By Mansoureh Galestan
A former Italian Foreign Minister has called out the West for failing to recognise the blatant human rights abuses during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, particularly towards member of Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which is especially obvious in the recent appointment of Ebrahim Raisi as Head of the Iranian Judiciary.
Giulio Terzi, who has spoken at many MEK conferences and rallies over the years, explained that Raisi was a member of the Tehran Death Commission during the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners and was personally responsible for sending thousands of people to their deaths for peaceful activism, mostly MEK members.
Terzi wrote: “The massacre failed in its goal, the [MEK] went on to gain in strength and popularity over the next three decades.”
The slaughter of the MEK took place over just one summer and many were buried in unmarked secret graves, with their family never told what happened to them. In the 31 years since, the Regime has continued to hide the massacre, even destroying the mass graves containing the bodies of MEK members in order to hide evidence.
Terzi wrote: “Raisi represents the worst features of the Iranian judiciary. At best his appointment by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei signals the regime’s public disregards for international human rights principles, and at worst it sets the stage for a dramatic upsurge in politically-motivated killings.”
Indeed, the massacre of the MEK was in response to growing calls for democracy, something that is paralleled today in the MEK-led anti-regime uprising that began in December 2017. As in 1988, the Regime issued a violent crackdown, arresting more than 8,000 protesters and killing 50, in January 2018 alone. It is evident that despite everything, the MEK, which is highlighting the mullahs’ economic mismanagement and rampant human rights abuses, is the only viable alternative to the Regime.
Terzi said that the crackdown and Raisi’s appointment were designed to send “a deliberate message to Iran’s activist community that the regime is ready to carry out further massacres”, highlighting that the Regime has threatened to execute protesters, in some cases actually carrying it out.
Terzi advised in his piece, entitled ‘Six Years After Rouhani’s Election, Moderation is as Far Away as Ever for Iran’, that now is the time for European governments to recognise that Rouhani is no “moderate” influence within the Iranian regime, sever economic ties with the ruthless and violent Iranian regime, and called for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre.
After all, Rouhani has allowed murderers and criminals to be appointed to senior positions in the Iranian judiciary and appointed those who took part in the massacre of the MEK to his own cabinet on multiple occasions. At best, he is a loyal servant to Khamenei. At worst, he is another hardliner.
Terzi wrote: “Western policymakers have turned a blind eye to his record, because of their expectations about opening up Iranian markets and gaining access to Iranian oil. Such a short-sighted attitude cannot be a guiding principle for Western policies toward the Islamic Republic anymore.”