Recently, there has been an ongoing program of executions of political prisoners by Hassan Rouhani’s supposedly moderate regime, including the mass hanging of 20 members of a minority group on August 2. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and said he had “doubts about the fairness of the trials, respect for due process and other rights of the accused.”
Later that month dating back to August of 1988, were published online, on a website maintained by Ahmed Montazeri, son of the . On them, Montazeri can be heard accusing the leaders of Iran’s ‘death commission’ of “the greatest crime committed during the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you…” He is referring to the of political opponents of the Iranian regime, including thousands of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI).
“Tehran’s use of executions as a form of suppression of its population’s desire for democracy has continued from 1988 to the present day. Supposedly moderate Presidents have come and gone, but one thing that has never changed is the systematic use of executions,” wrote Freer, who added, “Looking at the individuals who formed the ‘death commission’ leads us to a worrying conclusion: that in reality, although the puppet’s head may change from election to election, those pulling the strings in Iranian politics have remained.”
Three of the four men who made up the “death commissions” in 1988 remain senior figures within the Iranian regime today. Mostafa Pourmohammadi is now Iran’s Minister of Justice, Hossein-Ali Nayyeri is Iran’s head of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges, and Ebrahim Raeesi is among the regime’s most senior clerics, and the head of a multi-billion dollar religious, political and economic conglomerate, the Astan Qods-e Razavi foundation which is one of the most important political and economic powerhouses in the regime.
This week Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Iran’s largest coalition of opposition groups, called on the international community to bring justice for those massacred in 1988 through the international prosecution. Freer vowed to join her in that call. He wrote, “Included in that list alongside Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, and Ebrahim Raeesi must be Ayatollah Khamenei Iran’s current Supreme Leader and a public supporter of the 1988 massacres.”
Freer called for decisive steps and a clear message to be sent to the leaders of Iran. He called for a halt to executions taking place without a fair trial, due process, or without the individual’s rights being preserved. He said that this treatment should no longer be accepted by the international community. He asked, “Have we sacrificed human rights for progress on decommissioning centrifuges?”
Hassan Rouhani is hailed as a moderate and a man the international community can work with, so it is important that “we do not simply address the man but rather the establishment in Tehran. Entry into the international community and the benefits that brings must come at a cost for Iran and not simply be a right of way,”
Freer concluded by saying, “Bringing about international prosecutions against the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre is not only something we should have done many years ago, but it will show Tehran that breaches of international protocols will not be accepted if the regime wishes to play a greater part in the international community.”