NCRI – In the summer of 1988, in response to a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini immediately following Iran’s announcement that it had agreed to a cease-fire in the devastating eight-year Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian regime massacred an estimated 30,000 political prisoners.
Three-men commissions were created to determine who should be executed. The commissions, known as the Death Commissions, questioned prisoners about their political and religious beliefs, and depending on the answers, determined who should be executed. The questioning was brief, not public, there were no appeals, and prisoners were executed the same day or soon thereafter.
The victims were buried in secret mass graves.
An investigation by Justice for Victims of 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) that began in 2016 has traced the existence of 59 mass graves across Iran. The findings are based on eye-witness reports, information provided by family members of victims and documentary and photographic evidence from the sites.
The JVMI has published an interactive map that highlights the mass graves.
Some are located near Tehran, like the Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery (Blocks 93 / 103), and the Khavaran Cemetery. Many are in the Mazandaran Province, such as Beneath the Abbas Abad – Kelardasht Road, near the forest, and at the Seyed Nizamuddin Shrine, Taleb Amoli Street, next to Amol sports stadium, as well as Shahrak Shahab Nia, Darzikola Akhondi, Babol, near the green area.
Others are as far away as Hormozgan Province, near the The Strait of Hormuz, where at least 30 corpses were discovered in a mass grave by construction workers building the Minab physical training centre there. They are even located near the Iraqi border, in Saleh-Abad, in the Ilam Province, at the Ali Saleh Holy Shrine. As well, in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, by the Susangerd-Ahwaz highway, past Afagh village, near the Jihad cemetery; and in Dezful, also in the Khuzestan Province, near the Roudband Square, Komeil Street.
They are located in large cities. Isfahan, in Isfahan Province, for example, in the Bagh-e Rezvan Cemetery (Block 41), as well as Shiraz, in Fars Province, at the Dar-al-Rahma Cemetery (Block 38).
In June, Amnesty International published a news item on its website warning that the Iranian authorities may be attempting to desecrate a mass grave site in Ahvaz, southern Iran that would destroy vital forensic evidence and ruin opportunities for justice for the mass killings.
In December 2016, reports and video evidence surfaced of a mass grave discovered by sewage workers who were drilling in an area of Tabriz in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province. It is suspected of holding bodies of a large number of political prisoners who perished in the 1988 massacre by the regime. Now, The United Nations must respond with a commission of inquiry following this discovery.
These are only a few of the previously secret sites that have been brought to light by the JVMI, who are is calling on the United Nations’ human rights body to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the 1988 massacre as a crime against humanity and to hold the perpetrators to account.