WASHINGTON—Former Ambassador Ken Blackwell sent a letter to current Ambassador Nikki Haley on Friday, urging the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations to investigate horrific state-sponsored mass murders in Iran in 1988 that were finally confirmed with evidence just discovered last year.
In addition to having held several elected offices and been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to other presidentially appointed offices, Blackwell served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission under President George H.W. Bush 25 years ago. He has remained active in the senior ranks of U.S. statesmen in foreign policy over the subsequent quarter-century.
In his letter to the current holder of the most prestigious ambassadorship in America’s Diplomatic Corps—the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Security Council, Blackwell wrote to Haley about recently discovered evidence of “the massacre of an estimated 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988.”
Blackwell explains that in the 1990s he worked with Dr. Clyde Snow, “one of the world’s foremost experts in forensic anthropology,” whose work uncovered mass graves in Argentina from that country’s “Dirty War,” when Argentina’s military dictator murdered terrible numbers of his own citizens in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“Holding the regime in Argentina accountable set a valuable precedent and demonstrated the global community’s commitment to upholding justice and human rights, which must be maintained today,” said Blackwell. This was in large part the result of Snow’s leading “his team through the methodical excavation of unmarked graves, carefully organizing and recording all of the remains and evidence they found.”
Blackwell compares the atrocities in Argentina to Iran’s “Summer of Blood,” during which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa “to execute leftists and members of the Mujahedin-e Klalq (MEK) was implemented with deadly efficiency.” The former ambassador explains during a five-month period, “the commissions or ‘death committees’ established to carry out executions rounded up tens of thousands of political prisoners, giving them ‘trials’ that lasted only minutes.”
As a result of this mockery of justice, “nearly 30,000 Iranian citizens were executed as part of the regime’s campaign to wipe out its opposition.”
“Since 1988, the Iranian regime has worked hard to cover up these horrors, as the locations of the mass grave sites remain largely unknown and the public is banned from visiting those that have been uncovered,” Blackwell continued.
However, a tape emerged in 2016 from one senior official under Khomeini’s rule, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, where in 1988 he actually condemned the massacre as “the greatest crime committed under the Islamic Republic,” characterizing the atrocity as “mass executions without trials.”
“Members of the ‘death committees’ established in 1988 remain high ranking government officials today, including the current justice minister, Alireza Avayi,” Blackwell reminds Haley. “Iran continues to use public executions as a means of punishing political and religious prisoners, and leads the world in per capita executions as the only nation in the world that still executes juveniles.”
The former U.N. human rights ambassador tells the current U.N. Security Council ambassador that a top human rights lawyer who served as a judge on the U.N. War Crimes Court, Geoffrey Robertson, has concluded that Iran’s actions violated the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Because Iran is a signatory to that treaty, “this fact alone implies a duty to investigate the atrocities committed by the regime,” Blackwell declared, quoting Robertson’s conclusion that Iran’s five-month massacre is “the largest state killing of political prisoners since the 1942 Bataan Death March.”
“Given the severity of the Iranian massacre, the similarity to the ‘Dirty War’ of Argentina, and the continuation of violence in the country, the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the 1988 ‘Summer of Blood’ is entirely justified,” Blackwell wrote. “The families of the victims in Iran deserve closure and justice, which cannot be achieved without an official investigation into the brutality perpetrated by the regime.”
Blackwell urges Haley to insert this matter into this year’s planned resolution to censure Iran for human rights violation currently under discussion by the United Nations General Assembly. He copied National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster on the letter, as well as Blackwell’s powerful home-state ally, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.