On April 18, 1983, at approximately 1:05 p.m., a truck loaded with explosives crashed into the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The embassy’s central section collapsed on itself, killing 63 and causing injuries to at least 120 people. Thirty years later, there is little doubt about the fact of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s responsibility in the attack. And yet, efforts to talk to victims or questions about details from experts are marred by fear, lack of interest, and political considerations.
Most of the victims of the embassy bombing were not Americans, and it is not an exaggeration to say that there has been little interest in knowing or writing about them. Learning that 27-year-old Ghazi Kabbout, a Shi‘ite from the south of Lebanon and the graduate of a culinary institute, and enjoyed swimming and playing soccer was not easy. The same is true for the 54-year-old embassy employee, Antoine Abi Najem, a father of five, who was born in Damascus, Syria, and married a Lebanese. Abi-Najem was kind-hearted family man who loved to surprise his wife by buying her sweets, even when the budget was tight.
Secrecy and silence about crimes such as the embassy bombing may be, for those who hold on to information or prefer to forget, a means to ensure security. The facts, however, show that silence did not ensure security. In the decade following the bombing of the embassy, the Islamic Republic’s leaders used bombings and targeted civilians, time and again, to advance their foreign policy goals. And they have boasted about their successes in Lebanon.
In recent days, news of the “dry” hunger strike and deteriorating physical condition of two Gonabadi Dervishes, Saleh Moradi and Kasra Nuri , has been widely publicized (1).
Whereas the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran promote only that interpretation of Islam presented by government-approved religious scholars and are opposed to, and regard as problematic, all other non-official and differing interpretations [by other independent Muslim denominations], and whereas they view the progress of dissident Islamic sects as contradictory to and in conflict with their goals, they therefore consider the followers of other religions and Islamic sects, particularly those that believe in the concept of separation of church (religion) and state, as enemies that undermine the religious credibility, influence, and legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, within the community of believers.
In the course of the last decades, the list of the regime’s judicial and security-driven reactions to the followers of other religions and religious sects, with the purpose of violating the rights, persecuting, and preventing the activities of the same, has been very long and has encompassed a wide array of groups ranging from Christians, Jews, and Baha’is, to Sunni Muslims, Dervishes, and newer religious and spiritual groups, such as the Al Yassin community, Erfan Kayhani, Mirza’i Followers, and tens of other small religious denominations.
ABF Executive director
In late January 2013, Argentina and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed an agreement to create a truth commission, composed of five international jurists, to re-investigate the deadly 1994 bombing of the AMIA Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Iranian authorities had refused to cooperate during the Argentine proceedings that uncovered indisputable evidence of Iran's involvement in the attack. The announced agreement has come as a surprise. The vague and unbinding language of the agreement and the lack of provisions protecting the rights of victims to justice cast doubt on the purpose of this curious commission.
For the record, on July 18, 1994, a van packed with 275 kilograms of explosives rammed into the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association ("AMIA"), a mutual aid society. The explosion killed 85 and injured 151, many of them passersby.
Reported executions in Iran
|This year (2013)
|Last year (2012)
These statistics are drawn from ABF’s daily surveys of more than 50 newspapers, websites, and blogs. The majority of these executions have been announced by the authorities themselves or reported by the semi-official media inside Iran. The exact number of executions is difficult to assess, however, as the reports are not always systematic and complete. Moreover, the Iranian authorities do not allow the independent investigation and monitoring of cases in which the death penalty is enforced. The numbers above include only individuals executed after formal judicial proceedings and do not include any who have died in detention or those assassinated or killed by security forces.
Other recent newsletters
No Celebration of 2012 World Human Rights Day in Iran
December 20, 2012
Human Rights Day: Reflecting on the Dire Circumstances of Lawyers in Iran
December 10, 2012
'There Are Absolutely No Political Executions in Iran' -- A Statement by the Head of Iran's Judiciary That Should Not Go Unnoticed
October 22, 2012
In Support of Imprisoned Iranian Teachers
October 5, 2012
Iran: Ensure Equal Access to Higher Education
September 22, 2012
Iran: Donors Should Reassess Anti-Drug Funding
August 21, 2012
Statement Against the Execution of Four Ahwazi Arabs and the Death Penalty in Iran
July 2, 2012
Joint Statement on the Right to Education and Academic Freedom in Iran
May 31, 2012
Iran Should Return Bodies of Execution Victims, Giving Closure to the Families
May 9, 2012
Iran: Free Students Jailed for Speaking Out
May 5, 2012
» And more...