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Khamenei Defends Execution of Thousands of Prisoners in Summer of 1988 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei (Reuters/file photo)

London- Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei defended on Sunday the executions conducted in Iran in the 1980s and indirectly criticized the statements of newly elected President Hassan Rouhani.

Speaking at a gathering of senior officials in Tehran to mark the 28th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei said: “We should not mix between the martyr and the oppressor during those events.”

Khamenei reiterated his warnings from any attempts to distort Khomeini’s image and the ideas of the revolution.

“Most of you know that there are motivations for distorting the personality of the Imam and distorting the revolution,” he said.

The supreme leader also rejected in his traditional speech the previous comments delivered by Rouhani, without naming him.

During his presidential campaign last month, the newly-elected president had criticized the executions of thousands of Iranians in the 1980s.

Rouhani had lashed out at one of his main opponents, Ebrahim Raisi, for playing a role when political prisoners were executed during a period of a few months in the summer of 1988.

But, on Sunday, Khamenei defended those events and said: “This phase was important in determining the fate of Iran and the Iranians.”

Khamenei went on to note that the Iranians could receive a slap in case they lose the path of Khomeini.

A few days ago, the son of Hossein Montazeri, Ahmad, urged Rouhani to drop Justice Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi from his cabinet for the major role he played in the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners.

Last summer, Ahmad Montazeri had released an audiotape in which his father can be heard telling a meeting of the members of the “Death Committee” that they are carrying out a crime against humanity.

Pour-Mohammadi was a member of the “Death Committee”, deciding on the fate of those political prisoners.