Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Victims and Witnesses

"I will Curse Iran for as Long as I Live": Zia Gol, Afghan whose Husband was Executed in Iran, Tells her Story

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
November 29, 2018

Zia Gol is an ethnically Pashtun resident of Islam Qal’eh Wuleswalli District in Afghanistan’s Herat Province in her mid-30s. Iran’s judiciary executed her husband Hassan on drug charges. She is the mother of four children, the oldest of whom is 11 and works as a mechanic’s assistant out of economic necessity. The following is based on an interview conducted in July 2018.

Of some 6,100 defendants executed by Iran’s judiciary since 2010, at least 145 have been Afghans – a national designation that, per Iranian law, pertains both to immigrants from Afghanistan and children of Afghan men regardless of the place of their birth. Afghans living in Iran number some 2.5 million according to official sources. Activists report that they face both informal discrimination and formal state impediments to employment, education, and residence.


Can a mother be happy when her child goes to a little corner of the house and cries for something, like clothes or something?

[My older children] say “everybody has a father, they look nice, they eat well, they have a life, but we have nothing”. I pray that God opens a door for us so I can sew and spend money for these kids’ well-being and clothes so they can look nice. That would be good. Up until this past Noruz … there was nothing for me to take care of them…

How could we not [have grievances about the Iranian government] when our young men go to a foreign country for work, with a passport, and [the Iranian authorities] put them in jail and ruin the life of that young man’s wife, [of course we have gripes] … But who do we bring our complaints to? You can’t get crops from a barren land. He had gone to do manual labor, God knows he had gone to do manual labor, with a passport; and he’s gone. May God bring his wrath down upon Iran, just like [they] brought misery on us [and left us] young and miserable and unfortunate. Did I not want a husband? Did I not want a home and a place to live? Did I not have a heart? Did my children not want to wear nice clothes, eat good food? Did I not have a heart? When Noruz rolls around … they cry their hearts out … My children cry their hearts out for a couple of salty almonds. I will curse Iran for as long as I live and will have gripes against them. But no one will hear my complaints. May God Himself …