Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohammad Hassan Mansuri


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim


Date of Killing: July 25, 1987
Location of Killing: Levent district, Istanbul, Turkey
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial shooting

About this Case

Mr. Mansuri was a major and a fighter pilot in the Pahlavi Era Air Force.  He defected to Saudi Arabia with an F4 fighter jet.

News of the assassination of Mr. Mohammad Hassan Mansuri was published in Cumhuriyet Turkish Newspaper (August 1, 1987; February 12, 1989; and March 16, 1990), and Milliyet Turkish Newspaper (May 8, 2000).  Additional information was gathered from Asoo website (February 1, 2019), Rozaneh (October 15, 2020), Balatarin (no date), and from an article published by Brigham Young University in the United States (2013).   

Major Mansuri, Pahlavi Era fighter pilot, was living in the United States (Balatarin).  On March 4, 1982, Mr. Mansuri took off from Bushehr Sixth Hunting Base with an F4 fighter jet on a training mission.  Mid-flight, he changed course, left Iran, and flew to Saudi Arabia.  He then requested asylum and emigrated to America.  Mr. Mansuri objected to the government of Iran’s persistence in continuing the Iran-Iraq was after the recapture of Khorramshahr (Balatarin). 

After leaving Iran, Mr. Mansuri contacted the Mojahedin Khalq Organization of Iran, and encouraged his former cohorts to leave Iran and to object to Ayatollah Khomeini’s decision to continue the Iran-Iraq war.  This resulted in another fighter pilot defecting to Iraq with his F4 jet (Balatarin).

Background of the Iran-Iraq War and popular discontent 

The 8-year long Iran-Iraq war had roots in a number of historical territorial and political disputes including over the Shaṭṭ al-ʿArab, a river that was the border between the two countries, dating back to the 1930s. The two countries had attempted to settle the border dispute through a treaty in 1937, from which Iran withdrew in 1967, and an agreement in 1975, which Iraq reneged on in 1980 shortly before its September 1980 offensive against Iran. Two months into the war, and after capturing the city of Khorramshahr, Iraq’s army had bogged down into Iran’s territory. By mid-1982, Iran had recaptured most of its territory and carried out offensives inside Iraq. 

In July 1982, The UN Security Council approved a resolution calling for an immediate cease fire between Iran and Iraq. The withdrawal of forces to their own borders, but Iran rejected the resolution. Iranian leaders stressed in various statements that the withdrawal did not satisfy Iran's conditions for an end to the war. [NYT, 6/30 and 7/14] For Iran’s decision makers, the fall of Saddam and compensation were the preconditions for peace. (Washington Post, February 21, 1983; FBIS April 24, 1985) The stalemate in the war inflicted a heavy cost, in particular on civilians as Iraqi and Iranian planes bombed population centers and targeted the oil industrial complexes in both countries, Iraq used chemical weapons against the Iranian army and its own Kurdish population and Iran sacrificed thousands, mainly young boys, on minefields in Iran. (NYT, March 14, 1985)  By 1986, the high human cost of the war, the shelling of the cities, and the displacement of the most at risk populations had weakened significantly popular support for the war. Critical statements and protests in April and May 1985 as well as defections, including of pilots, were reported by the media. (FBIS April 25, 1985; Washington Post, May 18, 1985)*

Mr. Mohammad Hassan Mansuri’s Death 

Mr. Mohammad Hassan Mansuri was killed on July 25, 1987, in Levent district of Istanbul, Turkey (Milliyet Turkish Newspaper, May 8, 2000; Asoo, February 1, 2019; Rozaneh, October 15, 2020). 

According to available information, Mr. Mansuri had gone to Istanbul to coordinate and facilitate the emigration of the family of another Iranian fighter pilot. He and an Iraqi diplomat were meeting with the family in a house in the Levent Neighborhood, when they were assassinated by two people with guns equipped with silencers (Asoo, February 1, 2019; Rozaneh, October 15, 2020). 

According to Milliyet Newspaper, members of Iranian backed Islamic groups in Turkey orchestrated the murder of Mr. Mansuri. Suspects who were arrested in connection with the assassination of several Turkish and Iranian citizens, and who were members of Islamic Groups in Turkey, confessed that these groups “received guerilla training in Iran and that 

the Iranian government provided them with money and training”. (Milliyet Turkish Newspaper, May 8, 2000) 

Examination of the bullets showed that Mr. Mansuri and Mr. Hadi Aziz Moradi were assassinated with the same gun (Asoo, February 1, 2019, Rozaneh, October 15, 2020; Balatarin).

Officials’ Reaction

There is no information on the reaction of Iranian or Turkish officials.

Reaction of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization  

The representative of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in Paris condemned the assassination of Mr. Mansuri.  However, they declared that he had no connection with this organization (Cumhuriyet Turkish Newspaper, August 1, 1987).

Familys’ Reaction

There is no information on the reaction of Mr. Mansuri’s family.

Impacts on Family

There is no information on the effects of the assassination of Mr. Mansoori on his family.

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July: Iranian troops attacked Basra; Iranian forces entered Iraq and Iraq launched a counteroffensive; fighting took place around Qasr-i Shirin, opening up a new northern front; Iraqi planes attacked Hamadan, inflicting casualties; heavy fighting occurred around Basra; Iraqi jets attacked the towns of Ilam and Khurramabad; Iranian planes bombed Baghdad, and Iraqi planes attacked Ahwaz and Dizful in retaliation. [NYT, FBIS, WP] 
October: Iraqi forces launched a major offensive in the Mandali region, inflicting heavy casualties; Iraqi jets attacked Dizful, inflicting heavy casualties. [NYT, FBIS, WP] 
December: Iraq destroyed Iranian naval targets in the Gulf; Iraqi missiles attacked Dizful, inflicting serious casualties; Iran shelled Basra; the Iraqi forces carried out scores of bombing missions in Khuzistan; heavy fighting occurred on the southern front.  [NYT, FBIS] 
Feb. 10: Iran's President 'Ali Khaman'i said the "punishment of the leaders of the Iraqi regime" was the main goal of the war. Iraq's withdrawal from Iran's territory was no longer a condition for peace, he said, because Iran had recaptured most of the land it lost. [2/21 WP] 
January 19: UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar said a UN inspection team had found evidence that Iraqi planes bombed several civilian areas in Iran in January. [1/19 WP]
February: Iran and Iraq accused one another of shelling cities and other civilian areas; Apr. 20: A joint statement broadcast by clandestine Radio of the Iranian Toilers, the opposition Tudeh party and the Feda'iyan-i Khalq said recent demonstrations in Tehran protesting the Iran-Iraq war had been brutally crushed by regime authorities. [4/24 FBIS] 
March 13: Iran accused Iraq of using chemical weapons, and UN experts confirmed that Iranian soldiers had been affected by mustard gas and a nerve agent called tabun. [3/14 NYT] 
March 27: Iran said its demands for ending the war were the elimination of the Iraqi regime, $350 billion in war reparations, and the return of 200,000 Iraqi "refugees" to Iraq. [3/28 FBIS]
September: Iraqi planes continued to attack Kharg and naval targets near-by; foreign tankers continued to be attacked in the Gulf; Iranian planes bombed the ‘Ayn Zalah oil installation; Iranian planes raided Iraqi targets around Basra; Iraqi planes destroyed power stations at the Dizah and Rizasha dams; Iranian planes bombed power installations at the Dukan dam; Iranian artillery destroyed an Iraqi radar site at al-Faw; fighting occurred on the western and northern fronts. [FBIS, NYT]
October: Iraqi planes bombed Kharg and naval targets in the Gulf; Iraqi and Iranian planes attacked foreign tankers in the Gulf; Iranian forces launched an offensive in the Sumar area; Iraq attacked the Bahnegan, Cyrus, and Ardeshir oil fileds and the Khvor Malih monitoring station; Iranian planes attacked al-Halfaya and Darband oil installations. [FBIS, WP]
Apr. 25: The West German press agency reported that about 1000 people had been detained in Iran after they participated in peaceful demonstrations against the Iran-Iraq war. [4/25 FBIS] 
Motorists created a huge traffic jam in Tehran to demonstrate against the government and the war with Iraq, in answer to an appeal from Paris by exiled former premier Shahpur Bakhtiar. [5/18 WP]
May 18: The Washington Post reported that Iranian leaders were split over whether the fall of Saddam should be a precondition for ending the war. Speaker 'Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani and Foreign Minister' Ali Akbar Vilayati were reportedly in favor of ending the war without insisting on it, while President Khaman'i and Prime Minister Mir Husuyn Musavi held that his ouster was necessary. [5/18 WP]
June: Iranian and Iraqi planes raided each other’s capitals; Iraqi planes raided navel targets near Kharg and the island’s oil terminal; Iraqi planes attacked the Bandar Khumayni petrochemical complex; Iranian artillery raided Basra; Iraqi planes raided Tabriz, Isfahan, and Hamid; a huge explosion shook Baghdad; Iraqi planes attacked Ilam and Paveh, Kurdistan; Iranian and Iraqi planes shelled border towns; tankers continued to be hit in the Gulf; Iran reported heavy fighting in its southern region and in the central sector. [NYT, WP, AN]  

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