In this section you will find relevant documents and reports related to the human rights situation in Iran, with special focus on the 1988 massacre.
- Ali Fallahian: Khomeini ordered the execution of all PMOI affiliates during 1988 massacre
- Iranian Supreme Court Judge Describes 1988 Mass Executions of Political Prisoners as “Fair and Lawful”
- Audio transcript of Iran officials’ remarks about 1988 massacre
- Khomeini’s fatwa ordering the 1988 massacre in Iran’s prisons
- Montazeri’s first letter to Khomeini in protest to mass executions
- Montazeri’s second letter to Khomeini in protest to mass executions
- Montazeri’s letter addressed to members of the “Death Commission” in Tehran
- Khomeini’s Letter Dismissing Montazeri Over His Criticism of 1988 Massacre
- Letter of Ahmad Khomeini to his father and the latter’s response
- Text of letter sent to Khomeini by the religious judge of Islamic Revolutionary Courts in Khuzistan
- Amnesty International Urgent Action in 1988
In an interview with the state-affiliated Tarikh Online website, Ali Fallahian, Iran’s former Minister of Intelligence, has acknowledged that a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini in the summer of 1988 called for the eradication of all affiliates of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MEK).
The interview, which lasted more than two hours, was aired by the state-affiliated Aparat online video platform on 9 July 2017. Below is a partial translation of Fallahian’s comments regarding the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran:
Ali Fallahian: The Imam (Khomeini) decreed, ‘At least execute those who say this and who maintain their belief. It doesn’t make sense to release them.’ Then some continued to put pressure and moan that these people are this and that in prison, so it was decided that a committee be formed. Some people say that these people handed down sentences for a collective massacre. They did not do such a thing. In was decided that this 3-man committee, whose members were from the (Intelligence) Ministry and judges and were knowledgeable and were from the Prosecutor’s Office, would evaluate to see if anyone was pardonable from execution. That was the task of this committee; they were not tasked with issuing death sentences.
Interviewer: Excuse me, I want to make sure if I have understood correctly or not. The basis was that everyone would be executed, right?
Fallahian: That’s correct.
Interviewer: … but that this committee was tasked with pardoning some people from execution, right?
Fallahian: They were supposed to be careful and follow up and speak with the person and check to see if he or she is really still maintaining their belief. That was the criterion: maintaining your belief.
Interviewer: What was the criteria for judging someone to be maintaining their belief?
Fallahian: Maintaining one’s belief was if someone said I believe in the Organisation (PMOI or MEK), I don’t believe in you, and if I am set free I’d fight against you.
Interviewer: That’s crazy (for someone to say that).
Fallahian: They were crazy.
Interviewer: You mentioned that these people were not executed or those who had tertiary sentences, so what was Mr. (Hossein-Ali) Montazeri’s mistake?
Fallahian: Mr. Montazeri had another problem, and he found differences with the Imam (Khomeini). At the beginning he too agreed (with Khomeini’s position). But he became of the view that these executions would eventually lead to history judging against us and against Islam so it’s better that we don’t do this so that in the future when our enemies take up their pens they would not write appallingly about us. But the Imam said, ‘No, you carry out your religious duties and don’t wait for history’s judgment’.
Interviewer: We want to move forward from this topic, but just for my own knowledge, I’d like to ask, were all those who were executed armed when they had been arrested?
Interviewer: Had they all carried out armed rebellion?
Fallahian: They had all carried out armed rebellion. But many were arrested in team houses where we only found one or two guns or for example some were arrested on the streets and many of them were unarmed.
Interviewer: So how did this qualify as armed rebellion?
Fallahian: Because they were part of that organisation.
Interviewer: So, it’s not necessary for that person to personally carry out that action?
Fallahian: No. When someone is a member of a group or army, and when that army has taken up arms, then it makes no difference if that person is armed or unarmed.
Interviewer: Even if they were arrested with only a (PMOI) newspaper in their possession?
Fallahian: Yes. They were part of that organisation. They were prepared to carry out operations. Maybe today someone goes and buys bread for the people in the team house, or someone might go provide other provisions… (but they are all part of it).
Interview: What if for example someone is not part of the (group’s) operational (military) force and is just part of their propaganda force?
Fallahian: Well, that person is still part of them. When a unit is fighting, it has everything. It doesn’t just have arms. Right? They have a provisions unit.
Interviewer: They don’t qualify as prisoners of war?
July 6, 2017— A Senior Iranian judicial official has publicly defended the state’s mass executions of political prisoners and extended incarcerations of dissidents in the 1980s.
In an interview on July 2, 2017 with Tasnim, a news agency that maintains close relations with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Judge Ali Razini, the head of Branch 41 of the Supreme Court, described the executions of political prisoners in the summer of 1988 as “fair and lawful.”
The following is an excerpted translation of the remarks by the Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, at the time the heir apparent to Khomeini, in a meeting with the members of the “death commission,” Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, then a sharia judge, Morteza Eshraqi, then prosecutor general, Ebrahim Raeesi, then deputy prosecutor general, and Mostafa Pourmohammadi, then a representative of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
The four were among the most senior officials entrusted with the task of implementing a fatwa (religious decree) by Khomeini to the massacre of thousands of political prisoners beginning in July 1988. The victims were already serving prisoners as none had been sentenced to death.
These officials currently hold different positions within the ruling regime. Mostafa Pourmohammadi is the justice minister in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet and Hossein-Ali Nayyeri is the current head of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges. Ebrahim Raeesi was the clerical regime’s prosecutor general until several months ago and has recently been appointed by supreme leader Ali Khamenei as the head of the Astan Qods-e Razavi foundation, which is a multi-billion dollar religious, political and economic conglomerate and one of the most important political and economic powerhouses in the clerical regime. It appropriates public funds in order to financially support some of the regime’s policies, including funds spent for the war in Syria.
Montazeri’s son, Ahmad, had uploaded the audio recording of that meeting on his late father’s website on August 9, 2016, stating, “In that ‘the people have a right to know,’ the following documents on the executions of 1988 have been released.” Shortly thereafter, however, the Ministry of Intelligence ordered him to remove the audio file. “At 2:44 p.m. today, August 10, 2016, I was contacted by the Qom Office of [the Ministry of] Intelligence, which delivered a message on behalf of the Ministry of Intelligence [and Security], to the effect that it is the opinion of that Ministry that the audio recording be removed from the site and contacts of Ayatollah Montazeri,” Ahmad Montazeri wrote.
Ayatollah Montazeri also wrote two letters to Khomeini, protesting these executions, which resulted in his dismissal as Khomeini’s designated successor and his house arrest for 20 years. Montazeri died in December 2009 at the age of 87.
The massacre of 1988 remains to be one of the darkest stains on the recent history of mankind, as one of the least exposed and discussed.
If it were anyone but you, I would not get involved, but I know you and you know that neither my auntie’s son, nor my uncle’s son is among the Monafeqin (Mojahedin) prisoners, nor are any of my relatives, nor have I had any friends among them….
I am a straight-talking person. I don’t hold back what is in my heart. In contrast to some gentlemen who do what is politically expedient.
In my opinion, the greatest crime committed under the Islamic Republic, from the beginning of the Revolution until now, is this crime committed by you …. members of the judicial system. According to what I have been told, the manner in which you have been introduced, for example they said, Mr. Nayyeri, Mr. Eshraqi, these are reputable, religious people.
In my opinion, the greatest crime committed during the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you. Your (names) will in the future be etched in the annals of history as criminals. Let me be frank, perhaps your simplicity has been taken advantage of. And regrettably, it is our misfortune that our judicial system, at its top, is in the hands of someone who personally objects to such things, but then in the Friday Prayer, he starts with these slogans. And then when he wants to ask the Imam (Khomeini), instead of going to the Imam and telling him that (executions) on such a vast scale harm our interests, he asks whether we should execute them in the provinces or the cities. This is his question from the Imam.
It is our misfortune, that at the top of our judicial system, we have such an individual, quite frankly, and this has become a reality. Do you hear me?
Mr. Pourmohamadi, it is true, is now a responsible official in intelligence. But before he is an intelligence official, he is a mullah. His mullah side overshadows his intelligence side. In my opinion, this (the mass executions) is something that intelligence was after, and had invested in, and Ahmad Agha, Mr. Khomieini’s son, has been saying for three or four years, “The Mojahedin, even the ones who read their newspaper, to the ones who read their magazine, to the ones who read their statements – all of them must be executed.” …
So, now, without their having carried out any new activities (the prisoners), we go and execute them. This means that all of us screwed up, our entire judicial system is wrong. Isn’t that what it means? We are among ourselves here. I mean, we want to take stock…
This one guy, his brother was in prison. Eventually when, you know, he got caught up in this, they said his sister was also suspect. So they went and brought the sister. They executed the guy. The sister – it was only two days since they had brought her – when they told her (of the brother’s death), she said, I liked these people. They said the sister was 15 or 16 years old. They said, now that her brother has been executed, and after what she said, execute her too, and they did…
In Isfahan, a pregnant woman was among them [those massacred]. In Isfahan they executed a pregnant woman…. [In clerical jurisprudence] one must not execute a woman even if she is a mohareb (enemy of God). I reminded [Khomeini] of this, but he said they must be executed.
In the month of Moharram, at least in the month of Moharram, the month of God and the Prophet, it shouldn’t be like this. At least feel some shame before Imam Hussein. Cutting off all meetings and suddenly engaging in such butchery, dragging them out and Bang! Bang!!! Does this happen anywhere in the world? …
Beware of 50 years from now, when people will pass judgment on the leader (Khomeini) and will say he was a bloodthirsty, brutal and murderous leader…. I do not want history to remember him like that…
This sort of mass executions without trials, particularly as it relates to prisoners and captives – they are your captives after all – definitely over time will favor them and the world will condemn us and they will be even more encouraged in their armed resistance. Killing is the wrong way to resist against a thought, an idea… They have one thought, one idea. Responding to a process, a logic, even a faulty logic, with killing will solve nothing. It will make it worse…
We will not be in power forever. In the future, history will judge us…
This situation with Mr. Mousavi Ardebili, whom I know to be more liberal than others; he said in the Friday Prayer that all of them must be executed… And then people chant during the Friday prayers that the Monafeqin (Mujahedin) prisoners must be executed… And when he wants to ask the Imam, instead of telling him that [executions] on such vast scale do not serve our interests and would be damaging, he asks whether we should execute them in the provinces or in the cities!!
Executing them without (their having committed) any new activities brings into question all prior judges and judgements. How do you justify executing someone who was sentenced to something less than execution? Now we have cut off all meetings and telephone calls. But tomorrow what answer can we give to their families? …
Ultimately, the Mujahedin-e Khalq are not simply individuals. They represent an ideology and a school of thought. They represent a line of logic. One must respond to the wrong logic by presenting the right logic. One cannot resolve this through killing; killing will only propagate and spread it.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (or religious decree) in July 1988 ordering the execution of members and supporters of the main opposition group PMOI (MEK) who remained loyal to the organization, including those who had already been tried and were serving their prison sentences.
The following is the full translation of Khomeini’s fatwa ordering the 1988 massacre in Iran:
In the Name of God,
the Compassionate, the Merciful,
As the treacherous Monafeqin [Mojahedin] do not believe in Islam and what they say is out of deception and hypocrisy, and as their leaders have confessed that they have become renegades, and as they are waging war on God, and as they are engaging in classical warfare in the western, the northern and the southern fronts, and as they are collaborating with the Baathist Party of Iraq and spying for Saddam against our Muslim nation, and as they are tied to the World Arrogance, and in light of their cowardly blows to the Islamic Republic since its inception, it is decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Monafeqin [Mojahedin], are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.
The task of implementing the decree in Tehran is entrusted to Hojjatol-Islam Nayyeri, the religious judge, Mr. Eshraqi, the Tehran prosecutor, and a representative of the Intelligence Ministry. Even though a unanimous decision is better, the view of a majority of the three must prevail. In prisons in the provinces, the views of a majority of a trio consisting of the religious judge, the revolutionary prosecutor, and the Intelligence Ministry representative must be obeyed. It is naive to show mercy to those who wage war on God. The decisive way in which Islam treats the enemies of God is among the unquestionable tenets of the Islamic regime. I hope that with your revolutionary rage and vengeance toward the enemies of Islam, you would achieve the satisfaction of the Almighty God. Those who are making the decisions must not hesitate, nor show any doubt or be concerned with details. They must try to be “most ferocious against infidels.” To have doubts about the judicial matters of revolutionary Islam is to ignore the pure blood of martyrs.
Ruhollah Moussavi Khomeini
On July 31, 1988, Iran’s former Deputy Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri wrote to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to express his grave concern over the mass executions of political prisoners in Iran, namely members of the PMOI, which he said could not be justified in any way. While trying to convince Khomeini to withdraw his death decree, he appealed for Khomeini to at least spare the lives of women and children with a supplementary decree.
The following is the full translation of his letter:
Date: July 31, 1988
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
His Exalted Eminence Imam Khomeini,
With greetings, I would like to apprise Your Eminence that following your recent decree for the execution of the Monafeqin [Mojahedin] who remain in prisons, the nation tolerates the execution of the detainees of recent events and they apparently have no adverse consequences, but the execution of those who were already in prison has the following consequences:
These executions are perceived as an act of vengeance and a vendetta, considering the present state of affairs;
Many families, even those who are pious and revolutionary, are distressed and aggrieved by these executions, and have turned their backs to our regime;
Many of the prisoners who are not holding fast to their views are being treated by the officials as if they were;
At a time when under the attacks and pressures of Saddam and the Monafeqin [Mojahedin], we are attracting some sympathy around the world and many newspapers and personalities are defending us, it is unwise for the regime and yourself to have the propaganda turn against us;
While these people have been sentenced by our courts to prison terms, to execute them without any process and new activity is a complete disregard for all judicial standards and judges’ rulings. This will not reflect well on our regime;
Our judicial officials, prosecutors and intelligence officials are not perfect and there is plenty of opportunity for mistakes and unduly influenced decisions. With Your Eminence’s recent decree, many people who have light charges or are innocent are executed;
We have not so far benefited from these killings and violence. We have only stirred more propaganda against ourselves and we have increased the appeal of the Monafeqin [Mojahedin] and the counterrevolutionaries. It is appropriate to treat them with mercy for a time so as to attract the sympathies of many of them;
If you insist on your decree, then at least issue an order so that the judge, the prosecutor and the intelligence official would have to reach a consensus for execution. They must particularly spare women with children. The execution of several thousand prisoners in a few days will not have positive repercussions and will not be mistake-free. Even some of our religious judges were very distressed by this.
In his second letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on August 2, 1988, after failing to receive a response to his earlier appeal, Iran’s former Deputy Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri once again notified him of the way his death decree was being carried out and taking the lives of thousands of political prisoners.
The following is the full translation of his second letter:
Date: August 4, 1988
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
His Exalted Eminence Imam Khomeini,
With greetings, pursuant to my letter of July 31, 1988, I write the following out of my sense of religious duty: Three days ago, a religious judge from one of the provinces, who is a trustworthy man, came to see me in Qom and was in great distress because of the way Your Eminence’s decree is being implemented.
He said: The intelligence chief or the prosecutor (I forget which) was trying to ascertain if a prisoner was still holding fast to his beliefs.
He asked the prisoner if he was prepared to condemn the Monafeqin [Mojahedin], he said yes.
He asked him: ‘Are you willing to go to the front to fight in the war with Iraq?’ He said, ‘Yes.’
They asked, ‘Are you willing to walk over mines*?’ He said, ‘Do you mean all the people are willing to walk over mines? Moreover, you must not have such high expectations from someone who has just changed his views.’ They said, ‘It is obvious that you are still holding on to your political beliefs,’ and dealt with him in the same way they dealt with those who had held onto their previous political positions (and executed him).”
The judge told me how much he insisted that the verdict be issued by consensus, or a majority, but this was not accepted, because it is the intelligence official who has absolute control and others are under his influence.
Your Eminence can see what type of persons are implementing your grave decree that affects the lives of thousands of prisoners.
Iran’s former Deputy Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who was shocked by the mass execution of political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988, expressed his dismay in a letter to members of the ‘Death Commission’ in Tehran on August 15, 1988. While criticizing members of the Commission, he clearly stated that their conducts had been contrary to the teachings of Islam and the practices of the Prophet Mohammad.
The following is the full translation of his letter:
To Mr. Nayyeri, [religious judge], Mr. Eshraqi, [prosecutor], Mr. Raissi, [deputy prosecutor], and Mr. Pourmohammadi, [Intelligence Ministry representative] i
Date: August 15, 1988
In the Name of God, the Most High,
1. I have received more blows from the Monafeqin [Mojahedin] than all of you, both in prison and outside.
My son was martyred by them. If it was a question of revenge, I should pursue it more than you. But I seek the expediency and interests of the revolution, Islam, the Supreme Leader, and the Islamic state. I am worried about the judgment that posterity and history will pass upon us.
2. Such massacres without trial, particularly when the victims are prisoners and those in captivity, will definitely benefit them in the long run. The world will condemn us and they will be further encouraged to wage armed struggle. It is wrong to confront ideas and ideologies with killings.
3. Look at the behavior of Prophet [Mohammad] and how he treated his enemies after the conquest of Mecca and the Battle of Hawazen. The Prophet showed mercy and amnesty and was given the title of “the Mercy of both worlds” by the Almighty. Look how Imam Ali treated his enemies after defeating them in the Battle of Jamal.
4. Many of these people who are holding fast to their beliefs are doing so in reaction to the way they have been treated by interrogators and prison wardens, otherwise they might have been flexible.
5. To argue that if we released these prisoners, they would rejoin the Monafeqin [Mojahedin] is not sufficient to characterize them as Mohareb (waging war on God) and of having mutinied against God. Imam Ali did not punish Ibn Moljem (his assassin), before he actually carried out the crime, even though he said before hand that he (Ibn Moljem) is my killer….
6. The beliefs of a person, per se, are not sufficient grounds to declare him as someone who is waging war on God or rebelling against A Damning Document 29 the Almighty. Even if it is supposed that the [Mojahedin] leaders are renegades, their supporters cannot be given the same verdict.
7. Judgment must be made in an environment free of emotions. The social environment now is not conducive to justice due to sloganeering and propaganda. We are upset with the Monafeqin’s crime in the west, but are taking it out on prisoners and former prisoners. Executing people who have not carried out any new activities will cast doubt on previous judges and all previous judgments. According to which standard do you execute a prisoner whom you have previously given a lesser sentence? At present, prison visits and telephone calls have been cut off, but how will you answer the families tomorrow?
8. I, more than anybody, care about the prestige of His Eminence the Imam as the Supreme Leader. I do not know how things are being presented to him. Should we say that all that we were studying in Islamic jurisprudence about taking caution when dealing with people’s blood and properties were wrong?
9. I have met with a number of just and pious judges who were dismayed and complained about the way the decree is being implemented. They said there is too much extremism and cited numerous cases of people being executed without any reason.
10. In conclusion, the People’s Mojahedin are not individuals; they are an ideology, and a world outlook. They have a logic. It takes right logic to answer wrong logic. You cannot rectify wrong with killings; you only spread it.
Iran’s former Deputy Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri criticized on a number of occasions the practices of the Iranian regime’s officials and the decrees by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini which had led to the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. He described the massacre as being contrary to the Islamic Shari’at that the leaders of the regime had professed to uphold.
Khomeini reacted sharply and in a letter dismissed Mr. Montazeri as his designated successor.
Khomeini openly accused Montazeri of paving the way for the main opposition PMOI (MEK) to take over the country. The letter is yet another proof of the fact that Khomeini was behind all the suppressive measures and justified them under the name of Islam and God.
The following is the full translation of his letter dismissing Montazeri:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
To Mr. Montazeri.
My heart is broken and filled with blood now that I am writing a few words to you. Perhaps one day the people will realize the facts by reading this letter.
In your recent letter to me, you said that, in accordance with the Shari’ah, you give priority to my views over your own. I consider God my witness when I point out the following issues:
Since it has become clear that after me you are going to hand over this country, our dear Islamic revolution, and the Muslim people of Iran to the liberals, and through that channel to the Hypocrites [Mojahedin-e Khalq], you are no longer eligible to succeed me as the legitimate leader of the state. You, in most of your letters, speeches and stances, have shown that you believe the liberals and Hypocrites should rule this country. It is so clear that your remarks have been dictated by the Hypocrites that I did not see any point in sending a reply. For instance, thanks to your speeches and written work, the Hypocrites took advantage of your stance in defense of their ilk to promote a number of their comrades—who had been condemned to death on charges of waging an armed struggle against Islam and the revolution—to positions of authority. Can you see what valuable services you have offered to arrogance? On the issue of the murderer Mahdi Hashemi [a supporter and relative of Ayatollah Montazeri, who was later executed], you considered him to be the most religious person on earth. Despite the fact that it was proved to you that he was a murderer, you kept sending messages to me to spare his life. There are so many other examples, similar to that of Mahdi Hashemi, that I cannot be bothered to mention them all.
You no longer have the power of attorney on my behalf. Tell the people who bring you gold and money to take them to Mr. Pasandideh’s [Khomeini’s elder brother] residence in Qom or to me in Jamaran. Praise be to God, you yourself will not have any financial commitments from this date.
If, in accordance with the Shari’ah, you do consider my views to be superior to yours (which certainly the Hypocrites will advise you that it is against your interests to do so; and no doubt you will become busy writing things which will further deteriorate your future), then you should listen to the following words of advice I am giving you. It breaks my heart and my chest is full of agonizing pain when I see that you, the fruit of my life’s labor, are so ungrateful. However, by relying on Almighty God, I give you the following words of advice, and it will be up to you whether you take note of them or not:
One: Try to change the members of your cabinet so as to avoid feeding the hypocrites, Mahdi Hashemi’s clique, and the liberals from the sacred charity funds donated to the Imam.
Two: Since you are a gullible [sadeh lowh] person and are provoked easily, do not interfere in political matters, and maybe then God will forgive you for your sins.
Three: Do not write to me ever again, and do not allow the hypocrites to pass state secrets to foreign radio stations.
Four: Since you became a mouthpiece of the Hypocrites and your speeches have conveyed their wishes to the people via the mass media, you have inflicted heavy blows on Islam and the revolution. This is a great act of treason against the unknown soldiers of the Lord of the Age, may our souls be sacrificed for him, and against the sacrifices made by the illustrious martyrs of Islam and the revolution. If you wish to save yourself from hell fire, you had better confess to all your sins and mistakes and maybe then God will help you.
I swear to God that from the start I was against choosing you as my successor, but at the time I did not realize you were so gullible. To me you were not a resourceful manager but an educated person who could benefit the religious seminaries. If you continue your deeds I will definitely be obliged to do something about you. And you know me, I never neglect my obligation. I swear to God that I was against appointing Mahdi Bazargan as the first prime minister, too, but I considered him to be a decent person. I also swear to God that I did not vote for Bani-Sadr as the president either. On all these occasions I submitted to the advice of my friends. In the midst of my pain and suffering, I wish to address our dear people from the bottom of my broken heart:
I have made a pledge to my God not to forgive evil individuals ever, if I am not obliged to do so. I have made a pledge to my God that pleasing Him [God] is a much greater priority than pleasing my friends and other people. If the entire world were to rise against me, I would never abandon justice and the truth. I do not care about history and current developments. I am only interested in performing my religious duties. In addition to my pledge to God, I have promised the decent, noble, and honest people to inform them of the facts when the time is appropriate. Islam’s history is full of instances of treason by its prominent figures against Islam. Try to make sure that you are not influenced by the lies broadcast by foreign radio stations. These radio stations dictate their lies with so much joy and enthusiasm these days. I beseech Almighty God to grant patience and tolerance to this old father of the dear Iranian people. I beseech God to forgive me and to take me away from this world so that I no longer have to experience the bitter taste of my friend’s treachery. We all submit to God’s will. We have no power without God’s will. Everything comes from Him.
Wishing you peace: Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini; dated: Sunday 6 Farvardin 1368. (26 March 1989)
In 1988, Ahmad Khomeini, son of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, conveyed a message to his father on behalf of Iran’s then-Chief Justice, Ayatollah Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili, who raised some ambiguities about Khomeini’s death decree and how it should be carried out. Khomeini’s answer was that his decree must be carried out as quickly as possible, wherever it is practicable.
The following is the full translation of the exchange:
My Pre-eminent Father, His Eminence the Imam,
With greetings, [Chief Justice] Ayatollah Moussavi Ardebili has telephoned to raise three ambiguities about Your Eminence’s recent decree on the Monafeqin [Mojahedin]:
1. Does the decree apply to those who have been in prison, who have already been tried and sentenced to death, but have not changed their stance and the verdict has not yet been carried out, or are those who have not yet been tried are also condemned to death?
2. Those Monafeqin [Mojahedin] prisoners who have received limited jail terms, and who have already served part of their terns, but continue to hold fast to their stance in support of the Monafeqin [Mojahedin], are they also condemned to death?
3. In reviewing the status of the Monafeqin [Mojahedin] prisoners, is it necessary to refer the cases of Monafeqin [Mojahedin] prisoners in counties that have an independent judicial organ to the provincial center, or can the county’s judicial authorities act autonomously?
Text of letter sent to Khomeini by the religious judge of Islamic Revolutionary Courts in Khuzistan on the manner of implementation of His Eminence’s decree on the Monafeqin [Mojahedin]
In the Name of God, the Most High, His Eminence Imam Khomeini, With greetings,
I would like to bring to Your Eminence’s attention some points on the recent decree you issued with regard to the Monafeqin, even though I am much too humble to talk about this.
But as my religious duty requires and in a bid to seek guidance, I wish to point out that the issue of whether a person is holding fast to his support for the Monafeqin is subject to different interpretations. Different viewpoints and tastes vary between the extremes and I have brought detailed cases to the attention of Haj Ahmad and refrain from repeating them. As an example, in Dezful prison, several prisoners named Taher Ranjbar, Mostafa Behzadi, Ahmad Assekh, and Mohammad Reza Ashou, were prepared to condemn the Monafeqin and even recant on radio and television or before other prisoners. But the Intelligence Ministry official asked them: “Are you prepared to fight for the Islamic Republic in the war or in the cities?” Some wavered and some said no. The intelligence official said they are still holding on to their positions, as they were not willing to fight for our just regime. I told the official, should we therefore say that the majority of the Iranian people who are not willing to go to the front are also supporters of the Monafeqin? He replied: “These people arMohammad Hossein Ahmadi e different from ordinary folks.” The above-named prisoners were all executed, except the last one who managed to escape on the way to the execution yard. I therefore urge Your Eminence to clarify some uniform standards so that officials would not go to the extreme and commit mistakes.
Mohammad Hossein Ahmadi Religious judge of Islamic Revolutionary Court in Khuzistan
14 august 1988
His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Montazeri
Amnesty international Urgent Action 1988
Since July, Amnesty International has recorded the names of hundreds of political prisonners, members or supporters of many opposition factions executed or in danger of execution in Iran. Among them are prisoners of conscience, prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment, or whose terms of imprisonment had expired without their bring released, and prisoners who had never been tried or sentences.