Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Siavash Tavakoli


Age: 45
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: January 20, 1982
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic

About this Case

Information about Mr. Siavash Tavakoli has been sent to Omid by his daughter. Additional information has been taken from the Public Prosecutor’s indictment dated July 19, 1980 (published in the Enqelab Eslami and Jomhuri Eslami newspapers a day later).

Mr. Tavakoli was born on November 28, 1936 in Behshahr (Mazandaran province). He was an engineer, a husband, and a father of two. Mr. Tavakoli was one of the founders of the Organization of the Nationalist Movement of Students, Professors, and the Enlightened. This Organization was part of the Neqab group, which claimed responsibility for the Nojeh coup. Mr. Tavakoli’s daughter remembers his brown eyes, full of kindness, and she refers to him as a generous and courageous man.

According to available information, the planners of the Nojeh coup were members of the armed forces and the Iran Party (social democrat and part of the Iranian National Front) who opposed the religious rule and believed in the separation of church and state. The core of the coup d’état plan was to fly aircrafts from Nojeh base in Hamedan and bomb some military targets as well as the residence of Ayatollah Khomeini. Another team was to take over the radio-television building in Tehran in order to announce the coup and expose the motives to the population.

On July 9, 1980, the Islamic Republic of Iran authorities announced the discovering and dismantling of a civil and military network which had planned the coup d’état to overthrow the regime. Two months later, the organization Neghab, in a communiqué, claimed responsibility for this attempted ‘uprising.’ The Organization attested that ‘the path of Mossadegh is that of the people’ and today ‘Bakhtiar is its authentic leader… We have risen up to put an end to this curse [the Islamic regime] and to entrust the affairs of our land to the faithful disciple of Mossadegh – Shapur Bakhtiar’” (Iran: In Defense of Human Rights, National Movement of the Iranian Resistance, Paris, 1983).

Following the discovery of the plan for the coup, more than sixty officers and civilians were executed in several cities of Iran in less than a month. Most of the officers were still active in the army and had not been swept away in the first wave of purges which took place in the army after the fall of the monarchy. Executions of individuals involved in the Nojeh coup continued in the months and years to come; at least 200 persons were executed in relations to the coup.

Nureddin Kianuri, Secretary General of the Tudeh Party (the Iranian pro-Soviet communist party) mentioned the coup d’état in an article dated May 2, 2000 posted on the Rah-e Tudeh website. Kianuri stressed the fact that the military branch of the Tudeh Party, which cooperated with the Islamic Republic’s authorities, discovered and “neutralized” the above mentioned Organization as well as other groups that planned a coup against the newly established regime.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Tavakoli was arrested in his house in Tehran in January 1981. The Revolutionary Guards came to his house around 8 p.m. and arrested Mr. Tavakoli, locked up the rest of the family in a room, and searched the house. They left the next morning, having taken his documents and valuables. Mr. Tavakoli was detained for about one year at Evin prison, section 129. According to available information, he spent the majority of his detention in solitary confinement, and did not have any visits with his family. His family was unaware of his whereabouts for 7 months, until the Red Cross contacted them. Mr. Tavakoli was allowed a two-minute phone conversation with his family, saying that he would never return.


Mr. Tavakoli was tried at a court martial. No information is available about the proceedings and court sessions.


According to the available information, Mr. Tavakoli was charged with “involvement with the Nojeh coup.”

In his indictment the Public Prosecutor said the following regarding some other participants of this alleged coup d’état plan: “These enthusiasts of the Shah’s rotten, filthy, and reactionary regime, these supporters of the blood-thirsty American imperialism, had in mind to bring ‘American social democracy’ as a gift to the liberated people of Iran. They had in mind to re-asses the opinion of our heroic nation about the return of the royal system through a referendum […].”

He added: “This conspiracy was not planned in a vacuum and hence cannot be described in a single indictment; and these conspirators cannot be considered ordinary convicts. They are criminals who have undermined the newly regained truth, honor, and dignity of a liberated community of Muslim people. Considering that and by consulting the holy verses of the Koran regarding the punishment of the ‘rebel’ against the Islamic sovereign, it is imperative that the convicts receive their punishment according to the Shari’a law.”

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution did not provide any specific information on the evidence presented against the defendants.


No information is available on Mr. Tavakoli’s defense.


Mr. Siavash Tavakoli was condemned to death as a “corruptor on earth” and executed by a firing squad at Evin prison on January 20, 1982. Three days after the execution, prison authorities informed his family of the location of interment. His daughter, Nazak writes this tribute to him:

“Although he knew the path he had chosen would lead into destruction for his family and loss of his life, he refused to leave his beloved homeland. He always said that his life would mean nothing without his country. In my darkest moments I can still hear the phone ringing and when I pick up, this horrible voice on the other side repeating the horrid words of death to a nine year old desperate little girl: ‘I have some good news for you, we have killed your father!’ I guess the shock and the horror stayed with me throughout my life but the admiration for his bravery and courage made me overcome all the obstacles that have come about my path. I look into the eyes of my twin little girls and whisper to myself I wish you were here dad! I wish they could have seen your smile, kindness and generosity!”

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