Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hadi Salari


Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: January 1, 1982
Location of Killing: Ardebil, Ardebil Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Unspecified offense

About this Case

Mr. Hadi Salari is 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. Additional information about him has been obtained from an interview given to Boroumand Foundation by an individual close to him.

Mr. Salari was single and he was studying nuclear physics at Urmia University. He had been admitted to university at 1979 and was among the seven-member Urmia University student council. The person interviewed described Mr. Salari as a disciplined, hardworking and persistent individual who was successful in his studies and had a healthy and organized life. He was athletic, well-dressed, and popular among his friends.

Mr. Salari, who was the only religious person in his family, left his family in 1979 and started his political activity in Ardabil, where he joined the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. He lived in an MKO safe house. According to the testimony of a person close to him, he was active in the armed wing of the organization but was not armed himself.

Based on the available information, Mr. Salari was arrested for the first time in 1980 after being involved in a physical altercation with Hojjatoleslam Gholam Reza Hasani, the Urmia Friday Prayer leader. After his arrest he was transferred to the Tabriz prison. He was released after his brother gave a pledge and Mr. Salari promised not to engage in political activity.

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principles of Islam as its ideological guideline. However, its members’ interpretation of Islam was revolutionary and they believed in armed struggle against the Shah’s regime. They valued Marxism as a progressive method for economic and social analysis but considered Islam as their source of inspiration, culture, and ideology. In the 1970s, the MKO was weakened when many of its members were imprisoned and executed. In 1975, following a deep ideological crisis, the organization refuted Islam as its ideology and, after a few of its members were killed and other Muslim members purged, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move led to split of the Marxist-Leninist Section of the MKO in 1977. In January of 1979, the imprisoned Muslim leaders of the MKO were released along with other political prisoners. They began to re-organize the MKO and recruit new members based on Islamic ideology. After the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the MKO accepted the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and supported the Revolution. Active participation in the political scene and infiltration of governmental institutions were foremost on the organization’s agenda. During the first two years after the Revolution, the MKO succeeded in recruiting numerous sympathizers, especially in high schools and universities; but its efforts to gain political power, either by appointment or election, were strongly opposed by the Islamic Republic leaders.*

Arrest and detention

Mr. Salari was arrested between August 31 and September 2, 1981 in Ardabil. He was going to a public bathhouse when he was deemed suspicious by a Revolutionary Guard patrol. When he was arrested, he told the Revolutionary Guards that he was not involved in politics, and he gave them the address of his paternal home in Nurabad, in the vicinity of Shiraz.

After his arrest Mr. Hadi Salari spent about four months in Ardabil prison. Once his involvement with the MKO was known, however, he was transferred to a prison run by the Revolutionary Guard. Mr. Salari’s father, who was informed by MKO supporters of his son’s arrest, went to Ardabil in order to make a pledge and secure the release of his son. Although Mr. Salari did not have the right to have visitors, Mojahedin supporters who worked at the prison transferred him to the prison medical clinic, where he met his father and brother. Mr. Salari informed them that his interrogators were not aware of his activities, and that they did not have any evidence they could use to convict him. He asked his father to go to the prosecutor’s office and say that his son is not involved in any political activity. His father went to the prosecutor’s office and requested his son’s release. The prosecutor told him that he should provide a letter by Nurabad Revolutionary Guards stating that his son does not engage in any political activity. In that letter, which Mr. Salari’s family never gave to the prosecutor, the Nurabad Revolutionary Guard office wrote that Mr. Salari had deviated from the path of the Revolution, and it recommended his execution.

During the last visit, which took place on December 31, 1981, Mr. Salari confirmed to his father that his identity as well as his organizational rank and activities have been revealed. According to Mr. Salari, they had asked him to appear in a televised interview, but he had refused. He believed that he would be executed anyway, and he comforted his father, saying that he would not turn back from the path he had chosen. In that meeting Mr. Salari walked with difficulty, had lost a lot of weight, and appeared jaundiced and very weak.


Mr. Salari was tried in the Ardabil Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal. There is, however, no information available on his trial.


The Ardabil prosecutor had told Mr. Salari ‘s father that he is one of MKO leaders in the region.

Evidence of guilt

In a conversation with Mr. Salari’s father, the prosecutor had indicated that another MKO supporter had confirmed in his testimony that Mr. Salari’s was involved with the MKO in Azarbaijan. He was executed before Mr. Salari.


No information is available on Mr. Salari’s defense. He was denied access to an attorney.


Mr. Salari was sentenced to death. He was executed by a firing squad on January 1, 1982 in Ardabil. His father, who had been promised by the prosecutor that his son would be released on that day, went to the prison and waited. A guard told him that his son was no longer there, and gave him an address where he could find his son. When he went to that address, which was a hospital, he found his son’s body at the hospital morgue. The hospital gave Mr. Salari’s body to his father at 5:30 pm. The prosecutor’s office made Mr. Salari’s father promise not to bury him at any city, and stressed that they were not permitted to hold a memorial service. Mr. Salari was buried on January 4, 1982 at a village named Razianekari at Fars Province. According to the person interviewed, hundreds of people attended Mr. Salari’s funeral. Hadi Salari was 21 years old at the time of his execution.


The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with to the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, widened the gap between the two. Authorities of the new regime referred to the Mojahedin as “Hypocrites” and the Hezbollahi supporters of the regime attacked the Mojahedin sympathizers regularly during demonstrations and while distributing publications, leading to the death of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the government officials’ efforts to impeach their ally, President Abolhassan Banisadr. Despite the fact that the regime called this demonstration illegal, thousands came to the streets, some of whom confronted the Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hezbollahis. The number of casualties that resulted from this demonstration is unknown but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. The day after the demonstration, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history. Thousands of MKO members and sympathizers were arrested or executed. On June 21, 1981, the MKO announced an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of high-ranking officials and supporters of the Islamic regime.

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where they founded the National Council of Resistance. After the MKO leaders and many of its members were expelled from France, they went to Iraq and founded the National Liberation Army of Iran in 1987, which entered Iranian territory a few times during the Iran-Iraq war. They were defeated in July 1988 during their last operation, the Forugh Javidan Operation. A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. Ever since the summer of 1981, the MKO has continued its activities outside of Iran. No information is available regarding members and activities of the MKO inside the country.

In spite of the “armed struggle” announcement by the MKO on June 20, 1981, many sympathizers of the organization had no military training, were not armed, and did not participate in armed conflict.


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