New US Sanctions, Iran and Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners

Adoption of a bill by both chambers of the US Congress, imposing new sanctions on Iran, has terrified the Iranian regime. The sanctions includes Iran’s ballistic missile program, terrorism, and violation of Human Rights.

Concerning the violation of Human Rights part of the bill says:

“Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of each person the Secretary determines, based on credible evidence, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act (1) is responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in Iran who seek (A) to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the Government of Iran; or (B) to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections; or … “

Based on the content of this bill all the Iranian officials must be sanctioned since all of them are “responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights … “

Let’s examine one case in point. In the summer of 1988, in the span of a few months, the Iranian regime massacred more than 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were members and supporters of the main opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK). The massacre was ordered by Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iranian regime through a religious decree.

“Whoever at any stage continues to belong to the MEK must be executed. Annihilate the enemies of Islam immediately!…Those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the MEK are waging war on God, and are condemned to execution … It is naive to show mercy to those who wage war on God,” reads part of the decree.

A committee of four men was formed to implement the order, and in a matter of a few months over 30,000 political prisoners were executed.

For more than three decades, Iran kept silent about the carnage, until this year in the presidential election. One of the perpetrators of the massacre and a member of death committee, conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisie, was selected as one of the main candidates. Immediately, the issue surfaced, forcing regime officials, one after another, to confess to the carnage.

iran massacre.
Iran massacre.

“Regarding MEK and all the militant groups, the ruling is the death sentence … Imam (Khomeini) has said this … their verdict is death sentence …” Ali Fallahian, the former Iranian intelligence Minister, said in an interview.

“Mr. Mousavi (Tabrizi) who was the Revolution’s general prosecutor used to say that there is no need for trial at all … it makes no sense that we try them … Imam repeatedly insisted that you should be careful not to let them go… Imam continuously stressed that you should always be cautious of this matter … Their ruling is always execution. This was his (Khomeini’s) verdict as the supreme leader, both before and after this event of 1988 (massacre of political prisoners),” Fallahian said in the interview referring to MEK members and supporters.

“First, you should bear in mind that their (MEK’s) ruling was death punishment; and if the religious judge did not sentence them (MEK) to death, his ruling has been illegal … so all of us should acknowledge that the verdict for a Monafeq [the term used by the regime to call a MEK member or sympathizer] is death sentence, this was both Imam’s fatwa and his verdict … there was a discussion about those who were supposed to be executed, but the executions did not carry out, and those who were to be executed but didn’t get a verdict. ‘Nonetheless’ why they were kept alive against Imam’s (Khomeini) will?” Fallahian said this, responding to a question about the victims of the massacres of 1988 who were serving their sentences.

Last August an audio tape of a meeting between the late Ayatollah Montazeri, the former successor to Khomeini, and the death committee was revealed. The audio tape shed light on the massacre. Mr. Montazeri called the massacre, “The utmost crime in the history of Islamic republic.”

“A full accounting of what’s called the ‘death commission’ created by Khomeini has yet to be carried out. But thousands died – by hanging or firing squad or in places such as Tehran’s Evin prison,” a 1990 Amnesty International report showed.

“We can’t progress as a world society unless we do something about the worst unpunished atrocity in modern society since the Second World War … , what happens when you let criminals go? What happens when you don’t prosecute? You have no deterrent effect, and the fact that the United Nations turned a blind eye towards this dreadful crime encourage them to go further,” said Sir Geoffrey Robertson, QC, former UN tribunal chief judge on Sierra Leone and prominent human rights barrister in his speech in Paris conference while discussing the 1988 massacre.

On the 29th anniversary of the massacre, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) sent a message urging the UN High Commissioner on human rights to immediately set up an independent committee to investigate the 1988 massacre and subsequently put those in charge before justice.

Marking the 29th anniversary of this horrific purge, the time has come to hold the mullah’s regime accountable for crimes against humanity.

Keyvan Salami
Keyvan Salami is an Iranian activist with a passion for equal rights. Keyvan graduated from the University of New York, and his focus is Iran and the Middle East. He has contributed writing to many sites. His work covers a wide variety of issues concerning Iran's state sponsorship of global terrorism, ballistic missile, and violation of human rights.