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Franco Frattini’s Remarks to the International Conference on the 1988 Massacre — August 27, 2021

Franco Frattini, Foreign Minister of Italy (2002-2004 and 2008-2011), addressed at the International Conference on the 1988 Massacre, attended by 1,000 Former Political Prisoners — 27 August 2021.

Good afternoon. Ladies and gentlemen, Madame President, first of all, very happy to see you once again, although virtually.

First of all, I’d like to pay tribute to the victims, to the families of the opponents to the regime. MEK members and supporters and all Iranians, who were and are loyal to the principles of no-negotiable freedom and democracy in your country that does not deserve oppression, repression and all forms of inequal treatment, like denying Iranian Covid-19 vaccines that are saving lives in my country and all other countries.

So full sympathy to the victims of the executions, in particular those ordered in 1988 and implemented under the so-called group of four that included designated by Khamenei as current president of Iran. Any person paying with his or her life because of a fight for no-negotiable fundamental rights is forever a source of inspiration for the new generation. Now, I would like to say something that has not been said yet.

The first action of the new government of Iran shows significant and clear continuity with the predecessors. For example, on the appointment of the new foreign minister that has served as a deputy foreign minister under Ahmadinejad, under Rouhani, then as advisor of the president of the parliament till the appointment as foreign minister under the current designated president. Could someone has doubts on the sometimes affirmed differences between the so-called conservatives and reformer? I have no doubts. It’s always the same story. It is always the same regime.

And so as confirming the new foreign minister closeness and dependence to Quds Force, when he said a few days ago, this month in August, I quote ‘in foreign policy, I will continue the path of Qassem Soleimani’, who everybody in the world knows his hands were bloody hands. This phrase is the confirmation of a key element concerning the new government and the new composition of this government.

I think, another important thing to be taken into consideration is the most blatant contradiction between proclaims and the deeds of the regime. Particularly on the 1988 massive execution of political prisoners is the following: I heard myself as a former Italian foreign minister, many statements at the openings of many General Assemblies that always the Iranian presidents have spoken on their full attachment to the UN values that first, as you all know, contemplates no-negotiable people’s rights, to life and dignity.

But ladies and gentlemen, Madame President, in practice, a regime having lost by far, the popular support applies for the rule of gun instead of the rule of law. It is a sad reality for your people, for your compatriots. As it has been said since September 2020, many requested to open finally, and they requested to the current High Commissioner for Human Rights, respected Madame Bachelet to open finally an international investigation over the 1988 Massacre. Amnesty International made a similar request, and rightly added that the current presidential role in Iran is in no way a possible justification for an exemption from the investigation.

So, I agree completely, being myself a judge, with this point of view. I wish finally an independent international investigation with no limitations linked to the role, current or former role will be opened. The same was confirmed by the respected UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights in Iran. So, ladies and Gentlemen, the credibility of the United Nation system is at steak now. I would be a bit brutal, but I can afford to be a bit brutal because such a tragedy and crime against humanity has taken place. Because Iran uses to act against the key value of United Nations, human rights ruled, while before the TVs at the UN General Assembly affirms the opposite.

But, ladies and gentlemen, Madam president, universal right promotion and protection cannot, and I say so also as the former European Vice President and Justice commissioner as well as the founder of the European Fundamental Rights Agency, I say: a right promotion does not belong to the arbitrium of the party concerned.

We need independency in the investigation. Iran obviously will never accept the rules of the UN International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. But this is why the United Nation Security Council has, in my personal view, first, a moral duty. UN owes its moral duty to the innocent victims. And the duty is to try to send the case to The Hague Court. Let’s seek for Justice. If that would be proved impossible, at least let’s go ahead now with the serious investigation international investigation.

Of course, this never never never will bring the victims resurrection, unfortunately. But ladies and gentlemen, the UN credibility would be in this case tremendously stronger and the same applies for our Europe, for my country Italy for our Europe. We used to go ourselves the length of rights. It is the right moment to show that to the rest of the world now. Thank you very much.

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Franco Frattini’s Remarks to the International Conference on the 1988 Massacre — August 27, 2021