London, 15 Jul – Families of the victims of the 1998 massacre of political prisoners in Iran are still waiting for justice and an international tribune. After the 30th anniversary of this inestimable loss, so are the Iranian people.
During only a few months of 1988, 30, 000 political prisoners were systematically executed in a horrific purge. Prisoners, including teenagers as young as 14, were loaded onto trucks in groups and hanged from cranes.
For three decades attempts to investigate the extent of the massacre were blocked. Cemeteries and headstones were toppled with bulldozers.
Many of those who participated in this crime, specifically those on the “Death Commission”, which consisted of 4 men who judged and sentenced victims to execution, still hold high position in today’s regime. These men include Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, who is now Iran’s justice minister in President Hassan Rouhani’s Cabinet, and cleric Ebrahim Raisi, favored candidate of the supreme leader for the 2017 presidential election. Both men have defended the massacre.
Newt Gingrich, 50th speaker of the United States House of Representatives, said at the Free Iran Rally in Paris on July 1, 2017, “[A] dictatorship that appoints as its justice minister someone who killed 30,000 people is telling you everything you need to know about the core nature of the dictatorship,” said “[D]ictatorships like the one in Iran threaten freedom anywhere.” Gingrich also called Iran the largest supporter of state terrorism in the world.
Near the end of the Iran / Iraq war, Khomeini issued a decree, called a fatwa that reads: “[P]olitical prisoners throughout the country who remain steadfast in their backing for the Mojahedin (MEK) are condemned to execution.” 30 years ago the regime tried to eliminate the main opposition group, the MEK, but despite execution, torture, and crackdown for three decades, the regime has failed.
“You will someday be proud to say you were a part of what freed Iran,” Gingrich said.
Linda Chavez, chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and former director of the Office of Public Liaison, also spoke at the Paris gathering. She said, “I want to salute you today for your courage and for your perseverance of the MEK and the NCRI. You are the ones who remain committed to freedom and to democracy for Iran and to eradicate the suppression, the terrorism, and the regime’s demonizing campaign that has been directed at you. Your perseverance gives up hope that we shall, in the end, defeat the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism, whose heart beats in the clerical regime in Iran. I wish you a good meeting, and I wish that your message will be carried throughout the world.”
A loyal friend, who has spoken at previous annual “Free Iran” rallies, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, said “They have on their hands the blood of so many of your people, but they have on their hands the blood of my people, too, who they helped to kill in Iraq and who they’ve helped to kill for years and who they’ve held hostage. If they’re not a terrorist organization, there is no such thing as a terrorist organization. And we should declare them a terrorist organization so we can cut them off of support around the world.”
Tom Ridge, the former United States secretary of homeland security, was also in attendance. He said, “Despite the dark legacy of Iran’s dictator, the light of liberty can overcome and replace the darkness of the tyrannical Iranian regime. The light of freedom is kept going by all those who have lost their lives for the cause.”