Elections in democracies represent a collective decision-making process by which the people elect their representatives. Dictatorships, too, hold elections. In Iran's dictatorship, presidential elections are far from free or fair; they are a farce, a sham. I know because I have first-hand experience about the killers and murderers who are participating in it.
The election will take place on June 18. The unelected vetting body, the Guardian Council, will announce the final list on May 27.
All those running have committed crimes against the Iranian people in the past four decades. Some have engaged in suppression, torture, and execution, others in terrorism and hostage-taking. I want to share my personal experience with one of them: Ebrahim Raisi.
The primary adjective to describe Raisi is simply "killer." Immediately after the mullahs stole the 1979 revolution, Raisi started to make a name for himself thanks to his unmatched propensity to commit brutality against opponents of the mullahs' dictatorship. He became the prosecutor of the revolutionary court of the city of Karaj when he was just 20. Two years ago, he became the Judiciary Chief.
In 1988, as Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran, Raisi was one of the four individuals who then-Supreme Leader Khomeini appointed to carry out his infamous fatwa to massacre imprisoned activists affiliated with the main democratic opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI).
During that massacre, 30,000 political prisoners, mostly affiliated with the MEK, were summarily executed within a few months. An audiotape surfaced in summer 2016, after 28 years, of Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini's designated successor, speaking with the "death committee” in Tehran, including with Raisi. In that meeting, Montazeri questioned them about the execution of pregnant women and 15-year-old girls. Raisi was the most active and most ruthless member of the committee.
After the public outcry over the 1988 massacre, Raisi boasted on state TV on June 2, 2020, "Well, these [MEK] should not be given a chance... These are the people to whom the Imam [Khomeini] said we should not have shown any mercy."
Even before becoming one of the theocracy's most brutal killers, Raisi took part in the torture and interrogation of democracy activists.
I have personally experienced his brutality. The mullahs' regime arrested me on July 2, 1983, and immediately sent me into the torture chamber. Even though I was nine months pregnant at the time, and the interrogators knew this, they nonetheless proceeded to lash me with electric cables.
One of the interrogators present in the room was Ebrahim Raisi, who is now running for president. At the time, I did not know his identity. Later, I found out he was the prosecutor in Hamedan province, a position he had held since at least 1982 when he was a 22-year-old uneducated and untrained interrogator. Raisi ordered the hanging of all political prisoners between 1982 and 1987 in Hamedan Province.
I have personal knowledge about some of the victims. For example, Mahnaz Sahrakar, from Hamedan, was arrested in 1982 and executed in 1983 after being raped in prison. Ahad Raisiwas was arrested in June 1983 in Hamedan and hanged in the fall of that year. Mina Abdoli, from the city of Malayer, was arrested in 1982 and executed on Raisi's orders in the summer of 1983.
I also personally know about 10 others who hanged on Raisi's orders. He was also present at the scene of the executions as the prosecutor.
Khamenei appointed Raisi the Judiciary Chief in March 2019. Since then, and because no one in the international community has held the regime accountable for its crimes against humanity in 1988, Raisi has continued his legacy of slaughter against democracy activists with more vengeance.
Raisi has overseen the execution of 251 people in 2019, and 267 people in 2020, and scores more in 2021. Amnesty International reported that “The death penalty was increasingly used as a weapon of political repression against dissident protesters and members of ethnic minority groups,” during Raisi’s term. One high-profile case that drew international outcry was the brutal execution of 27-year-old wrestling champion Navid Afkari.
Other candidates in the regime's presidential election are simply thugs, murderers, corrupt thieves, and barefaced terrorists or terrorist handlers. Scores among the Iranian people, including myself, have been brutalized and terrorized by these functionaries. And there is absolutely no surprise that the Iranian people will boycott the regime's sham elections because they vote "No" to the mullahs' monsters and everything they represent.
It is time for the world to finally stand with the Iranian people as they strive for a democratic, non-nuclear and secular republic in their country. The United Nations should call for an independent investigation into the regime's 1988 massacre and work hard to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of that crime against humanity, most notably Ebrahim Raisi.