Ebrahim Raisi’s Key Role in the 1988 Massacre in Iran

Ebrahim Raisi’s Key Role in the 1988 Massacre in Iran

BEHIND THE IRAN HEADLINES Series, June 7, 2024, Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI-US Deputy Director

The late May death of Ebrahim Raisi, known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” was an irreparable strategic blow to the clerical regime and its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. This event has massive repercussions for the regime’s survival, further inflaming internal disarray and hastening the fall of the ruling theocracy.

But who was Ebrahim Raisi?

In 2021, Khamenei hand-picked Raisi as president through a sham election. Raisi had been groomed by Khamenei for many years, with his rise to the apex of the clerical regime engineered to stave off growing popular uprisings for regime change in Iran, given Raisi’s absolute obedience and bottomless savagery.

Raisi was a key culprit in the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, a clear case of crimes against humanity and genocide. Evidence of Raisi’s involvement in the 1988 massacre is overwhelming, as confirmed by seven special rapporteurs of the United Nations and Amnesty International.

In the summer of 1988, then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, a religious decree. The decree stated unequivocally that anyone associated with and remained loyal to the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as the MEK, had to be executed. In a matter of weeks, 30,000 innocent men, women, and children were executed across dozens of prisons across Iran. Over 90% of the victims were affiliated with the MEK.

Raisi was one of four members of the infamous death commission in Tehran. He both directed and supervised the summary executions of thousands of political prisoners in Evin and Gohardasht prisons after two or three-minute hearings.

He also led the killing of thousands of protesters in the November 2019 and September 2022 uprisings.

This explains why Iranians across Iran and abroad celebrated Raisi’s death as a harbinger of the fall of the now-weakened regime.


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