Statement to the International Criminal Court & the UN Human Rights Council

The Islamic Republic of Iran, in its 37-year history, has executed more than 15,000 political prisoners.  In 1988, Ayatollah Khomeini, the country’s Supreme Leader at the time, ordered mass execution of political prisoners.  According to Amnesty International, at least 4,482 young men and women disappeared during a two-month period in 1988.  Many of the executed prisoners had already served their sentences. The bodies of the victims were buried in unmarked graves and their families were never informed of their whereabouts. In 2012, a people’s tribunal, presided over by respected international judges, investigated these crimes and found Iran’s leaders guilty of crime against humanity. Iran’s clerical leaders remained silent about the massacre for nearly thirty years.

Now, an audiotape of a meeting on August 15, 1988, reveals that Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, then designated successor to Khomeini, addresses the clerics who carried out the executions and says: “let me be frank with you. You have committed the biggest crime in the Islamic Republic – a crime that will condemn us all in history.” Montazeri’s words led Ayatollah Khomeini to dismiss him as his heir apparent and pave the way for emergence of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  as his successor.  Montazeri died in 2009 and his son, Ahmad, posted the thirty-year old audiotape on his website on August 9, 2016. Here is the link to the audiotape.

Montazeri’s description of the massacre compelled Iran’s clerical authorities, including the chief of Judiciary Sadegh Larijani, to admit and defend the executions. The audiotape also reveals the names of the clerics who carried out the criminal acts. They include Mostafa Pourmohammadi, then deputy intelligence minister and now minister of justice in President Rouhani’s cabinet; Hussein Ali Nayeri, then the religious judge at Evin Prison and now a high court judge; and Ebrahim Raeesi, then deputy prosecutor of Tehran and now head of Astan Quds Razavi – one of the largest Shiite shrine-based religious institutions in Iran.

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the massacre, the families of the victims are still waiting for justice. Every year while they gather to demand the truth from the government, they are harassed and violently dispersed by security forces. This is an example of the behavior that impels Iran’s theocratic dictatorship to reject the legitimacy of both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Other reasons for Iran’s refusal to join the ICC have to do with penalties provided in Iran’s criminal law, including whipping, stoning, cutting off of body parts and mistreatment of minorities. While they see no problem in Muslims committing mass murder against other Muslims, Iran’s theocrats maintain that Non-Muslim judges cannot judge Muslims.

In 2009, following the suppression of a popular movement against the rigged presidential election, more than 200 Iranian lawyers and human rights activists appealed to the ICC prosecutor to investigate the violence committed by Iran’s security forces. Those who took this initiative knew that the ICC is procedurally barred from responding to their request. They simply wanted to inform the international community about the Iranian government’s relentless violence against the civil society. Canada is the only country that condemns Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners as crime against humanity. The legal basis for the court's jurisdiction regarding Iran would be a referral by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter but political interests of the members with veto power prevent the realization of this option.

We, the undersigned, consider the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners to be a clear case of Crime against Humanity. We urge international human rights organizations and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic hostility to the civil and political rights of its citizens.

September 7, 2016


Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh - Founder & Director, Zanan TV & NGO Training, USA

Reza Afshari - Professor of History at Pace University, USA

Maryam Ahari – Human Rights Activist, USA

Kazem Alamdari - Department of Sociology, California State University,  Northridge, USA

Reza Alavi - Author and political analyst, USA

Bahman Amini – Human Rights Activist,  France

Homeira Amini -  Human Rights Activist, USA

Mehdi Amini – Human Rights Activist, USA

Mohammad Anousheh – Political Activist, USA

Shahin Anzali - Political Activist, Austria

Ali Arab - Associate Professor of Statistics at Georgetown University and a member of the 2016 Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA

Houshang Ardavan, PhD, Emeritus staff, Institute of Astronomy and Emeritus Fellow, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

Farid Ashkan – Human Rights Activist, USA

Djamshid Assadi - Ph.D. Iran: Market & Democracy, France

Rose Samii Atwood - CEO Unique It Jobs, Inc., USA

Faramarz Bahar - Human Rights Activist, France

Panetea Bahrami -  Filmmaker and Journalist, USA

Soheila Vahdati Bana - Human Rights Activist, USA

Khosro Bandari - Human Rights Activist, USA

Mehran Barati, Ph. D. - Analyst of future political trends, Germany

Mohammad Behboudi – Human Rights Activist, USA

Sohrab Behdad -  Professor of Economics, Denison University, USA

Farhad Bokaee – Survivor of 1988 massacre/High School Teacher, Canada

Hormoz Chamanara – Political Activist, USA

Elahe Chokraie - Nurse, Canada

Bahram Choubin -  Sociologist and Historian specializing in the social, political and Religion history of Iran, USA

Mehrdad Darvishpour – Senior Lecturer at Mälardalen University, Sweden

Parviz Dastmalchi - Human Rights Activist, Germany

Mehdi Djamshidi -

Shirin Ebadi – Nobel Laureate for Peace and Human Rights Defense Lawyer

Bijan Eftekhari – Political Activist, Austria

Mansour Farhang – Retired Professor of International Relations and advisory  board member of  Human Right Watch/Middle East and North Africa, USA 

Soheyla Farhang, Lawyer, Forner UN professional, USA

Nehzat Farhoody - Ph. D., USA

Hadi Ghaemi, human rights advocate, USA 

Kambiz Ghaemmagham, political activist, USA

Mohsen Ghaemmagham , Physician and Human rights Activist, USA

Shahram Ghanbari, Socilologist, U. S. A.

Roberto Godoy - Architect, Canada

Dr. Jaleh Lackner- Gohari, Former Medical Officer& Coordinator (IAEA & other UN-Agencies) Austria

Reza Goharzad – Journalist, USA

Hamid Hamidi -  Human Rights Activist, USA

Nader Hashemi - University of Denver, USA 

Abbas Hazheer, Poet and Composer,  Sweden

Ata Hoodashtian - Associate Professor of Political Science, Swiss UMEF University, Switzerland

Mahmood Jaafari - Political activist, Netherlands

Mehri Jafari - Attorney at Law, LPC at University of Westminister, United Kingdom

Farhang Jahanpour - former professor,  University of Isfahan, and tutor in the Middle East Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Jahanshah Javid - Publisher, USA

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour - Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Toronto, Canada

Abdee Kalantari - Political Activist and Author, USA

Sadegh Kamali – Political Activist, USA

Mehrangiz Kar -  Human Rights lawyer and Author, USA

Kazem Kardavani, Sociologist, retired professor and former  executive director of Iran’s Executive director of Iran's Writer Association, Germany

Nasim Khaksar, writer, Holland

Farideh Kioumehr, DVM,MPH,Dr.PH, 1st Recipient, Peace Award from APHA Founder

Hamid Kowsari - Political Activist, USA

Alan Kushan -

Ali Limonadi -  Television host and author, USA

Ahmad Machouf - Pediatrician, Canada

Elahe Machouf – Human Rights Activist, Canada

Anousheh Machouf - Psychologist, Canada

Nima Machouf - Epidemiologist, Canada

Ali Akbar Mahdi -  PH. D. Department of Sociology, Calif. State University, Northridge, USA

Mehran Mirfakhrai - Political Activist, Italy

Abbas Milani - Stanford University, USA

Ali Mirsepassi -  Professor of Sociology, New York University, USA

Shokooh  Mirzadegi - Writer, Journalist and Human rights activist, USA

Mansoor Moaddel - University of Michigan, USA

Behrooz Moazami, Loyola University New Orleans, U. S. A.

Haideh Moghissi, PhD - Professor emerita and senior scholar Equity Studies, York University, Toronto,  Canada

Fariba Davoodi Mohajer - Human Rights Activist/Journalist, USA

Majid Mohammadi - Iran Analyst and TV Host, Former Associate Professor of Sociology, USA

Shahram Mojab

Shahrzad Mojab, PH. D., Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

Parviz Mokhtari – Human Rights Activist, Germany

Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh - Composer, USA

Farhad Nomani, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Economics, The American University of Paris, France

Shawn Nowakhtar, CPA, USA

Nasser Pakdaman, Writer, France

Koroush Parsa – Political Activist, USA

Misagh Parsa - Dartmouth College, USA

Mahshid Pegahi – Women’s Rights Activist, Germany

Ahmad Purmandi - Political Activist, Germany

Fariba Rad - Human Rights Activist, USA

Saeed Rahnema, PhD, Retired Professor,York University, Canada

Fatemeh Rezaie - Human Rights Activist, Germany

Taraneh Roosta - Women's Righs Activist, USA

Banoo Saberi – Wife of a political prisoners executed in 1988, USA

Reza Saffari – Human Rights Activist, Canada

Kourosh Sehati - Human Rights Activist, USA

Soli Shahvar, PH. D. Director, The Ezri Center for Iran @Persian Gulf Studies,  The University of Haifa, Israel

Hassan Shariatmadari - Political Activist and Author, Germany

Behrouz Sotoodeh - Political Activist, USA

Raheleh Tarani – Political Activist, Canada

Mehdi Khanbaba Tehrani- Political Activist, Germany

Nayereh Tohidi - Professor at California State University, Northridge, USA

Mohsen Yalfani, Writer, France

Reza Fani Yazdi -  Former Political Prisoner, Political Analyst, CIO of CPUC, USA

Hamid Zangeneh, Professor of Economics, Widener University, USA