For the past 40 years, the Iranian people have not received the freedom promised by the revolution that removed the Shah from power. Instead, they moved from one dictatorship to another. The Iranian regime continues to use suppression tactics to keep the Iranian people in line. These tactics include random arrests, physical abuse, torture, and even public executions. Those activists who continue to speak out against the regime risk not only their lives, but retribution against their families.
One major example of this repressive effort by the regime is the crime against humanity that occurred in 1988. During that summer, 30,000 members and associates of the PMOI/MEK, a opposition group in Iran, were executed under a Fatwa issued by then Supreme Leader Khomeini. According to Amnesty International, the bodies were buried in mass graves. These sites have been destroyed to cover up evidence, leaving families in the dark about the fate of their missing loved ones.
Despite the fact that members of the regime were active in those executions, they have not been held to account. In fact, many have continued to receive high positions in the regime and the rewards of being part of their corruption.
Amnesty International wrote in a report on this crime, “that the failure to bring the criminals to justice, in this case, makes the 1988 massacre an ongoing crime against humanity and so the international community is obligated to seek justice on the behalf of the victims.”
Regime Has Not Changed Despite International Condemnation
Despite the international attention to the massacre, the regime has not changed its ways. In fact, the Iranian Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri expressed regret that the regime appears to have abandoned divine laws for human rights, including the reduction of the punishment of amputating hands for theft.
There have been various United Nations resolutions, almost 65 of them, condemning human rights abuses by the regime. Yet, the regime has not truly been held accountable. Now with the sanctions in place, the regime and its security forces are dealing with the consequences of their decisions. The last resolution was passed in November 2018. At that time, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), stated that the violation of human rights is one of the four pillars of the theocratic regime ruling Iran. She reiterated that the international community must refer “the dossier of human rights violations in Iran to the UN Security Council after 65 United Nations censures.”
Rajavi also referenced the 1988 massacre, reiterating, “The most vivid example of grave violations of human rights is the 1988 massacre of political prisoners perpetrated by the regime’s key institutions and leaders, who are still in power, still defend this crime, and remain immune from punishment. The world community faces a monumental test in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for this great crime against humanity.”
Additionally, the Iranian people are also calling for change, despite the repressive measures of the Iranian security forces. These protests are putting the regime on the ropes.
Protests Call for Regime Change
After all of these incidents of human rights violations, there is a call for a Free Iran rally in Paris ahead of the Warsaw Conference in mid-February. The rally is scheduled for February 8 and will feature speeches of support for the Iranian people.
The regime continues to fight for its survival, but with the increasing number of protests from the Iranian people against human rights violations and the pressure from the international community, it is clear that the regime’s life span is short and that 41 years of the regime may be one year too many.