Modern Iran History Speaks Out By: Heshmat Alavi

| 09.09,15. 10:16 PM |

July and August 1988 will never be forgotten in the history of Iranian prisoners under Khomeini’s regime. From late July of that year Khomeini launched one of the most atrocious inhumane crimes: the horrific massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. The stage for this ruthless carnage, which can only be described as genocide, was set through an order issued by Khomeini.

          this picture disclosed the mass graves after 1988 massacre     this picture disclosed the mass graves after 1988 massacre                                     

    Khavaran where executees were buried in groups  Khavaran in Tehran suburb where executed prisoners were buried in mass graves


The main goal in this killing spree was a massacre in which Khomeini targeted members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran. In these dark days Khomeini’s famous “Death Commissions”, consisting of senior Ministry of Intelligence, judiciary and prison officials initiated this massacre in a much focused manner. It is worth noting that preparations were in the making for this genocide months before July and August 1988. Political prisoners were all prosecuted without the presence of a lawyer, with each so-called court hearing lasting only a few minutes, and the death sentence issued immediately.

The scope of this atrocity was so horrific that it has been described by Baroness Boothroyd, prominent member of the UK House of Lords, as the worst unprosecuted crime after World War II; a crime involving all current and former senior regime officials.

The executions continued for five months. When the dust settled, around 30,000 prisoners – with the utmost majority being PMOI members and supporters – were sent to the gallows. Prominent Belgian Senator Dirk Claes said in this regard: “The summary executions of thousands of political prisoners in the summer of 1988 in Iran is one of the worst crimes in contemporary history, but it still remains relatively unknown in the West."


Death Commission:

According to the accounts of eyewitnesses who survived these massacres, the Death Commission had only one litmus test:

Do political prisoners deny their political affiliation to the PMOI or not? Very similar to the Nazi massacres back in WWII where the person’s nationality meant his/her death. In this case, the death sentences of these prisoners were issued in the most ruthless manner and in contrast to all recognized standards of behavior vis-à-vis POWs and inmates.

Tehran and prisons such as Evin and Gohardasht were the epicenter of this killing spree. However, there was no prison, city or village left spared in Iran. The Death Commission went to every single prison and clarified the status of all political prisoners. Pour-Mohammadi who became justice minister in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet was the key person in this commission.

More than two decades later, to this day thousands of families remain in the dark about the final resting places of their massacred loved ones. The mullahs’ regime continues to deprive these families of any information about the whereabouts of thousands of political prisoners whose names and identifications were registered in prisons and the regime’s courts. This atrocious and unprecedented carnage was carried out under Khomeini’s own written orders, daily instructions and direct supervision. He said in his Fatwa: ”it is decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Monafeqin [Mojahedin], are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”

This is Khomeini’s order (Fatwa)


During the many weeks that this massacre was ongoing, all Revolutionary Guards members and prison authorities were constantly kept on high alert, and other than just one telephone line at the “Death Commission’s” disposal, there was no other means of communication with the outside world. All administrative employees, guards and IRGC members were ordered to take part in the hangings of these prisoners, and even punch the heads and chests of the executed corpses; this was meant to involve all of the regime’s affiliates to such an extent that no one would dare reveal the secrets of this brutal act.

Various eyewitnesses have suffered psychological disorders after witnessing such horrific scenes, not being able to speak at all for months. A very small number of these eyewitnesses have survived to this day, and later on exited Iran to testify before international tribunals.

Mohammad Yazdi, former chief of Iran’s judiciary said in this regard on 3 May 1990, “Ayatollah Khomeini said: The judicial order for the PMOI is true for the entire organization and all its members, and as a result, there should be no hesitation on classifying them as mohareb (one who is in enmity against God) and mofsid fil-arz (one who commits corruption on Earth). (The Iranian regime resorts to the pretext of ‘moharebe’ to legitimize its executions of dissident political prisoners).

Today, after witnessing the crimes committed by ISIS, people across the globe are disgusted of religious terrorism. However, three decades ago, it was Khomeini who founded the basics of this barbarity by killing thousands upon thousands of youths in Iran under his fanatic ruling.

At that time, Iran’s current leader Khamenei was the regime’s president, and he referred to this massacre by saying, “We execute people and are utterly serious about it.” At that time, Iran’s current president Hassan Rouhani, was the deputy undersecretary of the commander-in-chief and was considered a senior official in Iran’s then government.


Killing Methods

The actual number of those killed in these massacres has never been precisely determined. Only a very small number of names of those so many prisoners hanged in public have been obtained to this day. Numerous reports of groups of 7 to 20 people being hanged at once, and even hundreds of people in one day alone, are truly shocking. Of all the prisoners, 35% were executed in Tehran, most of which in Evin Prison, 14% in Gohardasht Prison and 46% in other cities and towns across the country. The execution site of 5% of these prisoners remains unknown. 80% of all the female prisoners were hanged at that time.


Executed Prisoners Ranged from 13 to 60 Years of Age

The prisoners sent to the gallows even included 13-15 year old teenagers. 25% of those victims whose ages were clarified were less than 25 years old, while 58% were under the age of 30.

Twenty of these victims were between the ages of 50 and 65, including two grandmothers; one being a 60-year old woman by the name of Sadat Hosseini, executed in the city of Shiraz, and the other was arrested after revealing the regime’s crimes in response to the execution of her children. She was paralyzed due to vicious tortures, and in those conditions they placed her before a firing squad in the city of Ghaemshahr in northern Iran.

Today, the mothers and other relatives of those victims are even banned from visiting their loved ones’ nameless graves. The mullahs ruling Iran resort to any and all measures to cloak all signs of this horrific crime; even destroying the final resting grounds of these massacred victims to not leave behind a single trace of its atrocity.

During the past 30 years defending this massacre has been considered a test of loyalty to the mullahs’ regime and its supreme leader. Today, this massacre has become part of the identity and history of all the regime’s factions, including those who today claim to be reformists and moderates. Another aspect of this reality is the completely unacceptable justification provided by the appeasing Western governments and the United Nations who have sacrificed their political, moral and historical principals for short-term political and/or economic interests.

While the international community sanctions the Iranian regime for its nuclear weapons drive and ambitions, no firm measures are taken on Tehran’s gross human rights violations.

As protests radicalize inside Iran and demonstrators demand regime change, the human rights situation in this country has drastically deteriorated.

The US, UK, France and… as permanent members of the UN Security Council have the obligation to protect democratic principles in the face of any UN member committing a crime against humanity. Western governments should most certainly cut off all bilateral political and economic relations with Tehran until it puts an end to its atrocious human rights violations.

Only then can Iran’s modern history speak out, and it will definitely speak nobly of universal values and international covenants.

Heshmat Alavi is a political activist and supporter for regime change in Iran. He writes on Iran and the Middle East.He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi

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