SPEECH BY STRUAN STEVENSON
Paris Exhibition On The 1988 Massacre In Iran
4 Place du Louvre, 75001 Paris
Chers amis, mesdames et messieurs,
Je voudrais remercier Monsieur le maire, Jean François Legaret et la municipalité du premier arrondissement de Paris pour avoir organisé ce important événement en mémoire des victimes du massacre de mille neuf cent quatre-vingt huit (1988) en Iran. C'est évidemment une excellente contribution aux droits de l'homme et un rappel à nos politiciens européens que le respect des droits de l'homme, des droits des femmes et de la démocratie, sont des valeurs européennes et universelles qui ne doivent pas être compromises et oubliées pour les intérêts économiques.
Je vais continuer en anglais si vous voulez parce que mon français n'est pas bon ?
That is perhaps the reason that the visit of Federica Mogherini - Europe’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, to Iran on August 5thstunned the world. She had gone to Tehran at the EU taxpayers’ expense, to celebrate the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani as he began his second consecutive term in office. Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3,500 people, including 80 women, have been executed during the four years he has been in office, catapulting Iran into pole position as the world’s number one state executioner per capita. Several hundred people have been executed so far this year, including women and teenagers. Three days before Mogherini arrived in Tehran, Amnesty international published a 94-page report highlighting the ‘web of oppression’ that pervades Iran and detailing the catastrophic human rights situation in the country.
Many thousands of women are in prison, guilty of nothing more than opposing the oppressive mullah’s regime, or attempting to uphold human rights. Maryam Akbari Monfared has been unjustly imprisoned since 2009 by Rouhani’s government and her siblings were murdered during the 1988 Massacre.
Even women of dual-nationality like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the 38 year-old English charity worker and mother of a 3 year-old daughter, was sentenced to 5 years in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, on trumped up and ludicrous espionage charges, following a mock 45 minute trial.
I would like to go back to the appalling massacre of political prisoners that took place in 1988. The mass executions, in jails across Iran, were carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader, the murderous Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini appointed a ‘Death Commission’ to supervise the massacre. The ‘Death Commission’ included Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, who until earlier this month was Rouhani’s Justice Minister. As the scandal of the 1988 massacre deepened, Rouhani removed Pour-Mohammadi from this role and brazenly replaced him with another notorious murderer Alireza Avaie. Avaie , now the new minister of justice, served as public prosecutor in 1988 in the city of Dezful in Iran’s Khuzestan Province. Based on eyewitness reports provided by various former prisoners, Avaie ordered juvenile detainees under the age of 18, including girls, to be executed in groups of two or three.
The majority of political prisoners who were massacred were supporters of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI). Kangaroo courts were set up in Tehran and in cities across Iran and PMOI political prisoners were hauled in front of a Sharia judge who demanded to know if they supported the the PMOI. Those who defiantly said yes were sentenced to immediate execution. These sham trials took on average less than 2 minutes. It was estimated that 30,000 political prisoners were hanged from cranes in batches of ten, every fifteen minutes from dawn to dusk between August & December 1988, in an atrocity that must surely rank as one of the most horrific crimes against humanity of the late twentieth century.
I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Iranian Resistance, Madam Maryam Rajavi, for starting this international campaign to seek justice for the victims of the 1988 Massacre.
To conclude, I think the new French government should put human rights as its priority when dealing with this regime. We expect President Macron to insist on a halt to executions and clear progress on human rights in Iran.
The French government and the EU should also be demanding a full United Nations inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with Khamenei, Rouhani and their clacque of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for trial before the international courts in The Hague.
Je vous remercie encore une fois d'avoir organisé cet important événement et de m'avoir invité à être avec vous aujourd'hui.
Struan Stevenson is president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA). He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East.