Jun 29, 2021 - World

U.N. investigator calls for probe into Iranian president-elect's role in 1988 killings

ranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi looks on as he holds documents while leaving a conference hall.

Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi leaves a conference hall after speaking at his first news conference in Tehran on June 21, 2021. Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.N.'s human rights investigator in Iran on Monday told Reuters he supports an independent probe into alleged state-ordered executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, and President-elect Ebrahim Raisi's role as Tehran deputy prosecutor.

The big picture: Javaid Rehman, a U.N. investigator, said that his office has received testimonies and evidence over the years relating to the mass executions that took place under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

  • “The scale of executions that we hear imply that it was a part of a policy that was being pursued ... It was not just one person,” Rehman told Reuters.
  • Amnesty International earlier this month called for Raisi to be investigated for his alleged role in "crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture."

Driving the news: Raisi is under U.S. sanctions for a past that the U.S. says includes involvement as one of four judges who oversaw the 1988 killings, per Reuters.

  • When asked about allegations Raisi said: “If a judge, a prosecutor has defended the security of the people, he should be praised ... I am proud to have defended human rights in every position I have held so far.”
  • Rehman is expected to be sworn in as president during the first week of August.

What they're saying: "I think it is time and it’s very important now that Mr. Raisi is the president [-elect] that we start investigating what happened in 1988 and the role of individuals," Rehman told Reuters.

  • "Otherwise, we will have very serious concerns about this president and the role, the reported role, he has played historically in those executions," Rehman said.

Go deeper: Conservative cleric Raisi elected Iran's president

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