The longest suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Ms Asma Jahangir, in her latest interim report (A/72/322) drew attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran as well as the impunity enjoyed by Iranian officials involved in the “1988 massacre”. In a matter of a few months, some 30,000 political prisoners were executed. Some of the perpetrators are holding key positions in Iran today.

The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) welcomes the acknowledgement by the US President that “The longest suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people” and that “Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most”.

Such an acknowledgement is a testimony to the correctness of our long-standing position that the international community must side with the people of Iran in their pursuit of freedom and democracy.

We also agree that the Iranian regime “has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.

Over the years our experience has shown that this is a regime which cannot be trusted at all. This fact has been reiterated over and over again by the actions of the regime. Its illicit nuclear activities and secret sites were exposed by the opposition. We believe in 2013 when the regime was forced to come to the negotiating table, the international community lost a unique opportunity to end the concern about Iran’s nuclear programme.

We welcome calls by European leaders to address Iran’s continuous rogue behaviour, missile programme and support for terrorism in the region. Tehran has played the most destructive role in the region by its support for terrorism and rogue regimes such as the Assad dictatorship in Syria.

Internally, the current regime in Iran has executed more than 120,000 people over the years, and in the summer of 1988 following a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini 30,000 people were massacred in a matter of few months.

This crime against humanity has gone unpunished for 29 long years and today more than ever the Iranian people and in particular, the families of the victims, demand justice.

The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) calls for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre in Iran to hold the regime’s officials to account for this crime and take the necessary steps to have the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre face justice and end their impunity for such a crime.

By doing so the international community can give a real signal to the Iranian rulers that their behaviour is not acceptable any more. And we can send a message to the Iranian people that we stand with them.

Professor the Lord Alton of Liverpool

Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords

British Committee for Iran Freedom

25 September 2017