On December 12, Amnesty International published a video interview of the 1988 Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, distorting the truth regarding the execution of political prisoners that were part of the PMOI/MEK or supporters of the group. The video clip’s release was in response to a public debate that was ignited due to the publication of a report that demonstrated how Mousavi’s government was aware that the killings were taking place and that the Prime Minister concealed the truth regarding the events of that summer.
When questioned about the executions, Mousavi acknowledges that they were repressed but avoids an explicit reference to mass killings.
Amnesty International Efforts Bring Regime’s Actions to Light
“Mir Hossein Mousavi’s interview with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF, shows that, in late 1988, he unashamedly propagated the same false narrative, used by other Iranian authorities for decades, to hide the truth that they had forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed at least 5,000 political dissidents as part of a systematic effort to eliminate political opposition,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Iranian officials have continued to repress any evidence of the executions, including putting up construction projects over mass graves. Instead, the focus has been shifted to spreading propaganda regarding the PMOI/MEK and defending the actions of the death commissions as part of a necessary crackdown.
Report Details Strategic Denial of Mass Killings
One consistent reality with the Iranian regime is that the leaders continue to deny that the massacre even took place or if they did, then that they were done as a rogue effort that was not sanctioned by the Iranian government.
Documents show repeated efforts by Amnesty International to raise their concerns regarding the events in 1988, even while the killings were ongoing. They mobilized activists, sending thousands of appeals to the Iranian government.
“All former and current officials who continue to treat the mass killings as state secrets effectively stand with those who have blood on their hands,” said Luther. “He and all other officials who have hidden and distorted the truth must respond to the demands of tormented families for truth and justice, and publicly reveal any information that they have about the mass prisoner killings and the whereabouts of the victims.”
The report names key officials who were involved in the killings in 1988, including individuals who are now serving in critical positions throughout the current Iranian administration.