Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Nematollah Nasiri


Age: 66
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: February 15, 1979
Location of Killing: Refah School, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Collaborating with the political police SAVAK; Torture; Corruption on earth; Murder of persons and/or killing Muslims or/and freedom fighters; Unspecified anti-revolutionary offense

About this Case

General Nematollah Nasiri is one of 438 victims listed in a March 13, 1980 Amnesty International report. The report lists defendants who were convicted by Revolutionary Tribunals in the period from their inception until 12 August 1979. The list of victims and charges is drawn from sources including translations of indictments, reports of trials carried out by local and foreign media and the bulletins of the official Pars News Agency reports.

The news of the execution of General Nasiri, along with three other high ranking military officials, is also announced in a communiqué of the Special Islamic Tribunal (Kayhan daily, 17 February 1979)

General Nasiri is also mentioned in the Memoirs of Ayatollah Khalkhali, the first post-revolution religious judge and head of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunals:

"I began to try the culprits soon after my nomination. The first people I tried and punished for their deeds were Nematollah Nasiri, head of SAVAK, and .... I sentenced them to death. ... All the people who were sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunals were the best examples of 'corruptor on earth' and they were executed as such."

"A Corruptor on earth is a person who contributes to spreading and expanding corruption on earth. Corruption is what leads to the decline, destruction and deviation of society from its natural path. People who were executed had strived in spreading corruption and prostitution, circulating heroin, opium and licentious behavior, atheism, murder, betrayal, flattery; in sum, they had all these vile traits. These people’s problems were aggravated by the fact that they did not repent once they saw the people’s revolution."

"To sum it up, all the people that I condemned and who were executed in the early days of the establishment of the Revolutionary Tribunals and later in the Qasr prison were all corruptor on earth and based on the Quran judgment their blood was a waste."

Arrest and detention

No information is available on the defendant's arrest and detention. However, photographs published in the press show the defendant with bandages covering his head and chin.


The defendant and 24 other individuals were tried in the Alavi School. The Kayhan daily reported that these defendants were tried following an order issued by Ayatollah Khomeini on February 15th. The trial lasted 10 hours.

The report specified that the defendants, (brought in together and having each a name tag consisting of a large sheet of paper taped on their chests) were tried by a group composed of " three reputable judges, the representative of the Imam [Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali], Edalati, a member of the Jame'eye Ruhaniun-e Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics), and Dr. Yazdi, a member of the Revolutionary Council [A temporary revolutionary ruling body whose members were nominated by Ayatollah Khomeini]." The accused were spread out in the courtroom. The presence of prosecution witnesses is noted but there is no reference to defense witnesses.

Behind General Nasiri, A photograph in Kayhan shows a scripture [verse from the Qur'an] :

" In the Name of the Destroyer of Oppressors. The Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Iran. And for you in the Law of Talion [Qisas] there is life, O ye men of Understanding! If a man kills a Believer intentionally, his recompense is hell, to abide therein Forever. If anyone slew a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people".


The charges against General Nasiri as listed in the Special Islamic Tribunal's communiqué are: corruption on earth, massacre of people, torture, and treason.

Evidence of guilt

No information is available regarding the evidence presented against this defendant. The report of the trial mentioned the presence of witnesses testifying in support of the prosecutors but provides no information regarding their testimony.

Based on the statements of the presiding judge regarding this execution [published in Sadeq Khalkhali's memoirs, Volume I], the defendant's association with the former regime after the year 1963 was also regarded as incriminating evidence against him:

"I believed at the time, and I still believe, that all the deputies and senators, all governors, heads of SAVAK [former regime's political police] and police, who after 1963, and the Imam's boycott [referring to the period starting with Ayatollah Khomeini's arrest and conviction following the 1963 protests against the Shah's social and political reforms], held office are all sentenced to death. Directors in ministries who were instrumental in the survival of the apparatus [Shah’s regime] and who, for getting close to the Shah and his family would accept any humiliation, are all condemned.


No information is available regarding General Nasiri's defense. Kayhan's report of the trial, which does not mention any statement by the defendant or the other officials tried that day, notes that the accused were "bombarded with thousands of questions." There were no defense witnesses. However, General Nasiri denied the charges brought against him in an interview with the Kayhan correspondent, which took place moments before his execution. He referred the journalist to SAVAK's (former regime's political police) archived documents that would prove his innocence.


According to the official communiqué, the Special Islamic Tribunal found the defendant guilty and declared him a "corruptor on earth". He was sentenced to death and confiscation of property. Based on Kayhan's report, the sentence, issued the day of the trial at 10:00 pm, was immediately confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini and carried out. The defendant was executed at 11:45 p.m.

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