June 30, 2020
Father of a young man killed in Iran’s November 2019 protests has called on the UN to set up a commission to investigate the “bloody crackdown on protesters” that left hundreds dead across Iran.
Manouchehr Bakhtiari’s petition was published on the website of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on Monday, June 29.
“Suppressing the mid-November protests in Iran was the deadliest repression of critics in the streets since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979,” he has stressed in his letter to the UN.
Manouchehr Bakhtiari’s 27-year-old son, Pouya, was directly shot in the head during a four-day uprising against corruption, mismanagement, and rising prices that spread to more than 100 cities across Iran.
Insisting that he seeks “all truth” about the bloody crackdown, Bakhtiari has noted that, in recent months, he has been subjected to pressures and threats by the Islamic Republic Judiciary and intelligence agents.
“Since [Pouya’s death] the Bureau of Inquiries, part of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, has repeatedly threatened our family by telephone…I am frankly afraid that they may seek to silence us completely by any means possible,” CHRI has cited Bakhtiari as saying in his petition to the UN.
Earlier, Bakhtiari revealed that he was forced to attend a memorial of Iran’s Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, whom he considers responsible for the killing of thousands of women and children.
Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone attack on January 3 outside Baghdad international airport.
In a video on his Instagram page, Bakhtiari said on Monday, April 10, he considers Soleimani a “mercenary,” and that he was forced to attend the event and take pictures holding a poster of the killed commander.
Bakhtiari’s letter also notes that UN officials had urged Iran to undertake an independent investigation, but the response had been “flat rejections, falsehoods…These sterile exchanges have generated no accountability or justice.”
Since Pouya Bakhtiari’s death, his father has become one of the most vociferous critics of the Islamic Republic, seeking justice and compensation.
“For five years, I fought in the battlefield to push back the enemy from our homeland, and now they have killed my son merely for protesting an increase in gasoline prices”, Bakhtiari, an Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), veteran, told Radio Farda days after his son’s tragic death.
At the same time, Bakhtiari has openly called for the return of the monarchy and the exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi. The Crown Prince personally called the Bakhtiari family to condole them after the 27-year-old Pouya was shot dead. Bakhtiari has also, on several occasions, given interviews to foreign-based Persian-language media, which the Islamic Republic considers “hostile”.