In addition to providing the Iranian government with a pretext to repress secular anti-imperialist proponents of more democratization of Iranian society during the 1980s, the 1980 to 1988 Iraq-Iran War that Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime in Iraq started in September 1980 also produced great suffering for the people of both Iran and Iraq. Almost one million Iranians were maimed or killed, for example, as a result of the Iraq-Iran War of the 1980s; and many Iranian cities were extensively damaged during this war.
But on July 18, 1988, the Iranian government agreed to accept UN Security Council Resolution 598 which called for a cease-fire with Iraq; and the 1980 and 1988 Iraq-Iran War finally ended. Six days later, however, the People’s Mojahadeen guerrilla group launched a military incursion into Iran.
Iranian government authorities apparently then used this military attack as a pretext to carry out another round of mass executions of both imprisoned secular anti-imperialist left Iranian activists and imprisoned People’s Mojahadeen activists. According to the Human Rights Watch web site:
“In 1988, the Iranian government summarily and extra-judicially executed thousands of political prisoners held in Iranian jails…The majority of those executed were serving prison sentences for their political activities…Those who had been sentenced, however, had not been sentenced to death….”
Dissident Iranian activists and Amnesty International estimated that between 2,800 and 4,481 Iranian political prisoners were then executed in 1988 by Islamic Republic authorities. Although most of the executed Iranian political prisoners in 1988 were members and supporters of the People’s Mojahadeen group, hundreds of imprisoned members and supporters of the Tudeh Party, the Peoples’ Fedayeen group and the Kurdish Democratic Party were also apparently executed by the Iranian government authorities in 1988. (end of part 28)