BEHIND THE IRAN HEADLINES Series, December 18, 2023, Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI-US Deputy Director
The scheduled visit of Ebrahim Raisi to Geneva faced cancellation due to the unwavering efforts led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Additionally, mounting pressure exerted by distinguished personalities and parliamentary allies of the NCRI and the extensive demonstrations orchestrated by Iranian supporters of the resistance played pivotal roles in this decision. Alireza Jafarzadeh provides insight into the circumstances surrounding the cancellation.
In a significant setback for the Iranian regime, its president, Ebrahim Raisi, was forced to cancel his scheduled trip to Geneva. This decision comes in the face of intensifying international criticism and mounting pressure on the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Raisi’s planned visit to Geneva sparked widespread condemnation, amplified by a collective appeal signed by 328 prominent figures, including former world leaders, judges, Nobel laureates, UN officials, human rights experts, legal scholars, and NGOs. This powerful coalition’s message was further augmented through a legal complaint filed by former political prisoners and victims with the Swiss Federal Public Prosecutor.
On December 10th, just days before Raisi’s expected arrival, this legal action formally requested Swiss authorities arrest him for crimes against humanity. The charges pertain to a 1988 massacre in Iran, where as many as 30,000 political prisoners were executed on the orders of a “death commission” that Raisi was a member of, whose main target and a majority of its victims were the main Iranian opposition movement, the MEK.
Facing the growing threat of legal action and the weight of international condemnation, the Iranian regime was forced to cancel Raisi’s trip. This development underscores the effectiveness of the Iranian Resistance’s efforts to hold the regime accountable for its human rights abuses and to challenge its legitimacy on the world stage.
This incident echoes a similar event in October 2021, when the Iranian regime abruptly canceled Raisi’s planned trip to Glasgow, Scotland, for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. That cancellation also followed a petition spearheaded by the Iranian Resistance, highlighting the organization’s growing influence and impact on international relations.
By successfully mobilizing international support and utilizing legal avenues, the Iranian Resistance has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to confronting the Iranian regime and seeking justice for its victims. The cancellation of Raisi’s Geneva trip serves as a testament to the organization’s effectiveness and a powerful message that the regime’s human rights abuses will not go unpunished.