Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Jinus Ne'mat Mahmudi


Age: 52
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: December 27, 1981
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Religious offense; Espionage

About this Case

An atmospheric scientist, Ms. Ni’mat Mahmudi compiled the nation’s Geographic Atlas. Serene in all circumstances, she urged younger prisoners not to waste their days, and they, in turn, complimented her pink and purple jacket.

Reference to the execution of Ms. Jinus Ne'mat Mahmudi (also spelled "Zhinus Ni'mat-Mahmudi"), the first female meteorologist in Iran, and seven other members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is in Iran, was made by the the President of the Central Revolutionary Court in an interview published in Kayhan on 30 Day 1360 (20 January 1982). Ms. Mahmudi is one of the 206 Iranian Baha’is listed in a 1999 report published by the Baha’i International Community. In addition, a report, The Persecution of the Baha’i Community of Iran, in The Baha’i World, Volume XIX, documents the persecutions of the members of the Faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists the Baha’is killed since 1978. More information has been drawn from other volumes of the The Baha’i World, A Tribute to the Faithful by Mah Mehr Gulistanih, Haqiqat-e-Sadeh by Monireh Baradaran, Mrs. Mahmudi’s cellmate, The Baha’i Question: Iran’s Secret Blueprint for the Destruction of a Religious Community as well as a report of a press conference by the President of the Central Revolutionary Court in Kayhan Newspaper Nr. 11488 published on 30 Day 1360 (20 January 1982) and other reports provided by the Baha’i International Community.

Ms. Mahmudi worked as the Director of the Department of Meteorology of Iran. She authored the Geographic Atlas of Iran and taught atmospheric science and meteorology at various educational institutions including the University of Tehran. In addition to her membership on Local Spiritual Assemblies of Narmak and later Gohardasht, Ms. Mahmudi was appointed as one of the members of the Auxiliary Board to the Baha’i Continental Board of Counselors for Asia in 1977. Following the Islamic Revolution, her pension was cut in February 1980 and she was officially expelled on 30 March 1980, following charges related to her religion, and merits during her services to the Ministry of Defense and Department of Meteorology. Ms. Mahmudi is remembered by her cellmate for her kindness and courage :

“She knew she was going to be killed but she was very serene and kind. She advised the young inmates to not waste their time and volunteered to teach them physics while she was with them. She had a beautiful pink and purple jacket that everyone liked, so she left it for her cellmates to use when she was called for execution on the afternoon of her last day.”

The Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Background

The authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected the members of the Baha'i religious community of Iran - the largest religious minority, with approximately 300 thousand members in 1979(1)- to systematic harassment and persecution, depriving them of their most fundamental human rights. The Baha'i religion is not recognized under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian authorities refer to it as a heresy. As a result, the Baha'is have been denied the rights associated with the status of a religious minority; they cannot profess and practice their faith, and are banned from public functions. Discrimination under the law and in practice has subjected them to abuse and violence.(2)

Persecution of Baha’is in Iran is not specific to the time of the Islamic Republic but it was in this era that it was amplified and institutionalized. During the Revolution itself, supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini attacked Baha’i homes and businesses and in certain instances, even committed murder.

On the eve of his return from France to Iran, in response to a question regarding political and religious freedom of Baha’is under the rule of an Islamic government, Ayatollah Khomeini stated: “They are a political party; they are harmful and detrimental. They will not be acceptable.” The interviewer asked another question: “Will they be free to perform their religious rites?” The Ayatollah responded: “No.” Khomeini had previously “spoken of the Baha’i threat to the Shah’s regime, Islam, national unity, and national security” in various speeches. (Asoo website, October 6, 2015).

Arrest and detention

Ms. Mahmudi was arrested on 14 December 1981 (23 Azar 1360) following a meeting of the National Assembly. The meeting was hosted at the home of a member of the Baha’i community. After their meeting came to an end, the guests began to leave discreetly in order to not draw attention to their gathering, as was often the case during the early days of the revolution. A few minutes after she and another guest left, they were arrested by revolutionary guards who had surrounded the house. The guards then entered the house to arrest the rest of the members of the National Assembly and the hosts. They held Ms. Mahmudi and everyone else against the wall, blindfolded them, all the while shouting and asking about the ninth member of the Assembly who was absent from that meeting. They then ordered Ms. Mahmudi and the others to get into specific cars. According to eyewitness reports, when asked where they were being taken and at whose order, the guards made no response. The group was taken to the building of the National Oil Company’s Club, which served as Komiteh # 4 in Davudiyeh neighborhood. According to eyewitness reports she was later transferred to Evin prison, where she spent a few days with other political prisoners before her execution. (Testimony of Ms. Baradaran)

According to reports by two survivors, the morning after her arrest, the authorities gathered Ms. Mahmudi and the nine other Baha’is arrested in an interrogation room and ordered them to fill out a questionnaire about names of Assembly members, relationship of the Baha’is to Israel, and the amount and location of Baha’i funds. The authorities interrogated her several times during her detainment.


The authorities provided no information to Ms. Mahmudi’s family regarding her trial and there are no eyewitness reports. However, there is an official document from the Central Islamic Revolutionary Chief Prosecutor’s Office, dated 28 December 1981 (7 Azar 1360), indicating that Ms. Mahmudi was tried along with the other seven arrested members of the National Assembly by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran.


The authorities did not provide the family of Ms. Mahmudi with any information regarding her charges. However, the above-mentioned document from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office indicates her charges as follows:

“1. Disrespect for the sacred beliefs of Islam, the Ulama and officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran and ridiculing the people of Iran and considering the slogan of ‘not west nor east’ as barbaric.

2. Connection with Israel by telephone, letter or other means and sending documents and news of Iran to Israel for action.

3. Meetings with foreign dignitaries and officials of other countries with the aim of applying pressure to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

4. Contacting foreign radios in America and the BBC and instigating them against the Islamic Republic following a long connection with them, in order to intensify or silence the voice of America against Iran.

5. Sending or receiving reports containing code words such as ‘Amoo jan’ etc. in various languages to the House of Justice in Haifa [Israel].

6. Sending information regarding prisons or decrees of Marajeh [religious guides] and Hazrat-e-Imam [Khomeini] and instructions issued to houses of blasphemy [Baha’i institutions] by the House of Justice in Haifa.”

Evidence of guilt

No information is available on the evidence presented against the defendant.


No information is available on Ms. Mahmudi’s defense. However, the representatives of the Baha’i community stress that their members are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. They note that Baha’is’ requests to access their files are usually denied, and that even though they are allowed to avail themselves of the services of a defense counsel since the mid-1990s, attorneys are often under pressure not to accept Baha’i clients. They refute the validity of charges such as counter-revolutionary political activities or spying leveled against them in Iranian courts. They point out that the fundamental principles of their religion require them to show loyalty and obedience to their government and to refrain from any political involvement. They believe that the accusation of espionage for Israel is unfounded and based solely on the fact that the Baha’i World Centre is in Israel. They point out that this centre was established on Mount Carmel in the late 19th century, long before the establishment of the State of Israel.


The authorities provided no details regarding Ms. Mahmudi’s judgment to her family and there are no eyewitness reports available. However, based on the Prosecutor’s Office communiqué published in Kayhan on December 28, she and the other National Spiritual Assembly members were convicted of espionage: 

“As espionage against the Islamic Republic and plotting against the people of Iran is proven and undeniable, they are the essence of treachery, agents of corruption on earth and insurgency against the Islamic government of Iran and are, therefore, condemned to death. All their belongings are confiscated for the benefit of the Foundation of the Martyrs. Any of them whose family is in Iran is allowed one house which should be ordinary and of medium size.”

Furthermore, during a press conference, the President of the Central Revolutionary Courts stated that: “It has become clear that this group or sect spy for colonial organizations. The damages that this destructive and vagrant sect has caused for our country! God is the Most Great! These colonial, more specifically Zionist, assistants and spies have fought for years with the rule of Islamic Sharia in our country. After the revolution, they continue to fight with the Islamic Revolution. It is binding upon religious judges and courts to punish them accordingly. Not only the individual members of this vagrant sect conducted political espionage, but after the detested and corrupted Pahlavi family, they were the largest group to pillage the wealth of this country… Some of the members of this sect suffer from mental weakness and the court is merciful to them and warns and returns them to life, because they are ignorant and have no understanding of the phenomenon of espionage.” According to the statement by the President, Mrs. Mahmudi was found guilty of espionage for Israel and its supporters. [Kayhan, p. 15, Wednesday 20 January 1982, Nr. 11488]

Ms. Mahmudi was executed on 27 December 1981 (6 Day 1360) but the authorities did not notify her family. An official of Evin Prison informally telephoned family contacts, following which survivors visited the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery and found her name on the list of those killed and buried by the authorities in a specific unmarked area referred to by the officials as kofrabad [land of infidels].


1- ‘Slow Death for Iran’s Baha’is’ by Richard N. Ostling, Time Magazine,20 February 1984. Also see ‘The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran, 1844-1984, by Douglas Martin, Baha’i Studies,volume 12/13, 1984, p. 3. There is no information about the current number of Baha’is in Iran.
2- The Islamic Republic Penal Code grants no rights to Baha'is, and the courts have denied them the right to redress or to protection against assault, murder, and other forms of persecution and abuse. In so doing, the courts have treated Baha'is as unprotected citizens or "apostates," citing eminent religious authorities whose edicts are considered to be a source of law equal to acts of Parliament. The Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made execution a punishment for the crime of apostasy and decreed that a Muslim would not be punished for killing an apostate.

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