FORTY-TWO YEARS OF TYRANNY & TERRORISM IN IRAN
11th February marked the 42nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which brought the primeval tyrant Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power. Overnight he gave birth to Islamic fundamentalism and began four decades of systematic oppression and persecution of the Iranian people, together with a campaign of aggressive expansionism in the Middle East and the export of terror worldwide. But from the outset, the main opposition to his tyrannical rule, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran/Mojahedin e-Khalq (PMOI/MEK), became the key target for Khomeini’s murderous vengeance. Since then, the PMOI/MEK have been the principal victims of human rights violations and systematic annihilation in Iran and they are a key target for demonization and assassination abroad.
On Thursday 4th February we heard the verdict of an Antwerp court in the case of Assadollah Assadi, the Iranian diplomat from their embassy in Vienna, who, together with three Iranian co-conspirators, was arrested on terrorist charges after being caught in June 2018, handing over a 550gm bomb and ordering them to detonate it at a huge NCRI opposition rally in Paris. Assadi received the maximum jail sentence for terrorism of 20 years. His co-conspirators each received long jail terms and were stripped of their Belgian citizenship. There can be no doubt Assadi’s terrorist plot was ordered from the highest echelons of the regime, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the president Hassan Rouhani, the foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi. The EU must now surely hold all of these criminals to account. But, despite extensive media coverage of the sensational trial, there has been muted response from the EU, US and UN.
Assadi also faces further terrorist charges in Germany. When he was arrested in Bavaria by German police, they found a notebook in his car which contained details of the bomb plot and the money paid to his co-conspirators. It also contained information about 289 visits Assadi had made to different countries, 144 of which were to meetings in Germany, indicating that Assadi was supervising terrorist activities across the EU and Germany was clearly the epicentre of his spy network. The West must now withdraw all of its ambassadors from Tehran in protest and close Iran’s embassies in our nations. If they fail to do so, they will be responsible for the next bomb attack and atrocity that spills blood on European soil.
At the end of January, the FBI arrested an Iranian called Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi in Massachusetts. He is a prominent political scientist and self-styled expert on Iran. Afrasiabi had spent the past thirteen years proclaiming the virtues of the Islamic Republic to US law-makers in Congress and to many media outlets. He was a skilled and trusted lobbyist, at least until the FBI uncovered the fact that he had been paid upwards of $265,000 through Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, in flagrant breach of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The revelation that an Iranian agent was embedded in the heart of the U.S. democratic process certainly came as no surprise to representatives of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The NCRI has long been the target of a campaign of misinformation and demonization by the regime.
The mullahs’ twin-track approach of silencing opponents at home and abroad by threats and murder, while projecting an image of a ‘moderate’ and peace-loving regime, became seriously unstuck in late 2017 when there was a nationwide uprising against the theocratic dictatorship. In their usual brutal fashion, the mullahs ordered a vicious crackdown, shooting dead over fifteen hundred unarmed protesters, wounding hundreds more and imprisoning over twelve thousand, many of whom have since been tortured and executed. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the protests have continued. Resistance units are springing up all across Iran and the people have lost their fear. There is a real smell of revolution in the air.
Over the past four decades, it has been estimated that 120,000 opponents of the regime have been executed. Dozens more have been assassinated outside of Iran. We know that this systematic persecution of the opposition culminated in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in prisons all across Iran in 1988. The executions were so frequent and the savagery with which it was carried out so barbaric that the regime’s own Supreme Leader in-waiting at the time, the late Ayatollah Montazeri, described it as the worst crime in the history of the Islamic Republic. Now, following a tipoff, the police in Sweden have arrested Hamid Noury on charges of murder and crimes against humanity for his part as a torturer and executioner during the 1988 massacre. Many PMOI/MEK members in Albania, former political prisoners and families of the victims, have given testimony to the Swedish court and that some even are joining the trial as plaintiffs.
A group of seven UN Human Rights experts and rapporteurs have warned in a letter to the regime and its government that they will call for an international investigation into the 1988 massacre if authorities do not prosecute those responsible, something that the regime, of course, will never do, as the current head of its Judiciary is one of the main executioners and perpetrators. So, we should soon see the UN experts calling for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre. There can be no doubt that the day of reckoning is fast approaching for the regime. The mullahs cannot escape justice and will be held accountable and answer for their crimes and terrorism before the international courts of justice and before the people of Iran. Last week the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomenei, demanded the lifting of all sanctions by America before Iran can return to talks about the failed nuclear deal. But the Assadi trial in Belgium, the arrest of Noury in Sweden and Afrasiabi in America has been a wakeup call for the West. President Biden knows that a regime which uses terrorism as statecraft cannot be trusted. Only the final overthrow of the tyrannical mullahs will see peace, justice and freedom restored to the Iranian people.