This Human Rights Report on Iran will show the atrocious record of arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions that routinely occur under this regime.  Additionally, many UN member states are demanding a full, independent inquiry into the massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners in Iran during the summer of 1988, one of the most horrific crimes against humanity of the late 20th century. 

The mass execution targeted activists of the opposition People’s Mojahedin of Iran PMOI (MEK), who were held in jails across Iran.  They were carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

A “death committee” approved all of the sentences. Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, leader of that “committee”, is today President Rouhani’s Justice Minister. Other members of the “committee” still hold prominent positions in the Iranian regime.

When questioned about those who had already served their sentences and been released from prison, or those who had been sentenced to terms of imprisonment, Khomeini ordered them all to be put to death. His decree allowed no mercy for anyone, including teenagers, and pregnant women, who would not even be spared to give birth to their babies.

In Tehran and in cities across Iran courts were set up, and PMOI/MEK political prisoners were hauled in front of a Sharia judge who demanded to know if they supported the Mojahedin. Those who said yes were sentenced to immediate execution. These trials took, on average, two minutes. 

It has been estimated 30,000 political prisoners were hanged from cranes in batches of 10 every 15 minutes, from dawn to dusk between August and December that year.

On August 9 of this year the truth was revealed. The son of grand ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, former deputy supreme leader and nominated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, published a previously unknown audio tape in which Montazeri acknowledged the massacre had taken place, and that it had been ordered at the highest levels.

Montazeri can be heard telling a meeting of the “death committee” that it is responsible for a crime against humanity. He says, “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.” 

For speaking his conscience, the Grand Ayatollah was dismissed as the heir to the Supreme Leader, and placed under house arrest until his death in 2009. Meanwhile, Montazeri’s son has been charged with bringing the Islamic Republic into disrepute and could face the death penalty.