Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Salar Jaff


Age: 39
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: March 5, 1979
Location of Killing: Qasr Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Murder of persons and/or killing Muslims or/and freedom fighters

About this Case

Whether in his youth in his native Kurdistan in Iraq, or as an adult in Iran, where his family immigrated, Mr. Salar Jaff was active and involved in politics. He was a man of action and a victim of revolutionary justice.

Mr. Salar Jaff, son of Davud Beyk (leader of the Jaff tribe) and former member of the parliament, is among the seven men whose execution was reported by the Pars News Agency on March 5, 1979. The newspapers Kayhan (March 5) and Ettela’at (March 6, 1979) also published the news.  Additional information has been drawn from communications sent by Mr. Jaff’s brother to Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF). 

Mr. Jaff is also one of the 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 August 12, 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. Moreover, Mr. Jaff is one of 55 persons mentioned in the Memoirs of Ayatollah Khalkhali, the first post-revolution religious judge and head of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal. 

Mr. Salar Jaff, the oldest child of a well-known family from the Jaff tribe, was born in Iraq in 1940. His brother refers to him as a wise and well-respected person who had the respect of his community. Mr. Jaff was active since his youth. He was the representative and spokesman of the students at his secondary school and became prominent in the small city of Khanaqeen in Iraq. 

In 1959, unstable conditions and insecurity in Iraq led the Jaff family to immigrate to Iran and settle in Kermanshah where Mr. Jaff continued his studies. He later on accompanied his sick father to Tehran and started agricultural and commercial ventures. His modern farming methods drew, according to his brother, the attention of visiting foreign delegations. 

Mr. Jaff was also active politically in the Pan-Iranist party and later in the Iran-e Novin party, where he was in charge of all Iranian tribes. He was elected as the Kermanshah representative to the Majless, Iran's parliament, and served his constituency until the revolution.

According to his brother, Mr. Jaff was also involved in Iraqi politics and supported the Kurdish opposition to Iraq's government. He collected medicine and arms for the Pesh Merga (the Kurdish militia) and took foreign journalists to Kurdistan so that they could witness people's suffering and report on their struggle for freedom.


Arrest and detention

Based on available information, Mr. Salar Jaff was arrested soon after the Revolution for his involvement in demonstrations in the town of Paveh in Kurdistan. 

Before the 1979 revolution, and following a series of widespread demonstrations accross Iran, Mr. Jaff organized demonstrations in various cities of Kurdistan to support the Shah. During the very last days of these demonstrations in Paveh, several people were killed in clashes between the opposition and the demonstrators. News of these clashes were reported in the local media, as well as in foreing newspapers, such as “Der Spiegel” and “Le Monde.” According to Mr. Jaff's brother, as the tensions continued, opponents to the Shah initiated a campaign of disinformation in the media, and called, unsuccessfully, on the parliament to lift Mr. Jaff’s immunity. 


Based on news reports, the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Iran was in session for nine hours on March 4, 1979, deliberating seven cases, including Mr. Jaff’s. The specific circumstances of the trial remain unknown. 

The Shari'a Judge and Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal, Ayatollah Khalkhali, named Mr. Jaff in the list of officials he had tried and noted:

 “I believed, and still believe, that all the parliamentarians and senators, all governors, heads of SAVAK [National Intelligence and Security Organization] and police officers who held office after 1963, and after Emam [Khomeini] ordered the boycott [of parliamentary election], should be executed. … High-ranking officials in the ministries, who were instrumental in the survival of the apparatus [Shah’s regime] and who would accept any humiliation to get close to the Shah and his family, are all condemned [to execution] … .


The charges brought against Mr. Jaff were not announced in the report of the Pars News Agency.  According to this report, the seven co-defendants were collectively charged with “participation in murder and massacre of innocent people.” Kayhan (March 5, 1979), reported that Mr. Jaff was arrested for “mobilizing vigilantes in Paveh and Javanrud, where his followers attacked people and killed the innocents”. 

Ayatollah Khalkhali provided details on the charges in his memoirs:

“I began to try the convicts soon after my nomination. … All the people who were sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunals were the best examples of a ‘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 the deviation of society from its natural course. The executed persons had participated in the spread of corruption and prostitution, distribution of heroin and opium, and promotion of licentious behavior, godlessness, murder, treason, flattery, and, in sum, they possessed all vile attributes. These people’s problems were aggravated by the fact that they did not repent, even after they witnessed the people’s revolution. 

 The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial. 

Evidence of guilt 

The report in Kayhan referred to several documents and confessions of eyewitnesses during the trial of Mr. Jaff and six other defendants, but did not provide details about the testimonies or the documents and whether they related to Mr. Jaff. (Kayhan March 5, 1979) 



In an interview with Iran's Radio and Television on February 12, 1979, Mr. Jaff noted that the demonstration he was charged with organizing and attending was peaceful and denied having shot at the demonstrators. (Kayhan, February 13, 1979)



The Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal declared Mr. Jaff “corruptor on earth” on March 4, 1979.

Ayatollah Khalkhali justified the Tribunal's ruling in his memoirs:

“In sum, all the people whom I condemned to death and who were executed in the early days of the establishment of the Revolutionary Tribunals and in Qasr Prison were corruptors on earth. Based on the Quran, their life was a waste … . Not one of them could be acquitted according to the Quran.” (Ayatollah Khalkhali’s memoirs – Book One)

Mr. Salar Jaff was shot by firing squad on March 5, 1979, at 5:00 a.m.

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