Tehran, Iran – Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has for the first time addressed his links with the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 when he was deputy prosecutor of Tehran.
Rights groups maintain that, shortly after the eight-year Iran-Iraq war ended, Raisi was one of the members of a so-called “death commission” that ordered the disappearance and execution of thousands of prisoners.
Many were reportedly members of the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK), an organisation pushing for regime change that is now based in Europe, which at the time led a military assault on Iranian soil despite the fact a United Nations-brokered ceasefire had taken hold.
Asked by Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig about the executions at a press conference on Monday, Raisi did not directly confirm or deny the allegations.
“Everything I’ve done in my time of holding office has been to defend human rights,” the hardline Muslim scholar said.
He added that he has dealt with “those who disrupted people’s rights and engaged in Daeshi and anti-security moves” in reference to the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.