On Wednesday, 13 September 2017, the Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament (FOFI), held a conference at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Strasbourg with the participation of dozens of MEPs. They called on the Council of the European Union, the member states and the High Representative of the European Union, Mrs. Federica Mogherini, to end silence and inaction with respect to the brutal violation of human rights in Iran. In particular, they called for an independent investigation by the United Nations into the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988 and the preparation of the trial for those responsible for this crime.
The meeting was moderated by Gérard Deprez MEP (ALDE Group), chair of FOFI, which has the support of around 300 parliamentarians from various political groups and countries. In this meeting, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the political coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran was the guest speaker and several members of the European Parliament took part in the discussions.
Referring to the recent report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, in which Article 7 refers to the 1988 massacre, speakers called on the UN General Assembly meeting, to be held next week in New York, to form an investigation committee into the massacre, and called on the UN Security Council to refer this case to the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators of this crime would be brought to justice.
MEPs emphasized that indifference to this great crime that was unprecedented after the Second World War has made the Iranian regime more emboldened to continue mass executions and violations of international standards. Silence against these crimes if it is for the sake of business is shameful and if it is for the nuclear deal, would be quite naive. The regime gets the message of weakness from silence against this barbarism.
In July for example, 101 prisoners were executed. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said during his opening remarks in the UN Human Rights Council on 11 September 2017: “Since the beginning of the year at least four children have been put to death, and at least 89 other children remain on death row.”
Parliamentarians endorsed the 10-point platform of opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, that calls for democracy, secularism, respect for human rights, abolition of the death penalty in Iran, and peace and tranquility in the region. They emphasized that, based on 38 years of experience with this regime, as long as the religious dictatorship rules, oppression in Iran, and terrorism and fundamentalism in the region will remain.
The so-called presidential election in May was quite undemocratic as there were no opposition candidates. During the first four years of the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, more than 3,000 people were executed, making Iran the number state-executioner in the world per capita. He has described executions as rule of law and divine laws.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Iran wrote in her recent report: “Between July and August 1988, thousands of political prisoners, men, women and teen-agers, were reportedly executed pursuant to a fatwa issued by the then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini…
The report points to evidence that reveals “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.”
It adds: “Recently, these killings have been acknowledged by some at the highest levels of the State. The families of the victims have a right to know the truth about these events and the fate of their loved ones without risking reprisal. They have the right to a remedy, which includes the right to an effective investigation of the facts and public disclosure of the truth; and the right to reparation. The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on the Government to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation into these events is carried out.”
The MEPs regretted Mrs Mogherini’s silence about the 1988 massacre and generally for her silence about repression of women and human rights violations in Iran. “This silence by our EU High Representative only encourages the mullahs to continue their crimes in Iran. This is very bad for the reputation of Europe.
“We in the European Parliament, who are elected representatives of the people of Europe, we must defend European values which are democracy, human rights, women rights, separation of religion and state”.
MEPs urged European governments and the EU, to condition relations with Islamic Republic of Iran, to a suspension of executions and a clear progress on human rights.