Gobadi said, “This trip takes place amid a wave of mass executions in Iran. Just today the regime carried out five public executions. Two weeks ago the regime mass executed 25 Sunni political prisoners in one day, prompting a condemnation by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. There is now evidence which shows that the victims had been tortured prior to their execution.  Furthermore, an audio tape has been published for the first time of Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s former heir, shedding new light on the scope and pace of the 1988 massacre of at least 30,000 political prisoners, the overwhelming majority of who were activists of the main opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) that had already been serving their prison terms.”

According to Amnesty International and other Human Rights groups, at least 2,600 people have been executed in Iran during Hassan Rouhani’s three-year tenure.  At the same time, the regime has stepped up its conduct in the region, including its military, financial and political support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. 

The concern regarding Børge Brende’s, upcoming visit, is that the Iranian regime uses such trips for propaganda purposes and to justify its repressive policies at home and its support for international terrorism and Islamic extremism.  Moderation under Rouhani is a fiction, and there is consensus among the factions of the regime regarding human rights abuses and the export of terrorism.  Improvement of relations with the Iran  should be preconditioned upon improvement in human rights and a halt to executions in Iran. The regime’s human rights abuses should be addressed during this trip.