As the catalogue of such information continues to expand and reach a wider range of countries, Canada has earned a unique opportunity to help guide international policy in more intelligent and realistic directions with regard to Iran’s human rights abuses.
Recently, an audio recording emerged after 28 years, providing Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri’s condemnation of the massacre of PMOI supporters. At the time, Montazeri was designated to be the Islamic Republic’s second supreme leader, but he was driven out of the regime as a result of his refusal to sign off on the campaign of violent repression.
Despite his later status as an outsider, the information he conveyed in the audio recording cannot be questioned. Although Iran is notorious for its national propaganda, the regime has not attempted to deny the veracity of Montazeri’s account.
Consequently, the 1988 massacre has garnered unprecedented attention inside Iran, and conversations about it are finally beginning to be heard in the West. The recording could realize Montazeri’s promise that the names of those involved in the massacre ‘will be etched in the annals of history as criminals.’ More governments and legislators will receive domestic and international requests to condemn formally the individual perpetrators, many of whom still hold power in Iran.
How can any country which understands the 1988 massacre and the ongoing human rights crisis in Iran seek expanded relations with the fundamentalist theocracy? In light of the unanimous consent for Canada’s 2013 resolution of condemnation, we should demand an inquiry into the 1988 massacre by the United Nations and also push for the surviving architects of the massacre to be charged with crimes against humanity.
This action would be an important first step toward bringing an end to Iran’s widespread political repression and thus ultimately clearing the way for a secular, democratic government in the Middle East.