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Khomeini assigned an “Amnesty Commission” for prisons. In reality, it was a “Death Commission” comprising three individuals: a representative of the ministry of intelligence, a religious judge and a prosecutor. The final word was that of the Intelligence Ministry official; in Tehran, that individual was Pour-Mohammadi, whom Rouhani has now chosen to head the Justice Ministry. During the period of 1990–1999, Pour-Mohammadi played a special role in the regime’s assassinations, functioning as deputy and head of foreign intelligence in the intelligence ministry.
At the time, the deputy commander-in-chief of the regime’s armed forces was Hassan Rouhani, the new president. Actually, since 1982 he was a member of the regime’s Supreme Defence Council and of the Central Council of War Logistics Headquarters. In those positions, he was fully cognizant of this hideous crime and obviously was in full conformity.
Rouhani may lack the bluster of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the notion that he is a moderate and reform-minded is preposterous and baseless. Actually, like all other senior officials of the regime, he has been a culprit in these hideous crimes. He supports Tehran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons, has expressed unflinching support for Syria’s Assad, and has been an ardent supporter of protest suppression, including those by university students.
In retrospect, the initiative by the U.S. House Representatives to vote for increased sanctions on Iran is welcomed. It is also encouraging that more than 70 U.S. senators backed this initiative recently in a letter to President Barack Obama calling for increased pressure on Iran.
However, efforts by the EU and U.S. should not focus solely on the nuclear dossier. It is time that the West targets the regime’s Achilles’ heel: its appalling human rights record. European and American lawmakers should start to name and shame those Iranian regime’s leaders who are responsible for the serious human rights violations in Iran and impose punitive sanctions on them. It is time for the West to be more vocal in demanding accountability for those committing these crimes and support the Iranian opposition’s calls for justice for the victims in international tribunals.
As stipulated by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi — the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran — addressing a gathering of 100,000 expatriates in Paris on June 22, no change is imaginable in Iran without the release of political prisoners, freedom of expression, freedom of political parties, cessation of transgressing meddling in Syria and Iraq, and ending the project to attain nuclear weapons.
Lord Alex Carlile of Berriew CBE, QC was the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in the United Kingdom (2001-2011). He is a leading member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.