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John Baird’s Remarks to the International Conference on the 1988 Massacre — August 27, 2021

John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada, addressed at the International Conference on the 1988 Massacre, attended by 1,000 Former Political Prisoners — 27 August 2021.

I want to give a special Hello to all my friends at Ashraf 3, to all my NCRI friends around the world, a special hello to those NCRI supporters, those  supporters of freedom, democracy, and human rights, and the rule of law who are inside Iran now. Let me tell you, Canadians stand with you in your struggle.

While we believe in a whole range of values in Canada, two important values we have here are impunity and accountability. We’re not here just to commemorate the courage and the sacrifice of 30,000 people who were killed by this regime in 1988. We’re here to recommit ourselves to calling out what happened in 1988 for what it was. It was a massacre. It was a crime against humanity.

All it takes for evil to succeed in this world is for good people to do nothing. And that’s why it is so essential that we call it out for what it is and that we seek justice for those courageous people who gave their lives in the fight for a better Iran.

There is no doubt that the executions that took place in 1988 were purely based on a fatwa by the ayatollah targeting political prisoners, 90 percent of whom were affiliated with the MEK and now the NCRI.

Three-member death commissions acted in a brutal way, and this is an important part of the history of Iran. But let’s be very clear it’s not all about history. It’s about things going on today because far too many people who have blood on their hands and have continued to have rolls as prosecutors as judges and a senior people in the government of Iran. And no one has more blood on their hands than the man who currently presents himself as the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi. The continued of human rights defenders today that are subject of huge threats of harassment, intimidation, and attacks on them, just for trying to seek information and justice and wanting to know the whereabouts of their loved ones and their final resting place is truly disgusting.

Positions of power must be held accountable for what happened in 1988 and the failure of the international community to confront this can be resolved by the United Nations, by the European Union and like-minded friends and allies of the Iranian people to go after those that are accountable, because if we fail to go after them, they will only be emboldened to do it again.

And we know how the Iranian government operates. Its support for international terrorism in every corner of the world, atrocious, its human rights record in Tehran and throughout the country, its nuclear program, its abysmal handling of both the economy and of this Covid-19 crisis; they cannot be emboldened. We must confront this evil and call it out for what it is: a genocide and a crime against humanity. And we must not let Raisi show up in any international forum where he doesn’t face accountability for what happened in 1988.

I was particularly struck when I learned about the courage that political prisoners showed when they had an opportunity to disavow their support the value we all share, they stood firm, showed great courage and spoke out and would not repudiate what they stood for, and we got to show the same courage in commemorating their sacrifice and fighting impunity and fighting for accountability. The paid a high price in fight for freedom, and we need to do the same.  I believe there is hope for the people of Iran.

Whether it’s students, whether its unions, whether its women groups, whether its academics, whether it’s the human rights defenders, whether it’s a huge amount of support that the NCRI has gathered around the world, there is huge hope. But let me tell you that the NCRI, the activist, whether in Ashraf 3 and every corner of Iran and friends all over the world are ready to continue the fight for human, rights, for freedom for dignity, and that we must show great resolve. And finally, I think we need to acknowledge the leadership of the NCRI. Madam Rajavi, we pay homage to you with the homage to your 10 point plan to change Iran. 

We pay homage for your leadership and fighting for impunity and for accountability. We pay homage for your courage in the fight to hold the Mullahs accountable to hold those who involved in death squads, those how involved in crime against humanity, accountable.  

People will remember, the Iranian people will remember when they get Freedom one day, who stood with them, and, Madam Rajavi I am  so proud to join Canadians from so many different walks of life, so many different political parties to come together to join you in your struggle for the values and agenda that you have put forward. Let us we commit ourselves to fight Raisi.

let us commit ourselves to push against the impunity and fight for accountability and let’s hope that one day we can  all meet in Tehran where the Iranian  people can reach their full potential  and  live in a genuinely a prosperous free country. Thank you so much for having me present from Canada. I salute all of you, particularly all my friend at Ashraf three. Thank you very much and again greetings from Canada.

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