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Major Parliamentary Conference by Cross-Party UK, European MPs and Prominent Jurists on 1988 Massacre in Iran

What should UK do regard the mullahs’ regime’s threats.

The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) held an online conference on Thursday, September 10, over the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. Most of the victims were members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

This event was attended by dozens of lawmakers and legal experts from the United Kingdom.

MP David Jones chaired the session that saw messages from numerous other peers from various parties and British dignitaries voice their support for this initiative to hold senior officials of the mullahs’ genocidal regime accountable.

The keynote speaker at this event was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Below you can read the full report of this conference:

MP David Jones chaired the session

MP David Jones:

The 1988 massacre is often referred to as the worst crime since the Second World War. The alarming human rights situation in Iran is a serious matter for the international community. For too long, the regime has escaped accountability. Allowing a repressive theocratic regime to buy weapons from the market will end in disaster.

The issue of accountability is an important process of stopping Tehran’s malign activities and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The investigation of the 1988 massacre and the accountability of those who perpetrated this crime has widespread support in both houses of the United Kingdom Parliament.

The UK must work with allies to make sure this year’s United Nations General Assembly resolution calls for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre.

The international community must act on three major concerns with Iran: Its human rights violation, destabilizing activities and nuclear program.

British MP Steve McCabe:

The Iranian regime is planning another trumped-up charge against Nazani Zaghari-Ratcliffe. From Nazanin’s life to nuclear weapons, we cannot negotiate with this regime. We cannot trust them. The lifting of sanctions encouraged the mullahs to think we do not care where they buy weapons from. They incite more violence through their network of proxies.

We have already failed the Iranian people by ignoring the 1988 massacre, by giving the regime billions of pounds as a result of the failed nuclear deal, by not recognizing the opposition and NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi. The people we are dealing with, like Ebrahim Raisi, are responsible for the 1988 massacre. They continue to slaughter people, including 1,500 people in the November 2019 protests.

Amnesty International recently published a report on the crackdown against the 2019 protests and the regime’s violence against innocent people. They are subjecting prisoners to inhuman torture. They feel they can act with impunity.

This is why Madam Rajavi has said the regime cannot be allowed to buy a single bullet and must be held to account for its violation of fundamental rights of the people.

We must expose the truth for the world to see. Nothing else will do.

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi:

Maryam Rajavi
President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi delivered a message to an online conference discussing the 1988 massacre in Iran—September 10, 2020

Regarding a recent report by Amnesty International about Iran’s human rights violations against protesters arrested during the 2019 protests, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi said: “The extent of savagery, before anything else, indicates that the regime has failed to put out the flames of resistance despite massive crackdown and killing of at least 1,500 protesters in November.

Recently in another inhuman measure, the clerical regime issued death sentences and long prison terms for three brothers for taking part in anti-regime protests.

Navid Afkari, a national sportsman, was sentenced to double executions after suffering cruel tortures.

These days also mark the 32nd anniversary of the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. The vast majority of the victims were members and supporters of the PMOI.

The international community including Europe turned a blind eye on this great crime because they wanted to appease the mullahs’ tyranny for petty economic interests. So, they ignore the values and principles for which millions of Europeans and others sacrificed their lives.

Inaction vis-à-vis this regime, and worse, unity of action to lift the arms embargo undermines human values.

To put an end to the crimes of this regime, and to counter its warmongering actions in the region, the following steps are necessary:

1. An international fact-finding mission must be set up to seek justice for victims of the 1988 massacre, and hold the perpetrators of this grave crime against humanity accountable.

2. The UN Security Council must address the terrible situation of human rights in Iran. The UN Security Council must send to Iran an international delegation accompanied by representatives of the Iranian Resistance. They must visit the regime’s medieval prisons, visit the prisoners and particularly, meet those arrested during the November 2019 uprising.

3. As the Iranian Resistance called for, just a few hours after signing of the JCPOA, the six UN resolutions must be re-imposed and all sanctions on weapons sales to Iran must be re-imposed.

Supporting the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime ruling Iran is necessary for peace and stability in the region.

MP Bob Blackman:

I was very disappointed that the UK abstained from the vote in the UN Security Council to extend the weapons embargo on Iran. Sadly, we are aligning ourself with the failed policy of appeasement pursued by the European Union, which for the last four decades, has provided the regime in Iran with immunity for its egregious human rights violations including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, and on its terrorism to preserve diplomatic dialogue, prioritise trade and, in recent years, keeping alive a disastrous and flawed nuclear deal that will allow Iran to advance its nuclear and missile programme.

It is clear that the appeasement policy pursued by the EU has been counterproductive and has only emboldened the regime.

The regime’s terrorism has reached European territory. We now know that one of its diplomats is awaiting prosecution for planning a bomb plot against the gathering of the pro-democracy opposition, the NCRI, in Paris in June 2018.

Now imagine if we stand idly by and allow this regime to arm itself to the teeth with deadly and sophisticated weapons from China or Russia.

Obviously, this must change, and the UK should respectfully reject the EU’s approach on Iran and join our American ally in exerting maximum pressure on the regime in Iran. Make no mistake, the regime in Iran only understands the language of firmness.

The regime in Tehran will contemplate altering behaviour only when its leaders and officials are held to account for their crimes and aggressions.

How has our government responded to this? You say that you want to achieve improvements in the human rights situation through bilateral contact with the Iranian authorities. Be honest. You have talked to them about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe for years. You have achieved nothing. The UN General Assembly has passed 66 resolutions which only condemns the violations and expects the mullahs to behave better. You must admit that nothing has changed.

Therefore, it is time now for accountability. If the FCO wants to see real change in the human rights situation in Iran, it must bring the issue of accountability into the resolution on Iran in the coming UN General Assembly. This is how the mullahs start taking the international community seriously and they will know that the game is over and they cannot fool the world with their deceptions in all fields.

The UK Government must use its new global sanction regime to announce punitive measures against those who are responsible for the 1988 massacre and serious human rights violations in Iran today, which tragically are the same people, like the regime’s chief justice Ebrahim Raisi and the current justice minister Alireza Avaei.

The UK must work with allies at the UN to extend the weapons embargo against Iran without delay and to reimpose all international sanctions and UN Security Council resolutions on the regime.

The UK must take the lead at the international level and work with allies at the UN to establish an independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran by including the demand for such investigation in this year’s UN resolution on Iran.

These three steps should be completed with a public support of the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance movement ,the NCRI, led by President-elect of the NCRI, Madame Rajavi.

The UK must stand with the Iranian People and their Resistance movement, the NCRI, at this time when people across Iran have taken to the street to demand change and to protest against the regime’s corruption and repression. Otherwise, the UK stands on the wrong side of history and will be remembered for this mistake by future generations in Iran.

Former MP Sir Alan Meale:

This is a very timely and important conference about the appalling 1988 massacre in Iran. Let me start by being completely forthright in saying that the UN and the international community have failed you, entirely.

Our governments should insist that the UN Security Council adopts a resolution and imposes sanctions on the Iranian regime. The leadership of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) must be held to account for their actions in the last decades. We must not turn a blind eye. We will fight back and be heard.

Kirsty Brimelow QC:

The evidence reported has not been denied by Iran. I have heard accounts of family members and survivors of the 1988 massacre, including a father who was told to pay for the bullets used to kill his daughter.

One woman said she believed her son might still be alive. She said she still sleeps near the door so she does not miss the news of the return of her son.

There is plenty of evidence. We have a framework to address this. The suspects are known. Many of those people have made public statements, including Mostafa Pour Mohammadi who tried to justify his part in the “Death Commissions.”

The tribunal does not need Iran’s cooperation. It can be set up by the UN. There is no time limit on crimes against humanity. We need to act swiftly because the regime is destroying the evidence.

It is time that this process starts within the UN.

MP Sir Roger Gale:

We are all aware there is overwhelming evidence on this crime. There is international law that can and must intervene.

I want to reiterate the fact that there is a significant number of parliamentary colleagues who support this cause and the righting of wrongs and the right of people to freedom and democracy.

Michelle Mulherin, former Irish Senator:

When a government turns on its own people, it is the obligation of the international community to take action. There are families who very much want to achieve justice.

I support the call and the efforts and it is an issue that I have taken up with our Minister of Foreign Affairs and I will continue to do so.

Dowlat Nowrouzi, NCRI Representative in the UK:

Unfortunately, the international community and proponents of the appeasement policy have taken up actions that are damaging to the Iranian people. After the nuclear deal, the lives of the Iranian people turned into terrible misery because of institutionalized corruption in the regime. More than $200 billion are at the disposition of [regime Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei and the IRGC.

This regime is the leading state in executions per capita. They are spending money not for the people but on terrorism and supporting tyrannical regimes such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The regime is supporting Hezbollah which plays a role in terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and even Iran.

The illusion is no longer valid. The international community must take substantial steps to bring the regime to account. They do not represent the Iranian people. They must be held responsible for their crimes against the Iranian people and the people across the region.

Members of parliament in Europe, the U.S. and around the world must cry out and stand with the people of Iran and say the international community must stop supporting the regime in its crimes, its continued executions of protesters.

The United Nation, the Secretary General, secretary of states, they need to stop giving concessions. Do not give concessions to this regime, whether you want to free Nazanin or any other prisoners who are officially taken hostage by the regime.

We need substantive steps, support for the opposition, Mrs. Rajavi and her platform. Second, the embassies of this regime must be shut down. They are not used for diplomatic and mutual interests. They are just established for the regime to carry out terror plots and bombings against dissidents. All sanctions must be reimposed immediately.

MP Martin Vickers:

There is growing evidence that Iran is involved in warmongering and causing instability. I thank the NCRI for all their efforts here in Westminster. I will continue to support you.

Irish Senator Ivana Bacik :

As Amnesty International documented, Iranian authorities have treated the killings as state secrets. No official has been brought to justice.

I support your call for the establishment of an investigation into this crime. Along with my colleagues, I will be proactive to bring attention to this cause. There should be an investigation in the extra-judicial killings.

Responsibility lies with us to not let this issue be swept under the carpet. The regime should know that the world is watching.

Jim Higgins, former Irish member of the European Parliament:

It is appalling that 32 years after this atrocity, nothing has happened. It is appalling that the perpetrators are still out there. It is appalling that there is substantial evidence that this was authorized by the highest authorities. It was decided that the victims were to be buried in mass graves and those graves still exist.

Why have we had no independent inquiry? The international community has idly stood by. I have raised the issue time and again. But our foreign policy chief has stood idly by and decided that diplomacy is the best strategy. Joseph Borrell has again decided that appeasement and diplomacy is the best plan. This regime does not abide by international norms.

Let us not be back this day next year, 33 years, wondering why nothing has happened. We need action by the U.S., the UK, and the EU, to bring an end to this regime. The resolution is there, it needs support.

Omid Ebrahimi:

I lost five of my mom’s relatives to the regime, including two aunts who were killed during the 1988 massacre. My mom’s brother was sixteen years old when he was taken and they never saw him again until seven years later when they heard of his execution.

My grandmother’s family were told to pay for the bullets used to kill my mom’s uncles and aunts. My dad was a direct witness to the regime’s crimes. When he talks about it, he says that some of his best friends were those he made in prison. He also says that the tortures he witnessed were medieval and barbaric.

Damona Taavoni, PMOI/MEK member in Albania:

I was arrested with my mother when I was six years old. I remember the interrogation rooms, the prisoners shouting and crying out while they were being tortured. My father was executed when I was ten years old.

Each prisoner was asked one question in a one-minute trial: Do you support the MEK? Anyone who said yes was executed. One of my father’s cellmates said he was severely beaten when he was taken to court. I shed tears for my father, but I was also proud of him to stand up for the freedom of his people.

I will be the voice of those who never had the chance to talk. I know their message was that they love the beauty of life so much that they decided to sacrifice their lives so that no one should live in misery.

Iran is not known for the ruling mullahs. Iran is represented by those 30,000.

Tahar Boumedra, legal expert, former head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office:

The UN has been informed. The successive special rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran have consistently called on Iran to investigate this crime. The special rapporteur has been banned from visiting Iran.

It is clear Iran is unwilling to investigate. The UN has proven to be reluctant to impose such an investigation. What is next? The reality is the UN General Assembly resolution should focus on setting up an independent investigation into this crime instead of calling on Iran to investigate on its own. We have to be realistic and take action. And that action is setting up an independent commission and investigation.

Samy Wilson MP:

It is important for the UK to stand with the families in Iran who suffered from the regime. It must stand against the ongoing crimes of this regime against the people. This is well documented. But the perpetrators continue to hold high positions of power and enjoy impunity. It is important that we continue to press our government and keep up the pressure. Our government can do three things:

-Make sure this is raised at the United Nations

-Impose sanctions on the perpetrators

-Establish an independent inquiry by the international community, not the mullahs themselves

We have obligations across the world to make sure genocidal regimes are not allowed to treat their people in the way Iran has treated its people. It is important that we do not turn a blind eye to what happened.

Lord Ken Maginnis of Drumglass, member of the House of Lords:

The subject of this discussion is so important that it cannot be delayed to after the pandemic. We were previously told [regime President Hassan] Rouhani is a moderate who is interested in reaching out to the West and reforming Iran’s malign behavior.

Iran was showered with incentives under the 2015 nuclear deal. Yet the only change was the worsening of the regime’s malign behavior, including its human rights violations, destabilizing activities and nuclear program.

The sad reality is the FCO’s elusive belief in the emergence of a moderate faction in the regime has paralyzed the government and prevented it from adopting an effective policy toward Iran.

Today, the FCO is guided not by illusion but by fear of the regime. The regime is not as strong as it claims. It is at its weakest point. Our government is still sending a weak signal to the regime.

The United Kingdom is refusing to support reimposing UN Security Council sanctions on Iran despite the regime breaching the nuclear deal, and does not support blocking the ending of the arms embargo. But our citizens are seriously concerned about the consequences of these developments.

Ironically, our government is only doubling down on the appeasement policy, which has led to Iran ignoring our policy on British hostages and allowed Iran to dictate its own policy.

The UK government must adopt a firm policy on Iran and put maximum pressure on the regime in all areas. The UK must stand with the Iranian people and their resistance movement led by Madam Rajavi, who is the real driving force for change in Iran. The brutal leaders of Iran must be held to account. We must demand an international inquiry into the 1988 massacre, which is also demanded by the people of Iran.

Professor Sara Chandler, Honorary QC, member of the Law Society Council and Vice President of the Federation of European Bar Associations:

I express my grave concern at the international forum’s incapacity to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. The justice system in Iran is part of the apparatus of suppression of human rights defenders. It is legalizing the regime’s crimes.

The international legal community upholds the rule of law and ensures it is upheld in every country. This means there should be an independent judicial system. There is no independent judicial system in Iran.

There is no doubt the agonizing suffering imposed on the families of the victims violates international law. The regime is incapable of conducting an independent investigation of its own crimes. Amnesty International described this as extrajudicial killings, unlawful deliberate killing of persons by the government and with no legality.

Given there is no prospect for justice for the victims of these crimes in Iran, the international community must set up an independent investigation and make sure the families of the victims receive reparations. Those suspected of responsibility must be prosecuted. Western democracies, especially the UK, must demand this investigation at this year’s resolution on Iran in the UN. Iran must account for these crimes.

John Perry, former Irish minister:

As the NCRI has repeatedly emphasised, there is a risk of a new wave of secret mass executions in Iran’s prisons if regime officials and leaders in Tehran continue to enjoy impunity at the international level despite their well-documented involvement in serious human rights violations and crime against humanity at home.

In order to prevent such human rights violations from happening again, it is absolutely necessary to hold the regime in Tehran to account.

The United Nations has not carried out its long overdue duties in this regard. Western governments must:

-Strongly condemn this heinous crime against humanity and launch their independent investigations and inquiries into it

-Take this case to the courts with international jurisdictions

-Implement diplomatic and economic sanctions on the regime

It is time that we on this side of the Atlantic, in the EU and the UK, join them in support and send a strong message of solidarity to the people of Iran, and send a strong message of condemnation to the Iranian regime and make sure they understand that this time, we mean business and we will not stop until we help the people of Iran and their legitimate Resistance, the NCRI, achieve justice their ultimate goal of that is a democratic and free Iran.

Egidijus Vareikis MP:

I totally support the call by the speakers regarding an independent investigation into the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. the international cannot ignore this anymore. Today we are seeing the results in the continued repression of the Iranian people by the regime.

The realities on the ground in Iran require the attention of the international community. Iran cannot investigate its own crimes. I support the re-imposition of UN sanctions on the regime.

The international community must hold the regime to account for human rights violations, warmongering, seeking nuclear weapons, and it must support the Iranian people and its resistance movement. We must unite to hold the regime to account.

Dr. Jocelynne Scutt:

Every year, every day after that massacre, the case for international investigation into the 1988 massacre is clear. It has been made time and time again for 30 years, and today for the 32nd year. This was a crime against humanity. It was leveled against political prisoners by a regime that seeks to preserve its own power, at whatever cost to the Iranian people. A crime against humanity lies is a systematic attack against any civilian population.

That 30,000 human beings were killed by the Iranian regime shows what the country’s leaders can do and will do when they believe they are above the law and when the international community simply stands by. This is what happens when a regime has no obligation to honor the lives of its people.

The global denial of these executions, the deliberate worldwide ignorance, cannot be allowed to continue. That the regime responsible remains in power is concerning. This gross lack of action must not continue. These crimes against humanity must be acted upon.

I endorse the call for an official inquiry into the 1988 massacre. It must be held without delay. The silence must end. The outcome of the inquiry must be acted upon.

Malcom Fowler, jurist:

The atrocious crimes of 1988 matter. They mattered yesterday, and they still matter today. 1988 is with us still now. The atrocities continue as if they were perpetrated yesterday because they still go on. In all conscience, the flames are still being fanned by this violent regime. We must pursue the perpetrators. There is plenty of evidence.

We need a scrutiny of what went on. Let right be done. It must be done now. We must eradicate this injustice.

Roger Lyons, former General Secretary of the MSF trade union

The 1988 massacre was not only a crime against humanity but also a campaign by the regime to annihilate the opposition. The mass executions were so horrendous and vicious that the heir-apparent of the supreme leader protested.

Raisi, who was involved in the massacre, is now the head of the judiciary in Iran. This shows that the regime in Iran needs criminal perpetrators like Raisi to hold on to power. We are seeing a terrible crackdown on workers in Iran, including Haft Tappeh workers who have been on strike for several weeks for unpaid wages, poor working conditions, and more.

The authorities are terrified of popular protests, so they are intimidating and arresting protesting workers. Without international action and intervention, the regime’s judiciary, led by Raisi, will resort to another mass murder campaign to quell growing dissent.

The UK should pursue an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre and ongoing crimes in Iran. The interests of the UK and the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people converge. We must show solidarity.

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