Call on the UN Security Council and its member states to extend the weapons embargo and to reimpose the UN Security Council resolutions against Iran

Cross-party MPs and Peers took part in a virtual conference on Thursday, 10 September 2020, to support the global campaign to seek justice for victims of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.

Prominent human rights lawyers, a former UN official, the UK Representative of the Iranian Resistance Movement (NCRI), European parliamentarians and dignitaries also participated in the conference, which heard testimonies from the family members of the victims of the 1988 massacre.

Speakers agreed that the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988 is an ongoing crime against humanity ordered by the highest authority in the country at the time. They also argued that the appalling human rights situation in Iran is a direct result of the failure of the international community to hold the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre to account.  

Many speakers at the conference stressed that after three decades, many of those responsible for the massacre in prisons across Iran in 1988 are today holding senior and ministerial positions in Rouhani’s Government including the Justice Minister Alireza Avaei and Head of the Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi.

Speakers called on the UK Government to break its silence on the 1988 massacre in Iran by publicly recognising and condemning the mass execution of 30,000 political prisoners as a crime against humanity.

The Rt Hon David Jones MP, who chaired the conference summarised the recommendations by the speakers and said, “today we urge the UK Government to lead the international effort and work with international allies to end impunity for the regime and its officials by extending the weapons embargo, reimposing all UN Security Council resolutions and securing an international, independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.”

The conference stressed that the UN General Assembly offers the best opportunity to end the culture of impunity enjoyed by the regime’s officials and called on the UK Government to include these demands in the upcoming UN resolution on Iran, which the General Assembly is expected to adopt later this year.

The NCRI President-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi, thanked the parliamentarians and other panellists for participating in this important conference on the Iranian people’s human rights and for persisting on the need to adopt a firm policy against the regime in Iran.

“Inaction vis-à-vis this regime, and worse, unity of action to lift the arms embargo undermines human values … Supporting the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime ruling Iran is necessary for peace and stability in the region”, the NCRI President-elect said in a message to the conference.

She highlighted a recent report by the Amnesty International and said, “The report explained the inhumane treatment of those arrested during the November 2019 uprising. The extent of savagery, before anything else, indicates that the regime has failed to put out the flames of resistance despite massive crackdown and killing of at least 1,500 protesters last November.”

“The UN Security Council must send to Iran an international delegation accompanied by representatives of the Iranian Resistance. They must visit the regime’s medieval prisons, visit the prisoners and particularly, meet those arrested during the November 2019 uprising”, Rajavi said.

Kirsty Brimelow QC said, “There are plenty evidence of the massacre being a crime against humanity and possibly genocide. [They] are well-documented, undeniable and not denied by Iran. The suspects are not faceless and documented by Amnesty. The UN can set up a tribunal and we must move swiftly as evidence is being destroyed.”

Bob Blackman MP said, “Sadly, we are aligning ourselves with the failed policy of appeasement pursued by the EU, which has been counterproductive and has only emboldened the regime. This must change, and the UK should reject the EU’s approach on Iran and join our American ally in exerting maximum pressure on the regime in Iran.”

Steve McCabe MP said, “From Nazanin [Zaghari]’s life to nuclear weapons, we cannot negotiate with these people [the regime in Iran]. They do not respect the rules of law or diplomacy. The people we week to do business with like Ebrahim though the Chief of Iran’s Judiciary are the same people responsible for the 88 massacre. Once again people are being arrested and prisoners are disappearing.”

He reiterated the recommendations raised by the Rt Hon David Jones MP and said, “The UK and the international community must stand the victims. We must support their struggle for genuine democratic change, change that will transform Iran from a pariah state to a valuable international partner.”

In his remarks, Rt Hon Sammy Wilson MP pointed out that the victims were executed solely for wanting democracy and for daring to stand up and said, “The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre are immune to prosecution and hold ministerial positions. The UK Government can do three things, make sure the 1988 massacre is raised at the UN and an independent inquiry is established and impose [its own] sanctions on the perpetrators.”

John Perry, Former Irish Minister, said, “As the [Iranian Resistance movement] NCRI has warned there is risk for new secret executions in Iran if the regime and its officials continue to enjoy impunity. The UN has not carried out its long overdue duties in this regard. To prevent human rights violations from happening again, it is absolutely necessary to hold the regime in Tehran to account.”

Egidijus Vareikis, Lithuanian MP and deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Lithuanian Parliament, also stressed the importance of an international inquiry into the 1988 massacre and said, “we must unite and work together to hold the regime to account. Further inaction by the international community and UN member states will not only be a betrayal of the victims but will undermine the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran and international human rights law.”

Dowlat Nowrouzi, NCRI UK representative, thanked the speakers for standing with the Iranian People and their Resistance movement and said, “The regime is plundering and wasting the Iranian people’s wealth to prop up terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and to advance its pursuit of nuclear weapons. That is why the international community must immediately extend the arms embargo and reinstate the UN Security Council resolutions as well as the UN sanctions against the regime in Iran.”

Other speakers at the conference included: Rt Hon Sir Roger Gale MP; Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, former Secretary of State for Environment and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Martin Vickers MP; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Sir Alan Meale, former Labour MP; Senators Ivana Bacik and Michelle Mulherin, from Ireland; Jim Higgins, former president of the Irish delegation to the European Parliament; Dr Tahar Boumedra, a human rights lawyer and a former senior UN official; Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon), prominent lawyer; Dr Jocelynne Scutt, university professor, lawyer, writer and filmmaker; Malcolm Fowler, prominent lawyer and former member of the human rights committee of the Law Society of England and Wales; Struan Stevenson, the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change and former Scottish MEP; and Roger Lyons, former president of the TUC.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

10 September 2020