In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 11 Nobel laureates expressed grave concern over Ebrahim Raisi as the new President of Iran. The Nobel laureates called Raisi a criminal who has committed crimes against humanity. They cited statements by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations stating that Ibrahim Raisi, as a member of the “Death Commission,” is responsible for the execution of several thousand members of the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK) in the 1988 massacre of the political prisoners.
The Nobel laureates wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, “In addition to our humanitarian obligations to advance scientific enterprise and to improve life in general, we strongly believe that defending human rights across the globe is also our duty. Therefore, we demand you to set up a committee to investigate the 1988 prison massacre in Iran and the role of Raisi in committing crime against humanity and against international law.”
The full text of the letter:
Joint Letter of Nobel laureates to the United Nations Secretary-General
His Excellency Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General
We, the Nobel laureates signing this letter, want to express our grave concerns over the declaration of Ebrahim Raisi as the new president of Iran. Raisi’s declaration as the next Iranian regime president quickly drew international condemnation because he is known to be a criminal against humanity.
Amnesty International announced on 19 June 2021 that instead of assuming power, Raisi must be investigated for crimes under international law. In a report issued in 2018, which documented past and ongoing crimes against humanity related to the prison massacres of 1988, Amnesty International identified Ebrahim Raisi as a member of the “death commission” which carried out executions of several thousand members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and of some individuals from other political groups in prisons throughout the country between late July and early September 1988.
International Federation for Human Rights reports that Raisi played an important role in the repression and execution of protestors after the controversial 2009 presidential election in Iran.
Human Right Watch reported: “During his judicial career, Raisi oversaw some of the most heinous crimes in Iran’s recent history, which deserve investigation and accountability rather than election to high office.”
Recently, 150 former United Nations officials and human rights and legal experts called for an international commission of inquiry into the massacre.
The U.N. investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, in an interview with Reuters on 29 June 2021, called for an independent inquiry into allegations of state-ordered executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 and the role played by President-elect Ebrahim Raisi as Tehran deputy prosecutor at the time.
Mr. Secretary General,
In addition to our humanitarian obligations to advance scientific enterprise and to improve life in general, we strongly believe that defending human rights across the globe is also our duty. Therefore, we demand you to set up a committee to investigate the 1988 prison massacre in Iran and the role of Raisi in committing crime against humanity and against international law.
If officials responsible for “disappearances” and extrajudicial executions in Iran are not prosecuted and punished, they will have continued impunity to repeat such crimes, and others will do likewise, believing they can violate the rule-based international order without any serious consequences.
• Professor Barry Barish, Nobel Prize, Physics 2017, USA
• Professor Elias Corey, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1990, USA
• Professor Jerome Friedman, Nobel Prize, Physics 1986, USA
• Professor Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Prize, Physics, 1979, USA
• Professor Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, USA
• Professor Brian Kobilka, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 2012, USA
• Professor John Mather, Nobel Prize, Physics, 2006, USA
• Professor John Polanyi, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, Canada
• Professor Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1993, USA
• Professor Randy Schekman, Nobel Prize, Medicine 2013, USA
• Professor David Wineland, Nobel Prize, Physics 2012, USA