Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Alireza (Faramarz) Hassanpur Shafi'zadeh


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: July 8, 1987
Location of Killing: Karachi, Pakistan
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial shooting

About this Case

Information regarding the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Alireza (Faramarz) Hassanpur Shafi’zadeh was published in the official website of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (undated; July 3, 2018) and Asoo (February 1, 2019). Additional information about this assassination was obtained from Raha News Agency website (March 23, 2021); the International Peace Studies Center (December 6, 2018); Islamic Revolution Documents Center (July 7, 2007); United Press International News Agency (July 9, 1987); and the Washington Post (July 23, 1987).

Mr. Hassanpur Shafi’zadeh was a member of the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization. (Official website of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, undated).

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization 

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. *

Mr. Hassanpur Shafi’zadeh’s Death

Mr. Alireza (Faramarz) Hassanpur Shafi’zadeh was killed on Wednesday, July 8, 1987, in Karachi, Pakistan, in an armed attack by members and supporters of Pakistan’s Tahreek Jafaria Party on the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) bases. (Islamic Revolution Documents Center, July 7, 2007; official website of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, July 3, 2018; Asoo, February 1, 2019).

According to a Washington Post report, on July 6, 1987, approximately one hundred thousand supporters of Pakistan’s Tahreek Jafaria Party assembled in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, and openly supported Khomeini and Iran’s Islamic Revolution. The Party’s spokespersons warned that they would not tolerate any opposition to Khomeini and the Iranian regime whatsoever. Two days later, 13 MKO bases in the cities of Karachi and Kuweiteh were simultaneously subjected to armed attacks, resulting in the death of two people and the wounding of 30 Party members. (The Washington Post, July 23, 1987).

Pakistan’s Tahreek Jafaria

Pakistan’s Tahreek Jafaria was a Shiite political organization that was founded in 1984, and led by Arif Hussain Al-Hussaini after a split in the Tahreek Nefaz-e Fiqh-e Jafaria (“The Party for the Implementation of Jafari (Shiite) Islamic Law”). The Tahreek-e Nefaz-e Fiqh-e Jafaria was founded in March 1979, inspired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution. After the Party leader’s death in 1984, the movement was split into two groups. The religious faction was led by Seyed Hamid Ali Shah Mussavi. The political faction led by Arif Hussain Al-Hussaini, supported by Ayatollah Khomeini, founded the Pakistan’s Tahreek Jafaria. Arif Hussain Al-Hussaini, who had studied in [the city of] Qom [in Iran, one of the two major centers for Shiite seminary studies, the other being the city of Najaf in Iraq], and had studied under Ayatollah Khomeini in Najaf, was shot and killed by unidentified individuals at Peshawar’s Dar-ol Ma’arif Islamiah seminary on August 5, 1988. When Pervez Musharraf banned the group’s activities in 2002, the Party changed its name to Threek-e Eslami (“Islamic Party”).

Iranian Officials’ Reaction

There is no information available regarding the Iranian government’s reaction.

Pakistani Officials’ Reaction

The Karachi Police arrested 40 individuals with Iranian, Iraqi, and Pakistani nationality in connection with the attacks. The Police also recovered and confiscated “five automatic rifles made in the Soviet Union, 31 rocket launchers, five Uzi weapons made in Israel, ammunition, and other flammable materials”.  (United Press International News Agency, July 9, 1987).

According to Pakistani Police, 13 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were arrested in the town of Quetta. In spite of these arrests, the government of Pakistan did not make an open protest to the Iranian government, and began rounding up a significant number of Iranians in the city of Karachi who were opposed to the Iranian government. (The Washington Post, July 23, 1987).

MKO’s Reaction

Massud Rajavi, the head of the MKO, sent a letter to Muhammad Zia-ul Haq, then-President of Pakistan, protesting the attacks and holding the Iranian regime responsible, and demanding that the attackers be arrested. (United Press International News Agency, July 9, 1987).

Familys’ Reaction

There is no information regarding Mr. Hassanpur Shafi’zadeh’s family’s reaction to his death.


*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 authorities 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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