forward without fear of reprisals, which means the international community must be ready to protect witnesses. Yade further argued that for justice to be done there must be legal sanctions against those found guilty and this requires the involvement of the International Criminal Court, which in turn requires that the Security Council take action.

In response to those who might be intimidated by Iran and the struggle ahead, Yade argued that the only strategy which has proven effective against regimes like that in Iran is strength, not cowardice. She reminded that Iran has much more too lose from lost trade and business, which means we should not be intimidated by Iranian threats of economic losses if we put human rights first. In terms of regional and security policy it is clear that Iran will not play a positive role in the region, such as ending the war in Syria, regardless of the actions of the world community when it comes to human rights in general and the case of the 1988 massacre in particular.

Yade ended her intervention by praising the ‘brilliant report’ by Boumedra compiling the evidence to date and encouraged everyone to do what they can to help the Iranian people become involved and present their evidence.

Kirsty Brimelow took the floor to encourage states and organisations to follow the lead of Canada which officially recognised the 1988 massacre as a crime against humanity in 2013. In what could potentially be described as a genocide, executions took place every thirty minutes all over Iran, she said. She argued that these mass killings might have been dressed up in judicial wrappings but clearly violated all international principles of fair trials and independent judicial systems.

United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

Brimelow went on to argue that even in cases were atrocities have already happened, states have responsibilities and must aid reconciliation by recognising the crime, informing relatives and taking measures to ensure non-recurrence. This particular crime was pivotal to the development of human rights in Iran. Centrally placed perpetrators were promoted and two Ministers of Justice are among those accused of carrying out the mass killings, she said. The current extreme rate of executions of Iran is also a product of the past and unlikely if not for the 1988 massacre.

Brimelow reminded the international community that over one hundred accused perpetrators have been identified. It is not possible, as is too often the case and which have impeded other calls for justice, for perpetrators to hide behind some faceless grouping. These individuals can and should be brought to justice, but what is the appropriate venue? Brimelow argued that Iran has proven both unwilling, given the twenty-eight years without any investigation, and unable, given the lack of an independent judiciary, to hold its own tribunal. An international inquiry in some form, potentially a hybrid tribunal such as that attempted in the case of Sri Lanka, is necessary. A remedy is urgently required, she added.

Laurence Felhmann Rielle recounted her many interactions with in particular the women who are fighting for justice in the case of the 1988 massacre. She expressed how impressed she was with their activism and struggle in the face of extreme obstacles put up by the Iranian authorities.

Felhmann Rielle denounced in the strongest terms the horrible events of 1988. One third of those executed were women, among them pregnant women, teenagers and old women. She argued this case, and the information campaign of the families and PMOI, has an enormous impact on Iranian society to this day. She reminded the audience that while the PMOI paid the highest price they were not the only victims and that this campaign is for all those impacted by the crime.

She hailed the report of the Special Rapporteur as a step forward but not enough. Although the report means we can no longer ignore the facts of what happened in 1988, the international community must also keep up the pressure on the Iranian Government. Felhmann Rielle pointed out that many non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International and FIDH have also demanded that the internal community take action. As part of that action, she argued there must be protection for opponents of the Iranian Government and witnesses.

Tom Syrin, visiting scholar at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, explained why the particular atrocity of the 1988 massacre needs to be urgently addressed. He drew on several historical examples to show that atrocities and crimes against humanity often follow large losses of legitimacy for non-democratic regimes. In the case of the 1988 massacre, the Iran-Iraq war had severely challenged the Iranian Government and this loss of prestige and legitimacy led to the repressive actions culminating in the mass killings. Syrin argued that in the case of the current Iranian Government, its support is based in part on the clergy and in part on the merchant class which will only support the government as long as money is diverted to them. The Iranian constitution also stipulates a goal of eternal expansion of the revolution. With the economic troubles of Iran and setbacks in its regional policy, particularly in Syria, there is thus a large risk of renewed repression and recurrence of the events of 1988. There is a clear connection between a lack of rule of law and the use of external crises to conceal and motivate repression.

Syrin ended his intervention by emphasising that the public and repeated admissions of guilt by perpetrators is a jurist’s dream and must move the Human Rights Council to action. If the UN Human Rights mechanisms are not to risk their own legitimacy, these warning signs must be followed by substantial actions.

Zohreh Bijanyar spoke out on behalf of the family members of those killed in the 1988 massacre. She told the audience of her sister, a human rights activist, who was arrested in the summer of 1988 and soon after executed along with more than 30,000 other political prisoners following a fatwa by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.


United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

She spoke of the pain to see at least three known members of the death committee which sentenced the prisoners to their executions currently occupying high positions in the Iranian judiciary. Thousands of families, including her own, have waited twenty-nine years to know why their loved ones were killed, when, where and how they were killed and where their bodies were buried. On behalf of these families she called for the truth to be established through an international commission of inquiry and reiterated that the pain is still present every day for the families.

Mostafa Naderi recounted the story of his imprisonment. He was first arrested in 1980, he was only a student at the time, rounded up with many other youngsters who wanted to ensure that they did not lose the freedoms they had gained after the 1979 revolution. The only charges presented against him were selling newspapers and participating in protests which were perfectly legal at the time.

He spent in total five years in solitary confinement and endured extensive torture and pain. In 1988 he was suffering from internal bleeding of the kidneys as a consequence of being whipped with cables and was often unconscious and hospitalised. When he was brought back to his prison cell after he recovered, he was told by the remaining few prisoners that the others had been executed. The regime had, using the so-called death commissions, separated the prisoners into those that would live and those that would die. Between 150 and 200 people had been executed every night. The doors to most cells were open, their former inhabitants gone and only their bags with nametags left, he recounted. Many had been told that they were being brought to see their families and instead led to their executions. Only 200 of the previously 12,000 of the prisoners in his prison had survived. Naderi told the audience about how he was released three years after the massacre and how he managed to flee the country.

Naderi explained that the massacre neither started nor stopped in 1988. It started with the execution of the first political prisoner and continues to this day. He ended his remarks by asking for a commission of inquiry not just for those that have already died but also for those currently awaiting execution in Iranian prisoners.

United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017

Simin Nouri, President of the Association of Iranian Women in France, highlighted that one third of all those executed in 1988 were women. She explained that women have always had a very prominent role in all social movements in Iran and that through the decades much progress had been made. Despite the grave misogyny which faces the women of Iran, their struggle still continues. Nouri urged all Iranian women to come forward with their stories, to record all the details of what they have witnessed and experienced, and submit it to both the members of the panel and to the UN. She ended her intervention with the hope that the women of Iran can count on all in the audience and the international community to help them.




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Tehran’s futile attempts at discrediting the cause for regime change in Iran

Tehran’s futile attempts at discrediting the cause for regime change in Iran


No longer having the tacit support of a U.S. administration inclined toward rapprochement, the regime of Tehran is gradually facing the consequences of its unrestricted incursions in the neighboring region and brutal crackdown on domestic dissent in past years. With regime change in Iran gaining increasing support both at home and abroad, Tehran is frantically resorting to the oldest trick in its book: demonizing the opposition.

This is a campaign that the Iranian regime has been leading for decades, although in recent months it has seen an uptick. Massoud Khodabandeh, a U.K.-based Iranian whose ties to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) are well known, recently ran a long tirade in the Huffington Post against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), a prominent opposition group that advocates regime change in Iran.

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