Iranian Protesters Warn UN General Assembly Against Hosting ‘Tehran Butcher’
In the last week of August alone, Iranian communities have held rallies in at least six countries to draw attention to unsolved crimes against humanity and to condemn what opposition activists have called Western strategies of “appeasement” vis-à-vis the Iranian regime. The rallies took place in response to one prominent example of this strategy and in anticipation of another. In July, it was revealed that Belgian authorities had reached a deal that could see the release of a convicted Iranian diplomat, and it is expected that in September Iranian regime President Ebrahim Raisi will travel to New York to participate at 77e session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Supporters of the main opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran have called on the US government to deny Raisi a visa since it was revealed he could attend. Their protests warn that by granting him permission to visit and speak to an international audience, the US and the UN both risk legitimizing a criminal charged with grave crimes against humanity, both historic and recent.
The PMOI was the main target of a massacre of political prisoners that took place in the summer of 1988, and Raisi was one of the main instruments of this massacre. As Tehran’s deputy prosecutor at the time, Raisi was asked to serve on the four-person ‘death commission’ in the capital, which oversaw the abrupt interrogations and subsequent executions of those found guilty of murder. ‘”enmity against God” because of their affiliation. with the pro-democracy opposition. Nationwide, it is estimated that more than 30,000 people were killed in the massacre, with the bulk of those victims coming from the two prisons over which Tehran’s death commission had authority.
Among recent European and North American rallies, one in Toronto specifically served as a memorial to the victims of the 1988 massacre, just ahead of Canada’s ‘Solidarity Day with Iranian Political Prisoners’, which Parliament has designated for September 1. 2013. Several Canadian lawmakers spoke ahead of the rally, including Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, who noted that the Parliament of Canada was “the first parliament in the world to condemn this mass murder as a crime against humanity “.
This fact speaks to how long the 1988 massacre remained unsolved and underreported, despite being brought to the attention of the international community even as it was still ongoing. In September 2020, several United Nations human rights experts wrote an open letter to the Iranian authorities about the matter and acknowledged that the international body would be tasked with resolving the issue if Tehran remained reluctant to take its own steps to hold known perpetrators accountable.
Unsurprisingly, the authorities in question refused to respond to this letter, whose authors said that the UN’s previous inaction had “a devastating impact on survivors and families as well as on the general human rights situation”. ‘man in Iran’. The letter also described the Iranian regime as having been “emboldened” in its actions, confirming how the “appeasement” policy and neglect of Western governments to vigorously pursue justice for Iranian terrorists and human rights abusers men have fueled the impunity crisis in Iran.
To date, only one person implicated in the 1988 massacre has faced significant responsibility, namely former Gohardasht prison official Hamid Noury, who was arrested by Swedish authorities in 2019. The trial that resulted in proceeded on the basis of “universal jurisdiction” for grave breaches. of international law that remain unresolved around the world. In July, Noury was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes and mass murder, but the near-simultaneous announcement of the Belgian-Iranian treaty on the “transfer of convicted persons” quickly raised concerns about the commitment of European governments to maintain these penalties.
The supporters of #Iran the PMOI/MEK opposition rallied in the United States and Europe to condemn the regime’s rights abuses and call on the US administration to deny Iranian regime President Ebrahim Raisi a visa ahead of the United Nations General Assembly next month.#NoVisa4Raisihttps://t.co/ScDf6YAczB
— People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) August 28, 2022
In March, the Belgian government secretly brokered this treaty following months of pressure from Tehran, during which a Belgian aid worker was reportedly arrested on trumped up charges to be used as leverage for a future prisoner exchange. The potential swap incentivizes the Iranian regime to take even more Western hostages at a time when some 20 are already known to be serving sentences or awaiting trial. Moreover, the incitement would be even greater following terrorist incidents which led to the arrest of terrorists like Assadollah Assadi.
This so-called “diplomat” is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Belgium for his efforts to carry out a bomb attack against a gathering of Iranian expatriates near Paris, at a time when he was the third adviser to the Iranian Embassy in Austria. . Three other people were also arrested and sentenced to terms of up to 18 years in connection with the 2018 plot, which was primarily aimed at killing Maryam Rajavi, Iran’s opposition president-elect.
If the bomb had not been discovered by law enforcement en route from Belgium to France, its explosion could have been the worst terrorist attack on European soil to date. Dozens of European and American dignitaries were in the vicinity of Mrs. Rajavi during this event, and some of them would no doubt have been killed or injured if the attack had taken place. This fact only adds to the public dismay of Iranian activists and their supporters at Western governments’ apparent lack of interest in pursuing accountability at higher levels.
Assadi’s trial firmly established that he acted on the orders of the Iranian regime’s top officials.
Last month marked the first anniversary of Raisi’s inauguration, and over the course of this year the Iranian regime has only accelerated its various nefarious activities, both at home and abroad.
Things will only get worse for the Iranian people and for global security if the Iranian regime receives further messages reinforcing its sense of impunity. Raisi’s adoption by the UN General Assembly would be one of the clearest messages of its kind, as it involves neglecting the 20e worst unsolved crime against humanity of the century, as well as a long list of similar repressive actions that Raisi either allowed or directly participated in.
The UN has the power to push back the president of the regime or, better still, to open an investigation leading to his trial before the International Criminal Court. But in the absence of broad international agreement on reversing an appeasement strategy, the US government has the unilateral power to deny Raisi a visa and signal to the Iranian people that they have finally heard the protests. that accompanied a massive boycott of the fake election. who brought “the butcher of Tehran” to power.