Iranians remember

From the November-December 2018 issue of News & Letters

Santa Monica, Calif.—On Sept. 23, in remembrance of the victims of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s regime that ran from 1979-1989, over 60 Iranians gathered at the Santa Monica Library. The killing of civilians started in 1981 after the Iranian revolution of 1979. If a prisoner answered “no” to the question did he or she say Islamic prayers, and they had previously been in a political party, they would be executed. If the prisoner did not belong to a political party, they were sentenced to the draconian Evin prison. This is as true now as it was when Khomeini and his followers ruled. Many men and women, old, young, and even teenagers, were executed and their bodies never found.

During the Iran-Iraq war, in which U.S. inteligence-gathering supported Iraq, Khomeini imprisoned many Iranian leftists, especially from the Mujahidin and Tudeh party. The Communist Tudeh party worked closely with Moscow during the reign of the Shah. They were young, highly educated Iranians who established a base in Iraq.

After the Iran-Iraq war, Khomeini’s regime was forced to declare an amnesty for political prisoners. Under the pretext of a general amnesty, Khomeini created a “Death Committee” to oversee the release of prisoners. The state released very few, but used bombastic propaganda to paint itself as forgiving and religious. In reality, the four leaders of the Death Committee had the majority of the prisoners murdered. One of the Death Committee leaders, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, is now one of President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet members.

The cowardly acts of Khomeini’s regime are rightfully called national genocide by the Iranian Left. Khomeini gave the Left no other choice than taking up arms against the government. That was the only way to reach freedom. Confronted by critics for their barbaric acts, the regime claimed that if others were in power they would do the same. That reasoning is used by many leaders today. But they cannot ever kill the idea of freedom that lives in the masses’ consciousness.

—Mannel

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