The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) condemns Iran’s regime for intensifying its domestic repression by stepping up crackdown on dissenting voices and unleashing a new wave of executions instead of helping the Iranian people during the devastating coronavirus pandemic in the country.

During a press briefing on 5 May, a spokesperson for Iran’s Judiciary acknowledged the arrest of two renowned Iranian students. The spokesperson also alleged that the arrested students were in contact with the organised Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and accused them of inciting violence.

The announcement comes as the regime carried out several executions last week including the execution of two juvenile offenders, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Michelle Bachelet, condemned as a clear violations of International Human Rights law.

On the same day, the PMOI/MEK publicly announced the name of another 18 individuals who have been arrested by the regime following the crackdown in response last year’s anti-regime protests across the country.

The arrested students who were subjected to abuse and torture are identified as Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi. According to the reports, they were distinguished students of Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology with international awards in their fields.

In a normal nation, these two students would have been an important part of the future. But in Iran under the current theocratic regime, they are persecuted and arrested for dreaming about a better and more prosperous future.

These 20 individuals are now at risk of torture, harsh prison sentences and even executions like the many thousands who were arrested during the intensified crackdown in recent months and last year’s anti-regime protests.

We should not forget that the current chief of Iran’s Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, is known for his role in carrying out and overseeing the massacre of 30, 000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988 targeting primarily the supporters and members of the PMOI/MEK inside the country and Iranian prisons.

The international community cannot and should not allow the regime to use the coronavirus crisis in the world as a cover to repeat this crime against humanity.

The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) believes that the FCO should immediately summon Teheran’s ambassador to the UK to protest this alarming developments in Iran and warn the regime about the serious consequences of continued mass arrests and executions.

The BCFIF calls on the FCO to identify those Iranian officials and leaders responsible for this brutal crackdown including the killing of at least 1500 protesters in November last year and add their names to the UK’s human rights sanction list, as part of its declared committent to hold Iran’s regime to account for its human rights abuses.

The BCFIF also backs the call by the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs Maryam Rajavi, and urges the UK Government to put pressure on the regime in Iran to immediately release Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi together with all other prisoners and detained activists.

Furthermore, as recommended by cross-party MPs at our conference discussing the situation in Iran on 25 February this year, the BCFIF urges the UK Government to work with allies at the UN to demand the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights dispatch an international fact-finding mission to Iran to visit Iranian prisons and meet with prisoners, including those arrested in recent crackdown.

Professor the Lord Alton of Liverpool

British Committee for Iran Freedom

7 May 2020