The former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has written an op-ed about the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran and how this has been routinely ignored by those in the West, leading to the mullahs feeling emboldened to commit more human rights abuses.

For those unaware, the massacre was the result of a fatwa by regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini to execute anyone opposed to his rule. It came as a surprise to many officials and even his second-in-command Ayatollah Montazeri, who publicly condemned the massacre, which led to him being declared an enemy of the state and put under house arrest for the final 21 years of his life.

Over 30,000 people were killed and their bodies buried in mass graves, with their families lied to about their grim fate.

Terzi, who is now a member of the Advisory Board of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI),  began his post by writing about how this massacre was the subject of a letter by seven UN Special Rapporteurs late last year; something that Amnesty International called a “momentous breakthrough” in the fight for justice for the victims.

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The letter, initially delivered to Iran and then released publicly once they received no response, detailed that the international community knew about the massacre as it was happening, given the UN resolution in December 1988 expressing “grave concern” about ” a renewed wave of executions in the period July-September 1988″ of political prisoners. However, the massacre was not referred to the Security Council and there was no follow up.

It read: “The failure to these bodies to act had a devastating impact on the survivors and families as well on the general situation of human rights in Iran and emboldened Iran to continue to conceal the fate of the victims and to maintain a strategy of deflection and denial that continue to date.”

Terzi said that this appeasement has only meant “more suppression, more human souls crushed, and more lives vanished” as the Resistance and non-governmental organisations try to get justice. He said that the international community must prioritise human rights in Iran and pressure the regime into ending its malign behaviour with sanctions and an arms embargo.

He wrote: The time has come to prioritize peace over profits and unify a politically smart “coalition of the willing” behind a maximum pressure campaign to hold the regime accountable for its crimes within Iran and all over the world… The sad fact is that European policy has long been prone to conciliation and appeasement in its dealings with the Islamic Republic. The desire to foster relations with “moderates” inside the Islamist regime has often resulted in Western policymakers turning a blind eye to the actions of the regime including actions that directly threatened the lives of Western personnel.”