SPEECH BY STRUAN STEVENSON
The Paris District 1 exhibition and meeting on August 17, 2017, commemorated the anniversary of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and censured continuation of mass executions in Iran.
In an address to this meeting at the Paris District 1 City Hall, Struan Stevenson, Former European lawmaker and President of the Friends of Free Iran Intergroup called for a full United Nations inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with Khamenei, Rouhani and their claque of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for trial before the international courts in The Hague, the following is full text of the speech:
Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank Monsieur le maire, Jean François Legaret and the municipality of Paris Number 1 district for organizing this magnificent event in memory of the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran. This is indeed an excellent contribution towards human rights in Iran and a big reminder to our European politicians that respect for human rights, women rights and democracy are European and universal values that must not be compromised and forgotten for economic interests.
That is perhaps the reason that the visit of Federica Mogherini - Europe’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, to Iran on August 5th stunned the world. She had gone to Tehran at the EU taxpayers’ expense, to celebrate the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani as he began his second consecutive term in office. Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3,000 people, including 80 women, have been executed during the four years he has been in office, catapulting Iran into pole position as the world’s number one state executioner per capita. Several hundred people have been executed so far this year, including women and teenagers. Three days before Mogherini arrived in Tehran, Amnesty international published a 94-page report highlighting the ‘web of oppression’ that pervades Iran and detailing the catastrophic human rights situation in the country.
Many thousands of women were imprisoned, guilty of nothing more than opposing the oppressive mullah’s regime, or attempting to uphold human rights. Maryam Akbari Monfared has been unjustly imprisoned since 2009 by Rouhani’s government and her siblings were murdered during the 1988 Massacre. Even women of dual-nationality like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the 38 year-old English charity worker and mother of a 3 year-old daughter, was sentenced to 5 years in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, on trumped up and ludicrous espionage charges, following a mock 45 minute trial.
I would like to go back to the appalling massacre of political prisoners that took place in 1988. The mass executions, in jails across Iran, were carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader, the murderous Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini appointed a ‘Death Commission’ to supervise the massacre. The ‘Death Commission’ included Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, who until earlier this month was Rouhani’s Justice Minister. As the scandal of the 1988 massacre deepened, Rouhani removed Pour-Mohammadi from this role and brazenly replaced him with another notorious murderer Alireza Avaie. Avaie , now the new minister of justice, served as public prosecutor in 1988 in the city of Dezful in Iran’s Khuzestan Province. Based on eyewitness reports provided by various former prisoners, Avaie ordered juvenile detainees under the age of 18, including girls, to be executed in groups of two or three.
The majority of political prisoners who were massacred were supporters of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI). Kangaroo courts were set up in Tehran and in cities across Iran and PMOI political prisoners were hauled in front of a Sharia judge who demanded to know if they supported the the PMOI. Those who defiantly said yes were sentenced to immediate execution. These sham trials took on average less than 2 minutes. It was estimated that 30,000 political prisoners were hanged from cranes in batches of ten, every fifteen minutes from dawn to dusk between August & December 1988, in an atrocity that must surely rank as one of the most horrific crimes against humanity of the late twentieth century.
I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Iranian Resistance, Madam Maryam Rajavi, for starting this international campaign to seek justice for the victims of the 1988 Massacre.
To conclude, I think the new French government should put human rights as its priority when dealing with this regime. We expect President Macron to insist on a halt to executions and clear progress on human rights in Iran. The French government and the EU should also be demanding a full United Nations inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with Khamenei, Rouhani and their claque of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for trial before the international courts in The Hague.
I once again thank you for holding this important event and for inviting me to be with you today.
Struan Stevenson, was a member of the European Parliament for 15 years. During that time he chaired the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup which became the centre of pro-democracy campaigns in Europe in support of human rights in Iran. He also chaired European Parliament’s official Delegation for Relations with Iraq. He has written several books on different topics including a book called Self Sacrifice, originally in English and translated to French and German which focuses on the Iranian resistance.