Dark Past: Iran’s President’s Treated Political Prisoners In The 80’s That Made People Hate Him

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The 1988 executions of political prisoners in Iran represent one of the most severe human rights violations in the country’s history.

The massacre was initiated under the orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, targeting members of opposition groups, primarily the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), as well as leftist groups like the Tudeh Party and other Marxist organizations.

During the summer of 1988, thousands of political prisoners were executed without fair trials or any legal process being followed.

The orders came after the Iran-Iraq War had ended in a stalemate and a failed military incursion by the MEK, which had been based in Iraq. Khomeini issued a prompt calling for the elimination of those he labeled as traitors.

The process was carried out by “death commissions,” consisting of judicial and intelligence officials, who conducted brief interrogations to determine the political allegiance of prisoners.

Those who were found still loyal to their political groups were sentenced to immediate execution. The prisoners were often asked if they were willing to denounce their political allegiance or show allegiance to the Islamic Republic. The refusal typically resulted in hanging or execution by a firing squad.

Notably, Ebrahim Raisi, who later became Iran’s President, was one of the key figures involved in these commissions. His role in the 1988 executions has been heavily criticized by international human rights organizations, which have called for accountability and justice for the victims.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have described the killings as crimes against humanity due to their systematic nature and the targeting of specific groups.

The exact number of victims remains unknown, but estimates range from 4,500 to 30,000. The bodies were buried in mass graves, and the Iranian government has consistently denied the scale and the nature of these executions, further adding to the pain of the victims’ families who continue to seek truth and justice.

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