The Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi has been replaced by Alireza Avaie in President Rouhani’s second term cabinet. While there were some who said Pour Mohammadi was dismissed for his involvement in the death committee of the 1988 massacre, it is clear that this is not a significant reason to keep an individual from serving this administration.
Pour Mohammadi was replaced by a man who also was actively involved in the 1988 massacre. The Iranian Resistance unveiled his involvement at a press conference in Paris on September 6, 2016. During the massacre, he was serving as the city’s Revolutionary Court prosecutor. Following a fatwa issued by Khomeini, Avaie was the main official in charge of executions in UNESCO Prison.
According to eyewitness reports, Avaie ordered “juvenile prisoners under the age of 18 to be executed in groups of two or three, carried out in an empty field near the prison.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) calls it a replacement of one executioner with another. The NCRI and its President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, have called for Pour Mohammadi to be brought to justice, along with others involved in the massacre.
According to the NCRI, “The appointment of Avaie, who is very close to Rouhani, once again proves the fact that the hands [of] all authorities of the regime, from each faction, are stained with the blood of the Iranian people, especially the political prisoners, and they should be brought to justice for their crimes.”
However, looking at the entire cabinet, there seem to be more than just a few ministers with questionable histories.
“In Rouhani’s second term, massive economic and social destructions, along with political suppression would continue. Rouhani neither wants, nor is able to seriously alter the foundations, structure or behavior of this historically backward regime…And indeed, it should never be expected from him, who for the past 38 years, has held the highest positions in the regime’s security and military apparatus in domestic suppression and war mongering. And as his rivals have noted, he was the one who called for public hanging of conspirators during Friday prayers right from the beginning,” said the NCRI in a statement on May 20th after the 2017 election.
Many of the appointments are focused on the reality that the regime wants to protect itself and maintain its control. Real reform in Iran can only happen with regime change.