1988 Executions of Iranian Political Prisoners

1988 Executions Of Iranian Political Prisoners

The 1988 executions of political prisoners in Iran (Persian: ۱۳۶۷ اعدام زندانیان سیاسی در تابستان‎) refers to the systematic execution of thousands of political prisoners across Iran by the government, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting about five months. The majority of the prisoners killed were supporters of the People's Mujahedin of Iran, although thousands of supporters of other leftist groups, including the Fedaian and the Tudeh Party of Iran (Communist Party), were also executed.

The killings have been called "an act of violence unprecedented in Iranian history — unprecedented in form, content, and intensity." The exact number of prisoners executed remains unclear. Amnesty International recorded the names of over 4,482 political prisoners reportedly killed during this time, but Iranian opposition groups suggest that the number of prisoners executed was far higher, and as many as 30,000 prisoners may have been executed.

Great care was taken to keep the killings secret, and the government of Iran denies their having taken place, but with the large scale of the operation word leaked out from survivors. Explanations offered for why the prisoners were killed vary. Perhaps the most common is that it was in retaliation for the 1988 attack on the western borders of Iran by the PMOI Mujahedin, although this happened months after the executions had begun and does not explain the executions of members of other leftist groups who opposed the Mujahedin invasion.

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