According 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.
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.
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.
NextGenerationEU: European Commission endorses Czechia's €7 billion recovery and resilience plan
The European Commission has today (19 July) adopted a positive assessment of Czechia's recovery and resilience plan. This is an important step towards the EU disbursing €7 billion in grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This financing will support the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Czechia's recovery and resilience plan. It will play a key role in helping Czechia emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide €800bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across the EU. The Czech plan forms part of an unprecedented co-ordinated EU response to the COVID-19 crisis, to address common European challenges by embracing the green and digital transitions, to strengthen economic and social resilience and the cohesion of the Single Market.
The Commission assessed Czechia's plan based on the criteria set out in the RRF Regulation. The Commission's analysis considered, in particular, whether the investments and reforms set out in Czechia's plan support the green and digital transitions; contribute to effectively addressing challenges identified in the European Semester; and strengthen its growth potential, job creation and economic and social resilience.
Securing Czechia's green and digital transition
The Commission's assessment of Czechia's plan finds that it devotes 42% of its total allocation to measures that support climate objectives. The plan includes investments in renewable energy, the modernisation of district heating distribution networks, the replacement of coal-fired boilers and improving the energy efficiency of residential and public buildings. The plan also includes measures for nature protection and water management as well as investment in sustainable mobility.
The Commission's assessment of Czechia's plan finds that it devotes 22% of its total allocation to measures that support the digital transition. The plan provides for investments in digital infrastructure, the digitalization of public administration, including the areas of health, justice and the administration of construction permits. It promotes the digitalisation of businesses and digital projects in the cultural and creative sectors. The plan also includes measures to improve digital skills at all levels, as part of the education system and through dedicated upskilling and reskilling programmes.
Reinforcing Czechia's economic and social resilience
The Commission considers that Czechia's plan effectively addresses all or a significant subset of the economic and social challenges outlined in the country-specific recommendations addressed to Czechia by the Council in the European Semester in 2019 and in 2020.
The plan provides for measures to tackle the need for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, sustainable transport and digital infrastructure. Several measures aim at addressing the need to foster digital skills, improve the quality and inclusiveness of education, and to increase the availability of childcare facilities. The plan also provides for improving the business environment, mainly through extensive e-government measures, a reform of the procedures of granting construction permits and anti-corruption measures. Challenges in the area of R&D shall be improved by investment geared at strengthening public-private cooperation and financial and non-financial support to innovative firms.
The plan represents a comprehensive and adequately balanced response to Czechia's economic and social situation, thereby contributing appropriately to all six pillars referred to in the RRF Regulation.
Supporting flagship investments and reform projects
The Czech plan proposes projects in all seven European flagship areas. These are specific investment projects which address issues that are common to all member states in areas that create jobs and growth and are needed for the twin transition. For instance, Czechia has proposed €1.4bn to support the energy efficiency renovation of buildings and €500 million to boost digital skills through education and investments in upskilling and reskilling programmes for the entire labour force.
The Commission's assessment finds that no measure included in the plan does any significant harm to the environment, in line with the requirements laid out in the RRF Regulation.
The arrangements proposed in the recovery and resilience plan in relation to control systems are adequate to prevent, detect and correct corruption, fraud and conflicts of interests relating to the use of funds. The arrangements are also expected to effectively avoid double funding under that Regulation and other Union programmes. These control systems are complemented by additional audit and control measures contained in the Commission's proposal for a Council Implementing Decision as milestones. These milestones must be fulfilled before Czechia presents its first payment request to the Commission.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today, the European Commission has decided to give its green light to Czechia's recovery and resilience plan. This plan will play a crucial role in supporting a shift towards a greener and more digital future for Czechia. Measures that improve energy efficiency, digitalize public administration and deter the misuse of public funds are exactly in line with the objectives of NextGenerationEU. I also welcome the strong emphasis the plan places on strengthening the resilience of Czechia's health-care system to prepare it for future challenges. We will stand with you every step of the way to ensure that the plan is fully implemented.
Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said: “Czechia's recovery and resilience plan will provide a strong boost to the country's efforts to get back its feet after the economic shock caused the pandemic. The €7bn in NextGenerationEU funds that will flow to Czechia over the next five years will support a wide-ranging programme of reforms and investments to build a more sustainable and competitive economy. They include very sizeable investments in building renovation, clean energy and sustainable mobility, as well as measures to boost digital infrastructure and skills and the digitalisation of public services. The business environment will benefit from the promotion of e-government and anti-corruption measures. The plan will also support improvements in healthcare, including reinforced cancer prevention and rehabilitation care.”
The Commission has today adopted a proposal for a Council Implementing Decision to provide €7bn in grants to Czechia under the RRF. The Council will now have, as a rule, four weeks to adopt the Commission's proposal.
The Council's approval of the plan would allow for the disbursement of €910m to Czechia in pre-financing. This represents 13% of the total amount allocated to Czechia.
An Economy that Works for People Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “This plan will put Czechia on the path to recovery and boost its economic growth as Europe gears up for the green and digital transitions. Czechia intends to invest in renewable energy and sustainable transport, while improving the energy efficiency of buildings. It aims to roll out greater digital connectivity across the country, promote digital education and skills, and digitalize many of its public services. And it places a welcome focus on improving the business environment and justice system, backed by measures to fight corruption and promote e-government – all in a balanced response to the Czech economic and social situation. Once put properly into practice, this plan will help to put Czechia on a sound footing for the future.”
The Commission will authorize further disbursements based on the satisfactory fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms.
Death toll rises to 170 in Germany and Belgium floods
The death toll in devastating flooding in western Germany and Belgium rose to at least 170 on Saturday (17 July) after burst rivers and flash floods this week collapsed houses and ripped up roads and power lines, write Petra Wischgoll,
David Sahl, Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt and Bart Meijer in Amsterdam.
Some 143 people died in the flooding in Germany's worst natural disaster in more than half a century. That included about 98 in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police.
Hundreds of people were still missing or unreachable as several areas were inaccessible due to high water levels while communication in some places was still down.
Residents and business owners struggled to pick up the pieces in battered towns.
"Everything is completely destroyed. You don't recognise the scenery," said Michael Lang, owner of a wine shop in the town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in Ahrweiler, fighting back tears.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Erftstadt in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the disaster killed at least 45 people.
"We mourn with those that have lost friends, acquaintances, family members," he said. "Their fate is ripping our hearts apart."
Around 700 residents were evacuated late on Friday after a dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, authorities said.
But Wassenberg mayor Marcel Maurer said water levels had been stabilising since the night. "It's too early to give the all-clear but we are cautiously optimistic," he said.
The Steinbachtal dam in western Germany, however, remained at risk of breaching, authorities said after some 4,500 people were evacuated from homes downstream.
Steinmeier said it would take weeks before the full damage, expected to require several billions of euros in reconstruction funds, could be assessed.
Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the ruling CDU party's candidate in September's general election, said he would speak to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in the coming days about financial support.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to travel on Sunday to Rhineland Palatinate, the state that is home to the devastated village of Schuld.
In Belgium, the death toll rose to 27, according to the national crisis centre, which is co-ordinating the relief operation there.
It added that 103 people were "missing or unreachable". Some were likely unreachable because they could not recharge mobile phones or were in hospital without identity papers, the centre said.
Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and eastern Belgium, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.
RWE (RWEG.DE), Germany's largest power producer, said on Saturday its opencast mine in Inden and the Weisweiler coal-fired power plant were massively affected, adding that the plant was running at lower capacity after the situation stabilized.
In the southern Belgian provinces of Luxembourg and Namur, authorities rushed to supply drinking water to households.
Flood water levels slowly fell in the worst hit parts of Belgium, allowing residents to sort through damaged possessions. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited some areas on Saturday afternoon.
Belgian rail network operator Infrabel published plans of repairs to lines, some of which would be back in service only at the very end of August.
Emergency services in the Netherlands also remained on high alert as overflowing rivers threatened towns and villages throughout the southern province of Limburg.
Tens of thousands of residents in the region have been evacuated in the past two days, while soldiers, fire brigades and volunteers worked frantically throughout Friday night (16 July) to enforce dykes and prevent flooding.
The Dutch have so far escaped disaster on the scale of its neighbours, and as of Saturday morning no casualties had been reported.
Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours. But determining its role in these relentless rainfalls will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.
NextGenerationEU: President von der Leyen in Czechia to present the Commission's assessment of the national recovery plan
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