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UN Holds Meeting Regarding 1988 Iranian Massacre

Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:04
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On March 14, a side meeting entitled “Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran from 1988 to 2017” was held at the UN as part of the 34th session regarding Human Rights. Several speakers updated the attendees on the status of the progress of the Justice for Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI). But others spoke about the impact of the massacre on the Iranian people. A current lack of legal representatives and harassment of legal representatives is a continuation of what happened during the years leading up to the 1988 massacre. History is continuing to repeat itself as the Iranian regime fights to maintain power and control.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former vice president of the European Parliament and the president of the International Committee in Search of Justice, thanked the committee for his opportunity to participate in the discussion. His current posting is an organization based in Brussels with a focus on human rights in the Middle East, specifically focused on Iran. As part of this work, they produce a variety of reports on an annual basis.

After the 1988 massacre audio tape was made public, the ICSJ released an urgent report on the tape, which is available on their website. As part of their report, they provided a translation of the entire tape, which recorded a meeting between Ayatollah Montazeri and members of the “death commissions”. Individuals on the tape have been identified as current high-ranking members of the Iranian government. Additionally, the report included comments regarding the history of the massacre.

Of course, this was a quick reaction to this tape that has been hidden for 28 years. He noted that the report recently released by the Justice for Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) was more substantial, with plenty of research to back up the information provided and circumstances surrounding the massacre. “It proves beyond a doubt that the massacre took place,” said Vidal-Quadras.

The report also clearly demonstrates that the 1988 massacre is more than a government violating the human rights of its citizens.

“It also has how the United Nations and the International Court define what a genocide and what a crime against humanity is in penal cases. It is crystal clear that this massacre in Iran fits both definitions perfectly,” said Vidal-Quadras.

He appealed to the international community to focus their attention on the human rights violations in Iran. “According to reliable sources, since 1981 when mass executions began…more than 120,000 political prisoners have been executed,” said Vidal-Quadras. About a third of these executed political prisoners were women, which means 40,000 women have been killed for political reasons.

He noted that the 1988 massacre was the largest execution of political prisoners recorded since the end of World War II. These individuals were executed in an extra-judiciary way, with many being processed in a matter of weeks.

“This so-called Montazeri tape is important development in our generation of human rights in Iran. The fact that the massacre was planned and executed in cold blood under the direct instructions of the head of state at that time and that Montazeri tried to resist this crime…and how he describes the crime…it is really dramatic,” said Vidal-Quadras. He also noted that Montazeri wasn’t an outsider, but was a part of the regime. Yet Montazeri noted that this was a crime against Islam and yet his comrades believed it had to be done because it was an order from the Supreme Leader.

Vidal-Quadras pointed out the regime is not made up of different political parties, but various political families and that there is no such thing as a political moderate. Members of the regime are all invested in power grabs and the financial benefits. Trying to engage with them and these methods of appeasement are just a waste of time, noted Vidal-Quadras.

He also noted that the nuclear deal was not going to produce a new age in Iran. This is because the Iranian regime did not sign the agreement of their own free will, but did so because of the international sanctions that were damaging their economy and forcing them against the wall.

“The idea that now that they have signed the deal, we will alleviate the pressure is an obvious mistake,” said Vidal-Quadras. “Something has worked, do it again, because you will get the same good result.”

The Iranian economy is in the hands of the IRGC and the regime directly, so if you want to do business, you aren’t working in a free market and the chances of success are reduced. He also noted that the U.S. is looking to list the whole IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, which could impact the ability of businesses to create deals within Iran. He also noted that the nuclear deal has not improved human rights, but encouraged the regime to be much more oppressive of its people.

“We need to be firm with the Iranian regime. This does not mean physical aggression…I was speaking about other kinds of pressure. No compromise on human rights violations. No compromise on exporting of terrorist activities,” said Vidal-Quadras. “The so-called human rights dialogue with Iran, including the Minister of Justice, a perpetrator of the 1988 massacre…they are advocating this dialogue because it can lead to some improvement…it is used as an excuse [by the regime] to continue their activities.”

He noted that in this dialogues, Iranian members of the regime try to teach the European representatives about human rights, by pointing to human right issues with other countries. He called the situation “laughable”.

“We need to make it clear for our governments that we need to condition the so-called dialogue with Iran to a clear progress on human rights and an end to executions,” said Vidal-Quadras. “Without this, all the rest is a joke.”

You can’t have business as usual with the country that has the highest execution level per capita in the world. Without changes, we will never have peace with Iran. “We need to be principled and pragmatic,” said Vidal-Quadras.

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