The Islamic Republic of Iran is the perpetrator of one of the biggest political genocides of our time
Did you know that along with Chile under Pinochet, Indonesia under Suharto and Germany under Hitler, the Islamic Republic of Iran too has committed genocide and a holocaust? Many people may not be aware of the scale of the crimes and the massacres committed by Iran’s Islamic state because the entire Western mass media and governments kept silent about the slaughter of political prisoners in the 1980s. The political opposition to the Islamic Republic at that time had not as yet started an effective campaign internationally to inform the public about this catastrophe. But the crime was so massive and shocking that despite the passage of almost three decades the wound on the body of Iranian society is still open. This crime is comparable to the crimes of Pinochet in Chile or the genocide by the apartheid system in South Africa, for it goes beyond the confines of politics and legality and turns into an overall social tragedy, so that society cannot rest before the wound has healed.
In the summer of 1988, in August and September, following the end of the Iran-Iraq war, by the direct order of Khomeini, a “death commission” was formed and thousands of political prisoners, who were sentenced years earlier and were serving various prison terms, were executed. The names of some 5000 of these have been collected by opposition forces, but the real numbers far exceed this figure. Every year, on the anniversary of these executions, memorial ceremonies are held in Iran and other countries. This year also ceremonies are being held to remember the anniversary.
But the crime was by no means limited to the summer of 1988. The crimes of the Islamic Republic against its political opponents, against women, workers, and people throughout the country who did not want this government, started from day one when this government came to power; they started even months earlier in abuse, harassment and humiliation of unveiled women by organised Islamic hoodlums. The executions too started from the beginning in Tehran and other cities. But one of the biggest political massacres, on a scale of tens of thousands, got under way from June 1981. Among others, pregnant women and children as young as 14 to 15 were savagely tortured and summarily executed. They arrested people in droves on the streets or in their homes and executed them within a few days or, at times, on the same day. After the 1980s the crimes of the government continued in different ways. In the 1990s the Islamic regime began assassinating the leaders of the opposition and political opponents in Larnaca, Berlin, Paris and other cities around the world. It then turned to serial killing of writers and opposition figures inside the country. In recent years throwing acid into women’s faces, following incitements by Islamic preachers at Friday sermons and organised government agents, became a practice, and flogging the youth and protesting workers proliferated. Add to this list the stoning of hundreds of women, gouging eyes out or cutting off the hand, as well as pushing homosexuals off mountain tops and scores of other crimes based on the Islamic Sharia law of retribution.
How would you feel to hear that the guards of the Islamic Republic demanded the cost of the bullets shot at the body of prisoners from the parents or the spouses of the executed? Or that some female prisoners were raped prior to execution? Or to hear that women prisoners were forced to marry a guard the night before execution, with the “husband” going to the girl’s family to congratulate them for this marriage? It happened that five or six children from the same family were executed. How would you feel to hear that the corpses were piled into vans and buried in mass graves, so that up until this day many families do not know where their loved ones are buried? How would you react to hearing that a sister would be tortured in front of a brother or a friend in front of a friend to draw a confession or to break the prisoner’s will power? Tens of thousands of detainees who had escaped execution were subjected to a range of tortures, sentenced to long prison terms, went through mock executions, were kept for months in makeshift wooden graves to have their spirit of resistance crushed, and, in the end, thousands of them were executed in the summer of 1988. Many of you have not heard of this Islamic holocaust because the Western media and governments were totally silent about this crime against humanity. If their lips were not sealed, if public opinion was informed, the Islamic Republic would not have been able to commit such a horrific massacre and the scale of the catastrophe would have been much reduced.
Those who were executed were the opposition of the Islamic government of all political hues: they were the left and the communists, Islamic critics of the government, people of Baha’i faith and royalists, protesting people from all corners of the country. Some, however, were none of these. They were arrested, tortured and put to death because they had non-Islamic looks or dress or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Islamic Republic committed these crimes to impose its rule. This government was not the choice of the people, for, had it been their real representative, it would not have had to resort to such suppression and killing. Iranian society refused to tolerate such an ossified and anachronistic system. Protests blazed everywhere. Strikes proliferated. Numerous newspapers, which were suppressed by the previous regime, were distributed and read with great eagerness. Political organisations and working class institutions were springing up in the relatively open atmosphere that the people’s revolution had created, and people joined them. Everybody, workers, students, women and people in remote parts of the country who had been oppressed and humiliated for decades were all in motion and stood up to the Islamic state. The Islamic state wanted to put them in their place, to intimidate, humiliate, and crush the people who had made a revolution in the hope of freedom and a better life. To stay in power, the Islamic Republic wanted to drench society in such a climate of oppression that all hope for change should be stifled.
This deep wound is still bleeding. It is not healed. The criminals, torturers, those in government, the parliament, and within the judiciary system, who gave the order and who carried the order out are still in power and still execute and commit crimes. Khamenei was among the highest officials within the government structure at the time. Rafsanjani, as the Substitute Commander in Chief had said in August 1988: “…we now have the opportunity (in prisons) to annihilate them and be rid of them for good;” Rouhani, the incumbent president of the Islamic Republic had said in the Islamic parliament in 1980: “Hang the conspirators during the Friday prayer ceremony, with the people watching, to produce the best effect;” Pourmohammadi, Rouhani’s current justice minister, appointed by Khomeini in 1988 as member of the Death Commission, said of the killings only a few days ago: “We are proud that we followed God’s order,” and, Sadegh Larijani, head of the judiciary, said recently: “The court sentences have been carried out in full accordance with Sharia principles and laws and they are flawless. The sentence of a combatant (with God) is obvious.” Hundreds of other officials in government who have been accessories to these crimes are still in positions of power in the parliament and the cabinet and within the judiciary system and the armed forces and the Guardian Council and the Assembly of the Experts, continuing to commit crimes. Within the three years of Rouhani’s presidency alone more than 2000 people have been executed. Unless justice is done, the details of these deeds are made public and the perpetrators are tried in courts, unless people know where their loved ones are buried, unless the full list of the officials and those answerable for this heinous crime is publicised and the whole truth of that period is known this wound shall not heal.
Finally, did you know that the people, the women, students, workers and different sectors of the population engaged in resistance and protests from the very first when this regime came to power, and, at present, a broad based movement of litigation is under way in Iran? The mothers of those who lost their lives, like the mothers of the missing people in Argentina, have, for some years, been organised and in open and public statements demanded that the truth should come out, and asked for the trial in court of all the heads of state and all the officials involved in these crimes? Did you know that in 2012-2013 a people’s tribunal in the presence of internationally renowned lawyers and judges, attended by scores of witnesses from the families of those executed and former political prisoners, was convened in two stages in London and The Hague, and officially condemned the Islamic Republic for crimes against humanity? Did you know that through these pressures and the people’s mounting protests deep cracks have appeared within the Islamic Republic over the killings? Most of you will not know because the Western media barely covered this tribunal or hardly give any coverage to the prevalent climate of protest in Iran.
The world is talking about the crimes of ISIS today. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been the counterpart and the forerunner for ISIS. All the crimes committed by ISIS against women and other sectors of the population have already been committed by the Islamic regime of Iran. The Islamic Republic and ISIS, even though belonging to two rival poles, go on shedding blood and creating legitimacy for each other.
We consider it our duty to inform you and the world public opinion of what this government has done to the people and ask for your solidarity and support for the people of Iran and the growing struggle that is going on. We ask you to put pressure on your government to cut political and diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Just like the apartheid regime in South Africa, the Islamic regime of Iran should be condemned and isolated by world public opinion, governments and international bodies. The ongoing struggle of the women, youth, workers and students, and the families of the executed political prisoners, in Iran are the components of the struggle for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Pushing this government out of the way of Iranian society is the essential condition for the healing of the wounds caused by the genocides perpetrated by this government. We call on you to support this struggle. The Iranian people need the solidarity of the progressive people of the world, and the world needs to be rid of all the murderous Islamic governments and gangs.
Worker-communist Party of Iran
15 September 2016