Mike McCaul, the House Homeland Security Chair, the resolution, and it was co-sponsored by Ed Royce, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Eliot Engel, the Ranking Member, and Peter Sessions, the Rules Committee Chair Representative.
It came as President Hassan Rouhani was addressing the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Outside the UN thousands of demonstrators gathered, protesting Iran’s human rights abuses, executions, and the massacre of more than 30,000 prisoners, according to reports by the . The speakers at the rally former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Joe Lieberman, and Sir Geoffrey Robertson, former Head of UN War Crimes Tribunal for Sierra Leone. Robertson a report on Iran 1988 massacre published on the Arts Initiative.
The “condemns the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and [calls] for justice for the victims,” and that “over a 4-month period in 1988, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran carried out the barbaric mass executions of thousands of political prisoners and many unrelated political groups. … [A]ccording to a report by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, the massacre was carried out pursuant to a fatwa, or religious decree, issued by then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, that targeted the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).”
The quotes one of Iran’s own senior former officials, the late Hussein Ali Montazeri, a grand ayatollah who served as Khomeini’s chief deputy, who said the 1988 massacre was “the greatest crime committed during the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us.”
This new information comes from a recently revealed audiotape, published on a website maintained by ’s son, Ahmad, a moderate cleric. On it, Montazeri can be heard saying, “the greatest crime committed during the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us,” as he criticized his fellow leaders for the mass killings.
Ahmad was ordered by Intelligence to the audiotape.
In 1988, the Islamic Republic executed the thousands of prisoners. , the primary targets were those affiliated with the main opposition movement Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), due to their political beliefs. The victims were buried in mass graves in Iran after they were shot or hung in matter of a few months.
to Amnesty International, “between 27 July 1988 and the end of that year, thousands of political prisoners [in Iran], including prisoners of conscience, were executed in prisons nationwide.” Allegedly, “the majority of those killed were supporters of the PMOI [MEK], but hundreds of members and supporters of other political groups . . . were also among the execution victims.’’ International concludes, “there should be no impunity for human rights violations, no matter where or when they took place. The 1988 executions should be subject to an independent impartial investigation, and all those responsible should be brought to justice, and receive appropriate penalties’’
H.Res. 159 , “Those personally responsible for these mass executions include senior officials serving in the current Government of Iran; … [P]risoners were reportedly brought before the commissions and briefly questioned about their political affiliation, and any prisoner who refused to renounce his or her affiliation with groups perceived as enemies by the regime was then taken away for execution,”
The congressional resolution , “[P]risoners were executed in groups, some in mass hangings and others by firing squad, with their bodies disposed of in mass graves.” The victims included “thousands of people, including teenagers and pregnant women, imprisoned merely for participating in peaceful street protests and for possessing political reading material, many of whom had already served or were currently serving prison sentences.” Additionally, according to the , “The later waves of executions targeted religious minorities, such as members of the Baha’i faith, many of whom were often subjected to brutal torture before they were killed.” Further, “The families of the executed were denied information about their loved ones and were prohibited from mourning them in public”.
“The current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was reportedly aware of, and later publicly condoned the massacre,” states the .
“You [Iranian officials] will be in the future etched in the annals of history as criminals. The greatest crime committed under the Islamic Republic, from the beginning of the Revolution until now, which will be condemned by history, is this crime [mass executions] committed by you,” Montazeri in the tape, but paradoxically, the people he is addressing and warning in the audio, all of whom were involved in these crimes, continue to be active in high positions currently.
Dr. Mostafa cites , who “was a representative of the intelligence ministry to the notorious Evin prison, and he was by the so-called moderate president Hassan Rowhani to be justice minister.” He includes, “Ebrahim Raeisi was a public prosecutor and is appointed to be the head of Quds Razavi, which has billions of dollars in revenues.”
“One of Iran’s current officials is Rouhani’s minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi. Recently, after the of a tape in which the Islamic Republic’s no. 2 official was heard condemning the crime, defended the commission of the massacre and said he is ““ to have carried out “God’s commandments” in killing the political opponents,” Dr. Mostafa continues, adding, “Hussein Ali was a judge and is now the deputy of the Supreme Court of Iran.”
writes in his memoir, that he told Nayeri to stop the executions at least in the month of Moharram religious holidays, but Nayeri said, to BBC, “We have executed so far 750 people in Tehran… we get the job done with [executing] another 200 people and then we will listen to whatever you say.”
Dr. Mostafa points out, “What is crucial to point out is that realistically speaking, these people are only few of those who were involved in such large scale crimes against humanity. They have been awarded more senior positions, power, and money.” He goes on to say, “Montazeri the ruling politicians that ‘Beware of 50 years from now, when people will pass judgment on the leader (Khomeini) and will say he was a bloodthirsty, brutal and murderous leader.’ It’s worth noting that the revelation of this mass execution was pointing to only one summer of the 37-year history of the Islamic Republic. What else is hidden there that we are not aware of?”
Dr. Mostafa states that, “It is incumbent on human rights organizations, the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct rigorous investigations and bring those who have committed and continue to commit these crimes – and more likely who currently serve in high positions in Iran – to justice. Calls to bring these people to justice are increasing. No individual or institution that commits crimes against humanity should live comfortably without being held accountable. Finally, it is incumbent on the Congress and everyone who wanted to be on the right side of justice to follow up with the following points mentioned in the recent Congressional :
1. Condemn the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the 1988 massacre, and for denying the evidence of this manifest set of crimes against humanity;
2. Urge the Administration and United States allies to publicly condemn the massacre, and pressure the Government of Iran to provide detailed information to the families of the victims about their loved ones and their final resting places; and
3. Urge the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran and the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a Commission of Inquiry to fully investigate the massacre and to gather evidence and identify the names 15 and roles of specific perpetrators with a view towards bringing them to justice.”