Iran: Call for Canadian government to demand UN inquiry into 1988 massacre

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) have reported on the press conference that was held at the Canadian Parliament on 6th October. MPs, representatives of the Iranian-Canadian community and eyewitnesses to the 1988 massacre called on the government to implement a motion adopted by parliament in 2013. The NCRI explain that the document “condemned the massacre of political prisoners and expressed solidarity with political prisoners being held in Iranian jails today”.

Since 2003, Canada has sponsored an annual United Nations resolution that denounces Iran for the continuing human rights abuses taking place in the country. The press conference called on the government to bring up the 1988 massacre in the resolution this year.

The speakers at the House of Commons asked that the Canadian government lead the way in demanding a UN commission of enquiry into the 1988 massacre, thus making it clear that Iran will not get away with human rights abuses.

In 1988, the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the murder of around 30,000 political dissidents, most of whom had links to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or Mek). In August this year, an audio file was released shedding new light about the massacre. Khomeini’s then-heir as the supreme leader, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, harshly criticised the “death commission” in the recording.

Shahram Golestaneh, spokesman for the Iran Democratic Association provided new information about numerous officials who were involved in the massacre. He said: “Scores of the officials who were responsible for this crime against humanity are at the helm of important Iranian institutions. According to the report of the UN Secretary General in September, nearly 1,000 executions were reported in Iran in 2015, the highest in the past two decades.  The very same individuals who carried out the 1988 massacre are continuing their crimes with impunity.”

“According to information compiled by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) from sources inside Iran, most of the institutions of the Iranian regime are run by the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre.  In recent weeks, about 60 of the most senior officials responsible for this massacre, whose names had remained secret for nearly three decades have been identified. These individuals were members of the ‘Death Commissions’ in Tehran and 10 other Iranian provinces.”

He disclosed details about eight mass graves in Mashhad (north-east Iran), Zanjan (north-west Iran), Kermanshah (western Iran), Sume’e Sara (northern Iran), Tonekabon (northern Iran), Dezful (south-west Iran) and Bandar-e Gaz (northern Iran).

Candice Bergen, Canada’s former Minister of State and Conservative MP, highlighted the atrocious human rights situation in Iran, especially the repression of women. She said that moderation under Rouhani is not possible and she urged her colleagues in the government to implement the 2013 motion and ask for a UN investigation.

Michael Cooper, a Member of Parliament from Edmonton, also reiterated the calls for the Canadian government to step up in denouncing the Iranian regime. He also mentioned the regime’s role in the Syrian war and their financing of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

James Bezan, an influential voice in the Canadian Parliament on Iran human rights, praised the 2013 motion adopted by parliament and urged for an end to impunity. Likewise, David Kilgour, Chairman of Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran, said that Canada have a leading role in the human rights field. “He stated that impunity should come to an end and Canada should stand up for accountability and the rule of law in the case of this crime against humanity.”

Mr. Ahmad Hassani, the brother of a 1988 massacre victim, said the regime has given no indication as to where his brother’s body rests. Mr. Mehdi Garmroudi, who also lost his brother in the massacre, gave his own eyewitness account.