Uniting for Freedom, Democracy & Equality

MEPs Condemn Ebrahim Raisi Selection, Call for Support for a Free Iran

On June 25, 2021, A group of members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the President of the Commission and the Council of Europe, citing reports from more than 1,200 journalists and reporters of Simay-e-Azadi TV from 429 cities in Iran, stating that the sham presidential election in Iran has met with a nationwide boycott.

MEPs also called on the EU presidency to adopt a firm policy and condemn this sham election, citing the record of Ebrahim Raisi‘s crimes in the 1988 massacre and many other crimes during his time as the Judiciary Chief and other top position he has held in the regime’s Judiciary.

They called for an end to impunity for criminals like Raisi, saying that we should not trade and interact with this regime and that the international community, mainly Europe, should support the Iranian people’s desire for free elections in a free and democratic Iran.

On June 25, 2021, 21 Members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the President of the Commission and the Council of Europe, citing reports from more than 1,200 journalists and reporters of Simay-e-Azadi TV from 429 cities in Iran, stating that the sham presidential election in Iran has met with a nationwide boycott.
Letter from a group of the MEPs to the President of the Commission and the President of the Council of the European Union

The full text of this letter is as follows:

25 June 2021

Dear President Ursula von der Leyen,

Dear President Charles Michel,

The June 18, 2021, election in Iran was met with general boycott by the Iranian people. The main opposition and independent experts announced that the participation of eligible voters was at its lowest. But the Iranian Ministry of Interior, despite all the frauds and falsifications, acknowledged that 58% of the electorate of the whole country and 74% of Tehran, did not participate.

While in 2017, government statistics showed that 27% of the population had not participated. Meanwhile, the assessment based on the reports of more than 1,200 journalists and reporters of Simay-e-Azadi TV (the Iranian Resistance Satellite TV channel, AKA, IranNTV) in 429 cities in Iran and more than 3,500 video clips from deserted polling stations, showed that less than 10 percent of eligible voters casted their votes.

Ebrahim Raisi’s record of serious and systematic human rights abuses is shocking. He was a “member of the death squad” in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. He is known by Iranians as the “butcher of 1988.”

Since then, as the head of Iran’s Judiciary, he has directed the execution of 251 people in 2019, and 267 people in 2020. Dozens more have been hanged in 2021, including 30 women. Navid Afkari, a national wrestling champion, who had been arrested during the December 2017 uprising, was among those hanged on Raisi’s orders.

In 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department named Ebrahim Raisi on its sanctions list as it imposed sanctions on the Supreme Leader, Khameini’s inner circle. Describing Raisi’s listing it reads, “…Raisi held the high positions in the judiciary for nearly three decades.

Ebrahim Raisi’s name is tied to human rights violations in the judiciary, particularly to his membership in the judicial board of the 1988 executions, known as the Death Commission, and with his presence in the judiciary, judicial procedures criticized by human rights activists, including callous punishments, illegal detentions, torture and ill-treatment, continued as in the past”.

Amnesty International announced on June 19, 2021, “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

Earlier on May 4, 2021, 150 former UN officials and international experts called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up a commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre. It cites a letter by seven UN special rapporteurs on September 3, 2021, describing the massacre “may amount to crimes against humanity.” “There is a systemic impunity enjoyed by those who ordered and carried out the extrajudicial executions”, they said, adding: “Many of the officials involved continue to hold positions of power including in key judicial, prosecutorial and government bodies.”

On June 21, 2021, in his first press conference after being installed as the president, in response to a reporter’s question regarding his involvement in the killings of the 1980s, Raisi said, “As a lawyer, I have always been a defender of the rights of the people. Human rights have been the pivotal point that I have always pursued in all my responsibilities … All the actions I have taken have always been in defense of human rights.” Ironically, he added, he “should be commended” for defending the rights of the people.”

In light of the above-mentioned points, and since Raisi is scheduled to take office in August, we urge you to condemn this anti-democratic process called “elections” and push for an end to impunity for criminals like him. It is clear to all that elections in Iran are not fair nor free. We call on you to sanction him under the European Union’s Magnitsky Act, so that European standards of defending human rights and freedoms are respected.

Our European leaders and the European Union are faced with this hard reality via-a-vis Raisi. We cannot have business as usual. We cannot close our eyes to human rights violations and repression of women.

We cannot ignore the Iranian regime of terrorism that has taken 85 million Iranians hostage. In this precise moment, we have to show our commitment to democracy and human rights and our support the Iranian people desire for free elections in a free and democratic Iran.