Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hossein Rastegar Namdar


Age: 66
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August 5, 1981
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Religious offense

About this Case

Information about Mr. Hossein Rastegar Namdar (also spelled "Husayn Rastigar-Namdar"), son of Mirza Masih Taleqani, was sent to Boroumand Foundation (ABF) via two electronic forms by people who knew him. 

Mr. Rastegar is also one of the 206 Iranian Baha’is listed in a 1999 report published by the Baha’i International Community. The report, Iran’s Secret Blueprint for the Destruction of a Religious Community, documents the persecutions of the members of the faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists the Baha’is killed since 1978. Further information has been drawn from various issues of the World Baha’i volumes. 

Additional information about Mr. Rastegar was taken from a facebook page named “memoirs of a Baha’i prisoner” and from the Vaselan website. 

Mr. Rastegar Namdar, a husband and father of two, was born in 1916. He was a proficient speaker and writer who loved art. He graduated from the military college as a Lieutenant and obtained his law degree from Tehran University. Mr. Rastegar was a lieutenant general of the ground forces and commander of the logistical forces of the military during the last years of his service. 

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*- 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.**

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 

Mr. Rastegar Namdar was arrested in September 1980 and spent 11 months in detention. No further details are available on his arrest and detention. 


There is no specific information on the defendant’s trial. 


The charge against Mr. Rastegar was his belief in Baha’i religion.     

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available on Mr. Rastegar Namdar'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 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 center was established on Mount Carmel in the late 19thcentury, long before the establishment of the State of Israel. 


The sentence was issued on August 5, 1981, by a religious judge. According to one of his cellmates, knowing nothing about his sentence, Mr. Rastegar was watching T.V. with his cellmates at 6 p.m. on August 5, when he heard the news of his execution on TV.  Hearing the news, he said goodbye to his friends and said, “All right, I have so far been neither Rastegar (had no salvation) nor Namdar (well-known), but just became both.” Mr. Rastegar’s body was delivered to his cousin’s wife and buried in the Golestan Javid (Baha’i cemetery) in Tehran.


* ‘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.
** 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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