London, 7 November – During the summer of 1988, 30 000 innocent victims were executed in Iran for their opposing political beliefs. The act was an unprecedented violation of human rights, as many victims were executed after a short ‘mock trial’, and many of them were women and children. Recently a conference was held at the Central University of Sassari, Italy to commemorate the victims, support the “Justice Seeking Movement”, and condemn the 1988 Massacre, as well as the continuous suppression of women in Iran today.
Dr. Virginia Pishbin opened the conference, introducing the various speakers and guests during her speech. The conference attracted noteworthy participants, such as the mayor of Sassari, the Amnesty International director and numerous Italian representatives, and a delegation from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Following the introduction, Raffaella Sau, Sassari Mayor’s political-cultural advisor, welcomed the NCRI delegation, expressing his gratitude to the Association of the Iranian youths for holding the conference in Italy, congratulating their combined efforts. “I also thank those who resist in order to attract the worldwide attention. I appreciate you for your activities which shape our public opinion against violence and genocide in your country.”
Elahe Arjmandi, a member of the Women’s Commission of NCRI, went on to commemorate the 1988 Massacre, drawing attention to the resistance and bravery of the victims, even when faced with their imminent death, and the brutality of Khomeini’s fatwa and the actions of the ‘Death Commission’. She drew attention to the executions happening in Iran today, urging action to be taken in order to stop these. She re-instated that the Justice-Seeking Movement advocates that the perpetrators of the 1988 crimes and the executions taking place in Iran today, be brought to court.
Elham Zanjani from the NCRI Women’s Committee also gave a speech at the conference. She outlined how the current Iranian regime suppresses women and their role in society. She urged that women should rise against this and the fundamentalist beliefs, arising from ‘Velayat e Faqih’ (the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist). She stressed the role that women have played so far in the resistance movement – a large proportion of the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI) victims of the Massacre, a large number has been women and girls. She stated that despite the threat of the devastating consequences, youth remained brave in their stance to support the Iranian resistance, thanks to the bravery of the women who inspired many of the protests.
Samira Nariman, a representative of the Association of the Iranian youths in Italy, gave insight into the activities in Europe and America, carried out by the Iranian Youth Association towards the Justice-Seeking Movement.
As the conference went on, Dr. Stefania Fusco and Dr. Maria Cristina Carta discussed the laws, instated by the Mullahs to suppress women. They stressed that this forms ‘a fundamental basis of the clerical regime.’ They supported the call for bringing the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre to justice and pledged support to the Justice-Seeking Movement.
Mr. Nicola Sanna, the mayor of Sassari, gave the closing speech. “I congratulate the ladies who participated in this conference since the president of the Iranian Resistance is a woman and this contains a significant concept and message. The women lead the resistance at the national and international levels and they are the actual champions of freedom and democracy. We and our city are on the side of the freedom fighters and the revolutionaries. We welcome the delegation of the Iranian Resistance and we support their struggle for freedom and democracy.”
The speech was followed by a closing statement from Dr. Virginia Pishbin that condemned the 1988 Massacre. The participants were invited to sign the statement as a symbol of their support to the victims and a pledge for justice to be brought to them.