- Published: Saturday, 24 June 2017
- Written by Mahmoud Hakamian
During the summer of 1988 in Iran, some 30,000 political prisoners, the majority of whom were MEK members or sympathizers, were executed. The year is the 29th anniversary of the 1988 massacre.
Last summer, an audio tape was published by the son of Hossein-Ali Montazeri. August 9, 2016, the recording was heard for the first time, and on it Khomeini’s former heir can be heard telling a meeting of members of the “Death Committee” that they are carrying out a crime against humanity, 28 years ago, on August 15, 1988.
The tape sent shockwaves through Iran, as it adds new knowledge of the breadth and scope of the massacre and confirms that it involved the highest levels of leadership. For more than two decades silence has been imposed in regards to the massacre because, you see, Iranian leaders who held positions of power at that time, members of the notorious Death Commission, are still in leadership positions today.
They have never faced justice for committing this horrific crime against humanity.
Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who was subsequently dismissed as the heir by Khomeini, and subsequently spent the rest of his life under house arrest, for the very remarks heard on the audio tape, tells members of the Death Commission, who include Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, the sharia judge, Morteza Eshraqi, the prosecutor, Ebrahim Raeesi, deputy prosecutor, and Mostafa Pourmohammadi, representative of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), “The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you. Your (names) will in the future be etched in the annals of history as criminals.” He adds, “Executing these people while there have been no new activities (by the prisoners) means that … the entire judicial system has been at fault.”
Regarding the recent revelations, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, described the audio recording as an historical document. Mrs. Rajavi said that the recording attests to the strength of the Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) political prisoners’ rejection of surrender, to their admirable allegiance and the perseverance of their commitment to the Iranian people. She called the recording “irrefutable evidence that leaders of the mullahs are responsible for crimes against humanity and the unprecedented genocide.”
Following release of the audio tapes, the Iranian Resistance initiated a worldwide movement, and during the last 10 months both inside and outside Iran, have created a huge momentum against the ongoing violation of human rights in Iran.
In February 2017, Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI), published the details of numerous mass graves in Iran. Page 349 of the JVMI report, “Inquiry into the 1988 mass executions in Iran”, refers to the mass grave near the Behesht Abad Cemetery in Ahvaz. Then, Amnesty International published a news item on June 1, 2017 on its website, warning that the Iranian authorities may be attempting to desecrate a mass grave site in Ahvaz, southern Iran in an effort to destroy vital forensic evidence, and sabotage opportunities for justice for the mass killings of political prisoners that took place across the country in 1988.
While Iranian officials try to counter the effects of these revelations, growing sympathy for MEK members who were the main victims of this horrible massacre, and increased popularity of the opposition movement have resulted, instead.
In recent months, following a report published by The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, concerning the power and progress of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), officials have admitted the Iranian youth has tended toward the attraction of the Mojahedin (MEK), as well as the prestige of the Mojahedin at home and at the international level.
The director general of a state funded Habilian Foundation, Hashemi Nejad, stated, “We have held 300 exhibitions against MEK in Iran up to now. These days, MEK is getting recognized as a leading institute in Human Rights,” He added that the duty now, is to discuss Human Rights issues against MEK since Iranian youths are the target of MEK. According to Intelligence Ministry officials, a detailed research report against MEK, of more than 8,000 words, has recently been published in the Habilian website, affiliated to the Ministry.
“The Mojahedin Organization (MEK) is after… total change and removal of the Velayat-e faqih system in Iran…,” states the report.
It also discusses the role of MEK in exposing the Iranian’s administration secret projects to obtain nuclear weapons, saying, “Following exposure of the issue (nuclear weapons program), the media published reports in this regard and this was the beginning of a major crisis that resulted in the adoption of several resolutions and sanctions with the devastating effects which are still continuing.”
The Intelligence Ministry reminded the public of the role of Mojahedin in the 2009 uprising, and admitted its fear of uprisings and revolts being tied to the nationwide resistance and to the Mojahedin, and wrote, “Mojahedin (MEK)… were still looking for an opportunity to strike the Islamic Republic of Iran, until the beginning of 2009 elections followed by the street riots, the group seized the opportunity and issued statements and messages to prepare the ground for achieving their goals… One of the goals (of the MEK) in 2009 election was to remove Velayat-e faqih and change the regime.”
The Mojahedin’s advancement in the international arena was also pointed out, “…In addition, members of the (MEK) organization hold meetings in France from time to time… In the recent years, the Mojahedin organization has held campaign and meetings in every international events and communities, including the United Nations, against the country and the system.”
The report concluded by describing the methods to confront the MEK, such as, “Introducing and fully identifying the (MEK) organization (i.e. meaning distorting the image of the organization)… to prevent, in this way, people and new members from joining the organization which would lead to increased damage to the system,” and added, “Strengthening the borders and increasing the country’s defense power: By this action, we can prevent entry of the MEK members into the country… and so we will be able to avert and ward off the enemies of the system outside the borders.”
These confessions appear to show the power, in regards to social as well as popular status, of the MEK and NCRI are welcomed by the Iranian youth.
After the Mullahs were unable the failure to destroy the MEK by siege and missile attacks, and the Mojahedin were able to maintain the integrity of their organization and transfer themselves to a safe place, the regime is frightened, and they are trying to frighten the Iranian people with warnings about the danger of Mojahedin.
In another report, published in Habilian site, the Intelligence Ministry stated that intellectual (thought) danger of unarmed MEK is much more than the threat of armed MEK.
In an interview with Vatan Emrouz, September 4, 2016, the secretary general of the Habilian Institution, which is a branch of the Intelligence Ministry, Mohammad Javad Hashemi Nejad, had previously warned about the danger of the MEK revelations, stating, “Mojahedin in the areas of human rights and related issues are present in the European Parliament and in the U.S. and any places where there is opposition to the system …MEK is a dangerous force…”
This sense of danger may be attributed to the fact that the surge in power of the MEK has coincided with the divisiveness within the Velayat-e faqih system, as well as the unrest, in the form of vastly increasing protests and demonstrations, in Iranian society.
The assistance to the West by the MEK had assisted the West in revealing Iran’s secret nuclear missiles programme was also highlighted. To stop the youth from joining the MEK, the Regime attempts to present a twisted view of the Resistance Forces, which is the reason behind the exhibitions and movies like “Magaraye Nimroz”, a film by state run media, on screen now.
However, in the midst of the propaganda and hyperbole surrounding it, a political analyst attacked the film. Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science professor at Tehran State University, and an associate of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was also responsible for dispatching of university students to war with Iraq during 80’s, criticized the film. He said, “The events in this movie are not reciting the reality of what has happened between the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and MEK in that era, we are condemning MEK, but have never asked why MEK fought back? As if they did it for no reason! This film is trying to imply that IRGC agents were kind and caring for humanity, (this is not true) we killed thousands of MEK members without any trials, just like the killers of Imam Hossain (a 7th century revolutionary Shiite leader who made the ultimate sacrifice for social justice in the face of corruption and tyranny).” Zibakalam’s confession clearly shows the ineffectiveness of such desperate moves to demonize the MEK.
In their recap of the report, The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote, “The truth is that after the Mullahs were unable to destroy the MEK by inhumane siege and missile attacks, and Mojahedin were able to maintain the integrity of their organization and transfer themselves to a safe place, the Mullahs are frightened now. That is why the mullahs regularly yowl and whimper about the danger of MEK.”
“This fear and sense of danger is particularly due to the fact that the power and cohesion of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran has coincided on the one hand with the weakness and ultimate decay of the Velayat-e faqih system and the crises engulfing the ruling class, and on the other hand by the fact that Iran’s society is on the verge of explosion and ready for uprising and revolution and is only waiting for a spark,” they wrote.