At the end of July 1988, Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the massacre of political prisoners. Death Commissions were formed in more than 70 towns and cities. Until recently only the names of the members of the Death Commission in Tehran had been exposed, since Khomeini had directly appointed them.

The Death Commissions were comprised of a religious judge, a prosecutor, and a representative of the Intelligence Ministry. Individuals such as the deputy prosecutor and heads of prisons had a direct role in implementing Khomeini’s fatwa and cooperated with the Death Commissions. The religious judge and the prosecutor were appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council that was at the time headed by Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili.

The identities of at least 59 individuals who had a direct role in the massacre were revealed on 6 September 2016 at a press conference in Paris by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Among the 59 officials whose identities were established are key current office-holders within the regime. They include the current Supreme Leader, the Vice President of Iran for Legal Affairs, four members of the State Expediency Council, six members of the Assembly of Experts (the highest decision-making body of the regime, tasked with selecting the Supreme Leader’s successor), and at least 12 high-ranking Judiciary officials including the current Justice Minister, and top commanders of the Armed Forces. Additionally, Some of Iran’s largest financial and trade institutions are run and controlled by the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre.