Ebrahim Raisi, who is known as a mass murdered has sworn-in as the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It may be mentioned here that, Raisi played key role in 1988 massacre of an estimated 30 thousand political prisoners, most of whom were affiliated with the principal opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). With such an infamous person being sworn in as the president, Iranian regime may now face serious political and legal challenges, while the mullah regime probably will engage its entire propaganda machines with the goal of erasing Ebrahim Raisi’s murderer image in the world.
Although pro-democracy forces in Iran are making appeal to the international community for holding regime’s leaders accountable for the 1988 massacre, there is little hope of any such actions, particularly from Biden-Harris administration despite the fact that Javaid Rehman, US special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran called for the formation of an independent inquiry. In June this year, Rehman told Reuters, “I think it is time and it’s very important now that Mr. Raisi is the president that we start investigating what happened in 1988”.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard has also said: “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran”.
In my opinion, the rogue culture of impunity has finally started to be challenged. After 33 years, Sweden’s judiciary is this month slated to begin the trial of Hamid Noury, the first person to be prosecuted for the 1988 massacre. Noury was arrested by Swedish authorities in November 2019 as he arrived in the country for a personal visit. According to an indictment submitted by prosecutors, “(former Supreme Leader Ayatollah) Khomeini issued a decree (in the summer of 1988), stating that all prisoners in Iranian prisons who were affiliated with or supporters of the MEK… were to be executed. Shortly thereafter, mass executions began of supporters and sympathizers of the MEK who were imprisoned in Iran’s prisons”.
According to Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist: “Swedish prosecutors have copious amounts of documents, including a list of 444 MEK prisoners who were hanged in one prison alone. The documents also refer to a book that includes the names of more than 5,000 MEK supporters. Among the victims of the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre were teenage girls and pregnant women, according to senior regime official Hussein-Ali Montazeri, who was at the time slated to become the supreme leader but was placed under house arrest for criticizing the mass killings”.
But the Iranian regime has started fresh bids of muddying the waters by spreading misinformation and lies about the 1988 massacre, both inside and outside the country, through a network of intelligence agents, hired propagandists and functionaries who are beholden to it. Iranian cultural centers around the world shall spend huge amount of cash towards extended propaganda in saving the image of Ebrahim Raisi and those murderous leaders of the rogue regime.
In the Western countries, Iran has succeeded in influencing policymakers and media outlets mostly through lobbyists and by bribing individuals and organizations. Dozens of Iranian lobbyists are currently working in the Western capitals with the assignment of increasing Iranian regime’s influence. Despite the fact of a number of Iranian deep-covered agents being arrested in several countries, including the US, there has been unfortunately no initiatives from the respective authorities in hunting similar agents in the country. During early 2021, American authorities announced the arrest of an Iranian national accused of being an “unregistered agent of the Iranian government.” For years, he had acted as a scholar, publishing books and articles advancing the Iranian regime’s political agenda while being secretly employed by Tehran’s mission to the UN.
Iranian regime has been using similar tactics when it comes to the 1988 massacre. For example, the Swedish police, while investigating Noury, discovered emails he had sent to an Iranian-Swedish national named Iraj Mesdaghi. He claimed to be among the survivors of the 1988 massacre and weighed in as a plaintiff in the proceedings, so his correspondence with Noury 10 months before the latter’s arrest in Sweden was extremely curious. The audio recordings of Noury’s police interviews were released by prosecutors in Sweden and, when questioned about the emails, he claimed he did know how to use his email account. For his part, Mesdaghi said he could not remember receiving any emails from Noury and denied having any communications with him at all.
Former Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian of Iran had disclosed the secret activities of Iranian agents in the world. He told during an interview with state-run television channel in 2017: “It is obvious that we don’t send an agent to Germany or America and, for example, say, ‘OK, I am an agent of the intelligence ministry.’ Obviously, he would work under the cover of business or other jobs, including reporters”.
It may be mentioned here that, hundreds of Iranian spies are actively working in a number of Western cities as well as cities in the Middle East and other countries mostly under the cover of entrepreneur, trader and even sex workers. In Dubai alone, Iranian spies have heavy presence.
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