In his letter, Mr. Rajavi asked His Holiness not to receive Mohammad Khatami, the clerical regime's criminal president, in view of the mullahs' disregard for internationally recognized human rights principles and 43 resolutions of condemnation by different organs of the United Nations, as well as for continuing executions, torture, export of terrorism and abuse of the rights of religious minorities.
Recalling that Khatami's trip to Italy was simultaneous with the sixth anniversary of the assassination in 1993 in Rome of Mohammad Hossein Naghdi, the NCR representative in Italy, by terrorists dispatched from Tehran, Mr. Rajavi said: The regime's leaders, including Khamenei and Khatami must face an international tribunal for two decades of crimes against humanity, including the execution of 120,000 political prisoners.
The NCR President enclosed with his letter, the list of names and particulars of 3,208 prisoners out of 30,000 political prisoners massacred by the Iranian regime in 1988. The list was submitted to the Vatican.
Mr. Rajavi said: Despite his rhetoric about "civil society," the "rule of law" and "dialogue between civilizations," Khatami has never uttered a word of criticism or condemnation as regards these crimes. Quite to the contrary, he has lost no opportunity to heap praise on the perpetrators of these horrific atrocities. He, like other leaders of the regime, sees the continuation of the mullahs' dictatorial rule - and naturally his own presidency - conditional upon the persistence of these atrocities and backing those very criminals.
Since Khatami took office less than two years ago, the NCR President said, the regime has announced the execution of at least 320 people and the stoning of nine more. In the course of 44 terrorist assaults, 28 Iranian dissidents have been killed beyond Iran's borders. The arrest and persecution of women continues. As regards religious minorities, including the followers of the Christian faith, the situation is extremely grave. They are facing an assortment of restrictions and prohibitions with respect to holding religious services as well as religious teachings. Many Christian leaders have been either executed or secretly murdered on the charge of apostasy, including Hossein Soodmand, Mehdi Dibaj, Haik Hovsepian Mehr and Tataos Michaelian.
Mr. Rajavi added: The crimes committed by the ruling anti-human regime are in no way connected to Islam which, like other great religions, has always promoted mercy, compassion and forgiveness. In truth, the mullahs ruling Iran are those Pharisees whom Jesus Christ had described as "snakes" and "brood of vipers," who "come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."
The NCR President reiterated: The Iranian people, particularly the followers of Jesus Christ in my homeland, have every expectation that Your Holiness condemn decisively the atrocities by the ruling mullahs and shun their President, and, instead, endorse the aspirations of the Iranian people for democracy, tolerance, fraternity and equality. Such a decision will doubtless be a fortuitous and unforgettable development in the relations between the Muslim people of Iran, the Vatican and the Christian world.
Secretariat of the National Council Resistance of Iran
March 2, 1999