The US Must Act on Iran's Human Rights Abuses

Iran Focus

London, 01 Mar - The United Nations Human Rights Council has invited the Iranian Justice Minister Alireza Avayi to speak at its latest session, which began this week, and that sets a very low bar for human rights.

Avayi has been sanctioned by the European Union for many reasons, but the worst is his long record of human rights violations, including his role in the mass execution of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.

The massacre, described as one of the worst crimes against humanity since World War II, was ordered in a fatwa by then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.

Political prisoners, mainly members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were hauled before death commissions, interrogated about their political affiliations, and then sentenced to death after a so-called trial that lasted less than five minutes.

They killed children, the elderly, those who had already been sentenced, those who had already served their sentence, those who were pregnant, and those who were ill. The mullahs showed no leniency.

Avayi, then a prosecutor for the Revolutionary Court in the city of Dezful, personally ordered the deaths of numerous political prisoners, but he was still appointed as Justice Minister in 2017 under the so-called moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Alireza replaced Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who served on one of the death commissions. The fact that the two most recent Justice Ministers played a role in this massacres, shows that the current Regime endorses the massacre.

So should a man like Avayi address a body that is tasked with protecting the world against human rights abuses?

No, of course not. But the problem is the international community must come together to speak out against this.

No international body has even made Iran accountable for this crime and hardly any countries have spoken out either, despite the fact that the MEK leaked reports of the massacre to the West in 1988.

The West was more concerned with trade and oil than stopping human rights abuses. If it had been the other war around, then the UN would be very unlikely to give Avayi a public platform.

In fact the US led the way in this appeasement policy and it is important that they lead the way in changing course. The US must hold Avayi and all others who took part in the massacre responsible for their crimes.

Reza Alizadeh, the political director of Iranian American Community of Florida (IAC-FL), wrote: “Congress is now in a position to nudge the international community in the right direction. It can do so by finally passing a resolution on Iran’s worst single violation of human rights, and by taking the lead in pushing for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into that incident and its perpetrators.”

He continued: “At the very least, those who are identified as responsible must be sanctioned and shunned by the international community. Ultimately, they should face charges in the International Criminal Court, not just for the sake of their victims, but also to undermine Iran’s decades-long sense of impunity on this and other issues. This goal is intrinsic to the mission of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and its fulfilment would demonstrate the beneficial role of American leadership.”


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