5 Sep – Amnesty International launched a campaign to stop the Iranian Regime from destroying one of the mass graves in which some of the over 30,000 victims of the 1988 massacre are buried.
The grave in question, located in the southern city of Ahvaz, is of immediate concern because construction near the area has already begun and Amnesty is concerned about losing evidence which could bring the murderers, who are still being sheltered by the Regime, to justice.
Recent footage shows that the site of the mass grave is being buried beneath piles of construction waste.
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Bulldozing the mass grave at Ahvaz will destroy crucial forensic evidence that could be used to bring those responsible for the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions to justice. It would also deprive families of victims of their rights to truth, justice and reparation, including the right to bury their loved ones in dignity. By joining Amnesty International’s campaign, people can help to press Iran’s authorities to stop the imminent destruction of the site.”
He continued: “Instead of desecrating the mass grave with piles of rubbish and waste and further tormenting families, who face repression for their efforts to protect the memory of their loved ones, the authorities should be upholding their duty to preserve all Iran’s mass grave sites so that investigations can be carried out into the 1988 extrajudicial executions and other mass killings.”
The 29th anniversary of the massacre has recently passed but not a single person has been brought to justice.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “The victims of this atrocity, known as one of the worst crimes in Iran’s modern history, were commemorated by an exhibition as well as street and music performances by Iranian renowned artists and musicians. Upon a fatwa by the first Supreme Leader, Khomeini in July 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners, the overwhelming majority of whom were activists of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in a few months and were buried in secret mass graves.”
Amnesty is calling on people from around the world to join the campaign by sending appeals to Ahvaz City Council and Iran’s High Council for Human Rights and using the hashtag #MassGraves88 on social media to promote the campaign.
A separate campaign by the Iranian Resistance is calling for justice for the victims of the massacre; they held a rally in London on Saturday to call on the UK government to establish an independent committee to investigate.
- Tuesday, September 5, 2017
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5 Sep – Iran blamed a “technical glitch” for allowing female football fans to buy tickets to watch the men’s national team play Syria.
It seemed like the Regime’s sexist ban on women attending football matches when men are playing had been lifted, on Saturday, when the option appeared for women’s tickets for Iran’s World Cup qualifier against Syria.
Many women celebrated by buying tickets and expressing their joy and surprise via social media at being able to attend Tuesday’s match at Tehran’s Azadi stadium using the hashtag #IHaveTicket.
Football fan Arefeh Elyasi said: “I was extremely excited… it was unbelievable.”
Zahra Jafarzadeh even told that Shahrvand newspaper that she had bought a ticket despite not being a huge football fan.
She said: “I felt that if didn’t sign up, I would be missing a major event.”
However, the football federation of Iran later said that the tickets were sold by mistake and blamed technical problems.
The security director of Iran’s Football Federation, Mohammad Hossein Hamisi said that there no plans to allow the presence of women in Azadi stadium for the Iran-Syria match and that all tickets purchased by women would be cancelled and refunded.
He said: “There is no plan to permit the presence of women at the match. We strongly deny the rumours that have been published. All the rumours about this are far from reality… The Football Association, after learning of this shortcoming, will immediately follow up on this issue.”
Elyasi said: “Maybe we all knew that we would not be allowed to enter the stadium despite buying the ticket. But we wanted to make our voice heard by the officials.”
While Ghoncheh Ghavami, a British-Iranian woman who was imprisoned for four months in 2015 after attempting to watch a men’s volleyball match, urged female fans to continue buying tickets for the match in protest at the stadium ban.
She wrote on Twitter: “The empty seats will represent our voice.”
Iranian women are allowed to watch men play certain sports, including volleyball, basketball, handball and tennis, as long as they sit in segregated sections in stadiums.
However women are not allowed to watch men’s football, swimming or wrestling because of the “vulgar atmosphere”.
This is, of course, ridiculous and the footballers agree.
Back in July, retired Iranian football legend Ali Karimi called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to lift the misogynistic ban.
The sexist laws are not set in stone and can change with little to no notice. Back in 2014, women were suddenly banned from volleyball matches without any explanation but have since been allowed back in.
- Tuesday, September 5, 2017
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NCRI-28 August – The Lebanese Hezbollah is “one of the most important instruments in the drive for regional supremacy by its sponsor” Iran, the New York Times reports.
The group created by the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) in the 1980’s “has rapidly expanded its realm of operations. It has sent legions of fighters to Syria. It has sent trainers to Iraq. It has backed rebels in Yemen. And it has helped organize a battalion of militants from Afghanistan that can fight almost anywhere,” the report published on Sunday issue of the times said.
“Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda.”
According to the report by the New York Times, in Syria, Hezbollah has played a major role in propping up the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, an important ally of the Iranian regime, and “increasingly”, the clerical regime in Tehran, “rely on it to pursue their goals.”
“Iran and Hezbollah complement each other.” “For Iran, a Persian nation in a mostly Arab region, Hezbollah lends not just military prowess but also Arabic-speaking leaders and operatives who can work more easily in the Arab world. And for Hezbollah, the alliance means money for running an extensive social services network in Lebanon, with schools, hospitals and scout troops — as well as for weapons, technology and salaries for its tens of thousands of fighters.”
The network Hezbollah helped build has changed conflicts across the region.
In Iraq, they are promoting the Iranian regime’s interests. In Yemen, they have taken over the capital city and dragged Saudi Arabia, into a costly war.
According to the report the roots of the network created in the region goes back “to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Iran called on Hezbollah to help organize Iraqi Shiite militias that in the coming years killed hundreds of American troops and many more Iraqis.”
“After the American invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Hezbollah operatives went to Iraq to help organize militias to fight the Americans with roadside bombs and other insurgency tactics.”
“Some of those militiamen now lead forces that have made common cause with Hezbollah again, this time in Syria.”
“Hezbollah, whose name is Arabic for Party of God, and its allies have deep ideological ties to Iran. Most endorse vilayat-e-faqih, the concept that Iran’s supreme leader is both the highest political power in the country and the paramount religious authority.”
The report adds: “Hezbollah has become active in so many places and against so many enemies that detractors have mocked it as “the Blackwater of Iran,” after the infamous American mercenary firm.”
Hezbollah’s leaders have acknowledged that most of the group’s budget comes as cash from Iran.
- Tuesday, August 29, 2017
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27 Aug – The families of Rajaeeshahr political prisoners, currently on hunger strike have been harshly, offensively treated by security guards in Iranian regime’s prosecutor’s office, the reports say.
The event took place on Wednesday August 23, when the families of Rajaeeshar’s prisoners of conscience referred to regime’s prosecutor office three weeks after the inmates began a continued hunger strike to realize their basic rights inside prison.
The families were going to hand over a letter to regime’s Prisons Organization describing prison officials’ unlawful conduct towards inmates, but the security guards in prosecutor office treated the families harshly and offensively.
“We, the families, wrote a letter and referred to the Prisons Organization”, says a family member, “Although we were mostly women together with our kids, but the security guards didn’t allow us to get in and didn’t take the letter, either. Meanwhile, head of the security guards in place began insulting us and even threw a mother down the stairs.”
The inmates began their mass hunger strike on July 30, with some others joining them a few days later, after being abruptly transferred to a new ward without being allowed to take their personal belongings with them.
The letter written by families of the inmates says that the inmates were transferred to the new ward while being beaten.
“Using such ‘totally beyond human dignity and inmates rights’ methods like unconventional inspections and handcuffing, dragging on the ground, and beating, the inmates were abruptly and without prior notice transferred to a new section which lacks even the basic facilities”, the letter says.
The families have criticized the fact that “the inmates were not even allowed to bring their personal belongings and necessary medications with them”, adding that “since being transferred to the new section, the inmates are denied of even such basic amenities like fridge, cooker, TV, and cooking stuff, which they used to have while they were in previous section.”
According to the letter, most of these appliances were obtained at the expense of inmates and their families, and since no action was taken despite repeated oral and written protests by inmates and their families, “the inmates eventually decided to go on a mass hunger strike to protest against the current situation.”
Pointing to physical conditions of some inmates and the ‘clear weakness and atrophy’ they’re suffering from, the letter then expresses concern over inmates’ continued hunger strike and refers to seizure of their personal belongings as an act of ‘public plundering’.
“Even the inmates’ cigarettes have been seized”, the letter says, adding “Inmates’ personal photos seized during their transfer to the new ward ended up in trash cans… Going through the past three weeks for some inmates has been more difficult than serving years of prison term.”
Meanwhile, Magda Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International, said on August 22 “the fact that detention conditions have become so poor that the desperate inmates feel they are forced to go on hunger strike to demand the most basic standards is disgraceful and highlights the urgent need for reforms to Iran’s cruel prison system.”
Despite international, domestic, and families’ concerns over inmates’ continued hunger strike in Evin and Rajaeeshahr prisons, Tehran prosecutor has announced that the judiciary is not going to back down due to inmates’ hunger strike and that such measures are destined to fail.
“We hereby inform the inmates turning to hunger strike and similar measures that such approaches are going to fail”, said Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi on Wednesday August 23.
“The judiciary is not going to give in to such measures”, he added, “inmates’ sentences must be fully enforced and we are not supposed to be affected by such actions like hunger strike.”
- Tuesday, August 29, 2017
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29 Aug – Baria Alamuddin, the foreign editor at Al-Hayat, wrote an op-ed for Arab News, entitled: “A threat to us all from the rogue merchants of death”, in which she described the illicit military cooperation between North Korea and rogue states such as Iran and Syria as “perhaps one of the major untold stories of our time”.
She explained that before the realities of the Iranian nuclear programme were know in the West, the Iranian Regime had been cooperating with North Korea in order to create their flagship ballistic missiles. Whenever North Korea stages nuclear tests, they invite Iranian experts as VIP guests.
So far in 2017, both Iran and North Korea have sought attention from the US with provocative missile tests and they are both still collaborating. The 2015 nuclear agreement which was supposed to stop the Iranian Regime from developing their nuclear weapons programme has provided the Regime with billions of dollars which they can direct to the North Korean nuclear programme without technically violating the deal.
Alamuddin wrote: “The failure to address Korea’s nuclear posture actively invites Tehran to seek its own breakout capacity, while encouraging Syria to restock its WMD arsenals. Such a scenario would make this despotic, theological regime in Tehran unassailable — using its oil wealth and military might to threaten the world and destabilize its neighbours.”
Indeed, recent images show Iranian missile storage centre in Banias, eastern Syria and in Lebanon, indicating that their missile programme is far from over.
Alamuddin wrote: “These “axis of evil” pariah states have much in common, confronting international isolation and encirclement. Observers warn that when North Korea refines its ability to fire long-range nuclear weapons, Iran could have that capability the next day because of their long-standing bilateral defence contracts.”
She continued: “Despite the  agreement’s obvious shortcomings, rather than seeking to undermine it, the Trump administration must use all powers available to ensure that Iran fully complies, refrains from meddling elsewhere and is given no excuse to return to clandestine nuclear activity.”
She questioned the scrutiny that the Iranian Regime was being subjected to, noting that the Iranian Resistance forces have supplied evidence showing that the Regime is up to its old tricks again and receiving the US.
This is not the only evidence that the Iranian Regime is working against the deal.
Alamuddin wrote: “This underscores the Revolutionary Guard’s role in regional arms proliferation, smuggling arms to Hezbollah and other proxies and using weapons smuggling to destabilize fragile African states, while profiteering from drugs and other contraband goods. The IRGC, North Korea and criminal networks thrive on instability in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere to peddle their lethal wares around the world.”
- Tuesday, August 29, 2017
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18 Jul – The former intelligence minister of Iran has admitted that former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the executions of 30,000 political prisoners affiliated with the Iranian Resistance group, People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MEK) in the summer of 1988.
Ali Fallahian, gave an interview to the Regime-affiliated Tarikh Online website on July 9, in which he acknowledged that Khomeini had announced a fatwa calling for the extermination of all those affiliated with the MEK.
He said: “The Imam (Khomeini) decreed, ‘At least execute those who say this and who maintain their belief. It doesn’t make sense to release them.’ Then some continued to put pressure and moan that these people are this and that in prison, so it was decided that a committee be formed. Some people say that these people handed down sentences for a collective massacre. They did not do such a thing. It was decided that this 3-man committee, whose members were from the (Intelligence) Ministry and judges and were knowledgeable and were from the Prosecutor’s Office, would evaluate to see if anyone was pardonable from execution. That was the task of this committee; they were not tasked with issuing death sentences.”
It is worth noting that the interviewer seemed shocked by this admission and pointed out that the death commissions also spared some people from execution, which Fallahian agreed with. In reality, the death commission spared very few people and the PMOI (MEK) member had to renounce their political belief, go on TV to denounce the PMOI (MEK), and check the areas where Iran was fighting Iraq for landmines.
Fallahian referred to those people who refused to renounce their beliefs as “crazy”, but when you consider their alternative, you can understand why many stand by their beliefs.
He also revealed that many of those who were arrested for supporting the MEK were not armed when they were arrested and those who were armed, were at home and there were only a couple of guns between a big group of people. The MEK members were only classed as being part of an armed rebellion because they were part of the MEK, which the Regime saw as a political threat.
Fallahian revealed that the Regime made no distinction between members and supporters, which is why they executed even the lowest-ranking supporters rather than holding them as prisoners of war.
He said: “They were part of that organisation. They were prepared to carry out operations. Maybe today someone goes and buys bread for the people in the team house, or someone might go provide other provisions… (But they are all part of it).”
Hossein-Ali Montazeri, then heir to the supreme leader, spoke to the death commission and criticised them for executing pregnant women, which is against even the laws that the mullahs wrote. For this he was stripped of his position and kept under house arrest for the rest of his life.
In 2016, when his son Ahmad released an audio recording of his father’s conversation with the death commission, he was sentenced to 21 years in jail.
Fallahian said: “[Montazeri Snr.] had another problem, and he found differences with the Imam (Khomeini). At the beginning he too agreed (with Khomeini’s position). But he became of the view that these executions would eventually lead to history judging against us and against Islam so it’s better that we don’t do this so that in the future when our enemies take up their pens they would not write appallingly about us. But the Imam said, ‘No, you carry out your religious duties and don’t wait for history’s judgment’.”
So, now the international community must bring the Iranian Regime before the International Criminal Court in order to account for their crimes against humanity.
- Thursday, July 20, 2017
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Christian political prisoner called Ebrahim Fiouzi, in Gohardasht prison located in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, went on hunger strike to protest the pressures on his fellow christian inmates.
He wrote in his letter:
“The Judicial system mistreats the new Christian converts. Any religious Christian books are not allowed too. In addition, Iran’s judicial system imposes unfair and heavy sentences against the Christian converts and 10 people are detained and sentenced to long-term imprisonments. Therefore, I go on hunger strike on July 17, 2017, for consecutive 10 days in order to support the demands of those dear converts. In a letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor on July 16, 2017, I have talked of these limitations and announced that, “The Iran regime does not determine religion for the people and the church authorities are the only ones responsible for this matter.”
- Thursday, July 20, 2017
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13 Jun – The US House of Representatives has passed a bill condemning the 1988 Iranian massacre of 30,000 political prisoners,
Resolution 188, officially titled: The condemnation of the Iranian government for the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and the invitation to call for justice for the victims, is a rare example of a bill that receives bipartisan support in an increasingly partisan Congress.
It was introduced by the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Micheal McCaul (Dem) and the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel (Rep) who released a joint statement explaining the importance of that bill.
The bill, which states that many of those responsible for the massacre are still high-ranking members of the Regime, including the current Head of the Judiciary Mostafa Pourmohammadi, had 46 co-sponsors.
Other signatories who were highly influential in getting the bill to the House include Ed Royce, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Pete Sessions, the Chair of House Rules Committee, Barbara Comstock, Tom MacClintock, Bill Keating, Brad Sherman, Donald Young, and Judy Chu, who proposed the resolution to the Foreign Affairs Committee in the first place.
Forty-six legislators from both parties will now send an open invitation to the White House and the governments of US allies asking them to publically condemn the Iranian Regime for the 1988 massacre.
They are also going to call upon the United Nations and ask them to set up an investigation committee to bring the perpetrators of the worst crimes against humanity since World War Two to justice.
The Iranian Regime cannot deny their involvement in the massacre, thanks to the brave actions of one young man last year who released a tape of a conversation between his father Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri and the Death Commission responsible for sending people to the gallows.
In the tape, Montazeri can be heard talking about the Regime’s efforts to exterminate members of the political opposition party, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), on the Fatwa of the former Supreme Leader of Iran, Khomeini.
He calls the massacre “the greatest crime that the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed and the history will condemn us”, and was stripped of his position and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life.
The Regime sent the younger Montazeri to prison for releasing that tape, something they would not have done had the tape be a forgery.
- Thursday, June 15, 2017
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12 Jun – Two Ohio parents have shared the heartbreaking story of the loss of their son and why the Iranian Regime must be held to account.
Les and Donna Kuglics wrote an opinion piece for Cleveland, in which they call for the Iranian Regime to be held responsible for the death of their son, Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Kuglics, who was killed by a roadside bomb in 2007, in Kirkuk, northern Iraq.
His parents believe that the terrorists who planted that bomb were being supported by the Iranian Regime and if it wasn’t for them, Matthew would still be alive today.
They wrote: “Matthew was everything you would want in a son, a serviceman and an American. Raised in Green, Ohio, since he was five years old, Matthew was a high school soccer player with an easy smile and a joke ever at the ready, always putting others before himself. That quality led him to enlist in the Air Force, where he served his country throughout the United States, in Korea, and, ultimately, in Iraq.”
Matthew was killed just days after his 25th birthday and although, Les and Donna have struggled to come to terms with his death, they have also fought to find out more.
They wrote: “We learned the explosion that killed Matthew was no ordinary roadside bomb. It was called an explosively formed penetrator or EFP. The military calls it a shaped charge because, when the bomb is detonated, a copper cone is formed into a slug that can punch through armoured vehicles like the up-armored Chevy Suburban Matthew was in.”
They continued: “We also learned that the U.S. military had traced these EFPs to Iran and that Iran’s leadership was supplying them to local militias it controlled to target U.S. service members in Iraq.”
At the time, Iran was still under economic sanctions from most of the world and has to finance their terrorist activity with the help of others, including a financial clearinghouse system which was based in the United States.
Les and Donna wrote: “These attacks were not acts of war carried out by Iraqi, or even Iranian, soldiers in uniform. They were terrorist attacks, committed by Iranian-sponsored killers trained to blend into the civilian population that killed or wounded hundreds of Americans.”
That is why the Kuglics chose to join with more than a hundred families who had lost loved ones as a result of these terror attacks and bring lawsuits against the Iranian Regime and the financial institutions that funded them.
The process is slow and the Regime has not yet responded, but the Kuglics want to prove the Regime’s involvement in Matthew’s death and have it recognised in a court of law.
They wrote: “Although the outcome is uncertain, we hope that, as the facts become known about the terrorism Iran perpetrated and its bankers facilitated against our troops in Iraq, justice will prevail. That won’t heal the wound opened in our lives ten year ago, but it will serve as a fitting tribute to our son and the life he sacrificed for our country.”
- Thursday, June 15, 2017
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May 10 – Following last Wednesday’s deadly mine explosion in Golestan Province, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani finally saw fit to visit the city, on Sunday, during his re-election campaign tour.
However, Rouhani was met by protesters who were angry that safety concerns had not been addressed prior to the explosion which killed dozens of miners and angry that Rouhani had not appeared beforehand.
The miners, who were still covered in coal soot after searching for their still-missing colleagues, began to assault the armoured SUV as it passed through. The car, which was undamaged, did not stop, proceeding to drive through the crowd and sped away down a hill.
Rouhani went to the Zemestanyourt mine to speak to the miners and their families. In his speech, he insisted that that the government was responsible for the lives of mine workers; however, given the upcoming election, it is likely that this is all spin.
He said: “Be sure that we will pursue this issue and also your demands. Those who are guilty in this incident should be prosecuted by a court.”
However, miners had previously raised safety complaints with the mining company which is owned by the Bassij, associated with the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is itself a part of the Regime. Their complaints were ignored and, in some cases, led to violence against the person who raised the issue.
One worker said: “A few years ago when I filed a complaint in Azadshahr’s court, they beat me up…”
If the Regime were unwilling to listen before, why are they promising prosecutions now?
A sibling to one of the fallen mineworkers said: “Where was he a few days ago? Has he come to collect votes for himself? I want my brother back.”
At least 35 people have been killed in the mine explosion, with 22 bodies recovered and more yet to be found.
This is far from the first mining disaster in Iran, a country heavily dependent on coal for its steel mills. In 2013, 11 miners were killed in two separate incidents, while in 2009, 20 workers were killed in several incidents.
It is believed that lax health and safety laws and inadequate emergency services are to blame.
Since the 2015 nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on the Gulf country, Iran has been renovating its mines in an attempt to score business contracts but these renovations have been less focused on improvements and more focused on increased production.
- Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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