22 June 2011

Mr. Moussavi and the Prison Massacres of 1367


Recently, Moussavi advisor Ardeshir Amir Arjomand made some statements about the degree of involvement of his boss, Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei, in the massacres of political prisoners in Iran’s prisons that began 20 July 1988 (29 Tir 1367).

The targeted prisoners belonged mainly to the Mujahedin-e Khalq, but were also from other leftist groups such as the Fedayan e- Khalq (Minority), Workers Party, Sazman-e Pakyar, Rah-e Kargar, Sarbedaran, Kurdish Democratic Party, even prisoners of the regime-supporting Hezb-e Tudeh and Fedayan-e Khalq (Majority).

Amir Arjomand is the self-appointed leader, along with likewise self-appointed Mojtaba Vahedi, of the self-proclaimed Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope, which has usurped the Green Movement in absence of the self-anointed leaders who first expropriated the voice of the people in the streets for themselves, Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei and Mehdi Karroubi.

Amir Arjomand began his remarks that eventually Moussavi would have to give answers about his actions during this period.

Fair enough. It was certainly an issue during the presidential election campaign of 2009 (1388).

At campaign appearances at various universities around the country, Moussavi was met with cries of “Mir Hossein, give us an answer about 1988 (1367)!”, “Where were you in 1367 (1988) and how many did you kill?”, “Khavaran’s soil is still red!”, “67, 67 (88, 88)!”, and “Mir Hossein, ‘67 (‘88)!”.

Khavaran is the cemetery in which most of the massacre victims in Tehran’s prisons (Evin, Rajai Shahr, Gohar Dasht, etc.) were buried anonymously in mass graves.

The bloodbath was not merely an affair for the capital, however; it took place in prisons all across the country.

Students at those rallies also took aim at his main opponent, the incumbent: “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: The source of discrimination and corruption!”, “Students die, but will never surrender!”, “Detained students must be released!”, “Free university students!”, and “Evin now accepts university students!”.

Amir Arjomand then went on to claim that Moussavi had resigned in protest yet continued at his post doing the work until the revision of the constitution in 1989 (1368).

That is a lie.

Had Moussavi done such a thing, it would have sent tremors throughout the ruling establishment that would have spilled out into the public at large. In truth, he remained in office as Prime Minister until the revision of the Constitution was approved on 28 July 1989 (6 Mordad 1368), abolishing that office.

The only person who spoke up against the atrocity was Deputy Rahbar (Leader) Hossein Ali Montazeri. After trying to stop the massacres himself, Montazeri wrote three open letters in early August 1988 (Mordad 1368), two to the Rahbar Khomeini and one to the three-member death committee at Evin Prison, in an attempt to end the slaughter.

The body count kept climbing.

Contrary to resigning in protest, Prime Minister Moussavi DEFENDED the bloodbath in an interview with an Austrian TV station in December 1988 (Aban 1367) by trying to connect it to the invasion of Iran by the Mojahedin-e Khalq from Iraq. He then suggested that if Allende had done the same in Chile in before the coup d’etat against him on 11 September 1973 (20 Shahrivar 1372), he and his government would have survived.

After Montazeri made public statements condemning both the ongoing prison massacres and the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, on 23 February 1989 (4 Esfand 1367) Mehdi Karroubi, then Deputy Speaker of the Majlis and secretary-general of the recently formed Majma-e Rowhaniyun-e Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics), along with Emam Jamarani, and Hamid Rouhani, wrote an open letter of protest against the Deputy Leader.

(One of Karroubi’s conspirators in correspondence, Rohani, recommended in February 2010, or Bahman 1388, that the same methods used to deal with the “Monafeqin” in 1988-89 [1367] be revived for dealing with the “sedition”.)

When Khomeini dismissed Montazeri as Deputy Leader and removed him as leader of Friday prayers thirty-five days later, many of the reasons he cited were from that letter.

Publication of his letters in Keyhan was halted, courtesy of Minister of Culture and Guidance Mohammad Khatami.

His security guards were withdrawn, courtesy of Minister of the Interior Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur.

His portraits were taken down from all government office, courtesy of Prime Minister Moussavi.

He was placed under house arrest, courtesy of Minister of Intelligence and Security Mohammad Reyshahri, who delegated supervision of the task to his Vice Minister for Political Affairs, Saeed Hajjarian.

Besides Dr. Amir Arjomand’s attempt at deception and misdirection, there are several other myths, misunderstandings, and bald-faced lies about the massacres of political prisoners in Iran’s prisons during the period.

“The massacres were in response to the invasion of Iran by the Mojahedin-e Khalq’s National Army of Liberation, led by Massoud Rajavi.”

That is a lie.

Rahbar Khomeini issued the fatwa to begin the extermination of the Monafeqin (hypocrites, his name for the Mojahedin-e Khalq) and the Mortads (leftists) as previously discussed on the evening of 18 July 1988 (9 Mordad 1367). The bloodbath began two days later.

Rajavi’s National Liberation Army did not invade Iran until 26 July (17 Mordad).
The real catalyst was probably the “poison” Rahbar Khomeini had to drink by signing the cease-fire agreement on 16 July (7 Mordad).

“The massacre was an impulsive act brought on by extreme circumstances.”

That is a lie.

The requestioning of prisoners and segregating them by category—political and nonpolitical, Mojahedin-e Khalq from other leftists, repentant from unrepentant, those with long sentences from those with short ones, new prisoners from old prisoners, and trouble-makers from the general population—took place in late 1987 through early 1988 (roughly Aban 1366 through Bahman of 1367).

Rahbar Khomeini first discussed his plans for disposition of the Monafeqin and Mortads with six men: President Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Speaker of the Majlis and commander-in-chief Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Minister of Culture and Guidance and deputy commander-in-chief Khatami, Chief Justice Abdolkarim Moussavi Ardebili, Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Moussavi Khoeniha, and his son and personal chief-of-staff Ahmad Moussavi Khomeini.

This discussion had to have taken place before the division of prisoners began, at least nine months before start of the mass murders.

“They had plans to perpetrate killings and massacres. We had to crush the conspiracy—in that respect we have no mercy.” (Moussavi, from his Austrian TV interview)

That is a lie.

The victims had been convicted of relatively minor crimes; those convicted or arrested for capital offences had long since been dead. And, once again, since the killing started six days before the invasion, it couldn’t have been connected.

“The killings only lasted a couple of months.”

That is a lie.

Analysis of politically-connected executions/murders, not just their political affiliation but in numbers dying together, in Iranian prisons proves that the mass murders that began on 20 July 1988 (11 Mordad 1367) continued through 10 April 1989 (21 Farvardin 1368).

“At most hundreds were killed.”

That is a lie.

Amnesty International, the most cautious, human rights organization gives a body count of at least 4,482. A more often cited body count is approximately 20,000. In a tape made secretly in his prison cell, Reza Malek, former Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security to Ali Fallahian, gave a body count of 33,700.

“Knowledge of the slaughter was confined to prison officials and a few leaders at the top.”

That is a lie.

With as many people as had to be involved, and for as long as it actually lasted, hundreds or even thousands had to know. And since Rahbar Khomeini first discussed his plan at least nine months prior to its execution, word had time to get around the ruling establishment of what was going to take place.
As Khatami’s boss, Moussavi no doubt knew well in advance.

Especially since two of his other subordinates, Minister of the Interior Mohtashamipur and Minister of Intelligence and Security Reyshahri, were likewise heavily involved in its execution. Deputy Prime Minister Mohsen Sazegara, Moussavi’s deputy for eight years, was probably kept as well informed as his boss. The whole cabinet was probably aware.

Reyshahri’s deputy, Ali Fallahian, had to have known in advance. The same can be said for Vice Minister for Political Affairs Hajjarian, since political affairs were his territory.

It highly unlikely that all the deputies of ministers and the vice ministers as well did not know of the impending massacres in advance or at the very least learn of them while they were going on.

No one spoke up, no one at all, except for one person.

His only reply was the chirping of crickets.

And the cries of the dying.

Rooze ma khahad amad.

[Postscript: Moussavi did, in fact, offer his resignation on 14 Sharivar 1367 (5 September 1988), but it had nothing to do with the prison massacres. In the letter, he cites terrorism abroad committed or assisted by agents of the Islamic Republic without knowledge of the cabinet. His complaint was not the actions themselves but the fact that he was not told about it ahead of time. He also cites administrative difficulties with President Khamenei and Speaker Rafsanjani. Khomeini refused the resignation as Moussavi knew he would. The letter can be found on Abolhassan Banisadr’s website: http://enghelabe-eslami.com/%D8%A2%D8%AE%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1/1933-------------67---.html]

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