The Execution of Six Baha’i Men in June 1983; “Islam or the Hangman’s Noose?”

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Pooyan Mokari

Translation by Iran Press Watch

All of these citizens were active in the administrative organization of the Baha’i community, and only one of them was not a member of the “local spiritual assembly” of Shiraz or its neighboring cities.

On the morning of June 16, 1983, six Baha’i men who did not choose Islam when faced with the question of “Islam or execution”, were hanged in Shiraz’s Chogan Circle. The execution of these citizens was a continuation of the unprecedented pressure that the Islamic Republic had started against the Baha’i community of this city.

On that date, Enayatollah Eshraghi, a retired employee of the National Oil Company, Bahram Yaldaie, an assistant professor at Pahlavi University, Bahram Afnan, a cardiologist, Jamshid Siavashi, a shopkeeper, Abdol-Hossein Azadi, a veterinarian, and Kurosh Haqbeen, an electronics technician, were executed.

All of these citizens were active in the administrative organization of the Baha’i community, and only one of them was not a member of the “Local Spiritual Assembly” of Shiraz or its neighboring cities.

“Spiritual Assembly” refers to a delegation of 9 people who are elected annually by the votes of adult Baha’is in every city or village and are responsible for handling the current affairs of the Baha’i community in that locality.

Before that, three other Baha’is were executed in March 1983, and the most famous of them was Yadollah Mahmoudnejad, the father of Mona Mahmoudnejad. 17-year-old Mona Mahmoudnejad was among the 10 Baha’i women who were hanged on June 18, 1983, four months after the execution of her father and two days after the execution of these six men.

Based on Radio Farda’s research and talking to the relatives of the executed and eyewitnesses, all stages of arrest, interrogation and execution were carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in order to “destroy the Administration and dry up the roots of Baha’i Faith in Shiraz”; The project which, according to informed sources of Radio Farda, failed because none of the detained Baha’is “recanted” from their Faith.

This project started in 1982 with the arrest of about one hundred Baha’is living in Shiraz and its surrounding cities. Most of the detainees were first taken to the IRGC detention center and after about a month they were transferred to Adel Abad prison.

Dariush Yaldaie, the brother of Bahram Yaldaie, narrated the arrest of his family members as follows: “On October 23 of 1982, Bahram Yaldaie had a Baha’i meeting in our house, and after the meeting was over, all the family members were sitting at the dinner table when the doorbell rang. There was a sound and some IRGC agents entered the house. They sat everyone down and started searching the house and collecting all the books, photos, and other items.”

The IRGC agents arrested three family members and one of their close friends who were in the family’s house that night.

The sources of Radio Farda talk about the “severe and prolonged torture” of the Baha’is during this period. In one case, Abdol Hossein Azadi, one of the six executed men, was tortured so much that his “stomach and lungs were bleeding internally.”

According to the same sources, Bahram Afnan, another executed Baha’i, also suffered a stroke in the IRGC detention center and was whipped. Despite the transfer of Mr. Afnan to the hospital and the urgent request of the ward doctor for his expedited treatment, based on the insistence of the interrogator he was returned to the prison without full treatment.

On the other hand, a number of family members of these six men were also detained at the same time, and even some of them were also executed before or after their execution.

Ezzat Janami and Roya Eshteraghi, the wife and daughter of Enayatollah Eshraghi, Tahereh Arjomandi, the wife of Jamshid Siavashi, and Nosrat Ghofrani, the mother of Bahram Yaldaie, were executed two days after the execution of these three Baha’i men.

Before that, on February 12, 1983, Khabar Jonub newspaper had announced the death sentence of 22 Baha’is without mentioning their names. This newspaper wrote: “22 people from Shiraz Baha’i Administration, and in contact with Israel’s House of Justice, were sentenced to death, and among the condemned were members of Shiraz Baha’i Spiritual Assembly.”

The families of the executed told Radio Farda that “speculations were made” about who was sentenced to death, but the names of these people were never officially announced, and only after the execution of these people, their families and their relatives were informed about the executions.

on Tuesday February 22, 1983, the Sharia ruler and head of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court at that time, who was known as “Hojjat-ol-Islam Ghazaie”, in an interview with ” Khabar Jonub” newspaper, called the detained Baha’is “germs of corruption”, “sons of the devil” and “mercenary members of the House of Justice of Israel” and asked the arrested Baha’is to “recant from being a Baha’i before it is too late”.

According to the people who were in Shiraz prison at that time, the interrogators had given two options to these six Baha’i men by order of Mr. Ghazaie: “Islam or execution.”

Dariush Yaldaie, the brother of Bahram Yaldaie, told Radio Farda that during Mr. Yaldai’s last meeting with his family, he stated that “the interrogators put a piece of paper in front of him and gave him three chances to deny his religion.”

Bahram Yaldaie told his family in this meeting that he was faced with the question “Islam or execution three times, and “I wrote execution all three times.”

According to the family members of some of the executed, the order of these sentences was issued by the Country’s Number One, Ruhollah Khomeini, and “for this reason”, the ruler of Sharia, Mr. Ghazaie, and the prosecutor at the time of Shiraz, Zia Miremadi, did their utmost to carry out the execution orders of these individuals.

These statements are consistent with Ruhollah Khomeini’s speech on May 28, 1983. In this speech, Mr. Khomeini, in response to the request of Ronald Reagan, the president of the United States at the time, for the immediate release of 22 Baha’is who were sentenced to death, stated that these people cooperate with “America” and even “if we have no other reason to say that they are American spies, Reagan’s support for them is enough.”

After the execution, the bodies of these individuals were not handed over to their families. They did not even officially announce where their bodies were buried. But informed sources told Radio Farda that the bodies “were buried without a Baha’i ceremony in Golestan Javid, The Baha’i Cemetery in the city of Shiraz.”

Shiraz Baha’i Cemetery was confiscated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a year later, and after some time it was turned into a stone-cutting workshop. Finally, on May 12, 2014, this cemetery, where the graves of more than 900 Baha’i citizens were located, was destroyed with a bulldozer.

Currently, a cultural and sports complex built for Shiraz Fajr Corps employees stands on top of this cemetery.


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