Speech by Maryam Rajavi on Day 3 of the conference, “Onwards to the Democratic Republic” in Iran
Prosecute Clerical Regime Leaders for Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide
Honorable dignitaries, dear compatriots,
On the brink of the 35th anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, we pay tribute to those who gave their lives for freedom and cultivated the seeds of unwavering uprisings; they are indeed the martyrs of the Iranian people’s Democratic Revolution. The untainted blood of those innocent souls massacred in 1988 resonates today in the ongoing uprisings of the Iranian people and continues to inspire and motivate rebellious youths across generations.
Thousands of PMOI heroes bravely stood their ground, defending their political identity and ideals. They marched to the gallows, shouting ‘Long Live Massoud’ and welcoming their martyrdom. Their aspirations and ideals remain just as relevant in contemporary Iranian society.
The past few months have witnessed the imprisonment of 30,000 defiant young men and women who fearlessly challenged Khamenei’s regime. Among them are selfless and devoted men and women who established the Resistance Units. They are united in their fight for the cause of freedom, equality, and the rejection of oppression.
The People’s Mojahedin, a name that burns with crimson passion in Iran, has emerged from this ideal, painting the dawn with its fiery red spirit.
After 44 years of slandering the PMOI and spreading lies about their generations, the mullahs’ fury remains unabated. Their heartless fear of any group affiliated with the PMOI, even thousands of kilometers away from Iran, stems from a cause that transcends time and place.
While the mullahs strive to impose their rule characterized by coercion, tyranny, and oppression, the arisen generation in Iran yearns for freedom and a people’s republic. This is a cause that shall ultimately prevail.
Khomeini’s objective: genocide and annihilation of the PMOI
Thirty-five years ago, during the final days of July, the harrowing specter of death silently and swiftly cast its shadow over the country, targeting anyone who stood their ground as a member of the PMOI, as Khomeini had stated in his fatwa. According to mullah Moghtadaii, an executioner, Khomeini held consecutive meetings with his henchmen, urging them to continue their grim task without the slightest hesitation or fear. Khomeini harbored genocidal intentions, seeking the annihilation of the PMOI, which he perceived as an existential threat to his regime.
As the massacre unfolded in prisons such as Evin and Gohardasht, only a small number of PMOI prisoners remained in other cities. Tragically, in some prison wards, not a single PMOI prisoner survived.
Massacres in prisons across Iran
The collection presented here sheds light on the massacre of PMOI prisoners in various cities throughout Iran (excluding the capital Tehran). This collection is a meticulous documentation of testimonies and written accounts from eyewitnesses who saw the massacres in dozens of cities and provincial capitals.
The book “Crimes Against Humanity” reveals the staggering toll of the 1988 massacre, documenting the names of over 5,000 PMOI prisoners who were brutally killed. What is particularly startling is the remarkable extent of the massacre, as it unfolded in 110 cities across Iran.
Astonishingly, the book lists only eight names at the Prison of Qom, even though at least 150 PMOI prisoners valiantly resisted their oppressors in that facility. Similarly, only four names are listed for each of the cities of Mahshahr, Bandar Gaz, Chalous, Ramsar, and Garmsar. In 18 cities, only two or three names are listed, and in 34 cities, only one name is provided with detailed specifics. This is while it is widely known that all these prisons were full of PMOI prisoners.
In some prison wards, the regime’s executioners showed no mercy, leaving no survivors. The Research Unit on the Martyrs of the Iranian Resistance has compiled long lists of nicknames whose associated real identities remain unknown. Those who might have known these individuals fell victim to the massacre, leaving no traces of those martyrs.
Following the massacre of PMOI prisoners in 1988, another wave of executions took place in Evin and Gohardasht prisons, targeting non-PMOI prisoners, predominantly those affiliated with Marxist ideologies.
Regarding the massacre of PMOI women, the Prosecutor of the Court of Stockholm explained: “Women were executed in the initial wave. Throughout our investigations, we could not find any women who survived the executions.”
The head of the Death Commission in Tehran during the 1988 massacre was Nayyeri, who made the following statement regarding the events: “If the Imam (Khomeini) had not been as decisive… the entire regime would not have survived.”
During the early 1980s, the Khomeini regime operated a vast network of over 300 prisons, aside from the IRGC safe houses, and Prosecutor’s detention centers, and various Komitehs.
Seeking justice for the victims of the massacre
The Call for Justice Movement emerged in the early weeks following the commencement of the massacre. Massoud Rajavi, the Leader of the Iranian Resistance, took action by sending telegrams to the UN Secretary-General in August 1988, unveiling Khomeini’s fatwa that authorized the mass killing of PMOI prisoners who continued to adhere to their beliefs. Thus began the justice movement.
Iranians in various countries expressed their outrage by staging demonstrations, hunger strikes, and symbolic people’s tribunals. Reports of these acts of protest and related pictures were documented and covered in the Resistance’s publications. Notably, there was even a tragic case of self-immolation in the United States.
Since 2016, the Iranian Resistance has placed the Call for Justice for the victims of the prisoners’ massacre at the forefront of its agenda.
Also, at the international level, the Call for Justice Movement drew the attention of conscientious individuals to the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. The 1988 massacre has been noted in the resolution adopted by the majority of members of the US Congress, in the open letter by 117 former world leaders, and declarations by majorities in parliaments of 28 countries.
In December 2020, seven UN special rapporteurs warned that the 1988 massacre of political prisoners should no longer remain unpunished.
Today, we have the privilege of having several former UN rapporteurs among us, whose presence I would like to acknowledge and honor.
Furthermore, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the dedicated efforts of the Justice for Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) organization under Mr. Tahar Boumedra, the former head of the UNAMI human rights office in Iraq.
Mr. Boumedra has been instrumental in various initiatives, including the publication of several books and his leadership in numerous calls and open letters advocating for an international investigation into the massacre. One significant effort is the call signed by 462 current and former UN officials, judges of international courts, and prominent political personalities.
Among other activities is the publication of a pamphlet by the US Representative Office of the NCRI in Washington, DC, entitled “The Case to Hold Ebrahim Raisi to Account for Crimes Against Humanity.”
After several decades, the United Nations acknowledged the 1988 massacre in its reports, including in the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran and the report by the UN Secretary-General. These documents highlighted the need for an independent investigation into the massacre.
Despite all this, the international community’s response to the 1988 massacre has fallen woefully short of what is necessary and expected. For other comparable or larger-scale crimes that have taken place over the past 50 years, the UN has established Special Courts or independent inquiries. The lack of such actions regarding the 1988 massacre in Iran raises questions about the reasons behind this inaction.
I reiterate that granting impunity to the masterminds of the massacre is seen as characteristic of the West’s policy of appeasement, which needs to end.
The trial of Hamid Nouri, another crisis for the regime
The arrest of Hamid Nouri, one of the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre at Gohardasht Prison, created a significant scandal and crisis for the regime.
The arrest (in Sweden) took place in 2019, three-and-a-half years after the renewed advocacy for the Call for Justice Movement by the Iranian Resistance. The mullahs’ Intelligence Ministry attempted to discredit the movement and use it against the PMOI. However, the Iranian Resistance’s persistent efforts, including its extensive awareness campaigns, demonstrations by compatriots outside the courthouse for nearly two years, active engagement of PMOI members and supporters as witnesses and plaintiffs in the trial, relocation of the court proceedings to Albania for two weeks, and submission of numerous documents, ultimately led to the conviction of Hamid Nouri to life imprisonment. These collective actions thwarted the clerical regime’s schemes and plots.
This is of particular significance that in contrast to Hassan Rouhani, Ebrahim Raisi, the current regime president, has been legally implicated as one of the prime perpetrators of the 1988 massacre.
For this reason, in parallel to its scheme to release Assadollah Assadi, its bomb-carrying terrorist diplomat in Belgium, the clerical regime has engaged in an all-out diplomatic, intelligence, and press campaign in Sweden. Hostage-taking diplomacy tactics have been employed, and suspicious elements and operatives have been deployed to pressure Sweden to disregard the principles of law and justice.
We warn that releasing the perpetrators and masterminds of this genocide and crime against humanity for any reason or excuse is absolutely unjustified. It would only give the clerical regime the green light to perpetrate further bloodshed, escalate terrorism, and engage in more hostage-taking.
The cause of PMOI martyrs lives on
The Call for Justice Movement has played a crucial role in preserving the memory, names, and cause of the PMOI prisoners who were massacred for their unwavering stance. By doing so, the movement has contributed to enriching the historical consciousness of Iranian society. It has become a source of inspiration for subsequent uprisings in Iran, driven by the purest motivations.
The spirit of countless victims, whose identities and resting places remain unknown, continues to live on throughout the country, cultivating the seeds of rebellion and revolt because of their sacrifice.
The fact that the Iranian people consider the mullahs their most callous enemy is a direct byproduct of the sacrifices made by these victims.
The Call for Justice Movement advances the struggle anchored in the indomitable spirit of “standing one’s ground.” This principle holds the key to resisting the forces of oppression and destruction and is pivotal to advancing the revolution.
Standing one’s ground is the secret to defeating Khomeini and his ideology. It has been instrumental in the survival of the PMOI from its founder Mohammad Hanifnejad’s era to the present day.
Seeking justice is indispensable to the Resistance to overthrow the regime
At this moment, I would like to appeal to all former political prisoners, families, acquaintances of the victims, and supporters of the PMOI. I urge you to compile and document any information you may have regarding the 1988 massacre, even if it is as short as a single sentence or a word.
It is of utmost importance that the acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and massacre perpetrated by the Iranian regime are officially registered in those terms by national and international courts and the UN Security Council. These grave offenses must be subject to international investigations carried out with the participation of representatives from the Iranian Resistance.
Crime against humanity started from the early years of the regime’s rule, reached a peak during the 1988 massacre, and has continued to date. Over the past 44 years, all the clerical regime’s leaders have been involved in crimes against humanity. Therefore, the independent international fact-finding mission, formed last year to investigate the execution of protesters during the 2022-2023 protests, should also examine the regime’s dossier of crimes against humanity. Crimes against humanity are inherent to the regime and comprise an interconnected and indivisible whole.
The Call for Justice Movement is driven by a profound desire for justice, aiming to address the long-standing oppression and exploitation inflicted by the Iranian regime over the past 44 years. Its quest for justice extends to the plight of all those who have fallen victim to the regime’s unjust practices.
The movement actively pursues justice for our fellow compatriots in Kurdistan who the IRGC mercilessly massacred in Ghalatan and Gharena. It also seeks justice for the Baluch victims who lost their lives during the tragic events in Zahedan and our Arab compatriots in Khuzestan who have endured killings and suppression.
Furthermore, the Call for Justice Movement advocates for justice for the 1,500 martyrs of the November 2019 uprising and the 750 martyrs of the most recent uprisings in 2022 and 2023.
This campaign will continue until it brings Khamenei, Raisi, and other masterminds of this crime against humanity to justice. The Call for Justice is indispensable to the Resistance to overthrow the mullahs’ religious fascism.
My dear sons and daughters throughout Iran,
You, who are preparing for the uprising every day, ready to rise up; You, who have chosen to pay the price of this struggle, remember that the duty to advance the movement seeking justice for the martyrs falls upon the shoulders of each and every one of you.
Their voices echo through every street and alley, emerging from the marked and unmarked graves. They call upon you to be their voice, to spread their spirit of rebellion and defiance far and wide. It is you who must lead the Call for Justice movement and the uprisings that will bring down this bloodthirsty and oppressive regime.
The day of victory for the Iranian people will arrive. On that day, the people’s tribunal will hold the ruling mullahs accountable for their countless crimes. Rest assured, that day will come.
May God bless the resilient people of Iran, and may the martyrs be honored and remembered forever. Long live freedom!