“Impunity and International Justice Massacre of political prisoners in Iran (1988-2017)
Tuesday 14 March 2017 (14h00 – 15h30)
Palais des Nations – Room XXVII
Speech delivered by Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras – United Nations- Geneva- 14 March 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After 15 years as vice-president of the European Parliament, I am now chairing a Brussels –based NGO which is called International Committee In Search of Justice or ISJ. It was formed in 2008. We have produced several reports and policy papers, mainly on the situation in Middle East and particularly on Iran.
In this European house of the United Nations in Geneva, we are once again appealing to the international community and to the member states to focus more attention on the human rights situation in Iran. Last week we celebrated the international Women’s Day and that was the opportunity to highlight the hard life of Iranian women under the theocracy ruling their country. According to the opposition sources, since 1981, when the mass executions began, more than 120 thousands political prisoners have been executed. Around third of them were women which means the horrific figure of 40 thousands. This is the kind of regime we are facing.
Under Rouhani’s presidency, whom many western politicians were trying to portray as moderates, at least 3000 have been executed.
One important development which happened last year, in August 2016, was the so called “Montazeri Tape” which was an audio recording of the late Ayatollah Montazeri, at a time when he was the successor designate to Khomeini. Montazeri was having a meeting with a death committee in Tehran. That was in summer 1988 when in a period of 3 months, over 30,000 political prisoners were executed by orders of Khomeini. Most of them were from the main democratic opposition PMOI. Now in that meeting, which it was recorded and its audio was made public by Montazeri’s son, Ayatollah Montazeri is appealing to these murderers to stop the execution. Ayatollah Montazeri was later dismissed by Khomeini and later died in house arrest.
One of the people in that meeting is Mostafa Pour Mohammadi who is now the minister of justice under Rouhani. He has recently said that he is proud to have killed thousands of the PMOI members and he has not lost a night of sleep. It is hard to believe that such defiant attitude to the most elementary principles of humanitarian conscience can be shown with no reaction from the international community.
So we are facing the same regime after 30 years. There are different factions within the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are called hard liners or moderates, but such distinction is nos real. They have differences of how to run the economy or foreign affairs. They fight for power. But they share the same interest to save the regime with an iron fist.
Therefore this wishful thinking by some European and Western leaders like Mrs Mogherini, the HR for the CFSP of the EU, to deal with th so called “reformists”. This is just an illusion and a failed policy of appeasement.
The European leaders after the nuclear deal encourage businessmen and companies to go to Iran to deal trade contracts. They forget several points:
First is that Iranian regime did not sign the nuclear deal because they wanted to be a normal state or want a new opening. They did it because of the sanctions which had made the economy broke and the top leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was afraid of another uprising similar to 2009. So he gave the mandate to Rouhani and his foreign Minister, Javad Zarif to go ahead with the nuclear deal to lift the sanctions. That is the first point.
Second point is that Iranian economy is mainly in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards IRGC which is really a terrorist organization and is responsible for many killing of civilians in Iraq and Syria. So when European companies want to sign deals in Iran, they are really taking the risk of being partners with IRGC. There is a strong move in the USA to designate IRGC as a terrorist entity which they really are.
Thirdly, situation of human rights has not gone better after the nuclear deal. In fact it has become worse.
So our recommendations to our European leaders and the world community is that we need to be firm on Iran. Being firm means no compromise on human rights violations and no compromise on its terrorism.
The so called human rights dialogue that the European External Action Services ( EEAS) and Mrs Mogherini are advocating to have with Iran is just a shameful excuse to justify the current passive policy of the EU on human rights. We do not need to have these failed so called human rights dialogues with the regime to get lectures and lessons from some low level Iranian diplomats about our human rights situation in Europe!! Frankly, the Iranian regime will not respect th EU if the EU does not respect itself. What we need is strong condemnation, clear resolutions and continuous monitoring by the United Nations and by Human Rights organizations and NGOs to be able to visit the political prisoners without any restrictions. We need to make it clear for our own governments that we need to conditions any expansion of relationship with Iran to a significant progress on human rights and end of executions We can not have business as usual with regime that is the number state-executioner in the world per capita.
This is not only a question of principles, a moral question, which of course it is. This is also a question related to our real geostrategic interest because an essential requirement for global growth, trade and prosperity is peace, stability and legal certainty at global level. And with a regime such as the theocratic dictatorship ruling Iran we will never have peace and stability in the world. Let us then be principled and pragmatic as well and bring the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre in Iran to justice and make them respond for their crimes.