Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Morteza Azarnia


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: October 25, 1981
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Fatal
Charges: Possession of arms; Plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic; Participating in armed demonstrations; Membership of anti-regime guerilla group; Living in safe houses; Attempt to assassinate or assassination of state dignitaries; Armed rebellion against the Islamic Republic; Actively opposing the Islamic Republic

About this Case

The execution of Mr. Morteza Azarnia, son of Reza, and 21 other individuals was announced by the Public Relations section of the Central Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office and published in the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper on December 26, 1981. Mr. Azarnia is also one of the 12028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1985. The list includes individuals, affiliated with various opposition groups, who were executed or killed during clashes with the Islamic Republic security forces from June 1981 to the publication date of the magazine. Mr. Azarnia was affiliated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization.

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of this defendant’s arrest and detention are not known.


No information is available on the defendant’s trial, other than he was tried at the Central Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal.


The personal charges brought against Mr. Azarnia are not known. He and 18 other individuals were collectively charged with: “Plotting and rebellion against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, participation in armed demonstration, including the demonstration of June 20, providing place and financing for the Hypocrites [i.e. the Mojahedin Khalq Organization], participation in assassinations of the Revolutionary Guards brothers, possession of arms and ammunitions, active membership in armed teams of the Hypocrites, and living in safe houses.”

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

The demonstration of June 20, 1981, took place in protest against the parliament’s impeachment of President Banisadr and the Islamic Republic’s systematic policy of excluding the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from the country’s political scene, the refusal of Ayatollah Khomeini to meet with MKO leaders and his insistence for them to disarm. The MKO had until then supported the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and agreed to function within the framework of the new political system.

On June 20, the Organization officially changed its policy and tried to overthrow the regime by organizing mass demonstrations, in which some of the demonstrators were armed, all over the country. These demonstrations, which were severely suppressed and resulted in the killing of dozens of demonstrators, were followed by a wave of mass arrests and executions by the Revolutionary Guards and para-military forces that targeted not only the MKO, but all other opposition groups. The massive repression, unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic, legitimized as official government policy the months-old state harassment and suppression of dissidents and resulted in the banning of all forms of independent political dissent.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.


No information is available on Mr. Azarnia’s defense.


The Central Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal condemned Mr. Morteza Azarnia to death. According to the Mojahed magazine, he was executed in Tehran on December 25, 1981.

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