London, 23 Sep – An article by Yahoo News on September 21, reports that a new campaign group,, demanded a UN probe into the 1988 massacres in Iran after the release of an audio tape revealed new information. The group called launched their campaign Wednesday at a press conference at the United Nations in Geneva.
Amnesty International has always alleged that from August 1988 to February 1989, Iranian authorities executed nearly 5,000 political prisoners. However, Iranian opposition groups have given a figure closer to 30,000.
“The executions received limited attention at the time, in part because of a media blackout imposed Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had taken charge of the country in the 1979 Islamic Revolution,” according to Yahoo News. But, the recent release of an audio recording, published on a website by Ahmed Montazari, son of Hossein Ali Montazeri, the designated successor of Ayatollah Khomeini,
which includes his criticism of the killings in a discussion with top Iranian officials, has shed new light on this crime against humanity and has sparked renewed calls for justice.
Members of Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran include Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate held hostage for years by FARC rebels, and Tahar Boumedra, who served as the UN’s top human rights representative in Iraq. Betancourt said that the release of the tape “has re-opened a wound”, with the group.
On the tape the late Ayatollah Montazeri, in a meeting with top judges and prosecutors, is heard describing the crackdown as “the worst crime committed in the Islamic Republic,” and he adds, ”They’ll write your names as criminals in history.” Montazeri was subsequently ousted by Khomeini and placed under house arrest until his death in 2009.
The campaign group has also said that it has documented evidence of at least 12 mass graves across Iran, where victims were buried, and that relatives of victims have been coming forward since the tape’s release.
Group member Azadeh Zabeti, a British-Iranian lawyer, said, “The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators must end.”
The People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, a dissident group were the main targets of the regime during the 1988 massacre.