Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohammad Nazar Nuri


Age: 43
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: November 4, 1992
Location of Killing: Barika Village, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial shooting

About this Case

Mr. Nuri: "I will not leave Kurdistan so long as there is a tree standing here, unless they spill my blood."

Information regarding the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Mohammad Nazar Nuri, also known as Mameh Nazar (“Uncle Nazar”), son of Abdolmohammad and Jeiran, was obtained through an interview conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center with his brother (March 15, and 29, 2022). Additional information about this case was obtained through an interview conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center with one of his friends (February 21, 2022), the book “Siavoshan: Remembrance of the Ranjbaran Party of Iran’s Martyrs” (Winter 2000), and Iran Emrooz website (February 25, 2022).

Mr. Nuri, an ethnic Kurd, 43 years old, and follower of the Yarsan faith*, was born in a family of farmers in the village of Bizmirabad in Sar-e Pol-e Zahab County in Kermanshah Province. He was married and had seven children, and resided in the town of Arbat in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sulaymaniyah Province. He [had no formal education and] could just read and write. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022). 

According to Mr. Nuri’s friend, after the Islamic Revolution, followers of the Yarsan faith, including Mr. Nuri’s family, came under tremendous pressure from government forces. That was why Mr. Nuri and his family were opponents of the Islamic Republic and several members of his family, including his brother and uncle (his father’s brother) were summarily executed. After the Revolution, Mr. Nuri was active for a time with the formation of armed forces for the defense of the Yarsan followers and combating the Iranian regime. He played an active role in arming Yarsan followers against the regime by importing weapons from Iraq with two other individuals into the Dalahoe region, most of whose residents are followers of the Yarsan faith. (Boroumand Center interview, February 21, 2022).

With the onset of armed conflict between the Iranian government and Iranian Kurdish parties, Mr. Nuri started to work with these parties as a guide – because of his familiarity with Kermanshah’s Dalahoe region – especially with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, and in order to clean up mine fields in those regions. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).  

Mr. Nuri and his family lived in a border region [in Iran] and were forced to leave at the start of the Iran-Iraq war and take up residence at the Iranian Kurdish refugees’ camp in Qurtu, located Iraqi Kurdistan’s Garmian region. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).  

Mr. Nuri joined the Ahl-e Haq Resistance Movement** in 1981 and was active as the Movement’s military forces commander in regions in Kermanshah Province where Ahl-e Haq followers lived. After the dissolution of the Movement in 1985, he and his family moved to the Doreh region of the city of Kalar in Iraqi Kurdistan. That same year, he and two of his brothers joined the Ranjbaran Party of Iran*** after he was introduced to the Party by one of his friends. Simultaneous with his Party activities, he engaged in the sale and purchase of weapons in order to make a living. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Mr. Nuri was one of the Ranjbaran Party’s military commanders and had returned to Iran – along with the Party’s political and military groups – on multiple occasions in order to carry out operations. (The book “Siavoshan: Remembrance of the Ranjbaran Party of Iran’s Martyrs”, Winter 2000).

According to his brother, after the Ranjbaran Party halted its activities in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1991, Mr. Nuri refused his friends’ offer to emigrate to Europe and stated: “I will not leave Kurdistan so long as there is a tree standing here, unless they spill my blood.” He was extremely happy when Iraqi Kurdistan gained autonomy in 1991, and was very optimistic about the struggles of Kurdish parties in Iranian Kurdistan. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

According to Mr. Nuri’s brother, he was a “courageous, freedom-loving, humble, simple, and democratic human being, who hoped to see a free Kurdistan with its flag raised high before his death”. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

According to Mr. Nuri’s friend, he was a “smart, brave, sociable, generous, and honest individual who believed very strongly in the Yarsan faith”. (Boroumand Center interview, February 21, 2022). 

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 and have continued since then, both inside and outside Iran. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center has so far identified over 540 killings outside Iran attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dissidents have been assassinated by the agents of the Islamic Republic outside Iran 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 most cases there has not been much published and the local authorities have not issued arrest warrants. But 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 or arrest of Iranian diplomats. In limited cases outside Iran, the perpetrators of these murders have been arrested and put on trial and the evidence presented, revealed the defendants’ connection to Iran’s government institutions, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Iran’s Minister of Information.

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. 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 and their sentence is death regardless of where they are.” 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”

At the same time, various political, judicial, and security officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran have, at different times and occasions, confirmed the existence of a long term government policy for these extrajudicial killings and in some cases their implementation**** 

Threats against Mr. Nuri and his death

Mr. Mohammad Nazar Nuri was assassinated near the village of Barikeh in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sulaymaniyah Province on November 4, 1992. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

According to Mr. Nuri’s brother, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime had tried several times, without success, to assassinate him because he had amassed much influence among the followers of the Yarsan faith in Kermanshah due to his effective political and military activities against the Iranian government. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Regarding threats against Mr. Nuri, his brother further stated: “We heard several times through friends and relatives then living in Iran, that Mameh Nazar (“Uncle Nazar”) should be extremely careful because the Iranian regime was after him.” (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Regarding the details of Mr. Nuri’s assassination, his brother told the Boroumand Center in an interview: “On the day he was assassinated, my brother wanted to go to the village of Barikeh because somebody [from the village] owed him some money. My brother’s friend had said ‘let me shave and I’ll go with you’. My brother had told him ‘I’m going by the roadside on foot and will wait for you there’. When his friend was done shaving and had gone by the roadside, there was no trace of my brother. The assassins who had a previous plan, had gotten him in their car on the Barikeh to Arbat road. On the road, they had strangled my brother with a wire, who, according to Arabat Police’s investigations, was sitting in the front seat; they then shot him four times in the head and face, and left his body in a desolate building near the village of Barikeh, and took his Colt and his Ranjbaran Party membership card with them.” (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Quoting the people of the village where the assassins were from, Mr. Nuri’s friend told the Boroumand Center in an interview, that the killers were in contact with an employee of the Ministry of Information who regularly travelled to and from Iraqi Kurdistan, and had killed Mr. Nuri on his command. (Boroumand Center interview, February 21, 2022).

According to his brother, Mr. Nuri knew the assassins, who were from Iranian Kurdistan, from before and had gone to their home numerous times; that was why he had trusted them and gotten in their car. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Regarding the discovery of the body and how the family found out about his murder, Mr. Nuri’s brother stated: “A shepherd found my brother’s lifeless body in the afternoon of November 4, 1992, and informed the residents of the village of Barikeh. The villagers figured out from my brother’s wristwatch that he was Iranian because his watch had been set to Iran time. The village Imam announced from the village mosque loudspeakers that a body had been found, that he was Iranian, and asked for anyone who knew him to help transfer his body to Iran. The person who owed money to my brother then went to the mosque and said that he knew him and that my brother’s family lived in Arbat. They then informed us, and [that was when] I saw my brother’s body. He had been shot in the head four times and his neck had been injured with a wire.” (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Mr. Nuri’s body was buried in the city of Sulaymaniyah’s Zargateh cemetery by his family. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Iranian Officials’ Reaction

After Mr. Nuri’s assassination, Sar-e Pol-e Zahab County Information Administration agents summoned his cousin, a resident of the village of Bizmirabad, and showed him Mr. Nuri’s Party Membership Card, and told him “we have killed him and you can now hold services for him”. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Ranjbaran Party of Iran’s Reaction

The Party reported Mr. Nuri’s assassination to the government of Iraq. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Iraqi Kurdistan Autonomous Region’s Reaction

According to Mr. Nuri’s friend, who was then a member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan’s Security Committee, the Party had identified Mr. Nuri’s assassins in the course of its investigations and with the help of witnesses who were from the village of Barikeh, and had arrested two of them and taken them to the Party headquarters. One or two days after these two individuals’ arrest, Kurdistan’s Ettehadieh Mihani Party took delivery of them under the pretext of interrogation and investigation; however, even though they had promised the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan that they would release them back to the Party’s custody [after interrogating them], “under pressure from the Islamic Republic, or perhaps because they had made a deal with the Iranian regime” they transferred them to the town of Kalar in Iraqi Kurdistan, and subsequently released them. (Boroumand Center interview, February 21, 2022).

The assassins went to Iraq’s Ramadi region after their release. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Iraqi Government Officials’ Reaction

According to a person with knowledge of the case, Mr. Nuri’s assassins were arrested in Ramadi after the Ranjbaran Party prepared a report of his murder and asked the Iraqi government to pursue the case. After their arrest however, several of these individuals’ relatives asked Mr. Sardar Jaf *****  to intervene on their behalf and secure their release. Mr. Nuri’s killers were released seven days later after Mr. Sardar Jaf interceded on their behalf. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, and 29, 2022).

Family’s Reaction

Mr. Nuri’s family was not able to follow up on his assassination case due to a lack of contact between the Kurdistan region and the Iraqi government. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

In an interview with the Boroumand Center, Mr. Nuri’s brother stated: “We know who my brother’s assassins are; they currently live in a European country and we are certain that they’re the ones who killed my brother. We have a lot of evidence and many witnesses and we would like to someday be able to follow this issue up through International Police. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Impact on the Family

Regarding the impact Mr. Nuri’s assassination had on his brother and the rest of the family, his brother stated: “It was an extremely painful event and we were in a place where we had no family, and it was very difficult. I was about 25 years old when my brother was killed. Another one of my brothers, who was a member of the Ranjbaran Party, had previously been martyred in clashes, and I was left alone. Mameh Nazar had seven children and my other brother had four, and I didn’t know what to do. It was a great injustice. My mother was old and had a heart attack after the assassination; she died ten days later. My mother loved my brother [Mohammad Nazar] very much because he was the head of our family. Our lives fell apart after his death.” (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).

Mr. Nuri’s wife and children returned to Iranian Kurdistan two years after the assassination because of the difficult living conditions in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Boroumand Center interview, March 15, 2022).


* The Yari faith is the Yarsan people’s religion and is among creeds that are common among a certain section of the people of the Middle East, the majority of whom live in Iran. In the Islamic Republic parlance, this faith has been called in demeaning terms such as “Aliallahi”, “the Ahl-e Haq Cult”, and in certain instances “Devil worshippers”. The Yari creed is not officially recognized in the Iranian Constitution, and the Yarsan people have been subjected to severe oppression during the four decades of the Islamic Republic’s rule. Although the majority of the adherents of the Yari faith in Iran are also members of the Kurdish ethnic community and primarily live in regions in Kermanshah Province, they live in some of Iran’s Azeri regions as well. Purity, truth, inexistence (degenerating desires), and Reda (self-sacrificing and providing services to help human beings) are the four pillars of Ahl-e Haq, [another term to refer to the Yarsan]. “Kalam-e Saranjam” is their central holy book. “Jamkhaneh” is their place of worship and collective prayer, which, in most regions, is accompanied by the musical instrument Tanbur. In addition to having different religious rites, among other Yarsan fundamental beliefs that distinguishes them from the religious communities around them, is belief in “God’s spirit coming into man’s body in various periods and under particular circumstances, and also belief in resurrection and the circulation of man’s spirit in different bodies.” (Boroumand Center interview, May 6, 2021). Adherents of the Yari faith live in regions of Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Azarbaijan, Zanjan, Hamedan, and Lorestan Provinces. They have always suffered from some form or another of oppression, limitation, disrespect, and insult, in the Islamic Republic. According to documents published by Amnesty International, adherents of the Yari faith have been banned from building new Jamkhaneh’s under the pretext of being in contradiction to “Islam’s Shari’a and the law”. (Amnesty International). During the rule of the Islamic Republic, no new Jamkhaneh has been built in a town like Sahneh, a major hub of the Yarsan people. (Boroumand Center interview, May 5, 2021). In the summer of 2013, several members of the Yarsan community set themselves on fire in protest of these conditions. Yarsan people have engaged in peaceful assemblies on several occasions, including in front of the Iranian Majless (Parliament), protesting these policies. (BBC Persian, July 27, 2013; October 20, 2013). 
During the past forty years, Iranian officials in Kermanshah, which is among the main hubs where Yarsan people reside, have stated that their standard for determining their policies toward the Yarsan is the ideologies of Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei. (Mehr News Agency, February 16, 2015). The founder of the Islamic Republic’ opinions regarding the Yarsan, or the “Ahl-e Haq” as it is stated in Shiite authorities’ Fatwas (Decrees), is not fundamentally different than their opinions regarding non-Abrahamic religions. In response to a question concerning “eating” with adherents of the Yari faith and a “Kofr Decree” against them, [essentially making them infidels and subject to execution], Ayatollah Khamenei stated that these would be conditioned upon the Yarsan not denying “Tohid and Nabovvat” (Belief in unity and a single God, and in Moahmmad being the messenger of Allah) and other “requirements of the religion of Islam”. (Tabnak website, October 18, 2019 ). Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi stated this regarding marrying an adherent of Ahl-e Haq: “They deny Islam’s requirements; they do not believe in Namaz (5-time daily Islamic prayer) and fasting (during the month of Ramadan) and in anythin else. Marrying them is absolutely not permitted.” (Tabnak website, October 18, 2019). 
In a meeting with Ayatollah Khomeini, and later in a letter dated March 25, 1979, Seyed Nasreddin Heydari, one of the leaders of Yarsan asked the Ayatollah that “the religion of Ahl-e Haq” be recognized in the Constitution as a religious minority. He stressed the right to elect a representative to the National Consultative Assembly and local councils and “to have an effective vote in electing local officials”. 
** The Ahl-e Haq Resistance Movement was a political – military movement made up of displaced Iranian followers of the Yarsan faith that was established in Iraq with the financial and military support of the Iraqi government in 1981. One year after its formation, the Movement carried out several military operations against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military bases in border regions in Kermanshah Province. The Movement was dissolved in 1985.
*** The Ranjbaran Party of Iran was established, in Tehran, by a number of Marxist groups and parties in late December 1979. The founders of Ranjbaran were Marxist – Leninist and followers of Mao Tse-Tung’s school of thought. They opposed the USA and the USSR and supported Ruhollah Khomeini as an anti-imperialist leader. During the massive repression of 1981, the party was banned, and its leaders were executed. Its publication, Ranjbar, is occasionally published outside Iran since 1981.
**** Read more about the background of extrajudicial killings in the Islamic Republic of Iran by clicking on the left hand highlight with the same title.
***** The Sardar Jaf Group was an armed group composed of Iranian Kurdish refugees in Iraq, who were mainly from Kermanshah Province, which carried out its activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime with the Iraqi government’s financial and military support. Sardar Jaf was originally an Iraqi Kurd and was one of the most well-known landowners of the Jaf tribe, one of the oldest Kurdish tribes on both sides of the Iran and Iraq border. He had much contact with and worked closely with Iraq’s Baath Party. Sardar Jaf’s brother, Salar Jaf, was Kermanshah’s representative in the National Consultative Assembly (Parliament) during the Shah’s reign, and was arrested and executed after the Islamic Revolution.

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