Mass grave uncovered in Ahwaz

This news report from independent, London-based Iranian news channel Manoto concerns the recent horrendous discovery of a mass grave in the regional capital city of Ahwaz by a municipality roadworks crew engaged in excavation work to widen a local road. The grave is believed to contain the remains of some of the tens of thousands of dissidents executed by the Iranian regime in the 1980s, with credible local sources and the Organization of Justice for Iran substantiating the news.  On receiving the reports of the shocking discovery, the municipality reportedly immediately ordered that the bodies dug up during the excavation be reinterred and covered over again and that the road be built as planned on top of the location.

The news anchor interviews an analyst named as Mrs. Sanaz about the traumatic discovery, which the Iranian regime is reportedly desperately trying to cover up, just as it did in the 1980s.

The anchor begins by introducing the analyst, saying, “Mrs. Sanaz is here to report in detail about the mass grave.”

Mrs. Sanaz responds, “Well, as you reported when the municipality personnel encountered this mass grave, they promptly reinterred the bodies in the mass grave and then continued their operations to widen the street. The mass grave was reportedly uncovered in the Padadshar area of Ahwaz city where many locals know that the bodies of those killed in mass executions dating back to the 1980s are buried.”

The anchor then asks her, “When did they discover this mass grave?” 

She responds, “The mass grave was discovered in the past few days and is now getting media coverage and anyway it’s clear why they’re circulating reports in the media because we’re in the run-up to the Iranian election when such incidents usually happen. But now let’s move on and put aside the media coverage since this occurred. The grave seems to be a mass grave.  In the area where it was located, it’s near a graveyard that’s already known by the name of Beshtabd in Ahwaz, where there are many mass graves already known.  The grieving families call this the memorial graveyard while the Islamic Republic calls it the ‘Laanat-Abad’ [‘Graves of the Damned’].  This newly discovered mass grave resembles those ones since it’s covered in cement and concrete, so it’s clear that it’s a part of those already uncovered mass graves there.    According to the local people who reported it to the Manoto News Room, these mass graves are used as a landfill site for waste disposal as a way to conceal it from the eyes of local people,  since such mass graves were common in the early years of the ‘Islamic revolution’. However, the anguished families knew about these mass graves.  In addition to this, the Fajr prison in Ahwaz during that time was designated as a political prison and it’s reported that in this prison they executed the political prisoners, especially in 1980 and the summer of 1988.  The families of those prisoners were informed that the dead bodies had been sent to and buried in this area.   

Anyway, we’re on the threshold of elections and if link the discovery of mass graves to this, Mr. Ibrahim Raisi the regime presidential candidate [fundamentalist candidate opposing Rouhani] was a member of the Death Commission, along with  Mr. Mostafa Pourmohammadi; they were among the four members of   the “Death Commission”; he is a member of Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet and Hassan Rouhani, despite  receiving many letters about this case from human rights groups and the families of those prisoners whose relatives were executed in the 1980s,  has never addressed it.

Mostafa Pourmohammadi   is the Minister of Justice in Rouhani’s administration and Ibrahim Raisi  has also declared that he  is very happy  to have been a part of that “Death Commission” who killed,  in his words, those ‘hypocrites’ in what’s been dubbed  ‘Operation Mersad [‘Operation Mersad’,  which took place on July 26, 1988,  was the last major military operation of the Iran–Iraq war,   and saw tens of thousands of members of dissident groups opposed to the theocratic regime, including Ahwazi Arabs, Kurdish Peshmerga and members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran arrested, imprisoned and subjected to mass execution before being buried in mass graves]