Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Morteza Alian Najafabadi


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: Unknown
Location of Killing: Mashhad, Khorasan\Khorasan-e Razavi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Enforced disappearance

About this Case

After he was released from prison in 1993, Mr. Alian worked in a flower nursery in Mashhad.

Information on the disappearance and extrajudicial killing of Mr. Morteza Alian Najafabadi has been published in Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication (May 9, 2008).  Additional information about this killing has been collected from The Tragedy of Democracy; A Review of the Serial Killings, written by Emadeddin Baghi, published by Ney Publishing (Winter, 2000) and Falakhan Electronic Publication #58 (February 2, 2017).

Mr. Morteza Alian Najafabadi lived in Mashhad and was a supporter of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization.  He was arrested in 1985 for his political activities.  He was initially condemned to life in prison, but he was released in 1993.  After he was released from prison, he worked in a flower nursery (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008).

In her interview with Payam-e Hamun publication, Mr. Alian’s mother said that after the bombing incident in the Shrine of the Eighth Imam of the Shias on June 20, 1994 (1), Mr. Alian was summoned by the Information Ministry and he was interrogated.  At the time, Mr. Alian’s family had been told, “We will be back to take him in again.” (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO)

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. (3)

Forced Disappearance And Murder Of  Mr. Morteza Alian Najafabadi   

Mr. Morteza Alian Najafabadi left his home at 9 am, on Friday, January 14, 1997.  He was going to drive to the flower nursery where he worked.  He never returned home.  According to available information, he was abducted that same day by agents of the Information Ministry (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008; The Tragedy of Democracy, Winter 2009; Falakhan, February 2, 2017).

According to available evidence, Mr. Alian was one of the supporters of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who disappeared in connection with the “Alghadir” Operation, carried out by the Information Ministry of the Islamic Republic. This operation was designed to kidnap and kill members and supporters of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. There is no information about him or his brother in law. Sometime before Mr. Alian was kidnapped, thousands of prisoners, including members of the Mojahedin Khalq who were considered “leaders”, had been executed during mass killings in the summer of 1989. According to this information and according to the statements given by responsible officials, it is possible that Mr. Alian and the rest of the missing people were killed by the same logic (Boroumand Center Research).

Background of Extrajudicial Killings by the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a long history of politically motivated violence in Iran and around the world. Since the 1979 Revolution, Islamic Republic operatives inside and outside the country have engaged in kidnapping, disappearing, and killing a large number of individuals whose activities they deemed undesirable. The actual number of the victims of extrajudicial killings inside Iran is not clear; however, these murders began in February 1979, with the murder of Parviz Sayyah Sina, an Anglican Bishop, and have continued since then, both inside and outside Iran. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center has so far identified over 540 extrajudicial killings outside Iran attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran.(4)

Dissidents have been assassinated by the agents of the Islamic Republic outside Iran, where one of the first assassinations, that of a Navy Officer, Shahriar Shafiq, took place in Paris in December 1979. These assassinations have taken place in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Pakistan in Asia; Dubai, Iraq, and Turkey in the Middle East; Cyprus, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain in Europe; and the United States across the Atlantic Ocean. In too many cases, states have failed to guarantee the victims’ rights to the truth, justice, and remedy; states have revealed little about the assassinations and have not issued arrest warrants. Where there have been arrests and prosecutions, available information reveals a state policy of eliminating perceived enemies. 

Documentation, evidence, and traces obtained through investigations conducted by local police and judicial authorities confirm, however, the theory of state committed crimes. In certain cases, these investigations have resulted in the expulsion (The Netherlands, 2018) or arrest (Brussels, 2020; Turkey, 2021) of Iranian diplomats. In limited cases outside Iran, the perpetrators of these murders have been arrested and put on trial (Paris 1980 and 1991) and the evidence presented, revealed the defendants’ connection to Iran’s government institutions, and an arrest warrant (the Mikonos Trial in Germany) has been issued for Iran’s then-Minister of Information, Ali Fallahian and the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Hossein Sheikh Attar.

The manner in which these killings were organized and implemented in Iran and abroad, is indicative of a single pattern which, according to Roland Chatelin, the Swiss prosecutor, contains common parameters and detailed planning. It can be ascertained from the similarities between these murders in different countries that the Iranian government is the principal entity who ordered the implementation of these crimes. (5). In 1997, the Berlin Criminal Court, in charge of hearing the case of the shooting of Kurdish dissidents in a Berlin restaurant, officially announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s highest-ranking officials had issued the order to carry out the killings. According to the indictment, the decision to commit the murders was made in a committee called the “Special Operations Committee” composed of the President, the Minister of Information and Security (VAVAK), the Minister of Foreign Affairs, representatives of the various security organs and other organizations, and finally, the Leader of the Revolution. 

Iranian authorities have not officially accepted responsibility for these murders and have even attributed their commission to internal strife in opposition groups. Nevertheless, since the very inception of the Islamic Republic regime, the Islamic Republic officials have justified these crimes from an ideological and legal standpoint. In the spring of 1979, Sadeq Khalkhali, the first Chief Shari’a Judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts, officially announced the regime’s decision to implement extrajudicial executions, and justified the decision: “ … These people have been sentenced to death; from the Iranian people’s perspective, if someone wants to assassinate these individuals abroad, in any country, no government has any right to bring the perpetrator to trial as a terrorist, because such a person is the implementing agent of the sentence issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court. Therefore, they are Mahduroddam (“one whose blood may be spilled, whose life can be taken, without the perpetrator incurring any punishment”) and their sentence is death regardless of where they are [and where you find them].” 

More than 10 years after these proclamations, in a speech about the security forces’ success, Ali Fallahian, the regime’s Minister of Information stated the following regarding the elimination of members of the opposition: “ … We have had success in inflicting damage to many of these little groups outside the country and on our borders” (Speech broadcast on the state-run Iranian Radio and Television on August 31, 1992, quoted from Asr Iran, August 17, 2006).

Extrajudicial killings have rarely been pursued legally in Iran. The few murders that were followed up on in 1998 , which came to be known as “the Serial (Chain) Murders(6),” have brought to light the involvement and responsibility of the country’s Information officials. Several Ministry of Information agents who were defendants in the Serial Murders case, confirmed the existence of a long term government policy of extrajudicial killings and emphasized that there was planning on an annual basis to carry out these executions, for which a religious decree was issued. There was a budget allocated and there were objectives set, and those who participated in the murders were commended. In a lecture given at [the city of] Hamedan’s Bu Ali University in 1996, Sa’eed Emami, Ministry of Information Deputy Minister for Security Affairs and one of the principal defendants in the Serial Murders case – who was later said by Iranian officials to have committed suicide while in detention – had stressed that the activities of Iran’s security forces were not confined to the country’s borders: “ … We have set the security perimeter within the confines of our borders. [However,] if we see threats infiltrating inside the country from abroad, we will enlarge the perimeter.”

The Al-Qadir Program: Kidnapping and Murder of the MKO by the Ministry of Information

Revolutionary forces and institutions started killing political opponents and minorities beginning in the first months of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) members and supporters inside and outside Iran became a target and dozens of them were killed prior to the declaration of armed action by that Organization on June 20, 1981. (Boroumand Center research).

In their confessions given in the course of interrogations, most Serial Murders defendants alluded to the plan devised for the “kidnapping” and “elimination” of MKO members or supporters, called Al-Qadir, the primary responsibility for which lied with the “Elteghat (literally meaning picking, choosing, and combining concepts that are not always in conformity with each other) General Division”. (Marze Porgohar Party (quoted in Pezhvak-e Iran, August 3, 2021). This Division – which was established in the Revolutionary Guards Corps prior to the declaration of armed action by the MKO and had subsequently been moved to the Ministry of Information – was one of the three divisions engaged in the analysis, pursuit, and clashes with groups opposed to the Islamic Republic, and charged with and responsible for dealing with Moslem groups such as the MKO, Forqan (7), and Arman-e Mostaz’afin (8). (Tasnim News Agency, June 24, 2019). According to a security official who spoke under an assumed name, the Elteghat Division functioned under the Ministry of Information’s Office of the Deputy for Security Affairs. “It also had the largest manpower, as there were between 150 to 200 employees of the Ministry’s Elteghat Division.” (Tasnim News Agency, June 24, 2019). Ali Ahmadi (Nazeri), who, according to Mehrdad Aalikhani, Head of the Ministry of Information’s New Left Office and one of the main defendants of the Serial Murders, was one of the “main people in the Al-Qadir Program”, had confirmed in his confession that “these types of activities (i.e. the murder of opponents) have been taking place for years and security and intelligence systems do have and do resort to such methods … These types of activities were customary in the Ministry of Information, and they presented no issues in practice”. (Marze Porgohar Party (quoted in Pezhvak-e Iran, August 3, 2021).

According to Nasser Zarafshan, the attorney representing a number of the victims of the Serial Murders’ families, at least two different Deputyship offices of the Ministry of Information and three different General Divisions of said Ministry were involved in the killings. (Voice of America YouTube Channel, November 27, 2015). According to the confessions of Ministry of Information officials, the most important sections involved in the murder of MKO members and supporters were probably [the Ministry’s] Office of the Deputy for Security Affairs and the departments functioning under it, i.e. the Elteghat General Division and the Operations Division. (9)

According to a security official who spoke under an assumed name, the MKO started taking action in pulling out its forces from Iran around spring of 1982: “After we found out about this, we set up traps in the west of the country.” (Tasnim News Agency, June 24, 2019). According to another security official, Islamic Republic security agents had moles in the MKO starting as early as 1981: “The moles had infiltrated the Organization and had also been recruited by it.” (Tasnim News Agency, June 24, 2019). In an interview regarding the infiltration of information forces into opposition groups, Ali Fallahian, [then-President] Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Minister of Information, stated: “ … It wasn’t jinns and angels that provided us with information … In order to combat groups that engaged in the traffic of contraband; explosives; pornographic movies, pictures, and brochures; and in order to combat anti-revolutionaries and Monafeghin, we had no alternative but to infiltrate these groups …” (Kayhan, May 26, 2001). Although the mechanism for the kidnapping and murder of supporters and members of the MKO under the Al-Qadir Program is not clear, it seems, however, that one of its most important objectives was to prevent MKO members and supporters from joining the Organization in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

Available evidence also indicates that efforts were made by supporters and members of the MKO to leave the country through the Sistan and Baluchestan Province border. In a conversation with the Islamic Revolution Documents Center website, Bahram Noruzi, a commander in the Police Force, explained that he was stationed in the south of the country until around 1983, and said this about the MKO members and supporters’ exit route from Iran’s eastern border: “We received information that an exit route had begun from Zahedan, and an order [requiring us to edal with the issue]. Combatting narcotics traffic was also an issue that we were dealing with. They issued a two-month mission deployment for me in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. That two-month mission lasted six years.” (Islamic Revolution Documents Center website, July 14, 2020).

In spite of the fact that this former police official has spoken about the arrest of MKO members who intended to leave the country (Islamic Revolution Documents Center website, July 14, 2020) and several witnesses have also talked or written about the imprisonment of these individuals (the book Na Zistan, Na Marg (“Neither Living Nor Dying”)), the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center’s research has identified individuals that were kidnapped and murdered by Ministry of Information agents as they were attempting to leave the country in that same period. (Boroumand Center research).

According to Mehrdad Aalikhani’s confession, the Ministry of Information was in possession of a building near Behesht Zahra Cemetery, the rooms and open spaces of which were used to kill the victims. He talked in his account about how Ministry of Information operatives killed one of the victims in that building “in a very professional and controlled manner”, without leaving a trace. (Marze Porgohar Party (quoted in Pezhvak-e Iran, August 3, 2021). Abdorrahman Boroumand Center research indicates that a number MKO members and supporters and families of those executed, found [and would run into] each other at Behesht Zahra Cemetery. It is likely that Ministry of Information agents had established a constant presence at Behesht Zahra through this building, and that they used the Cemetery for the purpose of gathering information and secretly killing or burying members and supporters of the MKO if necessary. (Boroumand Center research).

The connection between, and the continuous nature of, the killings in the fall of 1998, in what came to be known as the Serial Murders, and the killing of people whose death aroused public indignation, brought to the fore [and in full] public view the issue of extrajudicial killings, even though these types of murders had long been a part of the Ministry of information’s annual plans and projects. The killing of members and supporters of the MKO was also one of these projects. It is not clear how many people were killed within the framework of the Al-Qadir Program, and under the project of the “[physical] elimination” of members and supporters of the MKO. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center has the names of more than 30 individuals who are suspected to have been kidnapped and killed in the course of that Program. (Pezhvak-e Iran, August 3, 2021; the book Na Zistan, Na Marg; Boroumand Center research).

Officials’ Reaction

Report of the disappearance of Mr. Alian was filed at Branch One of the Mashhad police department.  Sometime in January 1997, the chief of this police department told Mr. Alian’s family, “Someone named Zahra Eftekhari, with the same political background, has disappeared last week, and we have filed a similar report on her.  {Mr. Alian} probably has a political problem.” (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008).  This file was never investigated by the Mashhad police department.

The day after Mr. Alian disappeared, on January 15, 1997, the Information office agents in Mashhad said they didn’t know anything about his arrest.  Sometime later, one of the agents from this office told Mr. Alian’s mother, “{Mr. Alian} might have escaped.”  Mr. Alian’s family also heard from the cultural deputy of the Mashhad Informationo Office, through a Member of Parliament that “{Mr. Alian’s} car is here, but he has escaped across the border.  We were only able to return the car.”  Before this statement had been made, Mr. Alian’s family had gone to inspect the Information Office warehouse in order to find his car.  Although they had permission from the Mashhad court to make this inspection, the agent accompanying them went to the warehouse on his own, came back, and told Mr. Alian’s mother, “There is no such car there.”  When Mrs. Alian objected to the fact that she needed to be present at this inspection, she was not paid any heed.  Eventually, a judgement was given from the court that said, “The agent accompanied the complainants to the warehouse, they made an inspection, and such a car was not seen.”   After the Information Ministry was implicated in the killings known as “Serial Killings”, an agent from the Mashhad Information Office told Mr. Alian’s family, “This might have been done by that extremist group {in the Information Ministry}”.  (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

One of the officials at the Mashhad Judiciary who had not studied Mr. Alian’s file, told his mother, “He has escaped.  Your efforts {to try and find him} are in vain.”  Seyed Abdolvahed Musavi Lari, one of the members of the committee to oversee the good implementation of the constitution, became involved in Mr. Alian’s case by way of a letter.  However, neither he nor the office of the oversight committee ever responded to enquiries from the Alian family.  When Mrs. Alian appealed to the office of the Supreme Leader for followup, one of the officials told her, “He’s probably been arrested because he’s done something.”  (Martial Law weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

One of Mr. Alian’s relatives told his family that some people had come to him, had asked questions about Mr. Alian, and had told him that he was in Evin Prison.  Right before Naw Ruz 1999, somebody contacted Mr. Alian’s mother, asked for a picture and birth certificate, and told her Mr. Alian was in Tehran.  Sometime later, two people had gone to the shop of another one of Mr. Alian’s relatives, and had told them, “Tell his family that he is well.”  Its not clear which office these people were connected to.  However, Mrs. Alian told Payam-e Hamun publication, “The people who gave us this information were not benefitting in any way.”  (Martial Law weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

On August 18, 1999, the head of the Mashhad Prosecutor’s Office told Mr. Alian’s family, “Your son has been executed.  We took him and executed him.”  Sometime later, he told them, “He had been in prison before, and he had been given a life sentence.  He is serving this sentence now.”  According to available information, the Mashhad Prosecutor’s Office did not give any more responses to Mr. Alian’s family.  According to Mr. Alian’s mother, someone who had been the prison’s supervising assistant prosecutor when Mr. Alian was incarcerated, had told one of his relatives, “At that time {when Mr. Alian was released from prison} we were not happy with the release of some people and we did not agree with it.”  (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

A few of the letters written by Mr. Alian’s family to government officials after Seyed Mohammad Khatami was elected president were answered.  Mr. Alian’s mother has said, “We were suspicious of Information {Ministry}.  We were complaining about Information.  But in their response to our letters, they had made enquiries at the Information Ministry.”  The public relations office of the presidency promised Mr. Alian’s family that they would follow up with their enquiries.  However, as Mr. Alian’s mother has said, “Every so often the people change and their system changes and our letters go into the dead files.” (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

Familys’ Reaction

In the evening of January 14, 1997, when Mr. Alian did not return home to break the Fast, his family were concerned.  They immediately contacted the Mashhad Information Office to make sure they hadn’t arrested him.  The next morning, Mr. Alian’s family went to police stations, the Medical Examiner’s Office, and different hospitals, to see if they could find a trace of him (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008).

Eventually, following advice given to them by the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecution Office, Mr. Alian’s family placed a missing person ad in Khorasan newspaper, and filed a report at Branch One of the Mashhad police department (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008).

According to Mr. Alian’s mother, during the first week following his abduction, several reliable sources reported that his car was in one of the Mashhad Information Office’s warehouses.  The Islamic Human Rights Commission of Iran drew up a letter of complaint with which they were able to get a court order from the Mashhad Prosecutor’s Office for the family and one agent to search the Information Office warehouse.  The agent who was to accompany Mr. Alian’s mother went to the Information warehouse alone and then told Mr. Alian’s mother, “There was not such a car there.”  Nobody paid attention to Mrs. Alian’s insistence that she was to have been present at the inspection (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008).

At the time, several people who had contact with the Mashhad Information Office told Mr. Alian’s family, “{Mr. Alian} is alive.  Don’t worry.  He has been arrested due to certain problems.”  After that, Mr. Alian’s family would go to different government offices, at least once a month, and they also corresponded with them.  These included Expediency Discernment Council of the System, Judiciary in Mashhad and Tehran, Mashhad Prosecutor’s Office, Office of the President, Information Offices in Mashhad and Tehran, Ministry of the Interior, Office of the Friday Prayers’ leader of Mashhad, Seyed Mehdi Ebadi, Office of the Custodian of Astan- e Qods Razavi in Mashhad , and Abbas Va’ez Tabasi. (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

Although Information Office agents in Mashhad had told Mr. Alian’s family that he had escaped, his mother told Payam-e Hamun, “We were certain Morteza had not left the country.  We had taken steps to find him, if he was out of the country, all to no avail.”  Mr. Alian’s mother also had a meeting with Seyed Abdolvahed Musavi Lari, a member of the committee to oversee the good implementation of the constitution, during which she gave him a letter to follow up on the situation of Mr. Alian.  In her subsequent visits to the oversight committee building, Mrs. Alian was not able to meet with Mr. Lari and her request for follow up was never answered. (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

When the role of the Information Ministry in the “Serial Killings” was broadcast in the media, Mr. Alian’s family went to all the offices they had previously appealed to and resumed their correspondences, hoping to find a trace of him.  One time, an agent of the Mashhad Information Office on Kuh Sangi Street told Mr. Alian’s mother, “Maybe that extremist group have done this.”  Mrs. Alian answered, “How many groups are you?  How many bosses do you have?”  Mr. Alian’s mother also went to the office of the Supreme Leader to follow up with the fate of her son.  They never answered her letters.  One of the officials at this office told Mrs. Alian, “Maybe he has done something and has been arrested.”  Mrs. Alian responded, “Tell us he is guilty of a certain crime and he has been arrested.  Shouldn’t this arrest be according to the law?”  (Martial Law Weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)

Mr. Alian’s mother sent a letter to Mr. Khatami, through the Chief of Staff of the President, Mohammad Ali Abtahi.  In it, she said, “Now that we are talking about a dialogue between civilizations, why don’t you also try to solve some of our problems?  Our children are part of this civilization.”  However, according to Mrs. Alian, they did not have any hopes of the government of Mr. Khatami investigating the abduction of their son.  “In his speech about the Serial Killings, Mr. Khatami talked about 3 or 4 killings.  I don’t think I can expect him to solve our problem.”  (Martial Law weblog, quoted from Payam-e Hamun publication, May 9, 2008)


1) At about 2:30 in the afternoon of June 20, 1994, the Day of Ashura, a bomb detonated in the women’s section and in the main court of the Shrine of the Eighth Imam of the Shias located in Mashhad.  26 people died and approximately 300 people were injured.  A short while after this bombing incident, the Islamic Republic announced that the Mojahedin Organization had organized this attack.  On July 28, 1994, they announced that someone named Mehdi Nahvi had been identified as the perpetrator of this bombing, and that he had been injured at the time of his arrest.  He died a few days later as a result of his injuries.  In the process of investigating the “Serial Killings”, some people identified the Information Ministry as having carried out this bombing.  Several years later, during a debate, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Deputy Minister of the Interior at the time, said that identifying Mojahedin Organization members as perpetrators of the Mashhad bombing was devised by the Information Ministry.
2) According to the testimonies of some of the political prisoners who were tried during the executions of the summer of 1988 in some of the prisons, the trials took place in a room in the prison after a few weeks of isolation during which prisoners were deprived of visitation, television and radio broadcasts, and outdoors time. In August and September, a three-member delegation composed of the public prosecutor, a religious judge, and a representative of the Ministry of Information asked prisoners questions about their views on Mojahedin, whether they would renounce their beliefs and if they were ready to cooperate against the Mojahedin. 
Based on what the answers were, the prisoners would have been charged with “counter revolutionary, anti-religion and anti-Islam” or “associated with military action or with various [opposition] groups based near the borders” and would be sentenced to death.   The authorities never informed prisoners about the delegation’s purpose and the serious implications of their responses. According to survivors, during the summer of 1988 a large number of prisoners sympathizing with the Mojahedin or Leftist groups were executed for not recanting their beliefs.  
Relatives of political prisoners executed in 1988 refute the legality of the judicial process that resulted in thousands of executions throughout Iran. In their 1988 open letter to then-Minister of Justice Dr. Habibi, they argue that the official secrecy surrounding these executions is proof of their illegality. They note that an overwhelming majority of these prisoners had been tried and sentenced to prison terms, which they were either serving or had already completed when they were retried and sentenced to death.
In their letters to the Minister of Justice (1988) and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran (February 2003), the families of the victims refer to the authorities’ accusations against the prisoners – accusations that may have led to their execution. These accusations include being “counter-revolutionary, anti-religion, and anti-Islam,” as well as being “associated with military action or with various [opposition] groups based near the borders.” 
An edict of the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, reproduced in the memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri, his designated successor, corroborates the reported claims regarding the charges against the executed prisoners. In this edict, Ayatollah Khomeini refers to members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization as “hypocrites” who do not believe in Islam and “wage war against God” and decrees that prisoners who still approve of the positions taken by this organization are also “waging war against God” and should be sentenced to death.   
The same letter, rebutting the accusation that these prisoners (from inside the prison) had collaborated with armed members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in clashes with armed forces of the Islamic Republic, states that such claims “are false, considering the circumstances in prisons; for our children faced most difficult conditions [in prison, with] visitation rights of once every 15 days, each visitation lasting ten minutes through a telephone, from behind the glass window, and were deprived of any connection with the outside world. We faced such conditions for seven years, which proves the truth of our claim.” 
The details regarding the execution sentence are not available.  Months after the executions, prison authorities informed the families about the executions and handed in the victims’ belongings to their families.  The bodies, however, were not returned to them.  The bodies were buried in mass graves and the locations are not known to the families.  Authorities warned the families of prisoners against holding memorial ceremonies.
3) 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.
4) Among the first known murders that occurred a week after the February 1979 Revolution was that of Mr. Parviz (Arastu) Sayyah Sina, the bishop of a church in the city of Shiraz. The assassination of Mr. Shahriar Shafiq, an Imperial Navy officer, in December 1979 in Paris is among the first murders committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the country. These killings continued in the following years inside and outside the country and in various forms.
5) Investigations into the murder of well-known personalities in France, Germany and Switzerland have yielded evidence and documentation showing that the officials and employees of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran acted as accomplices and principals [in the killings]. In France, the Islamic Republic’s Deputy Minister of Post and Telegraph was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for the murder of former Prime Minister Shapur Bakhtiar and his assistant, Sorush Katibeh. In Germany (Berlin), the Islamic Republic’s security agents and agents of the Lebanese Hezbollah were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of four Kurdish opposition leaders. In connection with the latter case, German Judicial authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Ali Fallahian, the then-Minister of Information. 
6) A few days before Mr. Mokhtari’s murder, Dariush Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh Eskandari, leaders of the People of Iran Party, had been killed in a most heinous manner in their own home. After Mr. Mokhtari’s body was found, the body of Mohammad Ja’far Puyandeh, another well-known literary figure, was discovered in a village near the city of Karaj. These four individuals’ cases was named the “Serial Murders”.
7) Forqan was formed in 1977 by a group of Ali Shari’ati’s followers with a modern interpretation of the Qoran and Islamic ideology. It is not clear whether or not the group was armed, but it went underground soon after its formation. Based on documents available in the archives of the Islamic Revolution Documentation Center (gathered and reported by Ahmad Gudarzi on Bacheha-ye Ghalam website), this group opposed from the onset of the Revolution the involvement of the clergy in the government and the particular interpretation of Islam later implemented by the Islamic Republic authorities. In its short period of post-revolutionary activity, the group was accused of involvement in several assassinations and armed robberies, the first one reportedly as early as May 1979, only a couple of months after the triumph of the Revolution. Based on the above mentioned report, most of the known members of the group were executed or killed in clashes with Islamic Revolutionary Committee forces, which led to the total elimination of the group in January 1980.
8) Arman-e Mostaza’fin Organization was founded in the summer of 1976 before the Islamic Revolution. This organization, just like the MKO, were followers of Mohammad Ali Shariati’s ideology, and started their ideological activities after the revolution by publishing a magazine called “Arman or Payam-e Mostaz’afin”. There are a few members in this group and they were mainly active in Dezful (in Khuzestan Province). They were against armed struggle and their ideological activities lasted until February 1982 when their leaders and members were arrested. Although the leaders were not executed, some of the members were executed in different cities.
9)  Mehrdad Aalikhani, one of the principal defendants in the Serial Murders case, had stated in his confession that, Sa’eed Emami, Ministry of Information Deputy Minister for Security Affairs in the years 1989 to 1998, had told him: “If you ever leave, be careful not to talk about the work you’ve done in the past; leave those tasks alone.” (Marze Porgohar Party (quoted in Pezhvak-e Iran, August 3, 2021).

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