February 13, 2009

Iran Buries the Past

Amnesty International has called for the Iranian government to cease its destruction of the graves at Khavaran and investigate the massacres that occurred there, but conducting an investigation and bringing those responsible to justice is a tall order. There is no high ranking official in the Islamic regime who was not directly involved in the massacre: from the supreme leader who served as president during the massacre to so called 'reformers' like Saeed Hajarrian, a senior political advisor to President Khatami who was a high ranking official in the Intelligence Ministry at the time. Khatami has remained silent. He has never acknowledged the massacres, let alone considered bringing those responsible to justice.

Some in Iran, however, have been willing to speak up. Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, who had been a designated successor to Khomeini, was removed from political power partially because of his opposition to Khomeini's fatwa. Ayatollah Hussein Kazemayni Boroujerdi, who is in jail for openly calling for separation of religion and state, issued a message from prison: "How sad it is (to see) the official celebration and pride that government controlled official media in Iran demonstrate on the occasion of the anniversary (of the Islamic revolution) while a whole nation is drowning in an ocean of misery, prisons are overflowing with innocent prisoners, and the regime is busily building more prisons to house them." The massacre victims' families, in shock of from seeing their loved one's unmarked graves being overturned, easily identify with the dissident Ayatollah.

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