In its damning report in October 2018, titled ‘Blood-Soaked Secrets’, Amnesty International declared, “Between late July and September 1988, the Iranian authorities forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed thousands of prisoners for their political opinions and dumped their bodies in unmarked individual and mass graves.”
In July 1988, the Iranian regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini issued a secret religious order (fatwa) for the execution of prisoners who steadfastly supported the opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The fatwa later engulfed other political dissidents when the regime cleansed the prisons of MEK members and supporters.
According to survivors and eyewitnesses, the regime formed commissions comprising judicial authorities, intelligence officers, and interrogators to purge dungeons of political prisoners. The regime claimed the commissions were established for ‘pardon’, while prisoners and rights activists and groups have since referred to them as ‘Death Commissions’.
For decades, the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre, including Iran’s current president Ebrahim Raisi, have enjoyed impunity. Not only do they enjoy this impunity for being off the hook for their atrocious crimes against humanity, but it has allowed and encouraged them to shed more blood to strengthen their authoritarian theocracy.
Khomeini’s successor, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei awarded Raisi, infamous as the ‘Butcher of Tehran,’ and appointed him as the judiciary chief. During his tenure, Raisi upheld hundreds of death sentences against political activists, women, juvenile offenders, prisoners of conscience, followers of ethnic and religious minorities, and smugglers—contrary to the regime’s penal code.
Judicial authorities were also actively involved in a bloody crackdown on hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters in November 2019. Following gas price hikes in mid-November, citizens took to the streets across the country, urging authorities to cancel the hikes. The regime then responded to people’s demands with violence, killing at least 1,500 defenseless demonstrators and bystanders. Authorities also detained thousands of protesters and subjected them to inhumane torture and ill-treatment by Raisi’s agents.
As Amnesty reported in September 2020, “Widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care. Hundreds were subjected to grossly unfair trials on baseless national security charges. Death sentences issued based on torture-tainted ‘confessions.’”
As was expected, Raisi and his agents were awarded yet again. In a forged election in 2021, Khamenei’s affiliates paved the path for Raisi’s presidency. Even the regime’s official statistics show the 2021 Presidential election received extraordinary apathy in the regime’s age.
Khamenei appointed Raisi to counter domestic and foreign crises, including ongoing protests and anti-regime activities, breathtaking sanctions, and financial failures. However, Raisi has failed to strike fear into society despite his notorious background as an executioner.
In their socio-economic rallies and marches across Iran, citizens routinely chant slogans, such as: “Death to Raisi,” “Raisi; shame on you, let go of the country,” “Raisi is a liar,” and “The sixth-grader government [of Raisi] would collapse soon.”
Raisi has also lost significant numbers of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) supporters, not because he fought ‘systematic corruption’, but because he has failed to satisfy the ‘mafia’ with adequate political-economic incentives. Today, not only do the people curse Raisi on the streets, but even Khamenei’s appointees in the Parliament and other government offices explicitly slam Raisi and his cabinet.
From the international standpoint, Raisi’s government has failed to push Tehran’s interests through a new nuclear deal with world powers. Instead, the regime has been forced to withdraw from some of the ‘red lines’, such as delisting the IRGC, closing the International Atomic Energy Agency’s probes, and lifting all sanctions.
In recent months, the U.S. Department of Justice has foiled the mullahs’ assassinating attempts against former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pushing the regime into an awkward corner and making new hurdles for engaging with it.
Raisi has been desperately trying to brag about his attendance at the UN General Assembly as a victory to ease domestic and foreign failures. On the other hand, Iranians around the world have warned the international community, particularly the U.S. administration, that they should take a firm approach toward Iran’s mass murdering, terrorist regime.
The Iranian people expect that the US will avoid granting a visa to Raisi and his IRGC lieutenants to prevent them from staining American soil, spreading hatred beliefs, and masterminding more terror attempts. They have launched a “#NoVisa4Raisi” campaign, backed by a long slate of dignitaries from the trans-Atlantic, to ensure that the Iranian delegation will be denied entry to the U.S next month.