By Hamid Enayat
Although Amnesty International’s recent shocking report on the sexual torture inflicted on detainees of the 2022 uprising in Iran has highlighted the cruelty of clerical power in Iran, few in this country have escaped this violence of State coming from the fund of ages.
Freedom fighters’ first confrontation with the mullahs dates back to 1980 when Tehran and other cities were the scene of a peaceful struggle for fundamental rights and freedoms. When Khomeini saw that women and youth were massively joining the opponents, particularly the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the MEK, he felt a serious threat. In a public speech on June 25, 1980, after a massive MEK rally in the heart of the capital, he hammered: “Our enemy is not in America, nor in the Soviet Union, nor in Kurdistan, but right here , before our eyes in Tehran.”
Both democratic and Muslim, the PMOI has attracted hundreds of thousands of young people, especially women, by advocating gender equality. This posed a major challenge to the misogynistic foundations of the Islamic Republic, established by Khomeini.
When the emerging dictatorship executed teenage girls during the summer 1980 uprising, Khomeini issued a fatwa stipulating that virgins must be raped before shooting them to block their path to paradise. Rape thus sanctioned has become widespread, sparing no generation. Thousands of girls and boys were handed over to execution posts without even being identified. The mullahs went so far as to ask the relatives of the victims to pay to recover the bodies. It was at this time that a fatwa from Khomeini announced that neither the life nor property of anyone linked to the PMOI should be respected.
Forty years of impunity
Another major confrontation took place in 1988. The regime believed that if the tens of thousands of political prisoners it held were released at the end of their sentences, they would become a powerful force for mobilizing the population. Especially since the Iranians were crushed by eight years of useless war and Khomein , in defeat, saw his imminent fall. So he once again decided to resort to a massive massacre to keep himself in place. He issued a fatwa stating that anyone who maintained support for the PMOI or opposed the regime should be executed. He did not know that this loyalty would turn into an emblem of resistance and freedom. In the space of a summer, minute trials sent some thirty thousand young political prisoners to their deaths, many of whom had already served their sentences. The bodies were buried indiscriminately in secret mass graves. They were executed not because of their actions, but for their views opposing those of the religious dictatorship.
So it is true to say that the enemy of the Iranian regime is not America or Israel, but the Iranian resistance for freedom. However, the massacre has become a reality in the consciousness of Iranian society. Parents and relatives of the victims are still searching for their graves. They remain fascinated by what they have left, from broken watches to hands stuck at the moment of execution.
Pioneering women in the struggle
Ebrahim Raisi, current president of the Iranian regime, and other senior officials are involved in this massacre. It was he who, years later, declared that those who adhere to the ideals of victims are condemned to death. And people like him order cruel abuses in the streets, prisons and “safe” houses… The Iranian regime seeks to destroy resistance for freedom.
Faced with such monstrosity emerging from the darkness, women in Iran have placed themselves at the forefront of resistance; because the survival of the regime also depends on hostility towards women and sexual discrimination. This is why the mullahs inflict the worst torments on women. This clerical regime is not only the enemy of the Iranian people, it is also at war against humanity.
If the scale of the mullahs’ crimes, as reflected in the Amnesty International report, is unlimited, the sacrifices of the generation fighting for freedom are also unlimited. The audacity of the resistance rests on the fact that they are trying to target the head of the hydra of fundamentalism and terrorism in Tehran.
Complacency in the service of the Iranian regime
The international community is not aware of the consequences of the policy of appeasement with the religious dictatorship, a policy of which this regime takes full advantage to blackmail, launch terrorist acts and take Western governments and their ethical principles hostage. The events of recent months and the war in Gaza, with thousands of innocent children killed, are the direct result of this policy of appeasement. The mullahs still use their impunity and diplomatic means to interfere in Middle Eastern countries and carry out their terrorism in the West.
At the international level, it is time to end the mullahs’ forty-year impunity and bring them to justice for their crimes against humanity. Khamenei, Raisi and others responsible for the 1988 massacre, as well as those who ordered the killing of young Iranians during recent protests, particularly IRGC commanders, must be tried before the international criminal court.