As the Iranian people continue their struggle for fundamental freedoms, justice, equality, civil rights, and the rule of law, the ruling regime amplifies the magnitude of suppression and human rights violations. In this respect, authorities respond to citizens’ cries for better living conditions with negligence or excessive sentences.
On September 2, in its latest report about human rights conditions in Iran, Amnesty International shed light on parts of torture and other ill-treatment exercised by Iranian authorities against detainees of the November protests.
Our new #Iran research shows that police, intelligence, security forces & prison officials committed, with the complicity of judges & prosecutors, shocking human rights violations against detainees after the November 2019 protests. pic.twitter.com/DUpQ9oaFxk
“Widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care
“Hundreds subjected to grossly unfair trials on baseless national security charges
“Death sentences issued based on torture-tainted ‘confessions,’” listed this organization in its new report.
Meanwhile, it is worth taking a look at the Iranian regime’s record of repression and human rights violations in August 2020:
In August 2020, Iranian authorities executed at least 29 people, including 27 male and two female prisoners. All executions took place in the prison. The declared age of executed prisoners ranged from 24 to 48 years.
Among executed inmates was a political prisoner, Mostafa Salehi, who was detained during late 2017-early 2018 protests in Khomeinishahr city, Isfahan province. He was secretly executed on charges of “waging war against God, ‘moharebeh,’” in Isfahan Central Prison on August 5. Based on obtained reports, criminal judge Morad Ali Najafpour had sentenced this political prisoner to death.
Two brothers Ali and Gholamreza Tahouneh were simultaneously hanged in Tabriz Central Prison, northwestern Iran, on August 6. Furthermore, on August 17, the Iranian regime executed a juvenile offender, Arsalan Yasini, in Isfahan Central Prison.
Authorities also executed two female prisoners in Mashhad city, northeastern Iran. On August 2, Mehri [last name unknown], and on August 18, Fereshteh H were both hanged in Mashhad Central Prison. In this context, the Iranian regime has executed more than 100 inmates since the beginning of 2020.
Place of Executions
Executions took place in Central Prison of Mashhad, Shahrekord, Qom, Yasuj, Isfahan, Tabriz, Rasht, Sanandaj, Yazd, Urmia, Dehdasht, Khalkhal, Zanjan, and Borujerd cities. Most executions took place in Qom Central Prison and Mashhad Central Prison.
The motifs for the executions were moharebeh, murder, and drugs.
During August 2020, Iran’s oppressive apparatus, including the state security forces, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), and the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC)’s intelligence branch, arrested 1,232 people on different charges:
Security forces, intelligence officers, and IRGC units arrested 22 people for holding mourning ceremonies for victims of the November protests in Behbahan city, southeastern Iran, clashing with security forces, cooperating with Kurdish parties, issuing invitations for protesting rallies, and for serving prison sentences.
#Iran, #Khuzestan—#IranProtests against mullahs' regime Many people flooded into the streets of Behbahan city, SW Iran, to protest regime's oppressive & aggressive policies.
"Death to Khamenei," "Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life is for Iran," & "Mullahs must get lost," chanted. pic.twitter.com/cnkNrw8QpY
In August 2020, 970 people were arrested by environmental patrols, security forces, cyber police called FATA, and intelligence agents on charges of illegal hunting, wood smuggling, participating in mixed-gender parties, and managing modeling pages.
The Arrest of Religious Minorities
Security forces arrested five Baha’is and Christian proselytizes.
#HumanRightsViolations#Iran's judiciary in #Rasht sentenced 4 proselytizes to a total of 13 years in prison. The inhuman court sentenced Ramin Hassanpour to 5, Muslim Rahimi to 4 years. Mr. Katherine Sajjadpour & Sakineh Behjati were each sentenced to 2 years in prison. pic.twitter.com/qEzUc8RxIT
Security agents also arrested 39 people on charges of embezzlement and manipulating the foreign exchange market.
Iranian authorities frequently continue exercising torture against prisoners and getting forced confessions. Torture and other ill-treatments prove the weakness of the Iranian regime’s intelligence apparatus as well as the continuation of arbitrary and extra-judicial arrests against innocent citizens. In fact, interrogators compel detainees to repeat the authorities’ scenarios to hide security and judicial agents’ inability to provide reliable evidence. Different kinds of tortures are as follows:
Shaker Rigi, a 19-year-old porter, known as Kolbar, was murdered under brutal punches, kicks, and tortures of IRGC border forces in Saravan base in Sistan and Baluchestan province, southeast Iran.
Also, Hamzeh Darvish was subjected to beating and torture by Rasht Intelligence Department officers at Lakan Prison in Gilan province, northern Iran.
Hamed Ali Mashkouh and Farshad Jahesh were tortured and interrogated by the Urmia Intelligence Department agents in Western Azarbaijan, northwest Iran.
Ali Ghaderi, Armia Ranjbari, Himan Karimi, Hiva Amini, and Varia Amini were tortured at the intelligence department of Sanandaj city in Kurdistan.
Bassem Batraei was severely tortured during his detention at Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz. He left the prison in a wheelchair at the time of his release on bail.
Security officers and special guards beat Khaled Pirzadeh in his legs and back during his transfer from Evin Prison to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary (Fashafuyeh).
During his interrogation period, Jafar Hassanzadeh was severely beaten at the IRGC’s intelligence branch in Piranshahr city, western Iran. Intelligence officers were compelled to transfer him to the hospital due to his worsening condition.
In Gohardasht Prison, western Tehran, guards deprived Qassem Abasteh, a Sunni prisoner sentenced to death, of sufficient medical care and medication despite his deteriorating condition.
After the transfer of political prisoner Majid Assadi from Gohardasht Prison to Evin Prison-Ward 209, he is still under extreme pressure, torture, and interrogation despite his worsening physical condition.
In Evin Prison, guards refuse to provide proper medical care and medication for social activist Behnam Mousivand, despite having coronavirus symptoms.
According to the order of Amin Vaziri, special assistance to political prisoners, guards returned female political prisoner Fatemeh Mosanna to the quarantine section of Evin Prison. Earlier, interrogators were forced to transfer Mosanna to Tehran Taleghani Hospital because she had fainted and her condition was worsening. Notably, the transfer was done despite her doctor’s objection and before completion of the recovery period.
Turkish activist Hamid Manafi was transferred to the Evin Prison’s clinic by his cellmates. He suffered from kidney pain. However, despite his constant pain, authorities returned him to the ward instead of providing sufficient medical care or taking him to a hospital.
In Evin Prison, authorities prevented female political prisoner Samaneh Nowruz Moradi from receiving chest surgery despite the physician’s prescription.
Abtin Jafarian, another political prisoner in Evin Prison, is still deprived of medical care for his injured jaw.
In Qarchak prison located in Varamin county, suburb Tehran, civil activist Leila Mirghafari was forcibly transferred to Aminabad Psychiatric Hospital. She was returned to jail a few days later.
In Greater Tehran Penitentiary, Jewish citizen Mashallah Pesarkohan has been deprived of medical leave and care despite his acute heart disease.
In Greater Tehran Penitentiary, political prisoner Soheil Arabi was deprived of medical care even though he had to undergo surgery two years ago. He suffers from abdominal pains and faces difficulties in moving and standing.
Following a stroke, civil rights activist Reza Mehregan feels numb in his body’s left side in Evin Prison. Guards prevented his transfer to a medical center.
The intelligence office of Kamyaran county in Kurdistan province, western Iran, conditioned medical furlough for political prisoner Changiz Ghadam-Kheiri for surgery to his cooperation with this intelligence institution. Ghadam-Kheiry is exiled at Masjed Soleiman county in Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran.
4. Arbitrary Murders
In August 2020, a number of Kolbars, merchants, and civilians were killed by the direct fire of the Border Regiment, IRGC, police forces, and intelligence agents.
Border forces opened fire and killed Arian Shahnavazi in the border areas of Rutak Khash. Iranian border regiment killed several Kolbars in different regions, including Hadi Khedri, who was killed by IRGC forces in the Baneh border, Kurdistan province, and Seraj Ahmadi in Urmia’s border area in Western Azarbaijan.
On the dawn of August 13, #Iran's border guard opened fire on a group of porters (Kolbars) in #Baneh, #Kurdistan province, resulted in death of a 23-year-old porter Hadi Khedri. Unbridled #poverty has pushed even graduated people to make ends meet through hard jobs like porter. pic.twitter.com/R1erh9jAU8
On August 4, the state security forces also opened fire and murdered a 13-year-old teenager Mohammad Reza Veisi and injured his father in Shirabad village located in the Ghahavand area in Hamedan province.
#IranProtests#Iran, #Hamedan—In response to Killing a 13-year-old boy, his relatives attacked security forces base in Ghahavand county. On August 4, 1:00 am, security forces' without notice shooting on a motorcycle killed Mohammad Reza Veisi and injured his father. pic.twitter.com/6QWdehH5ae
Security forces also killed two merchants Ali Ashrafian and Baram Basham suburb Zanjan city, central Zanjan province.
IRGC forces killed a livestock farmer Yousef Mohammad Abdullah Rash, in Qandil Heights in Western Azarbaijan. He had gone to purchase cattle.
In Shahryar district, suburb of Tehran, security forces targeted two cyclists. Alireza Jafarloo was immediately died and Alireza Goodarzi, who had been injured in scapula and lungs, was killed under blows of policemen’s fists, kicks, and batons.
#HumanRightsViolations State security forces killed two youths Alireza Goodarzi & Alireza Jafarloo in Shahryar county, suburb #Tehran, on August 21. Locals tried to transfer Jafarloo, who was alive, to hospital. However, security forces threatened them to use weapon & bit him. pic.twitter.com/7BKIqTw48p
In the past three years, there have been three major uprisings in Iran. They are increasing in frequency and in intensity and it is very clear that the people have had enough. And with every uprising that takes place, the regime weakens further.
The domestic pressure is one of the biggest threats to the regime’s survival. Coupled with international pressure, the Iranian regime has realized that the people of Iran are going to be the force behind regime change.
For many years, the Iranian regime and the state media outlets would downplay protests and the effect they are having. They have also dismissed the Iranian opposition for many years, saying that there is very little following in the country and that it poses no threat to the country’s leadership.
However, in recent years this has drastically changed. Regime officials have been unable to hide their concern about major protests and the state media has been reporting on them, describing them as “bitter incidents”.
The people have made it clear that they want regime change. For four decades, the regime’s mismanagement and widespread corruption have made the lives of the people so much more difficult. The economic problems have been provoked by the regime and it is the people that suffer the most, while regime officials fill their pockets.
Furthermore, the people of Iran have been denied so much freedom in many aspects of their lives. They have been denied democracy, religious freedom, social freedom, political freedom, and so much more.
And most recently, the regime’s disastrous management of the Coronavirus outbreak has angered the people even more. There have been more than 100,000 deaths but the regime has also been using the health crisis to prevent another uprising. But this has been a failure because it has certainly increased the chances of another uprising happening very soon.
President Hassan Rouhani has recently started to distance himself from society and this is something that has not gone unnoticed by the people. With the decision to reopen schools, society needs to be informed about the practicalities. State-media outlets are warning that unrest is about to spill over.
Earlier in the year, the people were sent back to work far too early. They were put in danger and made even more vulnerable. Now children are being sent back to school, endangering even more of the population. The people have no confidence in this decision and it is clear that the regime is more concerned about the economic impact of the health crisis.
With regard to the feeling in society right now, the Mostaghel daily wrote last month that the government’s failures with regards to the pandemic and its attempts to use the health crisis to take away from the people’s discontent are working against the regime. It wrote: “This nation will not forget how it was abandoned during these bitter days. This will affect the upcoming incidents. Because soon, people will come to their table for eating, and their despair of an empty table will lead them to protest on busy streets.”
One sign of the worsening situation of Iran’s regime is the warnings that officials are giving each other. From their corruption, building astronomic wealth from the wealth of the people, destruction of national resources, brutal repression, censorship, and interfering with the people’s private lives. The list is as long as the regime’s 41 years of rule.
Below are some examples of these warnings and confessions made by the officials in the last week.
Kamal Hosseinpour, a member of Iran’s parliament from Piranshahr, acknowledged the daily killing of the kulbars (porters) and said: “Mr. Dr. Rouhani when you were taking votes for the Kurdish people of the border region, you were issuing a 10-item statement to fill your ballot box.
“You closed the borders; You closed the border markets. You shot the young Kulbars and killed them. Was that what you promise? Dear officials, until when should we witness the death and injury of our children for the sake of the family’s basic livelihood?
“After all, what is the guilt a young Iranian man, that he must be killed, whose parents one day shed blood for this revolution and the defense of this border? I swear to God we are all responsible.”
Ghodratollah Hamzeh Shalamzar, a member of Iran’s parliament, confessed in the parliament on September 6: “Officials do nothing just set up banners and hold conferences, write books, pamphlets, and give speeches. Have such things any effect on people’s livelihoods and employment? No.”
About the officials’ wealth gathering, he said: “With the aristocracy of the officials must be dealt. Why should the children of officials be educated in Western countries, when our elite rural children cannot study in their own cities? Why are the property of the officials not carefully examined? The administrative structure of the country is corrupt.”
In its September 6 issue, the state-run daily Ebtekar warned the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani of the people’s distrust of the regime and the danger of an uprising: “It seems that Hassan Rouhani has distanced himself from society and people for obvious and hidden reasons. But neither he nor any of his advisers notice that this behavior is a nail in the coffin of public trust. They either do not realize or ignore what unfortunate consequences these behaviors will have. It is not bad for those involved in security issues around the President to review once and for all what strange things have happened to the society from November 2019 until yesterday.”
Mehdi Saadati, a lawmaker from Babol, said: “Mr. Rouhani, do you remember the conditions and prices of the car market at the beginning of your presidency, and now? Do you remember what the housing market was like and now? Do you remember the people’s purchasing power and now? I hope you answer eighty million people and attend the parliament.”
Mohammad Reza Sabbaghian, Representative of Mehriz and Bafgh, said: “We all went to the constituency and saw the concerns of the people. The concerns of the people today are nothing more than the high costs. And high costs and worse than is the lack of any supervising has started the car of the high costs and the people, especially the poor strata, are crushed under their wheels as if we were watching.”
On August 31, Iranian Eghtesad-e Saramad daily described Iran under the ayatollahs as a “male lion that is gradually aging.” The lion “is being defeated versus younger lions and has being exiled from its pride.” Given the “old age and lack of physical strength, it has lost his hunting power,” and inevitability uses “its fats” and “muscles.”
The daily predicted that “After a while, the lion loses its glory and strong muscles, and only skin and bones will remain, and tragic death is waiting for the forest king.”
“The political-military power of any country derives from its economic power, sustained double-digit inflation and unemployment, negative or negligible growth of national production and ransom for the whole world for a long time will not end except collapse. Economic inefficiency drove the glorious Soviet superpower to collapse without a single shot fired by its enemies,” the daily concluded.
The daily focused on the country’s economic conditions. However, the Iranian government does not experience a pleasant situation in other aspects. In this context, it explicitly warned authorities about a “tragic death.”
The Government Is Vulnerable Before Protests
On the other hand, the people feel the deterioration of the government’s “political-military power,” rooted from the country’s economic collapse. Contrary to the past, people do not succumb to the oppressive orders and try to defend their inherent rights.
For instance, in late August, the state security forces raided Abolfazl village suburb Ahvaz city, southwestern Iran, according to a Mostazafan Foundation’s complaint. The foundation affiliated to supreme leader Ali Khamenei claimed that it owns these lands, and the 300 families living there must evacuate their properties.
However, residents rejected the Mostazafan Foundation’s argument and resisted against security forces’ attacks. Notably, the village had built up before the foundation was founded by the religious state founder Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1980. “The foundation precisely deals with us as the Shah SAVAK [intelligence and security service] had dealt with our ancestors,” a local said.
Brave resistance by poor villagers and the national solidarity with their rights compelled the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani to visit the region and officially apologize to Abolfazl village residents. This event obviously showed that the government’s oppressive power has dramatically shrunk against protesters putting the whole ruling system in a vulnerable status.
Furthermore, for many years the ayatollahs used Moharram mourning ceremonies to provoke the people’s religious senses and beliefs to support the Islamic Republic. However, given the bloody suppression of the November 2019 protests and authorities’ unprecedented crimes, youths turned to mourning ceremonies as a field to express their rage against the dictatorship.
In Behbahan city, southwestern Iran, mourners remembered the memory of Mahmoud and Mehrdad Dashti Nia, two brothers killed by security forces, in their rituals and slogans. Videos of the ceremonies widespread circulated in social media and intelligence officers immediately captured the eulogist and the owner of Tekyeh, where Shiites gather to mourn. Of course, they were well aware better than anyone about risks, but they showed courage and paid homage to those who fell for freedom and justice.
Also, in Malat Langaroud village, northern Iran, the families of Pejman Golipour, another victim of the November protests, gathered at his grave commemorating his 19th birthday. The families of two other victims Navid Behboudi and Mehdi Daemi joined them.
#IranProtests Family of Pejman Gholipour, one of November protests' victims, celebrate their loved one's birthday at his grave in MalatLangroud village,N #Iran. Families of Navid Behboudi & Mehdi Daemi, 2 other victims, joined the Gholipours. The regime killed 1,500+ in protests. pic.twitter.com/AustEOK15u
All the while, authorities intended to terrify the society by harrowing tortures and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International recently shed light on parts of cruel suppression in “#BloodyNovember.” According to the human rights group, Iranian rulers use different types of torture, including electric shocks, sexual abuses, mock executions, waterboarding, and medical care deprivation as punishment. In a complicit effort, interrogators forced detainees to reiterate what they had dictated, and judicial officials sentenced “offenders” to long-term imprisonment and even death penalty based on torture-tainted confessions.
The Ayatollahs’ Failure in the Depth Strategic
Additionally, since the beginning of 2020, the Iranian government’s expansionist policies have received improbable blows. For four decades, Iranian officials intimidate and threaten regional countries with their ballistic missiles, nuclear ambitions, and, more importantly, their terrorist proxies like Lebanese Hezbollah, Houthis in Yemen, and Shiite militias in Iraq, and other extremist groups.
They frequently boasted about their “depth strategic” as an element of power to style their rule as a stable state versus domestic protests and foreign threats. However, after the death of Qassem Soleimani, former chief of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force, and the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, the ayatollahs’ regional power significantly dimmed.
Moreover, the August 4 Beirut explosion drove public opinion against the destructive role of the Iranian government’s leading proxy in the Middle East region, Lebanese Hezbollah. The following protests compelled the Hezbollah-backed Prime Minister Hassan Dhiab to resignation.
Social protests also led former secretary-general of Hezbollah Subhi al-Tufaily to apparently slam Hassan Nasrallah, the current Hezbollah leader, and his loyalty to the Iranian supreme leader. He also blamed Hezbollah’s crimes against regional nations in line with Iranian clerics’ interests. “Nasrallah is the real ruler of Lebanon… Hezbollah’s weapons destroyed Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and blew up Beirut,” Tufaily said.
In Iraq, the people turned Muharram mourning ceremonies into a stage for condemnation of Iran’s meddling in their country’s internal affairs. They also remembered the memory of activists recently assassinated by Iran-backed terror squads like prominent researcher Dr. Husham Alhashimi and political activist Dr. Raham Yaghoubi.
Also, recent airstrikes pushed the IRGC to decline its military presence in Syria and deliver several bases and barracks to Assad’s regime or Russian troops. Formerly, closed officials to Khamenei described Syria as “Iran’s 32nd province” to justify spending billions of dollars for preserving Bashar al-Assad’s power in this war-scarred country.
“If we do not combat in Syria, we have to fight enemies in Kermanshah and Tehran,” officials’ frequently said in the past. However, they have now withdrawn much of their forces from Syria.
The author of the Eghtesad-e Saramad daily piece ended by issuing a warning about upcoming protests and the risk of inflaming citizens’ ire. “Should the current situation be interpreted as a stalemate that would be resolved with harsh means and methods? Or can we remain optimistic and hopeful about an improvement in the future? In this context, protesting movements in late 2017-early 2018 and November 2019 and incompatible deals with them are not good signs. Of course, excessive [suppressions] will contribute to severely negative consequences,” the daily wrote.
Branch 101 of Shiraz’s Second Criminal Court, headed by a notorious judge named Mohammad Mehdi Mahmoudi, on Thursday, September 4, 2020, with the issuance of a lawsuit, sentenced Reza Abedi Mozangi, Ali Asghar Ghadiri, Shayan Azam, Shayan Shahrivar, Ali Asghar Rahmani, Abbas Gholami, Ali Lotfi Shourijeh, Ali Alikhani, the detainees of the November 2019 protests to pay a fine, imprisonment and flogging.
The sentences of some of these detainees have been finalized.
Reza Abedi Mozangi, Ali Asghar Ghadiri, Shayan Azam, Ali Asghar Rahmani, Abbas Gholami, Ali Lotfi Shourijeh, Ali Alikhani, and Shayan Shahrivar, respectively defendants in rows 1 to 8 of the case, who was arrested in November 2019, were sentenced by Branch 101 of the Second Criminal Court of Shiraz, headed by Mohammad Mehdi Mahmoudi, to a total of 80 million rials in fines, 30 years in prison, and 296 lashes on charges of disturbing public order and participating in the destruction of public property.
This sentence was referred to the Court of Appeals of Fars Province after the defendants who had received the sentences of imprisonment and flogging protested. To date, Ali Alikhani and Ali Lotfi Shourijeh have been sentenced to life imprisonment as the first and second defendants in this case. They are now enduring their imprisonment. Also, Shayan Azam Shamloo was sentenced to pay only a fine of 10 million Rials, which he paid after the district court announced the verdict and he announced his submission to the verdict and the.
The citation of the judge and the interrogator of the case has been examined based on the report registered by Army’s Intelligence Protection Organization and the police force, considering that these people were detained during the November 2019 protests around the organizational houses belonging to the army.
Ali Alikhani, born in 2001, Ali Lotfi Shourijeh and Shayan Shahrivar, born in 1999, and Reza Abedi, born in 2002, each of the first, second, fifth, and seventh defendants charged with disturbing the public order were sentenced to one year prison and 74 lashes.
In addition to flogging and imprisonment, all seven defendants, in this case, were sentenced to pay a fine of 10 million Rials each to the state treasury.
Also, Ali Alikhani and Ali Lotfi Shourijeh, as the first and second row defendants, in this case, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of complicity in the deliberate destruction of public government property. However, with the suspension of five years out of a total of 10 years of imprisonment for each of these two people has been suspended for two years.
Also, Ali Asghar Rahmani, born in 2003, as the third-degree defendant, and Abbas Gholami, born in 2007, as a fourth-degree defendant, considering their age, who is under 18, on charges of complicity in the deliberate destruction of public government property during the November 2019 protests, each was sentenced to three years in prison at the Correctional Center near Adelabad Prison in Shiraz.
In an online conference on September 5, representatives of more than 300 Iranian communities across the globe announced their support for the domestic protests and uprisings to regime change in Iran.
On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the founding of the main Iranian opposition the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI-MEK), Iranians announced their support of the leading opposition organization and its vast domestic network, known as resistance units.
Participants in the conference, which included three generations of Iranians, also called on rights organizations and activists for immediate intervention to free all political prisoners, particularly detainees of recent protests.
Badri Pourtabakh, Deputy Secretary-General of the PMOI/MEK
Our deepest respect and homage to the founders of this organization. They paved a new way in the history of our nation. The way of struggling against dictatorship and fundamentalism. Their names will forever shine in our history.
Our organization proved that the fundamentalists ruling Iran do not represent our nation and people. The PMOI/MEK is the continuation of 120 years of struggle for freedom in Iran. The MEK has stayed true to the tradition of the struggle for freedom and protected its legacy.
Our deepest respect and homage to @Mojahedineng founders. They paved a new way for the #Iranian nation to struggle against dictatorship and fundamentalism. Their names will forever shine in our history—#MEK Deputy Secretary-General Badri Pourtabakhhttps://t.co/chXBN64hoQ
With the Resistance Units and ongoing uprisings in Iran, we will surely fulfill the dream of the Iranian people to achieve freedom and democracy.
We salute all our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives in this march to freedom.
Zahra Merrikhi, Secretary-General of the PMOI-MEK
“Despite the spread of the coronavirus, we are seeing each other virtually. But we cannot see another part of this gathering, namely our rebellious friends inside Iran, especially the enchained and imprisoned dissidents, and particularly, MEK members and sympathizers, as well as the brave Resistance Units who are resisting in the prisons regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” Ms. Merrikhi said in her speech.
Ms. Merrikhi underscored that the secret to the MEK’s success was that each member of the organization has chosen consciously and voluntarily to forego everything to overthrow the regime and to help the Iranian people achieve all they so desire.
Regarding the Iranian regime, Ms. Merrikhi said, “Khomeini’s ideology and the velayat-e faqih (supreme leader) have no other role than to enslave the people.
“Look at the questions Khomeini’s ‘Death Commissions’ asked prisoners in 1988. Amnesty International published them.
–Are you willing to condemn the MEK and its leadership?
–Are you willing to spy on your former comrades
and collaborate with intelligence agents?
–Are you willing to become a member of the firing squads?
The MEK’s Secretary-General concluded by saying, “Owing to the sacrifices [of the MEK’s martyrs], today, the MEK is stronger, more solidified and more cohesive than ever before. It has become the beacon of hope for the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs’ regime and establish freedom in our fettered nation.
“It is not without reason that the regime’s leaders constantly warn of the expansion of popular support for the MEK and the role played by the MEK’s Resistance Units in organizing the uprising and the anti-government protests. The mullahs know better than anyone else that they have been defeated in every aspect of the face-off against the MEK, and that the day is not far until the Iranian people will rise up and toppled them. Indeed, the Iranian people and the Resistance, led by the MEK, will overthrow the regime and nothing can prevent that from coming into fruition,” ended Ms. Merrikhi.
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
“The Shah, relying on his ruthless secret police, backed by world powers and superpowers, and clinging to his dream of a ‘great civilization,’ was finally toppled as a result of the Iranian people’s uprising,” said Madam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), at the beginning of her speech.
“By the same token, the mullahs will be overthrown by the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance, the great army of freedom, even though they rely on their Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and despite their inhuman suppression and massacres while clinging to their dream of establishing an ‘Islamic caliphate,'” Madam Rajavi continued.
“How inspiring it is that Iranian Resistance leader Massoud Rajavi revived and revitalized this organization despite the crushing blows of two dictatorships, leading it to the pinnacle of its struggle against the reactionary mullahs.
The PMOI/MEK, the blossom of the Iranian people’s perseverance against the Shah and the mullahs, and a certain hope for the future, begins its 56th year of existence. The PMOI’s 55-year history is entwined with the Iranian people’s desire for freedom and justice #FreeIran2020pic.twitter.com/fdY8omUnrY
“Even today, we see that the clerical regime is admitting it in a thousand different ways that its main problem is the structure of the PMOI/MEK. So, it must be obliterated and beheaded to guarantee the regime’s survival. This is the common goal pursued by all the regime’s mercenaries.
“Today, Iran is plagued with poverty, repression, and the coronavirus pandemic. Socio-economic gaps have never been wider. The suppressive machine does not stop for a moment in protecting the mullahs’ religious fascist regime. The regime’s judiciary has been handing down a barrage of death sentences.
“Inspired by the sacrifices of thousands of PMOI martyrs, upheavals and rebellions have been sprouting across Iran. Uprisings are on the horizon.
Massoud Rajavi revived and revitalized the PMOI/MEK under the crushing blows of two dictatorships. #Iran
“The regime’s treatment of detained protesters is similar to what it has done since 1981 regarding PMOI/MEK members in its prisons and torture chambers.
“The accounts of tortures of Navid Afkari and his brothers, and the double execution and long prison sentences for them have shocked and outraged not only the people of Iran but the entire world.
“Another harrowing incident which deeply moved our nation last month was the image of the young son and daughter of Mostafa Salehi standing on both sides of the poster of their father who was recently executed.
When there is not a qualified leadership organization, there could be no fundamental change or development. As in the time of the Constitutional Revolution, people rose up and compelled the authoritarian monarch to accept the constitution, but there was no guarantee. #Iranpic.twitter.com/VqmBVLl5k8
Activities of PMOI-MEK resistance Units inside Iran
Videos broadcast during the event featured Resistance Units from different cities across Iran celebrating the 55th anniversary of the MEK.
“I am a Mojahed, hail to the MEK,” several resistance unit members said.
Videos broadcast during the event featured Resistance Units from different cities across #Iran celebrating the 55th anniversary of the @Mojahedineng. "I am a Mojahed, hail to the #MEK," resistance unit members said.https://t.co/WBPkQ4Q2wB
Vida Niktalean, Architect, Women’s Association for Democracy in Iran:
The regime has ratcheted up pressure against prisoners arrested during the 2019 protests. Many of the protesters are under the threat of execution, including Navid Afkari, a young wrestler. Mostafa Salehi, a worker, was executed last month, and the regime’s criminal judiciary has seized his home, driving his wife and children into homelessness.
This shows the regime is still terrified of the November uprising. This is why the MEK says we must sacrifice everything for freedom. This is the only way to free our people.
The MEK for us is the intersection of freedom and patriotism. The regime and its allies can’t tolerate this organization, and this is why it resorts to terrorism and demonization. The regime resorts to all sorts of excuses to discredit the opposition movement.
The #MEK for us is the intersection of #freedom and patriotism. #Iran regime & its allies can’t tolerate this organization, & this is why it resorts to #terrorism & demonization—Hossein Yaghubi, Mechanical Engineer, Immigrant Convergence Associationhttps://t.co/ITKQL0dI2e
Mehrdad Harsini, Foundation for Development and Democracy in the Middle East:
The regime has seen strategic setbacks thanks to the efforts of the MEK. In every city of Iran, we’re seeing the people rise up against the regime. There’s also new momentum to impose sanctions against the regime. This has been a longstanding demand of the Iranian Resistance. Protecting the interests of the Iranian people is closely tied to the policies of the Iranian Resistance.
There’s a precedence for this. If it weren’t for the brave efforts of Massoud Rajavi, the regime would have killed millions of youth in the war with Iraq. If it wasn’t for the efforts of the MEK, the dictatorship ruling Iran would also be armed with a nuclear weapon.
Hail to Massoud Rajavi for his strategic perspective and devotion to freedom in Iran. The people of Iran don’t want war, repression, and terrorism. Iran will surely be freed with the Resistance Units and the Iranian Resistance.
#Iran regime has seen strategic setbacks thanks to the efforts of the #MEK. In every city of Iran, we’re seeing the people rise up against the regime—Mehrdad Harsini, Foundation for Development and Democracy in the Middle Easthttps://t.co/QkeZcBOlag
Homeira Hesami, Iranian Community of Texas, Dallas:
The truth is that no party other than the PMOI/MEK has strived to protect Iran’s resources and the rights of the Iranian people. Peace in the region and freedom for our people can only be guaranteed with the opposition movement.
The MEK is a treasure that belongs to all the Iranian people. The founders of the MEK discovered the science of the struggle for freedom and wrote it and taught it to others.
The mullahs are constantly calling on the MEK to give up their ideals and go after their lives. We supporters of the MEK also consider ourselves full-time devotees to this cause. This is why the regime constantly targets the MEK and its supporters.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Rajavi has laid out the solution: Disband the IRGC and use its enormous financial resources to support the people. Obviously, the regime will not do that because it knows that without its repressive IRGC, it will be quickly swept away by the people.
Soulmaz Abu Ali, Ph.D. in International Relations, Professor at George Mason University, Iranian Community in Virginia:
I left Iran when I was very young. We had to leave the country because my parents were supporters of the MEK. The MEK deeply believes in their ideals, and gender equality. The democratic Islam of the MEK is totally different from the fundamentalist views of the mullahs. They represent Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan. They believe in free elections, freedom of women, the abolishment of the death penalty, and a non-nuclear Iran.
The MEK has put aside everything for the freedom of the Iranian people. The sacrifices they have made, the pressure they have endured, all this persistence is due to their faith in freedom in Iran.
Is there anyone else who is so devoted? Our country is thirsty for freedom. We will take back our country from the criminal mullahs.
I left #Iran when I was very young. We had to leave the country because my parents were supporters of the #MEK. The MEK deeply believes in their ideals, & gender equality—Soulmaz Abu Ali, PhD in International Relations, Professor at George Mason Universityhttps://t.co/8VokBKxOHG
Kazem Kazerunian, Mechanical Engineer, Professor at the University of Connecticut and Dean of the School of Mechanical Engineering, Iranian Community of Connecticut:
The MEK is the most revered national treasure of our people. The mullahs stole the 1979 revolution to establish one of the worst dictatorships in contemporary history. If this resistance movement did not exist, where would Iran stand today? How could we lift our heads as Iranians?
We can only appreciate the MEK if we consider for a minute what would happen if they did not exist. They have established human values such as working together, sacrificing everything, and devoting their lives to freedom.
The regime is trying to cause despair among the people. But the Resistance Units, through their efforts, are keeping the flame of resistance alive.
The #MEK is the most revered national treasure of our people. The mullahs stole #Iranian 1979 revolution to establish one of the worst dictatorships in contemporary history—Kazem Kazerunian, Mechanical Engineer, Professor at the University of Connecticuthttps://t.co/sr09t3nEJK
Ahmad Moeinmanesh, Senior Electronic Test Engineer, Executive Director of Iranian American Community of Northern California:
Massoud Rajavi once said that freedom will not be given to us for free. We must pay the price. He is the prime example of who has paid the price of freedom in full. He has not backed down on the rights of the Iranian people one bit. This is why the regime and its allies have such enmity towards him.
It has been 40 years that the MEK has single-handedly continued the resistance and struggle for freedom against the regime. They have set an example for all the people.
Hanifeh Khayeri, Researcher, Iran Human Rights Foundation:
My mother was a member of the MEK. She died during the NLA’s Operation Eternal Light in 1988. I support this organization because it has values that are found nowhere else. They have all gathered for a common cause: freedom for the people of Iran. I haven’t seen similar potential anywhere else in the world.
We are all on the same path. Iran is one of several dictatorships in the world. But the Iranian people have an organized opposition movement that has stood for 55 years and has only grown stronger and firmer in their ideals.
My mother was a member of the #MEK. She died during the NLA’s Operation Eternal Light in 1988. I support this organization because it has values that are found nowhere else—Hanifeh Khayeri, researcher at #Iran#HumanRights Foundationhttps://t.co/lqA4XwkUhk
The MEK is the result of several generations of resistance and struggle for freedom in Iran. The founders of MEK established a movement that has shown its righteousness throughout the decades. The MEK has relied on the Iranian people to stand against the mullahs’ regime. They did not bow down to the mullahs. They protected the rights of the people at the price of being beaten, imprisoned, and tortured by the regime’s thugs.
They continued their resistance after the regime opened fire on their peaceful demonstrations and launched a wave of slaughter. Anyone who is serious about fighting against the Iranian regime will align with MEK and the NCRI.
The #MEK is the result of several generations of resistance and struggle for #freedom in #Iran. The founders of MEK established a movement that has shown its righteousness throughout the decades—Behrooz Partovi, Iranian Kurdish activisthttps://t.co/Kn66euHgkw
Hossein Pishkar, Communications Engineer, Association of Professionals in Southern Sweden:
The situation in Iran is ready for a revolution and the overthrow of the regime. The society is in an explosive state. The people have made it clear in their slogans that they want to topple the regime. This confirms the MEK strategy and the role of the Resistance Units for the overthrow of the regime.
The role of the MEK in the past four decades in the struggle against the regime is unrivaled. The MEK has gone through the most difficult trials and tribulations but they have not backed down from the rights of their people.
The MEK continues to pay the price for the freedom of the Iranian people, and this is why the people trust them. It is the persistence of the MEK on their principles and ideals that give me and other Iranians confidence that they are truly devoted to bringing freedom and equality to Iran.
The MEK is the main force of resistance against the mullahs’ regime. Every noble Iranian knows this and appreciates the value of this resistance movement. The NCRI is the sole alternative to the Iranian regime. Resistance Units have bravely paved the way for nationwide protests and are the torchbearers of resistance against the regime inside Iran. It is the duty of every noble Iranian to support the Resistance Units and their leading organization, the MEK.
Hassan Zabeti, British-Iranian Businessmen Association – London:
Massoud Rajavi has been steadfast in his goal for freedom in Iran. This is why the regime hates him so much and the members and supporters of MEK love him.
I have always been witness to the financial support the people of Iran have bestowed on the MEK. Nowhere in the world do people trust an organization like the people of Iran trust the MEK.
I know businessmen, engineers, employees, and others, who devote their entire income to the cause of the MEK. They do so because they know the MEK wants nothing for themselves. They’re not corrupt. Everything they have is for the fight for the freedom of the people of Iran.
Nowhere in the world will you find such an organized movement. And this is what makes us confident and hopeful for freedom in Iran. Of course, the regime does not understand this because it is corrupt to the core.
Reza Rahmani, former political prisoner, Association for the Support of Political Prisoners in Iran:
I am a supporter of the MEK. I spent five years in prison in the 1980s because I was a supporter of the MEK. I witnessed the resistance of MEK members inside the prisons and under torture. The MEK is in complete contrast to everything the Iranian regime stands for.
While Khomeini tried to spread despair across Iran, the MEK gave rise to a brave generation who stood up for freedom and did not hesitate to sacrifice everything for their people.
What gave us hope and strength in the regime’s prisons were the teachings of Massoud Rajavi. We know that the MEK want nothing for themselves. They want everything for their people. And this is why they have stayed strong throughout the years.
The MEK is an organization that has risen above hundreds of movements to struggle against the Iranian regime. They are devoted to independence, democracy,
and human rights. In its faceoff against the mullahs’ regime, it is without a doubt more serious than any other organization or movement. They have made sacrifices that are unprecedented in the history of Iran.
Today, we see the reflection of this organization in the nationwide resistance inside Iran. This organization has been subject to all sorts of conspiracies and attacks by the regime and its allies.
After the 1979 revolution, if the MEK had not stood up against the mullahs’ regime and had not paid the price of their struggle, today, the people of Iran would not be marching toward their victory against the mullahs.
Azadeh Alemi, spokeswoman for the Iranian community in France:
My uncle and his pregnant wife were killed by the mullahs’ regime. As a three-year-old kid, I witnessed the torture and pain of MEK members and supporters in Iran. That is how I came to know the MEK, and this is why I continue to support them today.
The ideals of the founders of MEK have continued to grow until today, and we see this growth in Ashraf 3. The MEK has given rise to a generation of women who have become leaders in the struggle against the Iranian regime. They are the antithesis of the misogynist nature of the regime. Today, women are at the forefront of the fight against the religious fascism ruling Iran, at the helm of the greatest and most organized opposition movement.
The regime’s propaganda against the MEK only strengthens our faith in them.
Zohreh Bijanyar, Iranian Women Association in Paris:
My sister Zahra was an MEK member. She was murdered by the regime during the 1988 massacre. MEK presents a new way of thinking about life and the world. We can see the righteousness of their path in the people who continue their struggle and do not give in to the darkness of the mullahs’ regime.
I salute the leadership of the MEK for remaining true to their principles and defending the rights of the Iranian people.
Amir Taraj, IT specialist, Iranian-French Association for Democracy and Laicism:
As the MEK continues to grow, the Iranian regime is faced with setbacks and deadlocks on different fronts. Its biggest problem is the brave Resistance Units who have kept the flame of protests and uprising alive across Iran.
As the #MEK continues to grow, the #Iranian regime is faced with setbacks & deadlocks on different fronts. Its biggest problem is the brave Resistance Units who have kept the flame of #IranProtests & uprising alive across #Iran—Amir Taraj, IT specialisthttps://t.co/2tkAVkQne6
Afsaneh Najib, G.P., Head of the Association of Iranian Democratic Women:
The MEK has set an example of remaining true to one’s principles and sacrificing everything for freedom. Iran’s freedom movement owes a lot to the MEK and its founders. This organization is the bulwark of freedom against the regime’s tyranny.
The MEK has placed women at the forefront of the struggle for freedom. They represent equal rights for all Iranians regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and faith.
This organization is the longest standing movement that strives for establishing a democratic state in Iran.
The #MEK has set an example of remaining true to one’s principles and sacrificing everything for freedom. #Iran’s #freedom movement owes a lot to the MEK and its founders—Afsaneh Najib, G.P., Head of the Association of Iranian Democratic Women in #Belgiumhttps://t.co/6YnZPcVe2G
Soroush Abutalebi – Computer Management student, Democratic Association of Iranian Students:
The MEK makes the impossible possible, and they have proved this throughout their history. Had it not been for the MEK and the Resistance Units, the regime would have stabilized their hold on power. The MEK gives hope to everyone that freedom is possible in Iran, and that future Iran will be an example for the entire world.
The youth are drawn to the honesty and sincerity of the MEK. This is why they choose the MEK.
The #MEK makes the impossible possible, & they have proved this throughout their history. Had it not been for the MEK the Resistance Units, #Iran regime would have stabilized their hold on power—Soroush Abutalebi, Computer Management student from #Belgiumhttps://t.co/8eBbDGvfDV
The regime claims that the MEK has no support in Iran. If they don’t have support, then why are you so furious that a TV channel broadcasts a portion of their event? Why have you produced 32 films and TV series to defame them in the past two years alone?
Regime officials are acknowledging that the MEK is a threat to their rule. The hundreds of books, films, and other things they have created against the MEK only display their fear of the Iranian Resistance.
I would also like to pay homage to Dr. Kazem Rajavi, who wrote the history of human rights with his blood. His case will not be closed until his murderers are brought to justice.
I am a football coach. I hope to one day help the women of my country reach the gold medal. I’ve spent my entire life in Switzerland, but I can’t stop thinking about the youth in my country. Before I was born, a nobleman, Dr. Kazem Rajavi, was killed in this country for being the voice of the oppressed people of Iran. The regime thought that by killing Dr. Kazem, they would shut the voice of freedom in Iran. But today, the entire country has risen against the mullahs.
We will continue to be the voice of our people and the Resistance Units. These days, we are raising our voices for Navid Afkari, and we will do everything we can to save his life.
Ahmad Hassani, Mechanical Engineer, Democratic Iran Association:
My brother died in the 1988 massacre at the age of 26 because he was a supporter of the MEK. Today, the Resistance Units continue his path.
The regime and its agents will not be able to destroy the image of this resistance movement. They will be held to account for your crimes.
Fereshteh Daneshvar, Accountant, Saba Association:
There’s only one organization that is seriously engaged in the struggle for freedom in Iran. It is the MEK. After the revolution, the regime tried to recruit my brother, who was an MEK supporter, by promising him power and wealth. My brother turned them down and said that the MEK does not want power. They want freedom. And the MEK have proven this in their history. And they will one day become victorious and bring freedom to Iran.
#MEK is only organization that is seriously engaged in struggle for #FreeIran. The regime tried to recruit my brother by promising him power & wealth. 'MEK doesn't want power,' my brother said—Fereshteh Daneshvar, Accountant, Saba Association from #Canadahttps://t.co/kFE8Pvvrqs
These days, the Iranian regime, which is struggling with its crises, is resorting to any means to attack the MEK. Its efforts are focused on terrorism and demonization campaigns. Its terror plots have been foiled and its terrorist agent Assadollah Assadi is now on trial for his involvement in a failed terror attempt.
Its demonization campaign is focused on the organized structure of this movement. They use all sorts of labels to defame this organization. Everyone sees that the key to this movement’s success is its organized structure. The latest instance of this success was the recent Free Iran conference, which was held online this year. Such an enormous conference could not be held without having an organized movement.
The regime’s efforts are futile. I and other Iranians see it our responsibility to defend the MEK.
Since the beginning of the reign of Iran’s regime, it has been accused by the international community for financing, providing weapons, and be the safe haven for global terror groups like the Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and many others. The IRGC as the main actor of this first state-terror sponsor, promoting the regime’s spread of ideology in neighboring regions by training and funding terrorist organizations. Another aspect of the regime’s terror policy is its domestic repression and massacres like the events of 1988, in which the regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners in a short time, in the hope of wiping out any confrontation with it.
OIAC, the organization of Iranian American communities on September 4 holds a photo exhibition and rally on the U.S. capital Hill Grounds to remember this event and call the international community to bring justice and to verdict the regime.
On Capitol Hill Ground, thousands of photos and graphics represent the crime of this regime and its victims over the past 41 years. Remarks were also provided by survivors of these atrocities, as well as members of the U.S. Congress and political dignitaries.
The event also called on the international community to take immediate action to save Navid Afkari, an Iranian wrestler who has been sentenced to death for taking part in November 2019 protests.
By a video message Mrs. Maryam Rajavi the President-elect of the NCRI, on this event said:
“Holding this exhibition is particularly inspiring and effective on the 32nd anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988,” said Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). “Nonetheless, it depicts only a small part of the crimes and terrorism committed by the ruling religious fascist regime. One of the most horrific cases committed by the clerical regime was the massacre of political prisoners in 1988,” Madam Rajavi added.
“In the past 32 years, the Iranian Resistance has persistently called for the masterminds and perpetrators of this great crime against humanity to be held accountable,” Madam Rajavi continued, reminding that due to the Western policy of appeasing the ruling religious tyranny, those who ordered and perpetrated this crime, namely the regime’s most senior leaders, have so far evaded facing justice. Some of these figures include Ebrahim Raisi, the regime’s judiciary chief, and Alireza Avayi, the current Justice Minister, who were members of the death commissions during the 1988 massacre.
“And now, more than three decades later, the blood of the victims of the 1988 massacre is roaring across Iran and inspiring young people,” she continued.
Madam Rajavi reiterated that the regime’s crimes continue to this day. “The savage execution of Mostafa Salehi and the Judiciary’s ruthless decrees for the execution of detained protesters, indicate the desperation of a regime on its last legs. The criminal verdicts for Navid Afkari, a young wrestler, and his two brothers, and for other prisoners who are among the country’s most enlightened youths attest to the regime’s panic and fragility.
“I have continually called on the international community to condemn the clerical regime and to take urgent action to stop the executions. I urge you to persistently follow up on this to prevent these inhuman verdicts from being carried out against Iran’s young generation.”
Madam Rajavi also reminded the audience that in tandem with its human rights abuses, the regime has resorted to terrorism and demonization against the opposition. “Over the past 40 years, in addition to suppression, the mullahs have been targeting the PMOI/MEK and the Iranian Resistance every day with their slanders and lies in an extensive and expensive demonization campaign. The flip side of the demonization campaign is the mullahs’ unbridled terrorism, the sharp edge of which is directed against Iranian dissidents, specifically the PMOI/MEK and the Iranian Resistance,” she said.
Madam Rajavi stressed that the key to stopping the Iranian regime’s crimes is to hold it to account for its terrorism and human rights abuses. “The time has come for the closure of the Iranian regime’s embassies which serve as centers for terrorist operations. The clerical regime’s leaders must also be held accountable and punished for their crimes.
“The experience of the past 40 years has shown that no amount of political and economic concessions will change the behavior of the mullahs’ regime.
“The international community must, therefore, adopt a firm policy and apply maximum pressure on the regime, including referring its human rights record to the UN Security Council. It must also implement the six UN Security Council resolutions and stand with the people of Iran and their organized Resistance.”
I’m the sister of Hamid Sadeghpour, my brother. He was one of the smartest students in his high school. He was a supporter of the MEK. He was very active with the movement. In July 1981, he was arrested for supporting the MEK. He spent seven years in prison.
The regime severely tortured my brother. They drove nails into his feet. But he always had his smile when we went to meet him. That is the person he was.
One day, after waiting a long time to meet him, my mother was told Hamid was not in prison. Finally, after an extensive search, they learned that he was transferred to Evin and after that to Gohardasht prison.
After he endured seven years in prison and torture chambers, he was killed by the regime.
Another story is that of Ameneh Afzali, my dear friend. At the time of her execution, she was 17 years old. In the summer of 1981, she was severely tortured in prison because of her affiliation with MEK. But she did not give in. They shot her and threw her bullet-ridden body into a ditch, where she bled to death.
We would be chased in the streets by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). We were beaten with the stocks of machine guns. They took us to IRGC headquarters. We were taken to a large, darkroom. The room was so crowded that we all had to stand. My friend Maryam was sentenced to 70 lashes. I could hear her screams.
Four decades later, those sacrifices have inspired a new generation. We saw that in the protests of November 2019. The movement for freedom in Iran is growing. It has spread across Iran and includes all sectors of the society.
The stories of torture, execution, beheading, the severing of limbs, these stories are endless. But that is not where this story ends. The awe-inspiring resistance to say no to the mullahs, to never give in, that writes the rest of the history of Iran and Iranians.
I am the only survivor of four brothers. Three of my brothers have been executed by the regime. The regime must be held to account.
My younger brother Behrooz was very gifted and talented. He was a supporter of the MEK when he was studying in college. In 1981, one day he left home, and we never saw him again. We searched for him for 17 days. Finally, we found out about his fate in the newspaper Keyhan among the names of others executed. The news was a shock to our family.
My father reached out to the inspector general’s office. The cleric told my father, ‘your son had a camera and was taking pictures of a MEK demonstration.’
These criminals are still in charge, the same people who killed my brother. They sentenced him to death without access to a lawyer. They tortured him for 17 days, killed him, and buried him in the Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery without telling my family.
My other brother, Bahman, was also a supporter of the MEK. He disappeared in January 1982. We never found him.
My third brother Reza was a swimming champion and a member of the MEK. After Bahman’s disappearance, Reza went into hiding with my mother. They both disappeared. My father started searching for my mother and two brothers.
My mother came back after a month and told us that Bahman was killed by the IRGC. My other brother was arrested with my mother and taken to Evin prison. We later learned that Reza was sentenced to seven years in prison and later taken to Ghezel Hesar prison of Karaj, located west of the Iranian capital Tehran.
In 1988 Reza’s seven-year sentence was over. My father reached out to the inspector general’s office to ask why Reza was not released. They said he had not repented. Reza later told my father that those who repent are asked to kill those who have not repented. ‘I cannot do that,’ he said.
One day, my father was summoned to the prison. He thought his son was released. But instead, they informed him that Reza was executed, and they gave him a bag with his belongings.
I am proud of my brothers and all the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for freedom. They are the true face of Iran, the face of the resistance.
Today I’m asking the world community to stop talking with the mullahs. Their hands are soaked with the blood of innocents. The time has come for criminals like Khamenei to be arrested for their crimes.
Stand beside the Iranian people’s resistance movement.
Why are we talking about an event that took place 32 years ago? The massacre of the political prisoners of Iran in 1988 was one of the worst crimes in the post-World War II era. The regime lied to the world. But the truth has come out.
We know that the people who sent these political prisoners to their death are still in power today. We have the proof and we have those who are culpable.
This was a pivotal moment in Iran’s history. We must know who were these people who were killed? In America, we have heard about MEK for many years. We were told they are terrorists, Marxists, a cult, whatever. But this is what the regime told us.
After the revolution, MEK activists held rallies and called for political and social rights. This was unacceptable for the Khomeini regime. On June 20, 1981, Khomeini began a reign of terror. Even boys and girls were arrested for political activities. They were sent to jail, tortured, and murdered.
In 1988, Khomeini ordered the annihilation of the MEK prisoners. Many had completed their sentences. The prisoners were asked whether they were still loyal to their views. They were proud people and said they still believed in their views. They were killed by the dozens, they were hung, machine-gunned, wrapped up, and buried in mass graves where they could not be found. Their possessions were delivered to the homes of their families and the families were told their loved ones were killed.
After Khamenei became a supreme leader, he resorted to assassinations and terrorism abroad. For thirty years, Iran has been the number one state-sponsor of terrorism.
We are here to make sure the prisoners are remembered. We cannot ignore 1988 anymore. This was one of the largest crimes against humanity. The United States and some of its allies do not always agree on policies toward Iran. But they don’t disagree on Iran’s human rights violations.
The people who sent these political prisoners to their deaths must be held to account. I call upon my government and other governments to act now.
They must stop these extrajudicial killings. They have sentenced Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari to death and his brothers to decades in prison for standing in protests. These are brave people, ladies, and gentlemen. Let us stand with them.
What went on in 1988 must be remembered. What is going on in Iran is still horrific. The actions of the government have been repression against people’s rights. It is more important than ever to remember the victims of the 1988 massacre. We must have a free Iran.
I join you to condemn the 1988 massacre. I join the thousands who raise their voices to call justice for the victims. We both have a history of disavowing the terrorism of the regime against the people of Iran. I will continue to support you.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who knew people or had relatives killed in the 1988 massacre. I am a co-sponsor of the House resolution that condemns the regime and calls for a non-nuclear Iran. I appreciate what you are doing and stand with you to support your mission.
The Iranian regime has continued its campaign of terror at home and abroad. They regularly target Iranians who call out their rights abuses. The Iranian regime is the biggest state-sponsor of terrorism.
It spends 1 billion dollars to fund proxies to spread terrorism. Last year they killed more than a thousand protesters who raised their voices. We stand with you.
Together, we need to support the ongoing fight for human rights in Iran and speak the truth of the past, including the mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. This slaughter was carried out under the order of Khomeini. I am proud to join you in speaking out against these human rights violations and any attempt to deny the truth.
It’s important that we remember who we are dealing with, the mullahs in Iran, and we recognize that things really have not changed. The massacres have continued. We saw it last year in the uprisings, and all those young people killed in Iran’s streets.
We continue to see this in attacks and assassination attempts abroad. We have come to expect this from the fascist dictator to Iran. This is a sad state of affairs that the world has become accustomed to Iran’s violent behavior.
The mullahs promised a revolution and instead delivered a dictatorship that has terrorized people. MEK members have been on the front lines. They have been the chief target of the Iranian regime. There is no question as to why the regime continues to target MEK members. They know the MEK is organized, that they stand for a platform, that Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan challenges who the mullahs are.
We remember those MEK members who laid down their lives, the scores of members who were attacked and killed in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty.
There has been no doubt that the Iranian government pursues the MEK wherever they go because they have a tremendous message. Once Iranians get to see how many of their countrymen are frustrated about how their country is being run, it is no surprise that the people of Iran are protesting.
The mullahs have no respect and they continue to torture and imprison and execute. They are the number one country in the world for the percentage of people they execute. Any government that does that to their own people has no legitimacy whatsoever.
Kenneth Blackwell, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission
In 1988, 30,000 political prisoners were victims of summary executions by the regime of Iran. We must be that alarm clock for justice. We must be protectors of human dignity everywhere. We can’t be on the ground in Iran. But we can do what we can where we are.
Our world depends on it. Those who were the victims of that gross injustice against humanity are witnesses of how we run the race in our time. Let’s continue to speak up and demand justice is done.
I knew Kazem Rajavi. He belongs in the human rights Hall of Fame. He was assassinated thirty years ago by Ayatollah Khamenei. He was the first representative of Revolutionary Iran in the UN. He resigned because of arbitrary arrests and execution in his country. He was very active in defending human rights in Iran.
They killed him in his driveway in his home in Geneva. We had a memorial for Kazem at the UN headquarters in New York.
We have to remember Kazem spent his career in human rights. He was an extraordinary man, very humble, very accessible. He had six PhDs, an incredible person. We remember him and all those fallen for freedom.
Many of the same people who were the culprits in these incidents are still around, they’re still alive and still, have blood on their hands. Kazem was a great aristocrat of freedom, someone who was born with the urge to have his people free.
As Iranian officials use “foreign messaging apps” to spread hatred comments against other nations as well as masterminding a misinformation campaign against dissidents, forty members of the Majlis (parliament) recently submitted a motion to the presidium planning to filter all apps.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz addressed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in this regard recently. “Why does this platform service the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei as a mouthpiece?” he asked. However, many Iranian officials, including those MPs who presented the “Organizing social media” motion, are active on social media.
.@jack why is Twitter censoring American free speech, while simultaneously serving as a mouthpiece for the anti-American and anti-Semitic lies of the Ayatollah? pic.twitter.com/D5Hvn6XYBv
All the while, the ayatollahs have banned Iranian netizens from Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram following these corporations’ refusal to transfer their servers into Iran and under the thumb of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). In this respect, authorities had made indigenous platforms for popular messaging apps, such as Telegram, which breach netizens’ privacy and allow intelligence officials to monitor messages and users’ sensitive data.
LONG THREAD 1)#Iran’s regime filters popular messaging apps, such as @Telegram, forcing users into indigenous platforms. This is a grave security risk for millions of Iranians, allows authorities access to sensitive personal data & easily identify dissidents. CC @email@example.com/jBAbbV9wZc
For many years, Iranian officials have deprived their people of the free flow of information. Since the clerics took power in Iran, they began to counter technology via ruthless measures. In the 1980s, state security forces and IRGC agents were detaining citizens for having videotapes. “Offenders” were sentenced by Revolutionary Courts to lashes and imprisonment.
In December 1982, Mohammad Khatami the then-Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, who later styled himself as a reformist, explicitly exposed his hostile viewpoints regarding people’s access to videotapes. “We have a plan to prevent the cancerous growth of this phenomenon
before it slips into vulgarity and leads to catastrophes,” Khatami said.
Furthermore, in November 2019, the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, another “reformist” who frequently appeared with a “key,” immediately took measures to blackout the internet across the country in parallel with inflaming protests different cities. His young ICT minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi—a former intelligence officer and interrogator—had previously vowed never to press the “filtering button.”
However, as protests spread across the country, it only took 24 hours for the government to cut off people’s access to the internet, allowing security forces, IRGC, and former colleagues of Mr. Jahromi in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), commit harrowing crimes against protesters.
Afterward, for days the state-run television (IRIB) aired enforced confession by detainees who had admitted reiterating what interrogators dictated to get rid of torture and other ill-treatment. In this respect, detainees admitted to dissidents and foreigners having deceived them into disturbing public orders.
Iranian authorities used these coerced confessions to fuel their propaganda campaign against dissidents, particularly the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq, and filed crimes against poor prisoners. Remarkably, in recent months, Iranian netizens managed to stop the execution of at least eight detainees of protests in late 2017-early 2018, August 2018, and November 2019.
In a unified voice for justice, the people of Iran and many rights activists across the globe trended the two hashtags “#StopExecutionInIran” and its Persian meaning “اعدام_نکنید#” on Twitter for hours. This joint effort compelled the judiciary to suspend the death penalty against various victims.
Regarding the impact of social media, officials seek to shut it down as soon as possible or impose their full control on the mentioned apps. They have spent billions of dollars to launch the “National Internet” following Chinese and North Korean examples. However, Jahromi acknowledged in late August that the “home search engine” cannot yet meet government expectations.
Observers believe that the “National Internet” that is supposed to detect dissident and silence any opposition voice would not be able to counter the Iranians’ talents for circumventing state filtering measures. As people succeeded in overcoming jamming on opposition radio channels in the 1980s, smuggling videotapes in the 1990s, and hiding satellite dishes in the 2000s, they will outdo the authorities’ attempts to shut down messaging apps.
Moreover, the ayatollahs must be anticipating street protests when they resort to such desperate measures. “The aftermath of such plans is fabricated messaging apps that [are not welcomed by the people]. They would bring no security. In contrast, with filtering, protesters will opt to show their protests in the streets,” wrote Etemad daily on August 26.
Every day the people’s hatred toward Iran’s regime is increasing, and the regime’s officials are forced to confess about it against their will and warn each other about their administration and its future consequences if they continue their current behavior.
This is a path the endpoint of which is becoming darker for the regime because of its corruption, theft, plundering, repression, ignorance, and censorship.
Hassan Bayadi, the leader of the so-called Abadgaran faction, demonstrated the regime’s fear of an uprising and confessed:
“By the end of December, there is a possibility of unexpected socio-political events. Due to internal recklessness, our people have crossed over the factions and are not satisfied with the situation, and so far, the previous discourses have not been a solution.
“Therefore, the analysis of existing problems should be expressed fair, although in the occurrence of these problems should not be overlooked the role of factions linked to power and wealth, which, unfortunately, like an octopus, has infiltrated many important economic and political organizations and some seemingly justified human beings willingly or unwillingly, are the perpetrators of their oppression.” (State-run Entekhab website, 30 August)
The state-run Mardom Salari daily also warned in an editorial on 31 August, referring to the growing social gap and the danger of an uprising: “The way out of the stalemate is usually violent tools and methods. The protest movements of December 2017 and November 2019 and the inappropriate confrontation with them are not a good sign in this regard. Naturally, violent movements have many negative consequences.”
The state-run daily Mostaghel on 1 September, quoting Qassem Mirzaei Niko, a former member of the regime’s parliament, acknowledged the growing frustration and dissatisfaction of the people with the regime and wrote: “I now see that frustration in society has increased against the performance of the three branches.”
He warned against the complete closure of messenger apps on the Internet due to public protests and said: “Movements such as blocking cyberspace are not well reflected among the people because it is against the needs and desires of the people. The frustration and distrust that has been created in the minds and thoughts of the people about the government and the entire power system is the result of similar actions in the past. Such moves are not well reflected among the people.”
One of the events that reflected the people’s frustration and the regime’s fear about the consequences of its behaviors against the people was the story of the ‘Abolfazl’ village, near Ahvaz, in southern Iran.
While the regime’s Mostazafan Foundation under the control of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei tried to destroy the homes in this village, claiming that the land of this village belonging to this foundation, the people confronted the regime’s agents and the escalations took place for more than a week.
Finally, the regime was forced to step back in fear of a chain reaction across the country. It sent Ali Shamkhani, the regime’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to the region to calm the situation down.
On this, the state-run daily Etemad on 31 August wrote: “The story of Abolfazl village and the claims of the Mostazafan Foundation to be its owner had been reported in the media for some time, but perhaps no one imagined that one day the controversy would escalate to the point of tear gas and bullets. The films and the behaviors are so clear that perhaps there is no need to speak and write about what happened in Abolfazl village. Now everyone knows that in ‘Abolfalz’, one side was defending its homes with stones and the other side was trying to carry out its mission with tear gas and legal orders and bullets.”
The workers in Iran’s oil and gas refineries, petrochemical industries, and power plants, have been on strike for over a month now, with the protests spreading to dozens of cities in 12 provinces.
At the same time, Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company workers in Shush, Khuzestan province, have been on strike for over two months, with daily protest rallies.
These protests are, at the end of the day, the result of the regime’s poor economic decisions that have made corruption an integral part of the financial system. But the regime cannot change its system without endangering their rule. They are deadlocked.
The regime is terrified that these protests will spread across Iran, given the explosive state of the society, but they also fear that cracking down harshly on the workers – who have been deprived of the wages for several months – will result in a nationwide backlash. They also cannot (and don’t want to) meet the demands of one sector or other sectors will come forward with their demands.
The regime has tried to keep a low profile, making only vague and hollow promises to workers with the hope that this will pass and that things remain the same, with the workers giving in because they’re too tired to fight.
They are using other methods to intimidate the protesters though, including trying to cause rifts between protesters and not-so-subtly threatening them with prison and death sentences. They did this by executing or confirming death sentences against those arrested during the 2018 protests, like Mostafa Salehi, who was executed and had his property posthumously confiscated from his wife and children, and the three brothers in Shiraz, who were given execution, imprisonment, and flogging sentences for bogus charges.
Maryam Rajavi, the President of the Iranian Resistance, condemned the brutal sentences and called on all Iranians, especially the youth, to protest because the regime is measuring the response of the people to see how hard they can crackdown before the mullahs are in danger.
Other recent protests include the residents on Abolfazl village, Ahvaz, who have been forced out of homes that they’ve lived in for decades because one of the mullahs’ foundations claims to own the land. The residents, who have lived on the land since before the Mostazafan Foundation was founded, have been brutally attacked by regime authorities.
The foundation was forced to retreat, which shows how much the mullahs fear the people’s anger, but they will be back as soon as attention turns elsewhere.
Some of the relatives of the 30,000 People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) members and supporters massacred by the regime in 1988 gathered at a mass grave in Khavaran recently to demand justice for their loved ones’ death.
The regime formed Death Commissions that put on staged trials of political prisoners, mostly affiliated with the MEK prisoners – even those who had already been sentenced or who had finished their sentence. These five –minute trials essentially boiled down to one question: Do you support the MEK? Everyone who said yes was executed.
Now, 32 years after the horrific massacre ordered by Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, not one person has been brought to justice for this crime against humanity, even though the MEK has provided documents and interviews with survivors to prove who is responsible for this atrocity. Around 60 are still high-ranking regime officials. This includes Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and Justice Minister Alireza Avaei.
However, a lot of people have been arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and even executed for calling attention to the massacre of the MEK that the regime wants to keep hidden, which various groups and people, including Amnesty International and human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, called a “crime against humanity”.
Khomeini’s heir apparent Hossein-Ali Montazeri even admitted that it was “the worst crime of the Islamic Republic” when he spoke to members of the Tehran Death Commission. He was subsequently stripped of his position and put under house arrest until his death in 2009.
The failure to bring the regime to justice has meant that the mullahs are emboldened to commit more crimes against humanity, such as the crackdown on the November 2019 uprising, where security forces shot dead at least 1,500 people in the street, or the harsh sentences issued to protesters, like the Afkari brothers.
The three brothers were arrested in the 2018 protests in Kazerun and Shiraz; two were sentenced to lengthy prison terms and dozens of lashes on trumped-up charges because they dared to advocate for their rights, but Navid Afkari, 27, was given two death sentences.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has urged the United Nations Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Human Rights Council to prevent this execution by compelling the regime to commute the sentence. She highlighted that protester Mostafa Salehi was already executed this year for taking part in protests in 2018.
On August 28, she tweeted: “I urge the UN Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Human Rights Council to immediately intervene to stop the execution of Navid Afkari.”
The MEK wrote: “The international community has failed to address these terrorist crimes, which has meant they have continued unabated. The United Nations General Assembly is about to take place and it is time the regime’s worst crimes at the 1988 massacre were discussed.”
Indeed, if the regime goes unpunished, the mullahs will continue its killings and oppression.
In recent weeks, Iran has launched a new wave of human rights violations, mainly in executing the detained protesters of various protests and the uprising of recent years.
The regime’s first plan to execute some of them started with its decision to execute young political prisoners Amir Hossein Moradi, 26, Saeed Tamjidi, 28, and Mohammad Rajabi, 26, for participating in the November 2019 uprising after a long period of torture and forced confession. The regime’s Judiciary raised many charges against them, but most importantly, the regime’s main concern was laid out by Gholamhossein Esmaili, spokesperson of the regime’s Judiciary.
“They filmed their own crimes and sent them abroad. One of them, during a previous trip to Germany, came into contact with the hypocrites (an expression that the regime uses to describe the Iranian opposition PMOI/MEK), were present in the camp of the hypocrites and received instructions from them,” he said. The rest of the charges against them are just nonsense.
Following a huge Twitter campaign against this decision, the regime was forced to step back and it has held back until now from carrying out their executions.
The second case was the regime’s decision to execute another young political prisoner who was arrested for participating in the November 2019 uprising. He was charged with “enmity against God”, an intentionally vague charge that carries the death sentence.
Hossein Reyhani, who has been held in limbo at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary since his arrest, recently wrote in a letter that he was arrested and convicted for sending a text message that read, “they burnt the bank”, to a friend.
The authorities said that this proved that he had set fire to the National Bank of Islamshahr. Reyhani was arrested on December 8 at his Eslamshahr home during the wave of arrests and enforced disappearances that followed the protests, which began over a rise in fuel prices.
The third case was the verdict against five political prisoners Mehdi Salehi Ghale Shahrokhi, Mohammad Bastami, Majid Nazari Kondori, Hadi Kiani, and Abbas Mohammadi. The Supreme Court in Isfahan upheld their death sentences. They had been arrested during the December 2017-January 2018 uprising, with some sources saying they received two death sentences: one for “waging war against God” and one for taking arms against the government.
On July 10, the defendants’ lawyer Mostafa Nili tweeted: “Unfortunately, the death sentences issued for my clients were upheld by the Supreme Court despite our appeals. To this day we have not been allowed access to the files and the case.”
This alerted the world to the death sentence issues by Abolqassem Salavati at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran in February. The trio was accused of being “riot leaders” who had “set fire to banks and petrol stations and had filmed their criminal acts and sent the videos to foreign media”.
On 5 August the regime executed protester Mostafa Salehi, 30, on the charge of “leading the riots of Kahrizsang district in the city of Najafabad” in Isfahan in the December 2017 protests, something that he only admitted to under torture and denied whenever he was not under torture.
And finally, in late August the regime decided to execute Navid Afkari, who was sentenced to two counts of execution, 6 years and 6-month imprisonment, and 74 lashes. He was arrested with his brothers Vahid Afkari, who was sentenced to 54 years and 6 months imprisonment and 74 lashes, Habib Afkari, 27 years, and 3 months imprisonment and 74 lashes. They were arrested during the July 2018 protests. These people are accused of forming a group, killing a security officer, and participating in protests. Navid and Vahid Afkari have been severely tortured in order to obtain a forced confession in the very notorious place of the police in Shiraz.
On Wednesday, it was reported that yet another person with Western citizenship, specifically an Iranian-British dual national, had been detained in the Islamic Republic amidst escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf. The BBC identified the arrestee, Kameel Ahmady, as a social anthropologist who has done research on such topics and female genital mutilation and the persistent practice of child marriage in Iran. This background raises the possibility that he has been targeted on the basis of perceived ideological challenges to the theocratic regime, but it is equally likely that his dual citizenship alone was sufficient motivation for security services to arrest him.
The Iranian regime’s use of the death penalty as a punishment is something that concerns human rights organisations all over the world. Despite constant calls for the Iranian regime to stop resorting to the use of execution, the practice still continues on a regular basis.
Questions swirled on Tuesday about British foreign policy regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. Such questions have been prevalent ever since Boris Johnson was installed as the UK’s new Prime Minister in late July. And since then, his government has faced pressure from two sides: those advocating for a hardline strategy in line with the White House’s “maximum pressure,” and those who favor a conciliatory approach that is more in line with the status quo.