The next president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, is known in his country as "The Butcher." He was a member of the "Death Commission" which, according to Amnesty International, "forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret thousands of political dissidents" and sent thousands to their deaths, often "without a shred of due process." Raisi is extraordinarily unpopular among the Iranian people. (Photo by Mohsen Esmaeilzadeh/ISNA News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)
The Biden administration's attempts to appease the ruling mullahs of Iran do not seem to have an end. A few days after the Iranian regime handpicked a mass murderer to be its next president -- in a blow to the Iranian people and advocates of democracy and human rights -- the Biden administration is rewarding the regime. The US announced that it is now considering lifting sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Biden administration should instead halt negotiations with the Iranian regime and open an investigation into the next president of Iran -- Ebrahim Raisi who, in addition, is likely to be the next Supreme Leader of Iran. This mullah, known in Iran as "The Butcher," was a member of the "Death Commission" which, according to Amnesty International, "forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret thousands of political dissidents" and sent thousands to their deaths, often "without a shred of due process." Raisi is extraordinarily unpopular among the Iranian people, who, apparently amid calls to boycott the elections, largely refused to vote.
The Biden administration should not disregard Raisi's crimes against humanity and his role in the massacre of tens of thousands of political prisoners. In a matter of approximately two months, reportedly 30,000 political prisoners, some of whom participated in the 1979 revolution that subsequently led to the rise of the mullahs to power, were executed in a hasty manner.
In one of the largest mass purges of dissidents in the world, some political prisoners were lined up before a firing squad while others were executed through hanging. There were no trials and many even did not know that they were going to be killed until a few minutes before their executions.
Those who were executed were buried in mass graves without informing their families about their fate or whereabouts. The mass massacre shocked the nation of Iran; many families still do not know where their loved ones are buried.
Girls, pregnant women and children were among those executed. Women were reportedly raped in front of their husbands or brothers. Virgin girls were also reportedly raped to prevent them from going to heaven. The late Hussain-Ali Montazeri -- one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic, as well as a human rights activist, an Islamic theologian and the designated successor to the Islamic revolution's first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until the very last moments of Khomeini's life -- wrote:
"I told judges not to write death sentences for girls. This is what I said. But they perverted my words and quoted me as saying: Don't execute girls. First marry them for one night and then execute them".
What is also shocking is that Raisi is proud of his role in the mass executions. When asked about the massacre, he pointed out that he should actually be applauded for his actions:
"Everything I've done in my time of holding office has been to defend human rights. If a legal expert, a judge or a prosecutor has defended the rights of people and the security of the society, he must be lauded and encouraged for preserving the security of people against assaults and threats."
Another member of the "Death Commission," Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, echoed the same message when he boasted that he was proud to "carry out God's will and he has not lost sleep over what he did [in the mass execution of political prisoners]."
The Biden administration should understand that Ebrahim Raisi is an extremely dangerous man partially because, from his perspective, anyone who criticizes the Islamic Republic or protests against it is rising against God and his representatives on earth. Whatever his regime does is presumed to be fully justified and rewarded by God because the Islamic Republic is a divine political establishment and all its actions are enforcing God's will on earth.
It is also worth noting that Ebrahim Raisi was also the head of the judiciary of Iran when about 1,500 people, including teenagers and hundreds of women, were killed and many were arrested, imprisoned and tortured during widespread protests in 2019.
The Biden administration truly needs to halt talks with the Iranian regime, stop appeasing the ruling mullahs, impose sanctions and hold the Iranian regime accountable for handpicking a mass murderer to be the next president, and most likely, the next Supreme Leader of Iran.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu