One year ago, these days, for the first time, Iranian dissidents announced that the government had killed more than 1,500 protesters and bystanders during the bloody suppression of the November 2019 anti-government protests in Iran. Some while later, the United States and Reuters declared the same number via separate investigations and reports.
Furthermore, the State Security Forces (SSF), the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) arrested over 12,000 people. Many families are still unaware of the fate of their loved ones. Nevertheless, numerous families finally received the lifeless body of their children.
However, it was not the whole story. According to social media activists, the families who witnessed their loved ones’ bodies noticed that some body organs had been removed in numerous cases. This is while the government had received considerable money from the families, which is charged as the price of the bullets that killed their loved ones.
“When the parents of 17-year-old worker Mohsen Mohammadpour received the corpse, they saw Mohsen’s body had been autopsied and his organs had been removed. The SSF had killed Mohsen on Hafez Street in Khorramshahr city, Khuzestan provinces. Eyewitnesses said that ‘he was shot in his head and chest four times on November 15,’” Iran Kargar website reported.
“Mohsen was a construction worker, and he was the only breadwinner for his underprivileged family. Meanwhile, MOIS agents took 380 million rials [$3,300],” the report added.
Furthermore, two more Khuzestani families had witnessed that their loved ones’ bodies had had their organs removed. Hamzeh Savari from Ahvaz and Hamid Sheikhan from Taleghani town were among the protest victims whose body organs were removed and sold by authorities, according to their families.
Already, on September 19, 2019, in an exclusive report, the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) had revealed moving details about body organs trade in Iran. In fact, rampant poverty, unemployment, and high prices forced citizens, particularly young couples, to sell their body organs to make ends meet. Moreover, numerous families were forced to sell their newborn babies.
Surprisingly, back in February 2017, a member of the Parliament (Majlis) implicitly admitted that the government approves this kind of trade and blamed critics. “What’s wrong with selling your kidney when you are in poverty?” the current chair of the Majlis Health Commission Hossein Ali Shahryari said in an interview, adding, “It would be better than the people and media must think about kidney patients, and do not spread rumors.”
Meanwhile, the current judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi tried to legitimize selling the organs of death-row prisoners in July 2019. According to Raisi’s order, called article 47 of the Penal Code, “If the sentenced person had volunteered to donate an organ before or after the execution and there is no medical impediment, the execution judge will act according to the instructions.”
Finally, the judiciary’s intention to enter the body organs market prompted public hatred against Raisi’s profiteering policy through executed people’s body organs. Also, while many innocent people—and even foreign citizens—are compelled to make televised confessions and accept false allegations to ease overwhelming torture, “definitely” all death-row prisoners might end up “volunteering” to donate their organs and offer their revenue to “Raisi’s department.”
The Iranian government, of course, used this method since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. At the time, then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini ordered interrogators and judiciary officials to extract the blood of death-row dissidents, mostly members and supporters of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), and use it for wounded IRGC members.
In summary, Iranian authorities not only commit intentional murders against innocent people but also line their pockets through selling lifeless bodies; once to their families under the excuse of the bullet payment and further by selling the body organs of murdered citizens either onto the streets or in prisons. The international community should not tolerate this barbaric treatment and must launch an impartial investigation about the massacre of over 1,500 citizens and the forced disappearance of 12,000 others, opposition activities say.