Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohammad Hassan Tavaf


Age: 19
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: September 23, 1981
Location of Killing: Rasht, Gilan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: War on God; Corruption on earth; Armed rebellion against the Islamic Republic

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Mohammad Hassan Tavaf, son of Ali, along with three others, was published in the (Kayhan) newspaper on September 26, 1981, quoting a statement by the Public Relations Office of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office. The defendant’s names and charges were published in this statement. Additional information is based on an electronic form, sent to Omid by a person familiar with his case. This execution was also reported in an addendum to the (Mojahed) magazine (No, 261), published by the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1985. The list includes 12,028 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.

According to the electronic form, Mr. Mohammad Hassan Tavaf, 19, was born and resided in Rasht. He was single, a senior high school student, and a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. He was born into a religious middle-class family, as the first child, and became an intelligent boy with a good reputation. He participated in the 1979 revolution and was an active member of the Revolutionary Committees in Rasht. However, after witnessing disreputable individuals in those institutions and their deviation from the revolution’s aspirations, he left and joined the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. He was talented in calligraphy, painting, and other arts.

Mr. Tavaf was first arrested by Hezbollah, in Rasht, during a demonstration by Mojahedin for the anniversary of the revolution in February of 1981. A person named Farshid Abazari struck Mr. Tavaf’s head with a dagger. He was transferred to a hospital due to his severe injury. Then doctors and nurses helped him to escape the hospital. 

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principals 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 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 itsmembers were killed and other Muslim members purged, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move led to a split in 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

According to the electronic form, Mr. Tavaf was arrested at the Rashtian Quarter in Rasht on May 1, 1981, around noon. He was transferred to the Revolutionary Guards prison where he had visitations until June 20th. On this day, his mother went to the Revolutionary Court to ask about his situation. She was arrested, along with other mothers who had gone to the court, and was detained for a while.    


According to the electronic form, Mr. Tavaf had no access to an attorney, and his trial was not open to the public. However, according to the statement by the Public Relations Office of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Rasht issued the ruling against Mr. Tavaf and three others. No information is available on the defendant’s trial.


The Public Relations Office of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the charges against Mr. Mohammadhassan Tavaf and three others as “armed uprising against the Islamic Republic regime; participation in street fights and clashes; membership and active support of the Mojahedin; protecting the organization’s data; and approving all policies of the Mojahedin, including armed struggle, explosions, and assassinations.”  

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

According to the electronic form, no evidence was provided against Mr. Tavaf.


No information is available on Mr.Tavaf 's defense.


The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Rasht identified Mr. Mohammadhassan Tavaf as Mofsed (corruptor on Earth) and Mohareb(fighter) against God and Prophet and condemned him to death. The ruling was carried out in Rasht, and he was executed by firing squad on September 23, 1981. Mr. Tavaf was 19 years old.  


* 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 fromFrance, they went toIraqand 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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