Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohammad Khan Zarghami Baseri


Age: 57
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: December 31, 1980
Location of Killing: Qasroldasht, Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial shooting
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

A trusted and well respected notable of Farse region, he wanted to see freedom established in Iran, but he was disillusioned with the outcome of the revolution and did not vote for the Islamic Republic.

The information about Mr. Mohammad Khan Zarghami Baseri’s assassination on December 31, 1980, is based on an electronic form sent to Omid by one of his children and an interview with her. Additional information has been drawn from Mr. Abdollah Shahbazi’s website, who is one of the founders of the Tehran-based Political Studies and Research Institute and its manager from the time of establishment in 1988 until 1998.

Mr. Zarghami Baseri was born in the Baseri tribe in 1923 and had 6 children. In addition to being a farmer, he was an influential figure in the region, the sheriff of his tribe in Qasrodasht Kamin (located in the southern province of Fars). When disagreements or fights broke out among the local residents and tribes, the parties went to Mr. Zarghami Baseri to mediate, as opposed to local state officials and courts. During the monarchy, at the time of the Shah’s land reforms, Mr. Zarghami Baseri was imprisoned and exiled for his disagreement with the state policy. Before the Revolution of 1979, he provided financial support for demonstrations opposing the monarchy. After February 1979, he was disillusioned with the outcome of the revolution, and did not participate in the referendum of April 1979. He even thought of leaving the country and refrained from further political activities.

According to his daughter, Mr. Zarghami Baseri “wanted to lead a peaceful family life. He enjoyed reading. He learned English in prison. He loved Marzieh’s songs” (a well-known Iranian singer).

In the morning of December 31, 1980, Mr. Zarghami Baseri and one of his employees were riding his vehicle toward his farm in Qasrodasht Kamin when they were shot and killed by Revolutionary Guards of Arsenjan (located in Fars Province). Mr. Zarghami Baseri was shot 11 times and his employee (whose name is not known) was shot once in the face. Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s daughter states that after the assassination, the Revolutionary Guards entered their house and expropriated his belongings as well as documents and birth certificates of family members. They sealed the doors to the house. They arrested two family members who had come to the house and took them to Arsenjan. They forced the family members to promise that the latter would not return to Qasrodasht Kamin.

Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s body was left on the ground until the afternoon when state agents transferred it to the local medical center. The interviewee says that she saw her father’s vehicle was full of bullet-holes. She states that the head of the Revolutionary Guards ordered the coroner to identify the cause of death as “laceration of the heart.” Only with much persistence, were family members able to retrieve the body from the officials. The family was told to bury the body in their house in Shiraz. At the funeral, not only did state agents prevent men from attending the ceremony, but they also distributed a leaflet signed by the Revolutionary Guards Corps of Arsenjan. In this leaflet, Mr. Zarghami Baseri was called “a fugitive spy.” Some of Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s male employees wore women’s veil (chador) in order to attend the funeral. He was buried next to his daughter, who had passed when she was 9. State agents reportedly had broken her marble gravestone and taken it away.

The interviewee says that the BBC radio as well as the Voice of Israel announced news of her father’s assassination. Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s properties as well as his brother’s and son’s vehicles were confiscated the day of his assassination. Additionally, his wife’s properties were also “temporarily” confiscated in 1981. More than one year after his death, the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Fars Province gave legitimacy to the confiscations.

Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s assassination and the confiscation on his property gave rise to protests of influential local residents and disagreements among state officials. Mr. Shahbazi emphasizes that “his assassination by ‘unknown’ men was carried out in violation of religious principles and without judicial sentence.” Ayatollah Montazeri also addressed this issue in his Diaries (Los Angeles: Ketab Corp., 2001) where he quotes a religious judge saying, some state officials “wanted to confiscate the Zarghami family’s properties but they could not find any reason for the confiscation, since they had inherited their property from previous generations. In the end, the officials found a Jewish person in the family, five generations before. They said that their property could be confiscated because of that; but I refused. Nevertheless, their property was eventually confiscated.” Local state officials emphasized to Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s wife that higher-ranking officials in Tehran had issued the order to confiscate their property.

On February 26, 1982, a member of the High Judicial Council issued a verdict, over a telephone conversation with the judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Fars concerning the confiscation of Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s property. The latter then wrote the sentence, which reads:

“In the name of God, based on a phone conversation with Hojjatoleslam Mo’men, esteemed member of the High Judicial Council, regarding careful calculation of late Mohammad Khan Zarghami’s illegitimate belongings… [such calculation] is impossible… After some negotiation, he [Hojjatoleslam Mo’men] said, ‘If he [the deceased] had legitimate income… it was spent for all his debauchery and extravaganza, equal to his wealth. Additionally, they [the family] took many belongings after they found out that the belongings were to be confiscated. This is certain and final decision that what is left is totally illegitimate and subject to confiscation.’”

Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s family members were not safe from harassment and unfair treatment of the local officials. In November 1982, when Mr. Zarghami Baseri’s wife, Mr. Agha Bibi Sheibani visited a local office to ask for the return of her confiscated property, she was arrested and detained and 4 months. During her detention, prison officials beat her head against the wall. She died four days after her release from prison due to brain hemorrhage (March 11, 1983). Their children’s property was confiscated in the early 1980s.

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