Mostafa Pourmohammadi, former Iran’s Justice Minister in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, has acknowledged his involvement in the killings of dissidents during the horrendous 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners.
Pourmohammadi was the Intelligence Ministry’s representative on one of the three-member committees in charge of interrogating political prisoners prior to the 1988 executions. The committee, dubbed the “death commission,” questioned prisoners who had already been sentenced to prison about their political and religious beliefs.
Those who manifested continuing loyalty to the PMOI, or even those who the death committee would consider were not loyal enough to the mullahs, were summarily executed and in most cases buried in anonymous mass graves.
“This is an active case. This dossier is now very much alive and the enemy has invested on this issue. And now, discussing this matter would be playing into the enemy’s hands. That is why I haven’t talked about this subject. I don’t know when it would be proper to talk about this matter… and unfortunately, the publication of that tape was literally an act of treason,” Pourmohammadi said in a state TV interview on Friday night. He was referring to the publication of a tape of remarks made back in 1988 by Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the then successor of regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, who criticized the regime’s genocide in prisons throughout the country.
“… it was a betrayal to the revolution and [Khomeini], and even to Mr. Montazeri. Mr. Montazeri made remarks, good or bad, wrong or whatever. He made a decision. That meeting and the publication of those remarks led to Mr. Montazeri’s sacking. When people make stupid decisions, seeking to take revenge, they become blind, and can no longer determine what is right or wrong,” he added.
“Well, I defended [Khomeini’s] move. We had a mission in regards to the [PMOI/MEK], back when I was the Revolutionary Court prosecutor. I issued many indictments against the [PMOI/MEK] and sent it to the court. Many of them were condemned, many were executed and many other verdicts,” Pourmohammadi continued.
“Some of the men and others, and reporters, have sought to ask me questions. I have answered that I do not play into the enemy’s hands. Unfortunately, one of the unwise insiders was provoked for an unknown reason and published that tape. There’s no reason that we should be deceived by the enemy’s plans. We should play into their hands. We have much to say and we will say so when the time comes.”
Read more about the 1988 massacre:
More than 30 years ago have gone since the horrific and brutal massacre of political prisoners that was carried out in just one short summer by the criminal mullahs ruling Iran.
Amnesty International recently released the report “Blood Soaked Secrets – Why Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacres are Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity,” denouncing the scale of the massacre and the impunity enjoyed by those responsible.
The explosive report not only sheds light on the true size of the crimes committed during those months but also emphasizes the continuing brutality suffered by the families of the victims, harassed, and tormented for seeking truth and justice for their loved ones.
Between July and September 1988, 30,000 prisoners were executed under direct orders of then-supreme leader Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, who issued a fatwa ordering the execution of all prisoners who remained “steadfast” in their support for the PMOI.
All throughout the country, political prisoners were taken to “death committees” that would ask them about their political and religious loyalties.
Those who manifested continuing loyalty to the PMOI, or even those who the death committee would consider were not loyal enough to the Islamic Republic, were summarily executed and in most cases buried in anonymous mass graves.
For months and sometimes years the families were kept in the dark, wondering if their loved ones were still alive, while the Iranian authorities systematically denied both inside and outside the country that the killings were taking place.
Since 1988, the Iranian regime not only has harassed and attacked the families of the victims searching for justice but has denied that the massacre took place.
Even some officials in charge of the killings hold today important positions of power in the Islamic Republic. According to the Amnesty report, figures such as the current Minister of Justice Alireza Avaei, the previous (from 2013 to 2017) Minister of Justice Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, the current head of the Supreme Court for Judges Hossein Ali Nayyeri, and the candidate to the presidency of Iran in 2017 Ebrahim Raisi were all involved directly in this brutal campaign.
In 2016, after the disclosure of an audiotape recorded in August 1988 where the then-number 2 of the regime, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, acknowledges and denounces the massacre as “the greatest atrocity in the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us,” Mohammadi boasted about his role saying, “We are proud to have carried out God’s commandment” concerning the PMOI and openly declared that he had not “lost any sleep all these years” over the killings.
The majority of the victims sent to the gallows during in this crime against humanity were members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).