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Iran: The myth of Rouhani’s ‘moderate’ government

The recording of Hussein-Ali Montazeri addressing the so-called ‘Death Committee’, leaked at the beginning of August over the anniversary of the 1988 massacre and fuelled public outrage.

The myth of Rouhani’s ‘moderate’ government has been overshadowed by the revelations that many senior figures orchestrated and carried out the wave of executions in Iran that continue today.

A member of the death committee and current minister of justice, Mostafa Pourmohammadi was asked to clarify the statements in the recording by the Second Deputy of the Parliament of Iran, Ali Motahari.

In a sickening statement on August 28, Pourmohammadi said: “You cannot show mercy to the hypocrites, because if they can bloody and soil you, they will. We take pride in executing the orders with respect to the hypocrites.

On the Asharq Al-Awsat website, reporter Adel Al-Sami clarified that “hypocrites” is a religiously charged term used to denigrate the political activists.

The audio file showing a meeting between Montazeri and a judicial committee made up of Pourmohammadi, Hossein-Ali Nayeri, the regime’s sharia judge, Morteza Eshraqi, the regime’s prosecutor, and Ebrahim Raeesi, the deputy prosecutor.

Montazeri can be heard condemning the unconstitutional executions and warning that the regime would be seen as ‘bloodthirsty’.

He said: “The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic was executing by fire squads 6,000 political activists. This reign carried out, in its first years only, more executions than during the Pahlavi regime.”

This was believed to be the cause of Montazeri’s being stripped of his title and sentenced to house arrest.