By Jubin Katiraie
British politicians, dignitaries, and activists gathered in London on Saturday to call on the UK government to lead the world in setting up an independent committee to investigate the 1988 Iranian massacre, in which 30,000 political prisoners were executed, and bring those responsible to justice.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “The victims of this atrocity, known as one of the worst crimes in Iran’s modern history, were commemorated by an exhibition as well as street and music performances by Iranian renowned artists and musicians. Upon a fatwa by the first Supreme Leader, Khomeini in July 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners, the overwhelming majority of whom were activists of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in a few months and were buried in secret mass graves.”
The Trafalgar Square rally, on Saturday, September 2, was attended by hundreds of people who urged the UK government to raise the issue at the September session of the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights session and delivered a letter with their demands to Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Rt Hon. Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said, “I will continue to work with the British Iranian community in my constituency to highlight the issue of human rights abuses in Iran, and want more people to know what happened so those responsible can be brought to justice.”
The protesters insisted that it was time to end impunity for Iranian officials who were responsible for these deaths and still retain power in the Regime today.
Sir David Amess, Conservative MP and co-chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF), said: “29 years on from the massacre the perpetrators have still not answered for their crime. Many of them are instead holding senior and ministerial positions in Iran.”
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, gave a message to the rally, in which she urged the people of Europe to question their government’s continued relations with the Iranian Regime.
She said: “EU member states and the United States collaborated with the mullahs for years and helped them cover up their crime against humanity… Now, the mullahs’ deceptions have become transparent for the world. As if the massacred political prisoners and all the 120.000 executed martyrs have become an issue again. We urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to form an independent inquiry committee to investigate the 1988 massacre.”
Other speakers who addressed the rally included: Professor Mohamed al-Qubaty, Minister of Tourism of Yemen, Margaret Owen OBE, renowned international women’s rights activist, UK barrister and the Director of Widows for Peace through Democracy; Jeffery Forrest, lawyer and human rights activist; Mark Williams, former Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion (2005-2017); Dr Reza al-Reza; Dr Taghleb Alrahabi, Syrian surgeon and human rights activist; Roberto Weeden-Sanz, Director of the Youth Organisation, One Young World; Roger Lyons, former General Secretary of Amicus; and Sapan Maini-Thompson, Labour party and human rights activist.
Human rights abuses within the Iranian Regime are not a historical footnote and continue right up until this day.
Struan Stevenson, president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) and former member of the European Parliament representing Scotland, said: “[President Hassan] Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3,500 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. 700 people have been executed so far this year, including women and teenagers.”
That’s why the protesters expressed their concern for the over 20 political prisoners in Iran, who have been on hunger strike over the repressive conditions that they are kept in. The protesters also asked that the treatment of the political prisoners be condemned and their immediate release asked for.
Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, expressed her concerns at the conditions of political prisoners on August 31, stating that many of them are critically ill.
Rajavi said, “European governments must at least make their trade and diplomatic relations with the Iranian regime contingent on an end to torture and executions. So long as the mullahs sense that they have a free hand in human rights violations in Iran, they will continue their warmongering and aggressions in the Middle East. And so long as the mullahs continue their belligerence in the region, global security and peace will be endangered including in Europe”.