Appointment of Ebrahim Raisi to Head Iran’s Judiciary Signals Resurgence of Hardline Elements

For Immediate Release: March 7, 2019
Contact: Mana Mostatabi | mmostatabi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C.—Today, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a decree appointing hardline cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, as head of the country’s Judiciary.

In response to the appointment, Mana Mostatabi, Communications Director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), noted:

The appointment of Ebrahim Raisi today to head Iran’s Judiciary—a tremendously powerful institution that has overseen countless miscarriages of justice—is deeply concerning. Raisi, a hardliner who was soundly defeated by Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s 2017 presidential elections, brings a shameful track record to the Judiciary—including his involvement in the committee that oversaw the executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

In a fair and just system, the appointment of such an individual to head the Judiciary would be impossible. Unfortunately, the Judiciary is among Iran’s unelected institutions that are not accountable to Iran’s civil government and that have long ensured that Iran does not abide by its international human rights obligations.

Raisi’s selection as Judiciary head is yet another grim sign that the same hardliners who faced significant setbacks after the JCPOA was successfully negotiated with Iran are now resurgent following Trump’s abrogation of the nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions. Ultimately, it is the Iranian people who endure the impacts of any U.S. pressure policies—not the hardline forces responsible for human and civil rights abuses.

In the wake of Raisi’s appointment, NIAC reiterates its call for Iran to fully abide by its international human rights obligations and to release all prisoners of conscience unjustly detained.

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