The United Nations is on the verge of welcoming one of the world’s worst violators of human rights to participate in the opening of the General Assembly’s 77th session. The United States has the power to prevent that criminal from legitimizing his administration and whitewashing his own history, insofar as it can deny Ebrahim Raisi the travel visa he requires to participate in the gathering. If it nonetheless allows the Iranian president to visit the UN headquarters in New York, the U.S. should immediately take measures upon his arrival to demand accountability for his role in past and ongoing crimes against humanity. The ‘Butcher of Tehran’
The need for such accountability has only grown more imperative since Raisi’s appointment to the presidency. That was widely recognized as a part of an ongoing trend whereby Iranian officials have been rewarded with positions of ever greater power and influence for their participation in the massacre of political prisoners during the summer of 1988. Raisi was one of the main perpetrators of that massacre, having served on the Tehran “death commission” that oversaw the interrogation and summary execution of detainees in the political wards of Evin and Gohardasht Prisons.
Raisi’s conduct as president has been recognizably in line with both of these prior roles, as well as with his longstanding reputation as the “butcher of Tehran” — a label that stems in part from accounts that the current president was uniquely enthusiastic about extremely broad implementation of the 1988 fatwa with which then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini laid the groundwork for that year’s massacre. That religious edict expressly targeted the country’s leading pro-democracy opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, declaring its members to be inherently guilty of the religious crime known as “enmity against God,” which carries the death penalty.
Nationwide, an estimated […]
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