Maryam Rajavi: Iranian regime’s leaders must be prosecuted for the 1988 massacre- Speech at the seminar of Iranian communities in Europe- September 3, 2016
Sisters and brothers,
I am very pleased to see you, the representatives of the Iranian communities. We have gathered here to convey the voice of Iran’s profoundly discontented society.
In recent weeks, a powerful social wave has arisen against the Velayat-e Faqih regime; at its core, the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. In fact, this atrocity has become a central grievance in the Iranian people’s protests against the criminal and murderous regime, and a pivotal issue of their demand for the establishment of freedom.
Let us look back on those horrifying days:
Exactly 28 years ago, when Khamenei was the regime’s president, Rafsanjani was the regime’s speaker of parliament and the acting commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, and Rouhani was his deputy, tens of thousands of political prisoners were languishing in prisons across the country.
Some of the prisoners had been arrested when they were only 16 or 17 years old. Now, after seven years, they had grown up, becoming 23 or 24-year-old young men and women. Some of them had already finished their sentences and some had only a few months left.
Yet, instead of these prisoners’ being released, they found themselves facing an ominous threat: Khomeini’s representative delegations had begun making rounds in all prisons, questioning each and every one of the prisoners. Their central question was whether or not the prisoners support the People’s Mojahedin. In a matter of a few weeks, the prisons become staging grounds for mass hangings.
In the corridors of death, prisoners walk to the gallows with cries of “hail to Massoud Rajavi.” Some sing the anthem of “Freedom.”
How many? Initially, a few thousand. In subsequent weeks, they become several thousand, and a few months later, their numbers swell to exceed 30,000.
Their courage illuminates this dark chapter in Iran’s history, and does not fade despite the passage of time.
Let’s recall, for a moment, the Prison of Arak. The warden tells the prisoners: “Do not ever think that you will survive to be welcomed with flowers by the people.” Ghassem Bastaki, a wrestling champion, answers: “When our people come with flowers, we are prepared to be found among the martyrs.”
Or Evin Prison. Monireh Rajavi, 38, mother of two young daughters, has completed her six-year sentence, but she is executed instead of being released. Her only crime is that she is the sister of the Resistance’s Leader Massoud Rajavi.
And here, in Evin’s corridor of death, Mahmoud Hassani, a Tehran University student of economics, is walking in a group of 60 prisoners, whispering his own poem:
In the darkness of night,
When you see a shooting star in the sky
Remember the burning flames
Who were extinguished in the cold nights of Evin
So that other stars might rise with the dawn
Here we find one of the cellblocks of Ahwaz Prison. Two mullahs, two executioners, shout: “You must take a stand. On one side is Khomeini and on the other is Massoud Rajavi. Which side are you on?” A young woman cries out from the back of the ward: “Long live Massoud, death to Khomeini!’” It is Sakineh Delfi, 26, from Abadan. Prison guards attack her, badly beating her, to no avail. The whole cellblock is now roaring. Of the 350 inmates in this cellblock, 349 are hanged.
Here is Cellblock 9 in Gohardasht Prison, housing 103 inmates. Ninety-nine of them are executed. In the death corridor, one of them is asked: “Where is this?” He responds: “This is the end of the line and I have made my decision.” The prisoner is 25-year-old Mehran Bigham.
These are the hills near Orumiyeh Lake. A large number of political prisoners have been brought here. One, Bahman Shakeri, has been in prison for seven years although he finished serving his sentence two years ago. The Revolutionary Guards are beating them on the head with clubs and iron rods until they die. Their cries have attracted villagers to the scene.
This is Hall No. 19 in Cellblock 3 of Gohardasht Prison. The prison guard is angered by a painting on the wall. The artist is soon sent to join the line of prisoners going for execution. His name is Akbar Latif.
And now we are outside Masjid-Soleiman Prison. A 4-year-old girl named Tanin is holding a bouquet of flowers, waiting for her daddy. Instead, prison guards give her a Quran and a set of clothes and tell her that they belonged to her father, the courageous prisoner Shahrokh Namdari.
Back in Gohardasht Prison, a prisoner sends her message by tapping on the wall: “Friends, they have given me 20 minutes to write my last will. They are executing everyone here. Send my regards to the Mojahedin.” Her name is Zahra Khosravi.
And here is the torture chamber. The lashes of the whip strike, one after the other, but there is no cry from the prisoner. The torturer pleads, “We don’t want any information from you. Just scream!” But the prisoner keeps silent. Soon afterwards, she is placed on death row. She is Azadeh Tabib, a young, joyful and patient woman who has repeatedly defeated her torturers.
28 years later, when the dialogue between the executioners and Mr. Montazeri is revealed, we hear one of them admitting that the resistance of young Mojahed women had crushed him.
Now, the Mojahedin are walking, one by one, through those blood drenched corridors: One is Ashraf Ahmadi, a political prisoner under the Shah; another is Fatemeh Zare’ii, the PMOI candidate in the parliamentary elections in Shiraz; three others are from the same family: Hossein, Mostafa and Massoumeh Mirzaii.
Khomeini had issued a decree: “Those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Monafeqin are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”
Khomeini and his accomplices wanted to do away with the notion of resistance for freedom, so not only did they exterminate vast numbers of Mojahedin and other resistant prisoners, but they also concealed all the evidence of this atrocity and denied it all together. They have not yet revealed any information on the locations of these victims’ graves. Khavaran cemetery, discovered through the efforts of families of the victims, is today a sacred memorial to those who gave their lives for freedom. We salute them, a thousand times over, from here to Khavaran, whose pure soil is colored with blood and tears.
The public revelation of the audio file of Mr. Montazeri’s remarks has sparked a confrontation between the people of Iran and the illegitimate, blood-thirsty ruling regime. The conflict is based on all of the foundations laid in the course of the massacre in 1988. As a result:
• A new wave has emerged from within Iranian society, a wave of wrath, protest, and demands, rising to a movement for justice.
• The foundations of the regime have cracked at numerous points, and strife over this issue has been so serious that it forced the mullahs’ parliament into an extraordinary session.
• Khomeini’s edict for the massacre has been questioned by the clergy and seminary students, and the majority of the regime’s senior clerics have refrained from defending the decree.
Accordingly, we challenge the ruling regime:
Do you not consider blood-thirsty Khomeini an Imam and a saint? If so, then why do you avoid publishing his decree in your media?
At the very least, show the text of his edict for the massacre of the Mojahedin on your state television.
Publish the records of the trials of those executed.
Announce the names of the members of the commissions who held the trials in all of the provinces.
Hand over the last wills of the victims of the massacre to their families.
Publish the complete list of names of the victims and the locations of their graves which have been concealed to date.
And to the regime’s internal factions and the proponents of reform within this religious dictatorship we say:
If disparaging the Mojahedin ensures your safety and security, so be it, but you must condemn the massacre in 1988. After all these years of complicity and collaboration in the regime’s evil-doings, for once distance yourselves from this heinous atrocity.
And to the clerics in all the seminaries, we say: Break your long silence over the 1988 massacre and do not evade your responsibility.
To the international community and western governments, we say:
Standing up to the violations of human rights in Iran is also the responsibility of Western governments, because the consequences of this regime are not confined to Iran. The terrorism and fundamentalism emanating from Tehran have victimized defenseless people in Nice, Paris, Brussels, etc. Make your relations with the Iranian regime contingent on an end to executions in Iran. Put Khamenei and his accomplices on trial in an international court for crimes against humanity, specifically in 1988. And respect the Iranian people’s Resistance for regime change.
And finally, I call on my fellow countrymen and women to rise up in support and solidarity to expand the campaign for justice. Demanding justice for the martyrs is part and parcel of the movement to overthrow the clerical regime, and must be carried forth to its final end.
Only in the past few weeks, the campaign inside Iran has managed to identify a number of members of the death commissions and obtain new names and documents, including the photographs of a number of victims of the massacre.
We must drive the mullahs to a point where they do not dare to repeat such crimes. One-hundred prisoners were executed over the last month. They included 25 Sunni political prisoners from Kurdistan. And there was the execution of three of our Arab compatriots. These killings must be stopped and the murderous regime must be toppled.
I call on freedom-loving Iranians, and all members and supporters of the Iranian Resistance, in Iran and all over the world, to expand the movement to obtain justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre. You must insist on this demand and persist in this campaign until justice is achieved for the human rights abuses committed by the mullahs’ religious tyranny.
The events of the recent crisis were not merely a revelation of the executioners’ confession to the massacre of prisoners; the most important result was the recurrence of Khomeini’s death and the demise of the spirit dominating his clerical regime on the one hand, and the rejuvenation of the Iranian Resistance on the other.
This was clearly pointed out by Khamenei when he said, “The PMOI lovers inside the country wish to whitewash them and give them an aura of legitimacy and innocence while distorting the image of the Imam (Khomeini).”
The Assembly of Experts, the highest institution in the Velayat-e Faqih regime, also declared in its official statement that they intend to “undermine the Islamic regime, the principle of Velayat-e Faqih, and the exalted status of the leader… among the people on the one hand; and on the other, to cleanse the image of the PMOI by presenting them as victims of injustice.”
In his 1989 edict, Khomeini elaborated on the most important reason for the ouster of Mr. Montazeri, writing: “Since it has become clear that after me (Khomeini), you (Montazeri) will hand over Iran to liberals and through them to the Hypocrites (Mojahedin), you have lost the competence and legitimacy for future leadership of the regime.”
In subsequent years, the regime’s officials repeated their claim of having annihilated the PMOI/MEK and the Iranian Resistance thousands of times, but were frustrated by the Mojahedin’s 14 years of steadfast endurance in Ashraf and Camp Liberty.
Two days ago, it was the third anniversary of the mass executions of 52 PMOI members in Ashraf. In the raid carried out on the orders of Khamenei, seven people, including six women, were taken hostage. To date, there has been no information on the hostages.
The massacre in Ashraf was part of a larger plan by the Iranian regime to annihilate the Mojahedin altogether. But the plan failed and today, once again, the regime’s leaders are primarily concerned about the status of the Mojahedin in Iran and among their people.
Twenty-eight years after the massacre of political prisoners, the movement to obtain justice for them, and the wave of general respect and admiration for them attest to a fundamental truth. That truth is that the blood of those pure souls still runs in the veins of our nation. Not a single drop has been wasted. Their suffering and perseverance was not in vain.
That truth is that the mullahs and their accomplices’ false declarations that resistance for freedom is useless, have been discredited. Those who concealed the massacre, or attempted to justify and legitimize it, or blamed the Mojahedin for it, are now exposed to history’s ridicule.
They thought that no one would ever hear the cries of those freedom fighters from the gallows and execution grounds. They thought the ultimate expression of humanity and honor could be buried in torture chambers and cells.
But the blazing sun of truth rose from the depth of the dungeons, from the darkness of the execution yards, from the vehicles which transported the blood-drenched bodies, and from the mass graves covered by lime and cement, because resolve and sacrifice for freedom can neither be annihilated nor denied.
Today, their suffering and strife have culminated in blocking the regime and opening the way for freedom.
This steadfastness has borne fruit in the strength and progress of the resistance movement on the 51st anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, and will bring about a republic of freedom and equality; a republic based on separation of religion and state, on equality of women and men, on equal rights and autonomy for ethnic minorities in the framework of a united Iran, and on abolition of the death penalty.
History always reveals to us the greatness of the men and women who made it. And these 30,000 have made history in Iran’s path towards freedom.
Hail to freedom
Hail to the martyrs
Hail to the people of Iran