The 1988 Massacre in Iran remains one of the most horrific crimes against humanity to have taken place in the past few decades. During the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime executed tens of thousands of political prisoners, most of whom were members or supporters of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).
The Iranian regime has never been held responsible for this horrific incident and there are still calls for justice, including a massive campaign over the past few years.
What makes the Iranian regime’s impunity even more infuriating is that many of the officials involved with the incident in 1988 have risen through the ranks and now occupy major leadership roles.
One such example is Ebrahim Raisi who is the head of the regime’s judiciary. It is not only ironic that someone who went to such lengths to carry out human rights violations is now the head of a judicial system, but it is also very damaging.
And he is still involved with the suppression of human rights as he has played a major role in the crackdowns on dissent over the past few years.
Amnesty International mentioned the incident in its most recent report dealing with human rights violations in countries around the world.
It emphasizes that the Iranian regime continues to violate human rights by “systematically concealing the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political dissidents forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret in 1988”.
It explained that the authorities in Iran have been trying to conceal and destroy evidence, most notably by razing areas that are thought to be mass burial sites.
The consequences of the regime’s impunity with regards to the 1988 Massacre are significant. The international community and world powers have an obligation to respond to such incidents and should not remain silent. The Iranian government’s mistreatment of its people is something that should not be ignored, and many countries should have put a stop to all economic and trade relations and negotiations until the matter was acknowledged and resolved.
Because of international silence and the subsequent decades of impunity, the regime has continued to heavily suppress the people. There is no doubt that the impunity the regime has enjoyed has emboldened it to continue clamping down on the people. This is especially evident during times of mass protests and widespread uprisings where the regime responds with such violence and brutality.
The West has been appeasing Iran for many years, thinking that avoiding conflict was the preferable option. However, this has done nothing other than giving the regime the green light to go ahead with its violations.
Last year, seven human rights experts from the United Nations wrote to the government of Iran calling for its to be transparent regarding the 1988 Massacre. Failing this, they advised that the international community will pursue prosecution to ensure the perpetrators are held to justice.
Now is the time for the West to act before the regime destroys more evidence and before it commits further violations of human rights.