Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Iraj Mehdinejad


Age: 49
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: September 4, 1986
Location of Killing: Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Stabbing

About this Case

Mr. Mehdinejad was born in 1937, to a Baha’i father and a Muslim mother. He chose to believe in the Baha’i Faith. In the early days of the Islamic Revolution, he was fired from his job for being a Baha’i.

Information about the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Iraj Mehdinejad (also spelled "Mehdi Nezhad") has been collected from the website of the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran (July 18, 1983; September 4, 1986).

Mr. Mehdinejad was born in 1937, to a Baha’i father and a Muslim mother. He chose to believe in the Baha’i Faith. Mr. Mehdinejad worked for the General Department of Housing and Urban Development of Hormozgan Province. In his workplace, he was under pressure for his religious beliefs. In the early days of the Islamic Revolution, he was fired from his job for being a Baha’i (Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran Website, September 4, 1986; July 18, 1983).

According to a document published by the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran, on July 18, 1983, the Housing and Urban Development Ministry sent a memorandum to the General Department of Housing and Urban Development of Hormozgan Province, asking Mr. Mehdinejad to change his religion. In this memorandum, titled “Memorandum to Iraj Mehdinejad, regarding clarification of his religion”, it says “Whereas according to the law, government employees of the Islamic Republic of Iran are required to adhere to one of the formally recognized religions of the country, and since your hiring file does not show the least trace of such belief, you are hereby required to clearly declare your religion to this commission, within ten days of the issuance of this memorandum. It should be noted that if an answer is not received in time, this file will be examined in absentia, and you will be dealt with according to the appropriate guidelines.” (Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran Website, July 18, 1983)

The Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Background

The authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected the members of the Baha'i religious community of Iran - the largest religious minority, with approximately 300 thousand members in 1979(1)- to systematic harassment and persecution, depriving them of their most fundamental human rights. The Baha'i religion is not recognized under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian authorities refer to it as a heresy. As a result, the Baha'is have been denied the rights associated with the status of a religious minority; they cannot profess and practice their faith, and are banned from public functions. Discrimination under the law and in practice has subjected them to abuse and violence.(2) 

Persecution of Baha’is in Iran is not specific to the time of the Islamic Republic but it was in this era that it was amplified and institutionalized. During the Revolution itself, supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini attacked Baha’i homes and businesses and in certain instances, even committed murder.

On the eve of his return from France to Iran, in response to a question regarding political and religious freedom of Baha’is under the rule of an Islamic government, Ayatollah Khomeini stated: “They are a political party; they are harmful and detrimental. They will not be acceptable.” The interviewer asked another question: “Will they be free to perform their religious rites?” The Ayatollah responded: “No.” Khomeini had previously “spoken of the Baha’i threat to the Shah’s regime, Islam, national unity, and national security” in various speeches. (Asoo website, October 6, 2015).

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. * 

Threat and death of Mr. Iraj Mehdinejad

According to available information, on September 4, 1986, at about 8 pm, several men went to Mr. Mehdinejad’s home and murdered him. Mr. Mehdinejad’s son in law found his body the next day. Evidence of stab wounds could be seen on the body. According to the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran, Mr. Mehdinejad was killed by 17 stab wounds, inflicted from his temple to his waist. According to this report, “His throat had also been cut from ear to ear. His jaw and his left temple were badly broken, as if he had been hit in the head with a heavy object.” (Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran, September 4, 1986) 

Mr. Mehdinejad was 49 when he was killed. He is buried in the Bandar Abbas Baha’i Cemetery. 

Officials’ Reaction 

There is no information on the reaction of Iranian government officials to the killing of Mr. Iraj Mehdinejad. News of this killing was not reported in the media of the time, either. 

Family’s Reaction 

There is no information on the reaction of the family to this killing.


1)     ‘Slow Death for Iran’s Baha’is’ by Richard N. Ostling, Time Magazine,20 February 1984. Also see ‘The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran, 1844-1984, by Douglas Martin, Baha’i Studies,volume 12/13, 1984, p. 3. There is no information about the current number of Baha’is in Iran.
2)     [3] The Islamic Republic Penal Code grants no rights to Baha'is, and the courts have denied them the right to redress or to protection against assault, murder, and other forms of persecution and abuse. In so doing, the courts have treated Baha'is as unprotected citizens or "apostates," citing eminent religious authorities whose edicts are considered to be a source of law equal to acts of Parliament. The Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made execution a punishment for the crime of apostasy and decreed that a Muslim would not be punished for killing an apostate.
*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.


Correct/ Complete This Entry