How to Stop Iran’s Crimes Against Humanity: Hold Them Accountable

On the 32nd anniversary of the 1988 massacre, it is time for the international community to end its long silence over this crime and hold the mullahs’ regime to account.

The Iranian regime executed protester Mostafa Salehi on August 5 for taking part in the nationwide uprising of December 2017- January 2018. Five other protesters are on death row.


In November 2019, another nationwide uprising took place and the regime opened fire, killing 1,500 protesters, including children, in the streets. That doesn’t even take into account the numbers arrested and tortured to death in prison or given the death penalty or those who were wounded.

The regime is not being held to account for this, but they never have been brought to justice for any of their crimes against humanity. After all, they killed 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988 and many of the planners and perpetrators still hold high-ranking positions in the regime, including:

  • judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, who was at the time Tehran’s Deputy Prosecutor and a key member of the city’s “Death Commission”, where three regime officials decided the fate of the accused in trials lasting just a minute or two
  • Justice Minister Alireza Avaie, a member of the Death Committee in Khuzestan

Two former Justice Ministers – Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi and Morteza Bakhtiari – also served on the death committees and a third – Mohammad Esmail Shushtari – was head of the Prisons Organization and an active member of Tehran’s Death Commission.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote: “Enjoying immunity after a crime against humanity and massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners has emboldened this regime to further continue oppressing and massacring the Iranian people.  The massacre of 1500 protests in November 2019, the execution of Mostafa Salehi, and the Iranian regime’s ongoing massacres and executions are the continuations of the 1988 massacre.”

It’s not like the regime has done such a good job hiding the massacre, even though they’ve tried to build over the mass graves and silence victims’ relatives. The NCRI has given evidence, including testimonies from survivors and documents gathered from inside the regime, to the United Nations and other international organizations, so why has nothing been done?

Pour-Mohammadi, who was mentioned above, even went on record about the massacre in 2016.

He told the Tasnim news agency: “We are proud to have carried out God’s commandment with regard to the [Resistance] and to have stood with strength and fought against the enemies of God and the people.”

The international community must end its 32-year silence over this crime and hold the mullahs’ regime responsible. This is the only way to stop the ongoing crimes against humanity.

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