All candidates for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s presidential election, no matter their political faction, are either perpetrators of international crimes or are complicit in gross human rights violations. Justice for Iran raises serious concern over another perpetrator replacing Ebrahim Raisi on June 28th, 2024, following his death earlier this year.

Justice for Iran also expresses its deep concern over the absolute absence of democratic standards in the upcoming presidential election process in Iran. We note that individuals who have been allowed to run possess the worst records of human rights violations, while women and religious and ethnic minorities have effectively been barred from participation.

The Islamic Republic has once again deprived the Iranian people of their fundamental right to self-determination by holding a sham election, mocking democratic values in the eyes of the international community.

Following the death of Ebrahim Raisi, a member of the death committee whose name is synonymous with crimes against humanity and massacre of political prisoners in 1988, the Islamic Republic has selected other human rights violators in a process devoid of legitimacy to impose one of them as the next president.

Below is a summary of each candidate’s records, based on Justice for Iran’s extensive documentation published Faces of Crime database:

  • Alireza Zakani:
    • As head of the Basij student organisation at Tehran universities, was involved in the violent suppression, assault and detention of students at University of Tehran in July 1999.
    • Prevention of provision of municipal services to unveiled women as Mayor of Tehran.
    • Collaboration with police to arrest women for resisting compulsory hijab.
  • Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi:
    • Member of the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce
    • Responsible for the widespread deaths of citizens due to the deliberate prevention of effective vaccines being imported and distributed
    • Responsible for mismanagement of the fight against COVID-19.
    • Concealment of the death toll and tampering with evidence regarding the victims of the pandemic.
    • According to a member of the Coronavirus Combat Taskforce in an interview, the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths announced by the Ministry of Health is “one-twentieth of the actual figures”.
  • Masoud Pezeshkian:
    • As Minister of Health and Medical Education, he is responsible for hindering the circumstances surrounding Zahra (Ziba) Kazemi’s (Iranian-Canadian photographer) death and concealing her torture and murder.
    • Obstructing independent investigations into Kazemi’s death.
    • Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photographer, was detained without reason by Tehran’s prosecutor’s office agents on June 23, 2003, while photographing a gathering of families of detainees outside Evin Prison. Four days later, she was declared brain dead at the hospital and, despite her brain death, was kept on a ventilator until July 10, when her death was officially announced. Testimony from Shahram Azam, an emergency room doctor at Baqiyatallah Hospital who examined her, Kazemi indicated signs of torture, severe trauma, multiple fractures, and significant cranial injuries. The doctor also stated that Zahra Kazemi was sexually assaulted before her death.
  • Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf:
    • Responsible for the suppression of student protestors at University of Tehran in July 1999, as the commander of the IRGC Air Force.
    • Obtaining authorisation for the use of lethal weapons against students for the forces that attacked University of Tehran dormitories in 2003, as the Chief Commander of Police and member of the National Security Council.
    • During his tenure, Law Enforcement Force repeatedly summoned, detained, and tortured internet activists, bloggers, journalists, and filmmakers.
    • Involvement in the suppression of protestors following the 2009 elections as Mayor of Tehran.
    • Aiding in approving the Bill on Hijab and Chastity as Speaker of the Parliament, resulting in severe punishment against unveiled women.
  • Mostafa Pourmohammadi:
    • Responsible for the rape and execution of female prisoners in Vakilabad Prison in 1982, as the Prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court in Razavi-Khorasan Province.
    • Member of the Death Committee in Tehran – extrajudicial execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
    • As a Deputy Miniter of Intelligence and Head of Foreign Desk of the Ministry of Intelligence, he was responsible for the assassination of opponents of the Islamic Republic inside Iran and abroad, including serial assassinations of Iranian writers and intellectuals known as the Chain Murders of Iran.
  • Saeid Jalili:
    • Responsible for the internet shutdown during November 2019 protests as a member of the Supreme Council of National Security. At least 1500 protestors were killed, according to Reuters.
    • Responsible for authorising the IRGC Tharallah Security Headquarters in Tehran to suppress protestors using lethal force and killing hundreds of civilians.

As the culture of impunity for human rights violators becomes increasingly entrenched in the Islamic Republic, those who should be on trial for their involvement and responsibility in the torture and killing of protesters, extrajudicial executions, preventing access to vaccines, and obstructing independent investigations into the torture, rape, and murder of detainees, are instead being allowed to compete for the highest office in the country.

Justice for Iran warns that unless the Islamic Republic regime is held accountable for crimes against humanity spanning almost half a century, the culture of impunity will persist.