In statements released by British leaders, they called on the UN to address the Iranian massacre in 1988, as well as concern for the spike in executions under President Rouhani. This was first exposed last year when the son of late Ayatollah Montazeri, published a shocking audio tape from 28 years ago (August 15, 1988) in which Montazeri, the heir to Iran’s first Supreme leader Khomeini at the time, is telling a meeting of members of the Death Committee that “The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you.”
Montazeri’s son was later sentenced to 20 years in prison accused of acting against the national security for making the audio file public.
“Earlier this month, planned execution of juveniles has been criticized by UN human rights experts, as well as Amnesty International calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately stop these executions,” said Sir David Amess, MP and Co-Chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom.
Over 80 people were reportedly executed in Iran during the month of January. “We have no doubt that the government shares our concerns with regards to the Iranian authorities’ frequent use of death penalty and regrets the lack of accountability for human rights abusers in Iran,” said Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool and various members of the British Committee for Iran Freedom.
These statements also urge action to address the serious lack of accountability in Iran regarding human rights abuses. On November 15, 2016, Ambassador Martin Shearman, of the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York, addressed this lack of accountability, he reminded the UN member states that “It remains crucial that we keep a focus on human rights and continue to hold the Iranian Government to account for its human rights record.”
Similar concerns have been brought up by other government officials throughout the last few years. In her statement to the Security Council debate on ICTY and ICTR on June 3, 2015, Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor at the UK Mission to the UN, said, “Let me begin by emphasizing the UK’s continued support for the important work of the ICTY, the ICTR and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. Through your efforts, we will hold to account the perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes of the 20th century.”
Members of the House of Lords in the UK Parliament also released a motion regarding the death of political prisoners in Iran, specifically those killed in the 1988 massacre. “This House notes that the audio file of Ayatollah Montrazeri, former heir to Khomeini, in 1988, reveals new evidence about the massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran’s prisons in the summer of 1988, including women and children and all political prisoners who supported the opposition movement of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI),” said members in early day motion 448. That same motion acknowledged “that the world will not forgive us for this crime and agrees that the impunity of the authorities of the Iranian regime in the past three decades is the main cause for continuation of these crimes in Iran.”
Under these circumstances, the British government and its allies have an obligation to step up at UN level to secure justice for the families of the victims by holding the Iranian regime accountable.
“Continued impunity for these human rights abusers is unacceptable in light of the many evidences proving their involvement and the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre must be held accountable,” said the Right Honorable Lord Dholakia OBE DL, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.
The upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva provides an opportunity for the UK to raise this matter.
“We urge the British government to take action at the UN to recognize and condemn this brutal massacre as a crime against humanity and ask the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council to order an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, as called for in the parliamentary motion, the EDM448 Death of Political Prisoners in Iran in 1988 supported by 80 cross party MPs.,” said Amess.
Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science professor at Tehran State University and an associate of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recently acknowledged that “Thousands of members of the People’s Mujahedeen opposition organization were killed without any trial and any proof of the crime on them, during the first years after the revolution.” His comments referring to the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988 was published by the state run Goova-News website.