Raisi, Khamenei's henchman, takes the presidency of Iran
On August 3, Ebrahim Raisi, a notorious henchman, officially took office as the Iranian regime's president, replacing the incumbent Hassan Rouhani. The United Nations and Amnesty International have formally stated that Raisi was involved in the massacre of tens of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 and must be brought to justice. This would be a fate similar to Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, who were put on trial for the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995.
One may ask why Tehran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei used the Guardian Council to disqualify all other serious candidates, leaving a few who had no chance of defeating Raisi. History has shown that when dictatorial regimes feel vulnerable and fragile, they rely on their most loyal functionaries to streamline their oppressive machine. Raisi's installation as the new president follows the same pattern. The timing is critical for Khamenei because of growing unrest throughout Iran, which has continued with an uprising in Khuzestan and other provinces in July.
On August 10, 2021, a court in Sweden will try an individual involved in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Sixty-year-old Hamid Nouri, who was then deputy prosecutor in Gohardasht prison in Karaj, is being prosecuted under the universal jurisdiction of the Swedish judiciary, particularly for "war crimes" and "murder." The vast majority of the victims of the massacre were supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the sworn enemies of the Iranian regime.
Was this person unhappy with the regime and opted to travel to Sweden, where someone discovered his presence, resulting in his arrest? Was it a conspiracy? A person close to the case says it is doubtful that an Iranian assistant prosecutor chose to go to Sweden on his own, and it just so happened that someone reported him to the authorities. Nouri has a history of traveling abroad with the same name on several prior occasions.
His story may have similarities to that of Ruhollah Zam, who had connections to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and went abroad to play the role of an "opponent" of the Iranian regime. But Zam seems to have gone beyond what he was supposed to do in his assignment. According to some informants, he was caught in a conflict between the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the MOIS. In the end, the IRGC lured him into Iran and later executed him. Such internal conflicts have been pointed out by the regime's current minister of intelligence. It is worth noting that Zam's father was a regime official and a former member of the MOIS.
Although he may not have been aware of it, Hamid Nouri's story reinforces the hypothesis that he was used as a conspirator by the Iranian regime. The regime plans to focus on Nouri and portray him as one of the significant figures in killing more than 30,000 prisoners in the summer of 1988 in Iran. By magnifying Nouri's role, the regime hopes to reduce the focus of the massacre on Raisi. In this way, at least to some extent, Raisi will escape the burden of massacring 30,000 political prisoners.
On the one hand, the regime may be using its propaganda machinery to badmouth the MEK and accuse them of "killing thousands" in Iran. This is the regime's go-to propaganda to discredit the MEK. The mullahs hope to divert the international community's attention from the crimes committed in Iran and instead spread false information about the MEK, which is an existential threat, as shown by its extremely active role in leading recent uprisings in Iran.
No head of state should shake hands with someone whose hands are drenched in the blood of young people whose only sin has been to advocate freedom and secularism. Most of those executed were young Muslims who challenged Khomeini's authority by presenting a peaceful and tolerant modern Islam that angered Khomeini. Khomeini issued a religious decree ordering those who oppose the regime to be immediately annihilated. During the 1988 massacre, members of many ethnic minorities, such as Kurds or religious minorities, were also executed.
Raisi and Khamenei, who were directly involved in this massacre, must be brought to justice. The unjust impunity that has prevailed in Iran for 42 years must end once and for all.
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