BERLIN (Reuters) -Supporters of Iran’s exiled opposition rallied in Berlin and elsewhere on Saturday to demand the prosecution of the Islamic Republic’s newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, whom they accuse of crimes against humanity.
Flag-waving demonstrators rallied at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and other locations as part of a Free Iran World Summit that featured speeches by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
In a keynote address, Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, accused Raisi of being the “henchman” responsible for the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said Raisi’s election was a blow for human rights and called for an investigation of his role in what they and Washington have called the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners.
Iran has never acknowledged the mass executions and Raisi has never publicly addressed allegations about his role. Some clerics have said the trials were fair, praising the “eliminating” of armed opposition in the early years of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
In an online address, Pompeo described the Iranian presidential election as “in fact, a boycott and the regime knows it”. “This is a show laid bare for the entire world to see,” Pompeo said.
He denounced Raisi as a leader who had been hand-picked by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to “inflict pain, frighten, continue to loot, and to plunder” on behalf of the theocracy.
Iran hit back, with a foreign ministry spokesman accusing “bought western politicians”, including Pompeo, of selling themselves cheap “for a Europe-hosted circus arranged by a once Saddam-backed terrorist cult with Iranian blood on its hands.”
“Insatiable thirst for $$ & anti-Iran obsession is driving shameful western hypocrisy,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote in a tweet https://twitter.com/SKhatibzadeh/status/1413911580111147020?s=20.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvinel; Additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Dan Grebler)