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Iranian Resistance exposes identities of dozens of officials responsible for 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in #Iran

EU Reporter Correspondent

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iran_lgAccording to intelligence obtained by the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), most of the institutions of the Iranian regime are run by the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. We have managed to obtain information about 59 of the most senior officials responsible for this massacre, whose names had remained secret for nearly three decades.

They currently hold key positions in the various institutions of the regime. These individuals were members of the "Death Commissions" in Tehran and 10 other Iranian provinces. An investigation is continuing to uncover the identities of other such criminals.

This intelligence and widespread information of the names of the martyrs and their burial sites and mass graves have reached the PMOI in recent weeks.

Background

At the end of July 1988, Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the massacre of political prisoners. Death Commissions were formed in more than 70 towns and cities. Until now only the names of the members of the Death Commission in Tehran had been exposed, since Khomeini had directly appointed them.

The Death Commissions were comprised of a religious judge, a prosecutor, and a representative of the Intelligence Ministry. Individuals such as the deputy prosecutor and heads of prisons had a direct role in implementing Khomeini's fatwa and cooperated with the Death Commissions. The religious judge and the prosecutor were appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council that was at the time headed by Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili.

The publication several weeks ago of an audio file dating to 1988 of a meeting between Hossein-Ali Montazeri (Khomeini's former heir) and members of the Death Commission brought to light new dimensions of the massacre and set off a storm in Iranian society.

In the matter of a few months, some 30,000 political prisoners, some of whom were as young as 14 or 15 at the time of their arrest, were massacred and secretly buried in mass graves.

A partial list of the martyrs includes the identities of 789 minors and 62 pregnant women who were executed. It also lists 410 families from which three or more members were executed. This is only a fraction of the full list of those who were executed which we have been able to collect under the current climate of absolute suppression.

Current positions of officials responsible for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners

These 59 individuals are currently active in the most sensitive government positions.

Let us evaluate the key bodies of the regime in this regard:

The regime's Supreme Leader

  • Ali Khamenei - was at the time the President and a key decision-maker.

Four members of the State Expediency Council

  • Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – the council's chairman, was at the time Speaker of the Majlis (Parliament) and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces, and was the de facto number two official of the regime after Khomeini.

  • Ali Fallahian, then-Deputy Intelligence Minister who later went on to become Intelligence Minister, is currently a member of the State Expediency Council.

  • Gholam-Hossein Ejei was the Judiciary's representative in the Intelligence Ministry during the massacre and is now a member of the State Expediency Council.

  • Majid Ansari was at the time the head of the state Prisons' Organization and is now a member of the State Expediency Council.

Khamenei and Rafsanjani worked alongside Khomeini in initiating the massacre. Khomeini's former heir Hossein-Ali Montazeri said in a letter that Khomeini sought counsel on his dangerous decisions from these two individuals alone.

Six members of the Assembly of Experts (the highest decision-making body of the regime, tasked with selecting the Supreme Leader's successor).

Six members of the assembly had a direct role in the massacre. They are:

  • Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

  • Ebrahim Raeesi, who was a member of the Death Commission in Tehran and is currently a member of the Assembly of Experts' board

  • Mohammad Reyshahri, who was Intelligence Minister at the time and selected the ministry's representatives in the Death Commissions

  • Morteza Moqtadaee, who was at the time a member and spokesperson of the Supreme Judicial Council

  • Zeinolabedin Qorbani Lahiji, who was a religious judge and a member of the Death Commission in Lahijan and Astaneh-Ashrafieh

  • Abbas-Ali Soleimani, who was a member of the Death Commission in Babolsar.

The judiciary

This body is almost entirely infested with officials responsible for the massacre.

In addition to the Justice Minister, we have thus far identified 12 of the highest-ranking Judiciary officials who were responsible for the massacre. They include:

  • Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the Justice Minister in Hassan Rouhani's cabinet – he was the primary Intelligence Ministry officials who was involved in the 1988 massacre.

  • Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, the head of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges – he was the Judiciary's representative and head of the Death Commission in Tehran in 1988.

  • Gholam-Hossein Ejei, the First Deputy Chief and spokesperson of the Judiciary – he was the Judiciary's representative in the Intelligence Ministry during the massacre.

  • Ali Mobasheri, a Supreme Court judge – he was a religious judge and Nayyeri's deputy at the time of the massacre.

  • Ali Razini, Deputy of Legal Affairs and Judicial Development of the Judiciary –at the time of the massacre he was a religious judge and head of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces.

  • Gholam-Reza Khalaf Rezai-Zare'e, a Supreme Court judge – he was a member of the Death Commission in Dezful, in the province of Khuzistan, south-west Iran.

  • Allah-Verdi Moqaddasi-Far, a senior member of judiciary – he was a religious judge and a member of the Death Commission in Rasht.

An important point with regard to the Judiciary is that ever since the 1988 massacre, the Justice Minister in the Rafsanjani, Khatami, Ahmadinejad and now Rouhani administrations has always been from among the perpetrators of the massacre. These officials are Mohammad Esmeil Shushtari (the minister during the Rafsanjani and Khatami administrations), Morteza Bakhtiari (was the minister in the Ahmadinejad administration), and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi (currently the minister in the Rouhani administration).

Officials in the Presidency and administrative bodies who had a role in the massacre:

  • Majid Ansari, the Vice President of Iran for Legal Affairs, was at the time of the massacre the head of the state Prisons' Organization.

  • Mohammad Esmeil Shushtari, until a month ago was the head of the Presidency's Inspectorate Office – he was a member of the Supreme Judicial Council at the time of the massacre.

  • Seyyed Alireza Avaei, current head of the Presidency's Inspectorate Office – he was the prosecutor and a member of the Death Commission in Dezful during the massacre.

The armed forces

  • Ali Abdollahi Ali-Abadi, the Coordinator of the Headquarters of the Armed Forces – he was a member of the Death Commission in Rasht (Gilan Province in northern Iran).

  • Brig. Gen. Ahmad Nourian, the Coordinator of the Tharallah Garrison in Tehran (one of the main garrisons responsible for the protection of Tehran) – he was a member of the Death Commission in Kermanshah Province (western Iran).

Key financial institutions

Some of Iran's largest financial and trade institutions are run and controlled by the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre.

  • The head of the Astan Quds Razavi conglomerate (in Khorasan Province) and his deputy were both officials responsible for the massacre. The huge conglomerate's wealth stands at tens of billions of dollars, and it has huge financial, trade, agriculture, ranching, food product, mining, vehicle manufacturing, petro-chemical, and pharmaceutical enterprises. According to its officials, it is the largest endowment institution of the Islamic world.

  • Shah-Abdol-Azim endowment foundation in southern Tehran.

  • Nasser Ashuri Qal'e Roudkhan, managing director of the Atieh Damavand Investment Company, was a member of the Death Commission in Gilan Province. The company's main investor is the Bank of Industry and Mining.

On 9 August of this year, an audio recording was revealed to the public which featured remarks by Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the former heir to Khomeini, in his meeting with members of the Tehran Death Commission that had been appointed by Khomeini. This audio recording is from August 15, 1988.

In this meeting, Montazeri states: “In my view, the biggest crime in the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed at your hands. Your (names) will in the future be etched in the annals of history as criminals.” He added: "People detest the Velayat-e Faqih (absolute religious rule). … Beware of 50 years from now, when people will pass judgement on the leader (Khomeini) and will say he was a bloodthirsty, brutal and murderous leader… I do not want history to remember him like that."

The publication of the tape has led to widespread discord among various regime officials. The Deputy Speaker of the regime's Parliament has demanded an explanation for the massacre, and the Justice Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi who until a few years ago flatly denied that he had a role in the 1988 massacre, has now openly declared that he is “proud” of having carried out “God's commandment” to execute members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

As a result of such disunity, the regime took the unexpected step of temporarily closing down the Parliament on the pretense of a summer break, even though the summer recess had just been held.

Various officials of the regime have expressed fear that the principle of Velayat-e Faqih is shaking, "Khomeini's image" is being tarnished, and that the PMOI is being "redeemed" and receiving an "atmosphere of innocence". The officials and institutions of the regime are all stating in their own way that if Khomeini did not initiate the massacre, the PMOI would have taken over after Khomeini's death.

But Khomeini's verdict was un-Islamic to the point that there has never been a single similar fatwa by any Shiite or Sunni religious jurisprudent in the past 1400 years. Therefore the vast majority of the regime's top mullahs have not been willing to endorse it, and some have even gone so far as to bluntly question its validity even under the regime's own interpretation of Islam.

We are faced with a crime against humanity and a massacre of political prisoners scope of which was unprecedented since World War II. But even more important is that the regime in power in Iran is currently being led and administered by the very same officials who were responsible for this crime against humanity.

The United Nations must set up a Commission of Inquiry into this massacre and take the necessary steps to bring the perpetrators of this great crime to justice. The impunity must end. Inaction in the face of this crime has not only led to further executions in Iran, but has also encouraged the regime to spread its crimes to Syria, Iraq and other countries of the region. Some 2,700 executions have been officially carried out in Iran since Rouhani took office. Just several weeks ago some 25 Sunnis from Iranian Kurdistan were hanged en masse in a single day, and several days later another three political prisoners from Ahvaz were executed.

The Iranian people and Resistance demand an international investigation into the 1988 massacre. They also demand that any economic relations with the regime be predicated upon a halt to executions. We call on the international community, in particular Western and Muslim countries, to condemn this great inhuman and un-Islamic crime. Silence in the face of this crime violates the principles of democracy and human rights and goes against the teachings of Islam.

In recent weeks there has been an unprecedented volume of information about the names of the martyrs and the locations of their mass graves has been sent to the Iranian Resistance by the relatives of the victims, officials who have parted ways with the regime and even from within the regime itself, and we plan to make them public in due course.

We call on all human rights organizations and institutions, and Islamic scholars and clerics, both Shiite and Sunni, to assist the Iranian people in their legitimate demand to bring the perpetrators to justice.

EU

Russia: Summoning of the Russian Ambassador to the EU

EU Reporter Correspondent

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European Commission Secretary General Ilze Juhansone and External Action Service Secretary General Stefano Sannino jointly summoned the Ambassador of Russian Federation to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov (pictured) to condemn the decision of the Russian authorities from last Friday (30 April) to ban eight European Union nationals from entering the territory of the Russian Federation. 

Ambassador Chizhov was informed of the strong rejection and firm condemnation by the EU institutions and EU member states of this decision, which was purely politically motivated and lacks any legal justification.

Secretaries-General I. Juhansone and S. Sannino also recalled Russia's expulsion of Czech diplomats and the executive order of the Russian Federation of so called “unfriendly states”, expressing their grave concern for the cumulative impact of all these decisions on the relations between the EU and the government of the Russian Federation.

They also noted that the EU reserves the right to take appropriate measures in response.

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EU

Parliament launches the Daphne Caruana Galizia journalism prize

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The European Parliament has launched a journalism prize in tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia (pictured), a Maltese investigative journalist murdered in 2017.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism, launched on 16 October 2020, the third anniversary of her death, will reward outstanding journalism reflecting EU values.

"The Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize will recognize the essential role that journalists play in preserving our democracies and serve as a reminder to citizens of the importance of a free press. This prize is designed to help journalists in the vital and often dangerous work they do and show that the European Parliament supports investigative journalists," said Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala.

Prize money of €20,000

The €20,000 annual prize will be awarded as of October 2021 to journalists or teams of journalists based in the European Union. Candidates and the eventual laureate will be chosen by an independent panel.

Who was Daphne Caruana Galizia?

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese journalist, blogger and anti-corruption activist who reported extensively on corruption, money laundering, organised crime, sale of citizenship and the Maltese government’s links to the Panama Papers. Following harassment and threats, she was murdered in a car bomb explosion on 16 October 2017.

The outcry over the authorities’ handling of her murder investigation ultimately prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Critical of failings in the investigation, in December 2019, MEPs called on the European Commission to take action.

Published on 28 April, the report Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists from the Council of Europe lists 201 serious violations of media freedom in 2020. This figure marks a 40% increase from 2019 and is the highest figure recorded since the platform was established in 2014. A record number of alerts concerned physical assault (52 cases) and harassment or intimidation (70 cases).

Parliament strongly advocates the importance of a free press. In a May 2018 resolution, MEPs called on EU countries to ensure adequate public funding and to promote a pluralist, independent and free media. Parliament has once again underlined the importance of media freedom in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch this Facebook live interview about the Daphne Caruana Galizia Journalism Prize.

Find out more 

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Brexit

Brexit barriers in focus as Northern Ireland's DUP kicks off leadership contest

Reuters

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Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) Edwin Poots makes a statement to the media outside Stormont Castle in Belfast, Northern Ireland June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

Northern' Ireland's biggest party was set for its first ever leadership election after its Westminster chief Jeffrey Donaldson threw his hat into the ring, promising to focus on the divisive issue of post-Brexit trade barriers.

Donaldson will stand against Edwin Poots to lead the Democratic Unionist Party at a time of heightened instability in the British province and unionist anger over the installation of a customs border in the Irish Sea.

Both Donaldson and Poots, Northern Ireland's agriculture minister, stopped short of making detailed campaign promises. But Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe will be watching for any hardening of stances on Brexit or social issues including abortion that could alter the political balance ahead of elections next year.

The DUP currently leads Northern Ireland in a power-sharing government with its Irish nationalist rivals Sinn Fein.

Donaldson or Poots will take over the leadership from Arlene Foster who announced last week she was stepping down as Northern Ireland's First Minister at the end of June, bowing to pressure from party members unhappy at her leadership. Read more

Her departure has added to instability in the region, where angry young pro-British loyalists rioted in recent weeks, partly over the barriers that they feel have cut them off from the rest of the UK.

"I will develop and swiftly implement an agreed programme of meaningful reform and clear policy direction on key challenges like the protocol," Donaldson said in a video announcement, referring to the post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Like Foster, Donaldson, 58, is a former member of the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party. He was part of the negotiating team that stuck a deal to prop up the government of former British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017.

Once the DUP's support was no longer needed, May's successor Boris Johnson broke the party's "blood red line" and agreed to erect the trade barriers.

Poots, 55, is one of a number of DUP ministers who have protested against the Brexit arrangements by refusing to attend meetings with Irish counterparts established under the 1998 peace deal that ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

Poots, a young earth creationist who rejects the theory of evolution, announced he was standing last week.

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