2024 began in Iran just as 2023 ended, with a dizzying rate of executions. A Kurdish political prisoner was executed on Tuesday 4th January after enduring 14 years in prison. In 2023, the number of executions of political prisoners increased significantly compared to the previous year, with at least 20 individuals hanged. For example, Ali Saber Motlagh, a political prisoner from the 1980s who was charged with supporting the main opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) was executed in November. In five days alone until December 31, the regime carried out at least 30 executions.

Furthermore, the oppressive regime has intensified its actions against political prisoners and their families. Last week, Iran's longest-detained female political prisoner, Maryam Akbari Monfared, a mother of three, faced a retrial. She was sentenced to an additional three years in prison after already serving 14 years of a 15-year term. Her imprisonment was a result of her efforts to seek justice for the execution of three brothers and a sister in the 1980s, including the 1988 massacre where 30,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK activists, were sent to the gallows. Mrs. Monfared has not been granted a single day of leave during her incarceration, which is far from her family in Tehran.

Outside Iran, the regime is responsible for more killings. With the Middle East in turmoil over the Israel-Hamas war, following the 7th October terrorist massacre of Israelis by Hamas, the regime is on a crusade of warmongering in the region. Israeli retaliation in Gaza has led to over 22,000 deaths to date, including thousands of innocent men, women and children. Whole towns and cities in Gaza have been razed to the ground, inflaming tensions in the Middle East and worldwide. 

At the centre of this grim litany of assassinations, bomb blasts, drone attacks and outright war, sits the head of the snake: the Iranian regime. Since hi-jacking the popular revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979, the mullahs’ Islamic Republic has exported death and destruction across the Middle East and worldwide. The theocratic regime has poured money, men and military materiel into Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq, and the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as Hamas in Gaza.

Terrified of another nationwide uprising that could bring down their tenuous hold on power, like that which followed the death in custody of Mahsa Amini in 2022, the mullahs have resorted to a frenzy of domestic oppression, hanging more than 864 people, including at least 23 women, in 2023, a 33% hike relative to 2022.

Consolidating their pariah status, the mullahs are openly backing and directing the ongoing drone attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, even launching their own kamikaze drone strike on 23rd December, against an Indian cargo vessel, the MV Pluto, a chemical tanker flying the Liberian flag and operated by a Dutch entity. The Houthis are an extremist Shi’ite movement, heavily armed and trained by the Quds force. As well as Iran, the Houthis count amongst their allies the usual suspects of Russia, North Korea, and Syria.

As the internal situation deteriorates in Iran, resistance units of the MEK, have also recently stepped up their activities nationwide. In addition to widespread support at home, the MEK has massive domestic and international backing. Recently, 455 former world leaders, judges, Nobel laureates, UN officials, human rights and legal experts, and NGOs signed a letter denouncing Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s planned participation in the UN Refugee Forum in Geneva, forcing him to cancel his visit. 

The mullahs now fear and loathe the MEK whom they see as the only viable and organized entity with the wherewithal to topple the regime and restore peace, justice, freedom and democracy to the beleaguered Iranian people. In response, they have launched wave after wave of assaults on the MEK, even resorting to assassinations, firebomb attacks and attempted terrorist bombings in Europe. Now, in a last desperate bid, the mullahs, who carry the notorious distinction of being the world's leading per capita executioner, have launched a bogus trial in absentia in Tehran, of 104 exiled MEK members, in the hope that their sham convictions will convince Western democracies to place restrictions on the principal opposition movement to the ruling theocracy. 

With the blood of innocents dripping from their hands, the mullahs should remember the apt words of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy who said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”