150 international human rights and legal experts and organisations, Nobel laureates and individuals of conscience that published an open letter on Thursday calling on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) to cancel its upcoming event with the President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, who stands accused of crimes against humanity during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
In the past week, the CFR informed its members that it planned to hold a panel with Raisi, who will be travelling to New York next week to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The letter states: “It has come to our attention that the Council on Foreign Relations has extended an invitation to the President of Iran’s regime, Ebrahim Raisi, to attend an event at your offices despite his sinister role in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.”
“According to human rights groups, on Ayatollah Khomeini’s orders, as many as 30,000 political prisoners were executed in the 1988 massacre for refusing to renounce their beliefs. At the time, Raisi was Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran and sat on the Tehran Death Commission that sent thousands of steadfast political prisoners to their death. According to Amnesty International, ‘Across the country, the victims were primarily supporters of the PMOI’ opposition group.”
“In 2019, as Judiciary Chief, Raisi presided over a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters who dared to cry out for democracy and freedom. As President, he oversaw the murder of at least 750 protesters and the arrest of some 30,000 others during the September 2022 nationwide uprising led by brave young women. Those protesters have made clear that they reject any form of dictatorship, be it the monarchy or theocratic rule. Authorities in Iran are now executing those defiant protesters,” the letter adds.
The signatories pointed out that the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran has called for Raisi to be investigated for his role into the 1988 enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
“While we appreciate the CFR has a forum for promoting international dialogue, there can be no justification for inviting a perpetrator of crimes against humanity to speak at your panel. By lending your platform to Raisi, who should be prosecuted for crimes under international law, you will only fuel the culture of impunity that exists in Iran.”
“As international human rights and legal experts and organisations, and as individuals of conscience, we implore the CFR to immediately cancel its event with Raisi,” the letter adds.
Distinguished signatories include the former US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, 24 former UN officials, nine Nobel laureates, including two Nobel Peace Prize winners, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and a former Foreign Minister of Canada.
14 September 2023