General Hugh Shelton: “the biggest massacre of political prisoners since World War II” in Iran

A former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has implored the international community to take action of prosecuting the Iranian Regime for the 1988 massacre which killed 30,000 political prisoners.

In an op-ed for The Washington Times, Hugh Shelton called the slaughter “the biggest massacre of political prisoners since World War II” and decried any notion that Iran is now a ‘moderate’ nation.

He said: “The brutality and radical ideology that guided the mass executions in 1988 are alive and well. Just ask the people of Iran itself, as well as those of Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. How is it that this historic leak [of an audio recording of a Death Commission meeting] has, with few exceptions, been met with indifference? Not only does it present an opportunity for justice for the 30,000 victims and their families, but it could and should also shape some of the most important debates in foreign policy today.”

He points out that Ayatollah Montazeri, the former heir apparent to supreme leader Khomeini, who can be heard criticizing Regime leaders for their roles in the massacre was hardly a ‘moderate’.

Shelton, a retired U.S. Army general, said: “[Montazeri] detested democracy, favoring instead the ideology of Velayat-e Faqih, which espoused the notion of giving the clergy unlimited power to decide the fate and daily life of the Iranian people… [he] was an ideologue of the ridged Shia dogma that would lead to the massacre of 30,000 innocent men, women (even if pregnant) and children. Yet, even Montazeri felt compelled to speak out against the bloodbath.”

The massacre targeted members of the opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK); most of whom had been sentenced to -or had already served- prison time.

After his speech Montazeri was stripped of his power and the orchestrators of the massacre were promoted; Mostafa Pourmohammadi is the justice minister in Mr. Rouhani’s Cabinet, Hossein-Ali Nayyeri is the current head of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges, Ebrahim Raeesi was the clerical regime’s prosecutor general and is now the head of the Astan Quds-e Razavi foundation.


Shelton said: “Abroad, the regime has become ever more brazen due to Western inaction and ransom payments in the framework of nuclear negotiations. In Syria, Iraq and beyond, Iranian meddling and direct action supports despots such as Bashar Assad and suffering and death on a massive scale…Such scenes should act as a wake-up call; no longer can we sit idly by as innocents are slaughtered. It is time for us to raise our voices in the name of the victims of Iranian terror who cannot, either because they are being suppressed or already dead. Isn’t it time to call for justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre and hold the perpetrators accountable?”