By Ramin Jalali 

Iran's justice Minister Mostafa Pour-mohammadi said he thought the number of capital punishment should be revised, the ILNA state news agency reported on October 29.

"In fact we want to find the most effective kind of punishment so that we are able to consider replacing execution," Pour-mohammadi said.

"Of course, maintaining execution as a punishment is still on the agenda, but not in the numbers implemented today," he added.

These remarks are made while the daily executions in Iran continue. On October 31, a prisoner in Salmas prison was sent to the gallows. The next day two more prisoners were executed at the same prison. Last week, 9 prisoners in different cities of Iran were put to death. In September 2016 alone, over 77 people were executed in Iran. Now there are news among the prisoners that by the end of the Iranian year, March 21, over 4,300 prisoners will be executed.

Iran had the highest rate of execution per capita in 2015, a record that the ruling mullahs have maintained since seizing power in 1979. The Iranian regime is also among the major violators of the human rights.

Last August, an audio tape of a meeting of late Ayatollah Montazeri, the former successor of Khomeini, with officials of the regime in summer of 1988, revealed how the regime carried out a genocide in Iran. In summer of 1988, in the span of a few months, the Iranian regime massacred over 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were members and supporters of the main opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). 

In the revealed audio tape, Montazeri tells to the four-man “death committee” who were in charge of implementing Khomeini’s decree for the massacre of political prisoners, that the executions are “the biggest crime in the history of the Islamic republic.”

Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Iran’s justice minister, who now claims the number of capital punishment should be revised, was one of the members of the notorious Death Committee in Tehran in the course of political prisoners’ massacre in 1988. Defending such a crime against humanity, he said two months ago, “We are proud to have implemented the God's law against the PMOI, and stood firm in the face of the enemies of God and the nation... There should be no mercy for the Monafeqin (the term used by the regime for PMOI members and supporters)."

After the 1988 massacre in Iran, the process of executions never stopped and has continued on a daily basis to this day. The recent remarks by Pourmohammadi is just a deceptive maneuver simultaneous with the sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations and discussion concerning violation of human rights in Iran, and also on the eve of the regime's Presidential elections.

In his report to the current session of General Assembly regarding the human rights situation in Iran, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote, "Since 2009, there has been a pattern of executions dropping significantly before polling day then dramatically increasing afterwards."

Justification of suppression and executions in Iran has been the byproduct of West’s appeasement policy toward the Iranian regime. This policy also has been the scapegoat for accountability of the regime in face of its crimes.

Now that the officials of the regime, who are responsible for the killings, and massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in Iran and the Middle East, are deceitfully making remarks about revising execution to legitimize and prolong their regime, the West must compel them to stop executions altogether. Western governments must stop dealing with this regime, and any economic relations with Tehran must be conditioned to halt of executions.

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