Javad Soleimani Meimandi was one of many who lost a family member when Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down an Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet over Tehran on January 8.
Meimandi’s wife, 31-year-old Elnaz Nabiyi, was among the 175 people on board who died when the 737 Boeing was shot down.
In the wake of the tragedy, Meimandi took to his Instagram page to warn that Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has threatened families of victims, according to Radio Farda.
Meimandi is a postgraduate student at the Alberta School of Business in Canada, who fled Iran after he was summoned by the Islamic republic intelligence apparatuses for his criticism of Iran’s military and political establishments.
"I decided to leave the country as soon as possible because I wasn't the person to go to their office and apologize for my criticism. So, I decided to leave Iran immediately and be the voice of the victims and their families," Meimandi told Canada's CBC News Network in an interview on January 30.
On his Instagram page, Meimandi elaborated on the Intelligence Ministry’s threats to family members of victims.
"They have told the relatives to keep silent, or expect consequences experienced by Pouya Bakhtiari's father," he wrote.
Pouya Bakhtiari was a 27-year-old who was shot in the head at an anti-Islamic Republic rally in Iran in November. Soon after, his family was detained. The Intelligence Ministry and the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Intelligence Organization threatened the family to prevent them from holding a memorial for Bakhtiari, and were not released until January 24.
Bakhtiari’s family is not the only one to be threatened.
"The father of one of the victims has been forced to participate in an interview, while the intelligence agents have threatened the mother of another victim," said Meimandi of another family, explaining how agents of the Intelligence Ministry and the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Intelligence Organization are competing to silence the relatives of the tragedy's victims.
Meimandi promises to provide more information on the victims of this plane crash and their families soon.