Iran Human RightsAnniversary of Khomeini’s 1988 Fatwa and Massacre in Iran

Anniversary of Khomeini’s 1988 Fatwa and Massacre in Iran


Iran Focus

London, 26 Jul – On the anniversary of the massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, July 26, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) looks back on the events that led to tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran being summarily and extra-judicially executed in 1988.

“There are strong indications that Khomeini’s fatwa, which led to the massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, was issued on July 26, 1988”, according to the NCRI.

Further, “The Iranian regime has never acknowledged these executions, or provided any information as to how many prisoners were killed.”

However, “By the time it ended in the autumn of 1988, some 30,000 political prisoners, the overwhelming majority activists of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), were slaughtered.”

An article published July 26, explains how during the final phases of the Iran-Iraq war, Khomeini, judging imminent defeat, took his revenge on the political prisoners by issuing religious decrees ordering executions of the “unrepentant” and those unwilling to collaborate with the regime.

The article says that Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini decreed: “Whoever at any stage continues to belong to the Monafeqin (the regime’s derogatory term to describe the PMOI/MEK) must be executed. Annihilate the enemies of Islam immediately.”

Khomeini assigned an “Amnesty Commission” for prisons, comprised of the three individuals: A representative of the Ministry of Intelligence, a religious judge and a prosecutor, who held a trial for a few minutes that in reality was more of an integration session.

Says the NCRI, “The questions were focused on whether the inmate continued to have any allegiances to the PMOI (MEK). The PMOI prisoners made up more than 90 percent of those taken before the “Death Commission.” If the prisoners were not willing to collaborate totally with the regime against the PMOI, it was viewed as a sign of sympathy to the organization and the sentence was immediate execution.”

In letters to Khomeini, published in his memoirs, Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s heir apparent, urged for leniency and a slow down. Khomeini’s haste to execute was so abhorrent many of his closest confidantes had doubts and protested it.

“Montazeri’s book was not the first document informing the world of this massacre. News of the carnage had already begun to trickle through the iron curtain of censorship imposed by the mullahs to ensure a complete blackout on their crime.” says the NCRI.

Since 1982 Hassan Rouhani was a member of the regime’s Supreme Defense Council and a member of the Central Council of the War Logistics Headquarters. In 1988 he was Deputy Commander-in-chief of the regime’s armed forces. As such, he had full knowledge of, and complicity with, Khomeini’s crimes. The NCRI challenges Rouhani’s claim to being ‘moderate’ and ‘reform minded’, saying it “is absolutely preposterous and baseless. Actually he, like all other senior officials of the regime, is a culprit of this hideous crime.”

Although there has been little attention to this crime against humanity, in 2008, Amnesty International “renewed its call for those responsible for the ‘prison massacre’ to be held accountable.” Amnesty added, “Those responsible for the killings – one of the worst abuses to be committed in Iran – should be prosecuted and tried before a regularly and legally constituted court and with all necessary procedural guarantees, in accordance with international fair trial standards.”

“The massacre of 1988 remains to be one of the darkest stains on the recent history of mankind, as one of the least exposed and discussed.” declared the NCRI, today. “Some human rights experts have described it as the greatest crime against humanity in the 20th Century following World War II that has gone unpunished.”

Most people know about the reign of terror that followed the Islamic Revolution, however, there is little public awareness of the 1988 killings.

“Not only has there been no prosecution of the criminals who orchestrated and carried out that summer’s gruesome murders, but the regime continues to deny that they even occurred,” concludes the July 26 remembrance of the fatwa in 1988 by the NCRI.


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