Category: Press

Silence Of The West On Mullahs’ 1988 Massacre Of Political Prisoners In Iran

Silence Of The West On Mullahs’ 1988 Massacre Of Political Prisoners In Iran

The West has remained silent over the past years on mullahs’ massacre of political prisoners in Iran

Maryam Rajavi’s message to the Exhibition on 1988 massacre in Iran at the Paris District 1 City Hall

Dear friends,
I salute you who have come together to pay tribute to the political prisoners massacred in Iran. In 1988, in days like this, there was a commotion in prisons across Iran to massacre the political prisoners. The slaughter had been launched based on a religious decree issued by Khomeini, the founder of the mullahs’ regime.

Within a few months, the mullahs hanged 30,000 political prisoners who were serving their prison sentences.

Thirty years are gone but not their memories. The memories of the victims of the 1988 massacre continue to awaken the conscience of Iranian society and inspire them to rise. Those prisoners are continuing to have their impact. Their impact could be seen on two levels:

On the one hand, in the struggle against the ruling regime. We can see this in the Call-for-Justice movement. The movement has been expanding since two years ago when it started, and continues to grow. PMOI supporters obtained new documents on the massacre during this campaign. And the campaign has helped build tremendous pressure on the regime as if the massacre had taken place just recently.

Under such pressures, at least 20 senior officials of the regime were forced to defend this crime. The mullahs’ supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, expressed anger over why the 1988 massacre is being surrounded by an aura of innocence. These confessions are new documents on the ruling mullahs’ crime against humanity.

On the other hand, the victims of the massacre are inspiring to the Iranian society, and particularly to the youth.

In the past eight months, Iranian protesters have been remembering the steadfast political prisoners in their cities and how they were massacred for freedom. They remember their cause, what they sacrificed their lives for, and what their message is for today.

Just this week, the people of the cities of Karaj, Isfahan, Shiraz and several other cities of the country took to the streets and demonstrated against the mullahs. This movement has been persisting for eight months throughout the country.

This movement has alarmed the mullahs. To break out of this crisis, they planned a terrorist plot against the annual gathering of the Iranian Resistance in Paris on June 30. The terrorist operation failed to reach its goal but showed that the murderers of those 30,000 political prisoners stop at nothing to physically eliminate their opposition.

The West has remained silent over the past years on mullahs’ terrorism and on the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. So, the mullahs have found themselves immune to the international consequences of their crimes. The time has come to end such immunity.

I hope that France would lead the initiative for a new drive to defend human rights in Iran and pursue the case of those massacred in 1988. It is absolutely essential that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights starts an independent probe into this case and the UN Security Council prepares the arrangements for the prosecution of the leaders of the Iranian regime and those responsible for this massacre.

I would like to extend my deepest appreciations on behalf of the Iranian people’s Resistance to the Paris District 1 Municipality, particularly to Mayor Jean—François Legaret for their admirable undertaking in defense of human rights in Iran.

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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.

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By: 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

By:  ADELLE NAZARIAN

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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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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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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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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What are the policy options for dealing with Iranian regime?

What are the policy options for dealing with Iranian regime?

F. Mahmoudi, Special to Al Arabiya EnglishMonday, 9 October 2017

On browsing social media accounts of Iranian activists — on Feacebook, Twitter, Telegram and Instagram — one can feel the pulse of the Iranian society, where a sense of social unease and protest is evidently brewing.

Even regime officials are writing in the social media about the “huge challenges” they are facing from protesting social classes, such as laborers who have not recieved their salaries and farmers who await payment for their produce. There are also investors and depositors whose money has been blocked by state institutions.

University students are facing a hard time finding jobs and there is also a dramatic increase in the number of unemployed and homeless. On the other hand, many families who lost their children in the 1988 massacre in prisons still do not know the burial sites of their loved ones.

These calamities are the handiwork of a corrupt and criminal regime, as was rightly pointed out by US President Donald Trump in his speech at the UN.

The Trump tirade
The average Iranian also believe that Trump’s speech was accurate in its description of the Iranian regime and they feel happy that their voice has been heard in the most important forum of the world.

In his speech President Trump said: “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. ”

Although Iranian President Hassan Rohani visited New York to attend the annual UN summit in order to keep the so-called Iranian nuclear deal alive, but Trump’s speech against the corrupt and criminal regime of Iran dashed all his hopes. Trump exposed that Rouhani is not a moderate leader but an opportunist following Khamenei’s commands.

Also read: Iran confirms nuclear negotiator imprisoned for spying

In the words of John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an “agreement with a swindler! ” What has the deal brought for Tehran’s theocrats that they emphasize and insist so much on maintaining it?

The regime agreed to an agreement under heavy pressure of international sanctions and fear of social discontent. Knowing the policy of the West’s deal to overcome the predicament, they have apparently given up their aim to devlop an atomic bomb for the time being.

But for the regime, the actual achievement of the deal has been the acquisition of billions of dollars and the ability to keep selling oil for, continue suppressing the Iranian people, increase production of ballistic missiles and the perpetuate destabilization activities in the region.

Although Trump’s speech indicates a change in US policy towards the Iranian regime, it remains to be seen how the US President executes this policy and what are his real motives behind making this speech.

Two policy options
There are two possible options with the US president. In order to put an end to the destabilizing activities by the Iranian regime and to curtail its missile programs there is the option of regime change.

In fact, bring about regime change is the mission of Iranian opposition groups that held strong protests against the presence of Hassan Rouhani in front of the UN .This is the only means for gaining freedom and democracy for Iranian people who have been suffering for nearly four decades.

The theocrats in Tehran understand very well the language of power and once they feel the US government is serious about taking action against them, they will choose to retreat. However, they will not allow their weakness become apparent to their own supporters inside the country.

They will try to maneuver their way to avoid and mitigate the pressure of the US government against them. The acceptance of inspections of military sites by Zarif and the regime lobby network is one of those tricks to test the reaction of the White House. Zarif attempts to keep the support of European governments and cheat the international society again with a fake promise; “the acceptance of inspections of military sites in six years”.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iranian regime, has a difficult mission both to issue threats as well as to continue begging to buy time. He feels defeated after the press meeting on 30 September 2017, when he asked European governments not to support the US stance, as that would be the end of the JCOPA.

ANALYSIS: The disintegrating moral fabric of Iranian society

According to Zarif, Trump will not approve Iran’s compliance of the deal and he will toss the issue back to the US Congress. However, the diplomatic system and lobbies in the US and Europe will seek to prevent the isolation of the illegitimate Iranian regime.

They would seek to take advantage of the differences between the US and Europe. After Donald Trump’s speech at the UN, some European countries including France took positions contrary to those of the US. However,they would eventually be left with the option of either choosing the US or the Iranian regime.

The other weakness Iran will seek to exploit is in the procrastination and lack of coordination among US executive agencies that have still not embraced Donald Trump’s position of supporting the desire of Iranian people and those of the region.

The bill known for dealing with American enemies signed by Donald Trump on August 2, 2017, which put sanctions on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has still not come into effect.

Regime afraid of the people
Trump said that the Iranian regime is afraid of its own people more than the US army, since the people themselves want the regime changed. In order to deal with the harmful policies and actions of the Iranian regime, the people of that country should be supported.

This is the best, simplest, and cheapest policy against the regime, along with enforcing effective sanctions to isolate the regime and opening up criminal cases against its policies and acts of terrorism, human rights violations and the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners.
____________
F. Mahmoudi is a Kurdish-Iranian political and human rights activist.

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Iran murdered my brother in a 1988 massacre. Our father is still searching for his grave

Iran murdered my brother in a 1988 massacre. Our father is still searching for his grave

International Business Times – August 30, 2017

By Massoumeh Raouf

On a cold day in March 1988, my colleague came to me and said “Masoumeh, Masoumeh, you have a letter”.

Receiving a letter is a routine for most people, but not for me. I was a former political prisoner in Iran and had been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in the city of Rasht in northern Iran. I was able to escape the prison miraculously and cross Iran’s borders in a completely non-standard fashion. In the midst of a severe crackdown on dissent in Iran, it was very risky to send me a letter.

I opened the envelope with curiosity. I was shocked after reading a few lines. It was a letter from my younger brother, Ahmad. “Ahmad? Can this be true?”

For years I was waiting for such a day. Ahmad was arrested when the regime’s Revolutionary Guards raided our home in 1982, when he was 16-years-old. His crime was participating in meetings held by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the regime’s main opposition. After suffering long torture he was sentenced to five years in prison. He was first held in Rasht Prison and was subsequently transferred to the notorious jails of Evin and Gohardasht.

He remained in prison for months after his sentence came to an end. His former cellmates had told me stories about his resistance and high spirits.

He was released in February of 1988. He quickly sought to leave the country and join the opposition. Now his letter was in my hands. He had written: “If I wanted to write to you about what I went through all these years, it would equal many, many books. So, let’s put this off for a later time…”

Months passed and I waited to see Ahmad. But why wasn’t there any news of him? Why didn’t he call? My heart was full of anxiety. There was a nagging feeling inside telling me something had happened.

In late July 1988, former Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa for the execution of political prisoners. Despite all-out censorship and isolation of all the prisons, news about this got out of Iran. Hundreds of executions were taking place each day. There were non-stop hangings. Each news report was like a severe blow to my head. I called my father and asked about Ahmad’s whereabouts. He asked in surprise: “Isn’t he with you? He said goodbye to all of us to go and see you! If he’s not with you, then…?”

I still remember the long silence during that phone call. If he was not with me, then…?!

My father had assumed correctly. He started looking for Ahmad from one prison to another. But the more he searched, the less he found. Neither a name, nor a sign, nor a grave.

In 1991 we came to understand that my little brother, Ahmad Raoof Bashardoost, was amongst the 30,000 victims of the mullahs’ madness in the summer of 1988. Nearly all the victims, including my brother, were PMOI/MEK supporters.

This painful story remains alive for my family and all of Iranian society. Twenty-nine years later the authorities have never given my brother’s body to my family, and we don’t even know where he was buried. My father has been searching for his grave for 29 years.

But I have hope.

Massoumeh Raouf
Massoumeh Raouf’s brother was executed by Iran in 1988Massoumeh Raouf

Since last year, a campaign in Iran named the “Justice Movement” has been spreading the message of the victims. It began when the audio file of a meeting on 15 August 1988 between Hossein Ali Montazeri, then deputy to Khomeini, and members of the “Death Committee” shed new light upon the massacre.

This was made public after 28 years and came as a shock to Iranian society. Members of the Death Commission were appointed directly by Khomeini and sent political prisoners like my brother to the gallows after one-minute court sessions.

In the audio recording, Ayatollah Montazeri told the Death Committee members: “The gravest crime in the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, was carried out by you. Your names will go down in history as criminals.”

Montazeri was sacked and passed away in 2009 while under house arrest.

Members of the Death Committee have never been punished and continue to serve in key posts. On 8 August Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who some in the West continue to claim is a “moderate”, appointed Alireza Avaie, another perpetrator of the 1988 massacre in Khuzestan Province, as justice minister.

Rouhani’s former justice minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, was a member of Tehran’s Death Committee. He has now been appointed as an advisor to the regime’s judiciary chief.

It may be strange, but people who were either in early childhood or not yet born at the time of the 1988 massacre are seeking every opportunity to be involved in the Justice Movement. This has become a dead-end for the mullahs’ regime and all its factions. Amnesty International issued a 94-page report on 2 August over the crackdown on human rights advocates in Iran emphasising how the younger generation is seeking the truth.

As underscored by Mrs Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the West’s indifference has only emboldened the mullahs to continue their crackdown and killings. An international fact-finding mission into the 1988 massacre should have been established long ago. This is the minimum expectation of my father, who continues his effort to find his son’s grave.

Does the international community prefer to continue going easy on Iran? I hope it has learned something from the past three decades.

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Iran: The Terrible Year of 1988

Iran: The Terrible Year of 1988

By: Gholam-Hossin Vakilzadeh

Published in French Language Swiss Daily Le Courier on Monday 21 August 2017

During the summer of 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in Ayatollah Khomeini’s jails. A “movement for justice” is campaigning for the leaders of the religious dictatorship to face justice.

They are definitely the stars of Iranian politics. Not quite in their forties, they are still young. Neither the current government nor the opposition have managed to distance themselves from the 1980s, which were “crucial” to the Islamic Republic, as the Supreme Leader of the Theocracy, Ali Khamenei, says today. What was so “crucial” about them? Why did they come back with such a punch in Iranian news? Why is the population so attached to them?

Read More

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Iran: Calls for an international commission into 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners

Iran: Calls for an international commission into 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners

By The National – 19th August 2017

A GROUP of politicians has called for an international commission to be set up to investigate the massacre in summer 1988 of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, with a view to prosecuting those involved.

 

The call came in Paris, base of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the country’s opposition-in-exile, during an exhibition highlighting the horrors of the massacre, from Paris Mayor Jean-François Legaret.

 

He was joined by several of his mayoral colleagues, Yves Bonnet, former head of France’s domestic anti-terrorism organisation and former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, president of European Iraqi Freedom Association.

Stevenson condemned a trip by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to Iran and said both Europe and the UN should demand an inquiry into the massacre.

 

“[Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3500 people, including 80 women, have been executed during the four years he has been in office, catapulting Iran into pole position as the world’s number one state executioner per capita,” said Stevenson.

 

“Three days before Mogherini arrived in Tehran, Amnesty International published a 94-page report highlighting the ‘web of oppression’ that pervades Iran and detailing the catastrophic human rights situation in the country.

 

“The French government and the EU should also be demanding a full United Nations inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with Khamenei, [supreme leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini] Rouhani and their clique of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for trial before the international courts in The Hague.”

 

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, said: “The people of Iran want to end the impunity of those in charge of the massacre and hold them accountable. This has turned into the Iranian people’s most important political demand from the clerical regime. We urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the 1988 massacre.”

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