A United Nations expert on human rights in Iran called for an inquiry into allegations that Iran’s incoming president Ebrahim Raisi, played a role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 inside the country.

Javaid Rehman said his office had gathered evidence relating to the allegations, adding that he would be willing to share his findings with any UN body committed to launching an impartial investigation. Mr. Raisi oversaw the judicial system in 1988 as Iran’s public prosecutor.

Mr. Rehman said he remained concerned by reports that mass graves were being destroyed as part of a cover up attempt by the Islamic Republic. Raisi, who will take up his position as president in August, is also currently under US sanctions over his human rights record.

Efforts at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal stalled again this week, following Tehran’s demand that any return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would have to involve a guarantee from Washington that it would never withdraw again.

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran, which Tehran is also hoping the Biden administration will now lift before the deal is finalized.

Ongoing setbacks now mean the negotiations in Vienna will be unlikely to restart before next week, when the parties to the deal will be engaged in what has been described as the final stage of the discussions.

And Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed hardline cleric Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei as the country’s next judiciary chief.

Ejei, a long-serving judicial official, has been sanctioned by the US and the EU for serious human rights violations. The sanctions were in connection with Ejei’s involvement in a brutal police crackdown on protestors in 2010, in which demonstrators were beaten, tortured and shot.

The imposition of US sanctions on Raisi and Ejei is a first for Iran, which sees the president of Iran and its judiciary head blacklisted together by the US for roles in enabling grave human rights violations.

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