Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 09:43 GMT

Iran: Chronology of Events: June 1989 - July 1994

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 January 1995
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Chronology of Events: June 1989 - July 1994, 1 January 1995, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8170.html [accessed 30 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

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GLOSSARY

ADFSIN Association for the Defense of Freedom and Sovereignty of the Iranian Nation

BKO       Babak Khorramdin Organization

ICRC       International Committee of the Red Cross

IRNA      Islamic Republic News Agency

KDPI      Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran

LMI        Liberation Movement of Iran

Majlis     Iranian legislative assembly

NCR        National Council of Resistance

NLA       National Liberation Army of Iran

OKB       Organization of Kaviyani Banner

PMOI     People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran

UNHCR  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNCHR  United Nations Commission on Human Rights

VKBI      Voice of Kaviyani Banner of Iran

For more detailed information on Iranian opposition groups, please consult the August 1993 DIRB Question and Answer Series paper entitled Iran: Political Opposition.

CHRONOLOGY

1989

3 June

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini dies (The New York Times 4 June 1989, 1; Flanz Dec. 1992, xv). He has served as the Supreme Religious Leader of the Islamic Republic since 1979, when a revolution toppled the government of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. Khomeini had ruled by the doctrine of Velayat-e-Faquih, or rule of the Islamic Leader, which gives the most learned and just Islamic scholar the power to make authoritative interpretations on the law (LCHR May 1993, 11).

4 June

Iran's president, Seyed Ali Khamenei, succeeds Ayatollah Khomeini as the Supreme Religious Leader of the Islamic Republic after the Assembly of Experts approves his candidacy (The New York Times 5 June 1989, 1; Flanz Dec. 1992, xv). The assembly is the highest constitutional institution in the Islamic Republic and has the power to appoint the Supreme Religious Leader (Hunter 1992, 26). While Khameini does not possess the high religious distinction of his predecessor, his succession is made possible by constitutional reforms proposed by the Council for the Reappraisal of the Constitution, set up by Khomeini on 24 April 1989 (ibid., 25-26; LCHR May 1993, 11). Amendments proposed by the council abandon the requirement that the Velayat-e-Faquih be a religious source of emulation for Shia Muslims in favour of the less stringent criteria that he has the qualifications to become a source of emulation. In addition, it was proposed that the candidate possess a thorough knowledge of government and society (ibid., 26).

Attollah Byahmadi, a former colonel in the Shah's intelligence service and a member of the Organization of Kaviyani Banner (OKB), is assassinated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993; Mickolus 1993, 361; AI 1990, 124-25). The OKB is an organization of exiled supporters of the Iranian monarchy. (See the August 1993 DIRB Question and Answer Series paper entitled Iran: Political Opposition for more information on the various Iranian opposition groups.)

21 June

The Law on the Formation of Penal Courts I and II and the Chambers of the Supreme Court is passed (LCHR May 1993, 29). The legislation allows a convicted defendant to appeal a conviction on the grounds of invalid documentation, false testimony, procedural violation or a point of law (ibid.). Verdicts issued in Penal Courts II can be appealed to Penal Courts I. In turn, verdicts in Penal Courts I, which deal with serious offences, can be appealed to the Supreme Court (ibid., 28-29).

13 July

Abdolrahman Qassemlou, leader of the largest of the Kurdish opposition groups, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), and two associates are assassinated in Vienna (Mickolus 1993, 377; The Washington Post 21 Nov. 1993). The murder takes place in the course of secret negotiations with Iranian government officials (AI 1990, 125). On 28 November the Austrian government issued arrest warrants for three Iranians suspected of being responsible for the assassination, including two men who had been part of the Iranian delegation that met with Qassemlou (Mickolus 1993, 378), but by that time the suspects had returned to Iran. They have never been extradited to stand trial (Time 21 Mar. 1994).

28-30 July

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaker of the country's national legislative assembly, is elected for a four-year term as president, receiving 94 per cent of the vote in the national elections (Keesing's July 1989, 36832-33; Freedom House 1994, 311). At the same time, constitutional amendments are submitted to a popular referendum and ratified (Flanz Dec. 1992, xvi). The reforms include the abolishment of the office of the prime minister; an increase in presidential executive powers; and the restructuring of the judiciary with a new appointed head of the judiciary replacing the Supreme Judicial Council (AI 1990, 123; Flanz Dec. 1992, xvi-xviii; Hunter 1992, 24-32). Moreover, constitutional recognition is given to the Assembly for the Determination of the Interests of the State (also known as the Assembly for the Determination of Exigiencies), an advisory body originally created to resolve disputes between the legislative assembly, the Majlis, and the Council of Guardians, a 12-member body responsible for ensuring the conformity of all laws proposed by the Majlis with the constitution and Islamic principles (LCHR May 1993, 12-13). The referendum also formally approves changes to the qualifications and selection process for the Supreme Religious Leader (see entry for 4 June 1989) (Hunter 1992, 25-26).

1990

January

United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) special representative Reynaldo Galindo Pohl visits Iran (AI 1991, 120; Country Reports 1990 1991, 1444). The United Nations first appointed a special representative for Iran in 1984, and it has renewed that mandate annually (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 3). The visit represents the first time a UN special representative is granted the right to travel to Iran to investigate the human rights situation. He is permitted to return two more times, in October 1990 and December 1991 (ibid. 28 Jan. 1993, 58; AI 1991, 120).

Dr. Sepah Mansour is reported executed in Karaj on charges of drug trafficking (United Nations 2 Feb. 1990, 2). Amnesty International also reports allegations that Dr. Mansour was falsely accused and was really executed for his opposition to the government (AI 1991, 122). Since the introduction in late 1988 of a mandatory death sentence for individuals convicted of drug-related offences, several hundred executions have taken place (ibid., 121; Country Reports 1990 1991, 1445).

9 February

Ayatollah Khamenei reiterates the fatwa (religious edict) which sentences British author Salman Rushdie and the publishers of his book The Satanic Verses to death (Flanz Dec. 1992, xviii). Ayatollah Khomeini had pronounced the fatwa a year earlier, on 14 February, after Muslims around the world denounced the novel as an insult to Islam (Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 89).

24 April

Kazem Rajavi is assassinated in Geneva, Switzerland (Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993; Mickolus 1993, 487). He was a prominent opponent of the Iranian regime, a spokesperson for the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran (PMOI) at the UNCHR, and the brother of the PMOI's leader, Massoud Rajavi. A Swiss judicial investigation reveals evidence of Iranian government involvement in the murder, and international arrest warrants are issued for two Iranians (ibid., 488; United Nations 13 Feb. 1991, 16; Time 21 Mar. 1994).

18 May

A leading religious and political leader, Ayatollah Musavi-Ardebili, delivers a sermon during Friday prayer at Tehran University during which he specifies the punishments to be imposed on individuals convicted of homosexuality (Bay Area Reporter 31 May 1990; Capital Gay 1 June 1990). The Islamic Penal Code stipulates that the death sentence is the penalty for men convicted of sodomy and for women convicted of four offences of lesbianism (Iran 28 Nov. 1991, art. 110, 131). In a reply to inquiries made by the UN special representative in 1990, the government stated that "according to the Islamic Shariat, homosexuals who confess to their acts and insist on [their homosexuality] are condemned to death" (United Nations 13 Feb. 1991, 19).

11 June

Twenty-odd members of the Association for the Defense of Freedom and Sovereignty of the Iranian Nation (ADFSIN) and the Liberation Movement of Iran (LMI, also known as the Freedom Movement) are arrested after signing an open letter addressed to President Rafsanjani (Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 114; Country Reports 1990 1991, 1449). In the letter they state they are critical of the regime's domestic and foreign policies and demand greater civil liberties (Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 114). The ADFSIN is an affiliate of former prime minister Mehdi Bazargan's LMI, an organization that supports constitutional rule by political parties within an Islamic framework. Bazargan's son is among those arrested (Middle East Watch 29 June 1990, 1). A few days after the arrests, the Office of the Tehran's Revolutionary Prosecutor orders the ADFSIN to dissolve itself (Middle East Watch 3 Sept. 1991, 1-2). Amnesty International later reports that some of the men were beaten and forced into confessions (AI 1991, 120).

July

A law is promulgated by the Majlis that creates the Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic (LCHR May 1993, 36; Hunter 1992, 44). The legislation calls for the merger of three law enforcement organizations-the police, the gendarmerie and the Revolutionary Committees-within one year. The Revolutionary Committees are at this time under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior and have responsibility for combating the illegal drug trade and forbidden religious movements (LCHR May 1993, 36-38). In addition, they act as surveillance and intelligence-gathering bodies for the Ministry of Information (ibid.).

8 October

Elections are held for the 83 members of the Assembly of Experts. Its members hold office for eight years (Flanz Dec. 1992, xix; United Nations 13 Feb. 1991, 41).

23 October

A former professor of political science at the University of Tehran is shot and killed in Paris, France. Cyrus Elahi was the director of the OKB and a supporter of the late Shah. The OKB believes government-sponsored terrorists from Iran are responsible for the assassination (Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993; Mickolus 1993, 600).

3 December

Reverend Hossein Soodmand is hanged in Mashhad on charges of apostasy and for operating a Christian bookstore and an illegal Christian church (HRW Jan. 1991, 442; United Nations 13 Feb. 1991, 21; AI 1991, 122). The offence of apostasy is punishable by death under the Islamic penal law (ibid.).

1991

25 February

Dr. Seyyed Mohammad Golpaygani, secretary of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council, issues guidelines regarding the Baha'i community (Golpaygani 25 Feb. 1991; United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 55). The directives indicate that Baha'is are not to be expelled from the country, arrested or imprisoned without reason. They also state that the government's dealings with the Baha'i must be directed at blocking the progress and development of the religious minority. Thus access to university education, employment, and public office is to be denied to individuals who identify themselves as Baha'is or who are known to be Baha'is. The guidelines state that government propaganda institutions must counter the religious activities and teachings of the Baha'is (ibid.).

1 April

Brigadier General Mohammad Sohrabi is appointed commander of the new Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic, signalling the implementation of the proposed merger of the national police, gendarmerie and the Islamic Revolutionary Committees (see entry for July 1990) (AP 1 Apr. 1991; Keyhan 4 Apr. 1991).

22-23 April

Tehran police arrest 800 women for violations of the Islamic dress code (United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 38).

May

Delegations from Amnesty International and Middle East Watch are permitted to enter Iran to visit Kurdish and Shiite refugees from Iraq (AI 1992, 146; Country Reports 1991 1992, 1416).

President Rafsanjani declares the LMI to be an illegal organization (Middle East Watch 3 Sept. 1991, 1-2).

June

Trials are conducted for nine prisoners arrested in 1990 for signing an open letter addressed to President Rafsanjani (see entry for 11 June 1990) (The New York Times 22 Sept. 1991; AI 1992, 145; United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 35). All are convicted on various charges of destabilizing the government and "misleading the population" (ibid.). They receive prison sentences ranging from six months to three years. In addition, they are sentenced to up to 30 lashes (ibid.; AI 1992, 145). It is reported that the defendants were denied legal counsel and were not informed of the charges against them and that their appeals were denied (ibid.; Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 115). One of the convicted prisoners, Ali Ardalan, was reportedly released after being moved to a hospital in September (AI 1992, 145; United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 36; Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 115). Middle East Watch reports that the sixteen other signatories were released within a year of being detained (ibid.).

12 July

Professor Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, is found stabbed to death in his office at Tsukuba University north of Tokyo (Mickolus 1993, 755; Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993).

26 July

The Revolutionary Guards are reported to have beaten and arrested a group of women in Isfahan on the pretext that they were improperly dressed (United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 38). The Revolutionary Guards, also known as the Pasdaran, are a law enforcement force under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence. They are charged with the responsibility of defending the Islamic Revolution (LCHR May 1993, 37). Several groups of people attempt to intervene on behalf of the women, escalating the original incident into a large protest against the Islamic dress code (The New York Times 30 July 1991; IISS May 1992, 109).

6 August

Shapour Bakhtiar, the last Iranian prime minister before the 1979 revolution, is stabbed to death in his home in a suburb of Paris, France (Mickolus 1993, 765; Time 21 Mar. 1994). His secretary is also killed. French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere is put in charge of the investigation of the murders. By the end of the year, several Iranians are arrested in connection with the murder, including Massud Hendi, an Iranian businessman and nephew of Ayatollah Khomeini (ibid.; Mickolus 1993, 766). Bruguiere's final report, presented as a secret document to the Paris Appeals Court in 1994, is reported to contain substantial evidence linking Iranian officials to the murder of Bakhtiar (Time 21 Mar. 1994).

September

The Assembly for the Determination of the Interests of the State approves a law upholding the right to legal assistance (AI 1992, 144; United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 91). The assembly overrides the opposition of the Council of Guardians, which had rejected the law as proposed by the Majlis (ibid.). Amnesty International reports that, despite this legislative initiative, "no cases were known in which political prisoners were given access to defence counsel in 1991" (AI 1992, 144). It is also unclear whether the law actually meets international standards with regard to the right to legal representation by a professional lawyer. The Iranian law only stipulates that a defendant shall have access to an attorney, omitting to use the clearer expression "attorney-at-law" (LCHR May 1993, 46-47; United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 91).

8 October

New legislation postpones elections to the Bar Council until the newly created Reform Council dismisses certain lawyers from the profession (United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 27; Attacks on Justice 1992, 80; LCHR May 1993, 49). Categories of lawyers to be dismissed include the following: individuals associated with governments that ruled Iran beginning in 1963 up until the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979; agents and informers of the Shah's security agency, Savak; members of organizations connected with Zionism; collaborators with foreign military forces; individuals exhibiting "immoral behaviour" and individuals who are supporters of illegal organizations (ibid., 49-50; AI July 1992, 5-6). The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights considers the grounds for disqualification to be so broad as to enable authorities to dismiss any independent-minded lawyer from the practice of law, thus threatening the independence of the profession (LCHR May 1993, 50-51; see also AI July 1992, 5-6). Since the enactment of the law, no independent elections to the Bar Council are reported to have been held and there are reports that the harassment of lawyers "indicates a tendency on the part of the authorities to identify lawyers with their client's cases" (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 24). This situation has been described as violating principles set out by the United Nations on the independence and administration of bar associations (LCHR May 1993, 50; United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 31; ibid. 2 Feb. 1994, 24).

October

The Assembly for the Determination of the Interests of the State enacts a law establishing the High Tribunal for Judicial Discipline (LCHR May 1993, 20). The newly created High Tribunal is granted exclusive jurisdiction over matters relating to judicial discipline. While the legislation states that judges may be dismissed for "religious considerations," it does not provide definitions of the religious grounds that may lead to disciplinary action (ibid., 21). Judges are required to have a grounding in Islamic law (ibid., 17-19).

November

The government signs an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 54; Country Reports 1991 1992, 1416). It will allow the ICRC to visit detention facilities on a regular basis and will permit the organization to monitor the treatment of prisoners (ibid.). The ICRC begins its prison visits in early 1992 (HRW Dec. 1992, 303).

8-14 December

The UN special representative returns to Iran after Iranian officials delayed approval for his visit until the last possible moment before the upcoming session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 9-10).

1992

6-12 January

A delegation from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights visits Iran to investigate the situation of Iraqi refugees in the country. Its report, published in April 1992, characterizes Iran's response to the influx of Gulf War refugees into the country as "extremely generous" (LCHR Apr. 1992, 57). The Iranian government supplied the refugees with food, shelter and water, despite receiving less foreign aid than other countries affected by the refugee crisis (ibid.). However, the delegation also reports that refugees, particularly Kurdish refugees, were persuaded to return to Iraq despite the continuing instability in the country (ibid., 51-52). This was achieved through various disincentives and forced transfers to isolated areas inside Iran (ibid., 57).

18 February

Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, the UN special representative, submits his final report on the past year's human rights situation in Iran to the 48th Session of the UNCHR (United Nations 2 Jan. 1992). In his conclusions, he states that there has been "no appreciable progress towards improved compliance with human rights in accordance with the current international instruments" (ibid., 98). The Iranian government later reacts to the report by stating that the special representative "had fallen under the influence of certain powers" (LCHR 1993, 184) and that, in the future, individuals monitoring the human rights situation in Iran would have to be "neutral persons free from the influence of the powers" (ibid.).

4 March

The UNCHR votes to extend the mandate of the special representative, noting that violations of fundamental human rights of Iranians continue to be reported (United Nations 1992, 156-58; Reuters 4 Mar. 1992).

18 March

Bahman Samandari, a member of the Baha'i community in Tehran, is executed in Evin prison (AI 1993, 162; United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 12; Country Reports 1992 1993, 1000). This is the first reported execution of a person of the Baha'i faith since 1988 (ibid.). It is reported that no formal charges were laid against Samandari, nor were any legal court proceedings held before his execution. No reason was given at the time for his execution except a "vague indication" that it was related to a previous arrest. Samandari had been arrested on 21 October 1987 for his membership in the Baha'i community and was subsequently released on 18 December 1987 (United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 12). In a letter to the UN special representative dated 24 November, the government of the Islamic Republic denies that Samandari was executed for his beliefs, alleging that he was a spy and adulterer (ibid.).

21 March

The government instructs the ICRC to cease all of its activities in Iran and orders its foreign staff to leave the country within a week (The Atlanta Journal and Constitution 22 Mar. 1992; United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 53). The ICRC is accused of violating its mandate with regard to its activities with Iraqi prisoners of war and prisoners in Iranian detention centres (ibid., 33). The ICRC denies these charges (ibid.; The Atlanta Journal and Constitution 22 Mar. 1992).

5 April

The Iranian air force attacks a military base in Iraq belonging to the National Liberation Army (NLA), the armed wing of the PMOI (United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 46; Libération 6 Apr. 1992). The bombings incite supporters of the PMOI to violently protest at Iranian diplomatic missions in Canada, the US and several European countries (ibid.; Le Devoir 6 Apr. 1992).

10 April

The first round of polling is held for the 270-seat Majlis. Elections for the legislative assembly have been held every four years since 1980 (The Middle East June 1992). Although the constitution does not ban political parties, very few organizations are granted the registration required by the Political Parties Act of 1981. Those that have been registered include various factions of the Islamic clergy and various apolitical groups (United Nations 2 Jan. 1992, 35; Country Reports 1992 1993, 1002). The Council of Guardians must also approve all candidacies for the Majlis (AFP 17 Mar. 1992). Nevertheless, two main factions have emerged within this limited political space. One group, often characterized by analysts as the radical or hardline clergy, supports a state-dominated economy and the promotion of Islam abroad (The Middle East June 1992). The other faction is seen to support President Rafsanjani's attempts to liberalize the economy and seek out foreign investments and technology (ibid.).

11 April

The government bans the science magazine Farad and arrests its editor-in-chief, Nasser Arabha, and cartoonist Manouchehr Karimzadeh, for the publication of a cartoon said to be an insult to Ayatollah Khomeini (AI 1993, 161; Reporters sans frontières 1993, 201; United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 36; Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 46). The cartoon portrayed a soccer player considered by many to resemble the late Khomeini. The Press Law provides for the prosecution of any writer and editor who "offends the leader of the Islamic Revolution" (ibid., 47). Arabha is tried on 16 September 1992 before Branch 2 of the Criminal Court of Tehran on charges of "acting against internal security and insulting the exalted Imam Khomeini" (ibid., 50; CPJ 1992, 216). This is the first press case to be tried by a jury before the general courts (Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 51; AI 1993, 161). Arabha is represented by legal counsel. He is convicted and sentenced to six months in prison and is released in 1993 (CPJ 1992, 216; Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 51). Karimzadeh is reported to have been secretly tried before the Islamic Revolutionary Court sometime before September and sentenced to one year in prison, fifty lashes and a fine. At the end of his sentence, he is retried for the same incident and sentenced to an additional ten years (ibid., 47). According to Amnesty International, the original one-year term was increased to ten years (AI 1994, 164).

13 April

The government announces that 108 prisoners, including eight members of the ADFSIN and LMI convicted in 1991 (see entries for 11 June 1990 and 21 June 1991), were pardoned and released on the anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Republic (AI 1993, 162; Xinhua 13 Apr. 1992).

15 April

Anti-government demonstrations take place in Shiraz (AFP 16 Apr. 1992; HRW Dec. 1992, 301). Human Rights Watch reports that the demonstrations were triggered by high prices and discontent over the mismanagement of funds targeted for veterans of the Iran-Iraq war (ibid.).

8 May

Run-off elections are held in the 84 constituencies of the Majlis in which no candidate won a clear majority in the first round on 10 April (Flanz Dec. 1992, xx).

11 May

The final results of the parliamentary elections are made public (Flanz Dec. 1992, xx). The outcome is viewed as a success for President Rafsanjani (The Middle East June 1992; HRW Dec. 1992, 300). Two-thirds of the elected deputies are from Rafsanjani's "moderate" faction (ibid.). Allegations are made by an opposing clerical faction that Rafsanjani influenced the electoral process through the control exercised by the Council of Guardians over the eligibility of candidates (ibid.; Le Monde 18 Apr. 1992; Reuters 2 Apr. 1992). Over one-third of the 3,000 candidates, including 39 former Majlis deputies, were turned down by the council (ibid.; United Nations 28 Jan.1993, 36).

30 May

Riots erupt in Mashhad after local officials attempt to evict people living in illegal dwellings (Le Devoir 1 June 1992; The Christian Science Monitor 2 June 1992). Several people are reported killed, and buildings are set on fire and destroyed. A week before, officials clashed with demonstrators in the city of Arak after a boy was killed in a squatter camp (The Times 2 June 1992; AFP 12 June 1992; Libération 12 June 1992). The violence in both cities leads to several hundred arrests, and several individuals are executed after summary trials (AFP 31 May 1992; AI 1 Oct. 1992, 5; The Economist 6 June 1992). The head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Yazdi, makes use of the Law on the Formation of Penal Courts I and II (see entry for 21 June 1989) to appoint and dispatch ad hoc judges to swiftly try those arrested (LCHR 1993, 185; United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 30).

August

Dr. Ali Mozaffarian, a leading member of the Sunni community in the central province of Fars, is executed in Shiraz after being convicted of spying for the US and Iraq, and of committing adultery and sodomy (AI Jan. 1994, 11). Taped confessions were broadcast in Shiraz (ibid. 1993, 162). Upon learning of the execution, Amnesty International expresses concern that the confessions may have been coerced and that the charges may have been pretexts to target the Sunni leader (ibid. Feb. 1994, 33-34).

Towfiq Aliasi, a member of the Kurdish opposition group Komala, is executed. He had been detained in the Sanandaj prison since September 1991, along with another Komala member, Rahman Aliasi, who is reported to have been executed in June 1992. A videotaped confession by Towfiq Aliasi is apparently broadcast on local television (United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 18; AI 1993, 162). Amnesty International once again expresses concern that the confession may have been obtained through torture or ill-treatment (ibid.).

3 August

Iranian dissident and singer Fereydoun Farokhzad-Araghi is stabbed to death in his home in Bonn, Germany (Reuters 8 Aug. 1992; United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 16). Farokhzad-Araghi had been involved in a programme broadcast on the radio station of the OKB, the Voice of Kaviyani Banner of Iran (VKBI). The VKBI said the singer had received death threats, allegedly from members of the Iranian secret police (ibid.).

27 August

A bomb explodes near the shrine of the Ayatollah Khomeini at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in Tehran, killing five people (MEI 11 Sept. 1992; AP 29 Aug. 1992). It is one of several bomb blasts to go off that day in the capital. Amnesty International attributes responsibility for the bombings to the PMOI (AI 1993, 161).

17 September

Four people, three of whom are members of the KDPI, are assassinated in a restaurant in Berlin, Germany, where they were to attend a meeting of the Socialist International (Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993; Time 21 Mar. 1994; The New York Times 31 May 1993). Among the dead is Dr. Sadeq Sharafkandi, the man who succeeded Abdolrahman Qassemlou as the secretary general of the KDPI after the latter's assassination three years earlier (see entry for 13 July 1989). In May 1993, German prosecutors in the case charge that the Iranian government ordered the assassinations (ibid.).

November

Abdollah Bagheri, a former member of Komala, is arrested outside Mariwan, near the Iraqi border. Iranian authorities state that he will be charged with terrorist attacks (AI Nov. 1993, 5; ibid. 12 Mar. 1993). Amnesty International later reports that videotaped "confessions" by Bagheri are broadcast on television early in 1993 (ibid. 26 Apr. 1993).

1993

10 February

An attempt is made in Tehran on the life of President Rafsanjani. Five of the attackers are killed during an ambush of the presidential motorcade. The Babak Khorramdin (BKO), an underground organization opposed to the Islamic regime, claims responsibility for the attack (The Independent 13 Feb. 1993).

23 February

Reynaldo Galindo Pohl presents his human rights report for the past year to the 49th Session of the UNCHR. As Pohl has not been permitted to visit Iran since December 1991 (Reuters 23 Feb. 1993), his report is based on communications with government officials and submissions from non-governmental organizations and individuals (United Nations 28 Jan. 1993, 4). He concludes that international supervision of the human rights situation in Iran "should be continued" (ibid., 57).

March

Amnesty International reports that two members of the Naroui tribe of Baluchistan are arrested in Kerman (AI 25 Mar. 1993). It adds that, in the last three months, over 20 Baluchis have been executed (ibid.; ibid. 1994, 164; United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 16). Some were reportedly detained without charges or trial, while others faced charges ranging from drug smuggling to counter-revolutionary activities (AI 1994, 164).

10 March

The UNCHR adopts a resolution condemning continuing human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran and once again extends the mandate of the special rapporteur (United Nations 1993, 192-94).

13 March

The Iraqi headquarters of the KDPI are bombed by the Iranian air force. Four people are killed and several more injured, according to reports from the Kurdish organization (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 40; AFP 14 Mar. 1993).

16 March

Mohammad Hussein Naghdi, the director of the Italian office of the National Council of Resistance (NCR), a coalition of Iranian opposition groups, is assassinated in Rome (Los Angeles Times 17 Mar. 1993; United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 11; Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993).

21 March

Two alleged members of Komala are sentenced to death by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tabriz (AI 1994, 165; United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 9). The government claims that Salim Saberniah and Seyed Mustafa Ghaderi confessed to the murders of several villagers during robberies committed to finance the activities of the Kurdish group (ibid.). Over a year later Amnesty International reports that the two are still awaiting execution (AI 20 May 1994, 1).

1 April

An amnesty is decreed on the occasion of Islamic Republic Day. The prison terms of 1,682 individuals convicted in public, military and Islamic Revolutionary courts are reduced (AI 1994, 164).

8 May

The Council of Guardians approves the candidacy of four men for the upcoming presidential elections. In addition to current president Rafsanjani, the council names former minister of labour Ahmad Tavakoli, chancellor of the Islamic Open University, Abdollah Jasebi, and former member of the Majlis, Rajab Ali Taheri (BBC Summary 10 May 1993; MEI 28 May 1993, 13). Two opposition groups, the LMI and the Iranian National Party, call on Iranians to boycott the election because of the lack of fundamental freedoms and the denial of official recognition to most political parties, including their own (ibid.; Libération 11 June 1993).

14 May

Protesters break into the offices of the science magazine Keyhan. Furniture and windows are broken, computers and files are damaged, and the protesters demand that the magazine be closed for publishing an interview with former prime minister Bazargan, now leader of the LMI (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 26; BBC Summary 17 May 1993; Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 111). The publisher is questioned by officials but no action is taken against the protesters (ibid.).

17 May

The Majlis approves the creation of a non-governmental human rights committee, to be responsible for investigating and advising the government on ways to resolve human rights-related problems in Iran and abroad (MEI 11 June 1993, 11).

20 May

Several oil pipelines are blown up in southern Iran. The PMOI claims responsibility (AFP 20 May 1993a; MEI 28 May 1993, 13).

25 May

Iranian air force jets attack two PMOI bases in Iraq (APS Diplomat Recorder 29 May 1993; United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 39).

6 June

Mohammed Hassan Arbab is shot and killed in Karachi, Pakistan. He was an active member of the NCR (ibid., 11; Iran Times International 15 Oct 1993).

11 June

Iranians cast their ballots in the presidential elections. Voter turnout is low, with less than 60 per cent of those eligible to cast ballots (MEI 25 June 1993; Asiaweek 23 June 1993). Rafsanjani secures a second term as president but obtains only 63 per cent of the vote, a substantial reduction from the 95 per cent he received in 1989 (ibid.).

23 June

Brigadier-General Abdollah Oqabaei, commander of the law enforcement forces in Tehran, announces that 802 women and men have been arrested in a recent crackdown on Islamic dress code violations (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 25; Los Angeles Times 24 June 1993). The arrests are part of a recently launched campaign to uphold Islamic morality (La Presse 22 June 1993; AFP 21 June 1993).

July

As many as 15,000 graves in a Baha'i cemetery in Tehran are desecrated during construction of a cultural centre (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 31; Country Reports 1993 1994, 1180; Libération 8 July 1993).

Kurdish villages in Iraq are shelled by the Iranian military (The Independent 26 July 1993; MEI 6 Aug. 1993, 10). Kurdish and international observers report the destruction of several villages in Iraqi Kurdistan and the flight of 7000 villagers into neighbouring hills (AFP 18 July 1993). The Iranian government accuses the KDPI of launching terrorist attacks from bases within Iraq (ibid.).

8 August

The Majlis approves President Rafsanjani's cabinet, but only after rejecting Mohsen Nurbakhsh as minister of economy and finance (MEI 28 Aug. 1993, 13). Rafsanjani's poor showing in the presidential election reportedly strengthened the position of deputies opposed to Nurbakhsh's pro-market economic reforms (ibid.; UPI 15 June 1993). Rafsanjani responds by promoting Nurbakhsh to the post of vice-president for economic and financial affairs (MEI 28 Aug. 1993, 13).

28 August

The deputy foreign minister for parliamentary and legal affairs, Manushehr Motaki, announces that Iranians living abroad will be able to obtain Iranian passports, regardless of whether they have acquired foreign citizenship since leaving Iran. The decision does not include individuals considered to be political opponents of the government (AFP 23 Aug. 1993; BBC Summary 30 Aug. 1993).

30 August

Abbas Abdi, the editor of the newspaper Salam, is arrested during an outing with his family (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 28; The New York Times 30 Aug. 1993). Abdi was a prominent figure in the 1979 revolution, most notably for his leadership role in the take-over of the U.S. embassy (ibid.). Salam is linked to a clerical faction loyal to the late Ayatollah Khomeini and critical of Rafsanjani's policies (Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 37).

2 September

A young woman named Bahareh Vojdani is shot to death in a Tehran suburb by a vice squad agent during a campaign promoting the Islamic dress code (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 17).

16 September

Police raid a wedding party and arrest 15 people for violating the Islamic ban on dancing (ibid., 25; AFP 16 Sept. 1993).

11 October

William Nygaard, the Norwegian publisher of The Satanic Verses, survives an assassination attempt outside his home in Oslo (Iran Times International 15 Oct. 1993; United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 17).

18 October

Colonel Nosratollah Tavakkoli, a leading figure in the 1979 revolution, is arrested along with four other high-ranking officers. He allegedly made public his opposition to the government in an open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic and through articles in opposition publications (The Independent 18 Oct. 1993; AI 1994, 163).

24 October

The Majlis passes a law prohibiting public servants from having contact with foreigners and from taking part in demonstrations or protests (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 41).

23 November

The death sentences of two members of the Baha'i community imprisoned since April 1989 are reaffirmed by Iranian authorities. The convictions of Bakshu'llah Mithaqi and Kayvan Khalaiabadi were based in part on accusations of having transmitted information to the UN special representative during his visit in December 1991 (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 30, 48).

24 November

Abbas Abdi, editor of Salam, is summoned to stand trial before a revolutionary court in Tehran (see entry for 30 August). The proceedings are adjourned after Abdi requests legal representation (AFP 27 Nov. 1993), but in late December he is sentenced to one year in prison and 40 lashes. The flogging sentence is suspended (BBC Summary 29 Dec. 1993).

4 December

At the request of Ayatollah Yazdi, the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Khamenei reportedly grants an amnesty to 109 women and 109 clergymen convicted by revolutionary and religious courts (AFP 4 Dec. 1993).

9 December

Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Golpaygani dies of a heart attack at the age of 91 (AFP 9 Dec. 1993). He was Iran's highest Shiite religious authority and considered the spiritual leader of the world's Shiite Muslims (MEI 7 Jan. 1994, 13). Golpaygani's family refuses to let Ayatollah Khamenei preside over the funeral ceremonies, causing Khamenei and other government leaders to boycott the funeral (ibid.). Protests against the government boycott are held in Tehran, Mashhad and Qom. Several hundred people are reported arrested (ibid.). Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Araki, a "little known cleric well disposed to [the regime]" (ibid.), is chosen to replace the late Golpaygani (Xinhua 11 Dec. 1993; ibid. 23 Dec. 1993).

19 December

The Majlis approves the death penalty for producers and dealers of video pornography after a third conviction (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 18; Reuters 19 Dec. 1993;The New York Times 21 Dec. 1993).

1994

16 January

Mehdi Dibaj, a pastor with the Christian Assemblies of God Churches who was arrested and sentenced to death in 1984 on charges of apostasy for his conversion to Christianity 35 years earlier (Reuters 26 Jan. 1994; AI 1993, 162), is released from prison in Sari (ibid. 18 Jan. 1994). Amnesty International expresses concern that despite his release, Dibaj may face new charges (ibid.).

19 January

Bishop Halk Hovsepian-Mehr, the superintendent of the Assemblies of God churches and head of the Evangelical Council of Pastors, disappears on his way to Tehran airport (Reuters 26 Jan. 1994; World Organization Against Torture 26 Jan. 1994, 1). He had recently publicly supported calls for the release of Christian pastor Mehdi Dibaj (see entry for 16 Jan. 1994) (ibid.). Two weeks later Hovsepian-Mehr's son identifies his body in a Tehran morgue from photos provided by Iranian authorities (Reuters 31 Jan. 1994). By late July the authorities still had not released information on the circumstances surrounding his death (MEI 22 July 1994, 11).

31 January

An official from the Ministry of the Interior announces that Afghan refugees without identification documents will be forced to leave the country (Le Devoir 1 Feb. 1994). The government estimates this policy will affect over 500,000 Afghanis currently in Iran (ibid.). The policy is implemented despite an existing UNHCR Afghan refugee repatriation program that has been underway since an agreement was reached between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan in October 1993 (UNHCR 18 Jan. 1994). According to a subsequent report, in late March 1994 Iran continued to shelter over two million Afghanis who fled the civil war in that country (AFP 30 Mar. 1994).

1 February

A possible assassination attempt is made on President Rafsanjani during a speech he gives to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution (Xinhua 3 Feb. 1994; AFP 7 Feb. 1994). A gunman, identified as Kurush Nik-Akhtar, is arrested immediately after firing five rounds during the ceremony at the shrine of the late Ayatollah Khomeini (ibid.). A week later, authorities announce the arrests of more than 20 people in connection with the failed assassination attempt (ibid.; Le Devoir 8 Feb. 1994). Information minister Ali Fallahian states that all those arrested have confessed to "ominous and counter-revolutionary aims," and that some are former members of leftist organizations (AFP 7 Feb. 1994).

Violent demonstrations take place in Zahedan, capital of the Sunni-dominated province of Sistan and Baluchistan. The protests were reportedly sparked by rumours that a Sunni mosque had been demolished in the Shiite city of Mashhad. Several demonstrators are arrested (Libération 3 Feb. 1994; MEI 18 Feb. 1994, 15).

2 February

Reynaldo Galindo Pohl submits his final report covering events in Iran in the last year. Pohl states that in "comparing recent events with those of previous years, one has the impression that the situation did not change markedly in 1993" (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 51). The UNCHR passes a resolution on 9 March expressing "deep concern" at reports of continuing human rights violations in Iran. The commission calls on Iran to allow the UN special representative to visit Iran and requests that Galindo Pohl submit an interim report to the upcoming 49th session of the UN General Assembly and to next year's UNCHR meeting (ibid. 1994, 225).

9 February

Ayatollah Khamenei announces an amnesty on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The decree, which affects some 1,500 prisoners convicted in revolutionary, civil and military courts, provides for a pardon or reduction of sentence (Xinhua 9 Feb. 1994).

25 February

Feyzollah Mekhubad, a Jewish resident of Tehran, is executed in a Tehran prison (BBC Summary 4 Mar. 1994; AFP 3 Mar. 1994). He was arrested in May 1992 and sentenced to death in May 1993 on charges of being a Zionist spy (United Nations 2 Feb. 1994, 9). The execution took place a few hours after news reached Iran about the Palestinians killed in the Hebron massacre (BBC Summary 4 Mar. 1994; AFP 3 Mar. 1994).

2 March

Two bombs explode in the town hall and a Shiite mosque in Zahedan. In connection with the bombings, Iranian authorities arrest several individuals alleged to be members of Wahhabi, a Sunni fundamentalist group based in Pakistan (AFP 8 Mar. 1994).

3 March

A woman convicted of adultery is reportedly stoned to death in Qom (Reuters 3 Mar. 1994).

14 March

Renowned poet and writer Ali Akbar Saidi-Sirjani is arrested. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Intelligence and Security states that he was arrested for possession of drugs and alcohol, homosexuality and espionage (AI 28 Apr. 1994; AFP 16 Mar. 1994; Libération 24 Mar. 1994). The human rights group Middle East Watch reports that Saidi-Sirjani "is one of the few people residing in Iran to voice criticism of government policy publicly" (Middle East Watch Aug. 1993, 79). Since 1989, 17 of Saidi-Sirjani's books have been banned (ibid., 78). Another writer, Niaz Kermani, is arrested with Saidi-Sirjani; a source at Middle East Watch reports they have no evidence that Kermani was arrested for his writings or political beliefs (ibid. 1 Sept. 1994).

20 March

The Iran Press Service, an opposition news agency, reports that psychiatrist Homa Darabi publicly set herself on fire in Tehran to protest "the appalling situation of Iranian women." Despite a ban by authorities, thousands attend Darabi's funeral (Middle East Times 20 Mar. 1994).

April

Mary Jones, an American living in Tehran, is arrested after allegedly being found inebriated. She is given 80 lashes after being found guilty of "promoting corruption" (AFP 8 May 1994).

April 18

Abbas Abdi, the editor of Salam, is freed after posting bail of 100 million rials (US$57,000). One month earlier Iran's Supreme Court had overturned his conviction on some charges and ordered a retrial by a revolutionary court on others (see entries for 30 August and 24 November 1993) (Reuters 19 Apr. 1994).

19 April

Thirteen people are injured when a car bomb explodes in central Tehran (Xinhua 19 Apr. 1994; BBC Summary 23 Apr. 1994). The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports that the PMOI is responsible for the blast (ibid.).

22 April

Foreign journalists are permitted to visit Evin prison in northern Tehran. The prison director, Assadollah Lajevardi, tells the international media that allegations of torture are without foundation and that only "a few political prisoners" are held in Iran (AFP 22 Apr. 1994). Journalists are allowed to talk to several inmates. AFP reports that one prisoner has waited 18 months to stand trial and another alleges that he was beaten into a confession (ibid.).

23 April

Students attack UN offices in Tehran, causing minor damage to the building. They are protesting UN policies in the former Yugoslavia and Serb attacks on Bosnian Muslims (Reuters 23 Apr. 1994).

An influential Shiite cleric from Mashhad is the target of a failed assassination attempt. Hojatoleslam Abai-Khorassani is shot and wounded during his Friday sermon. A suspect is arrested (Libération 24 Apr. 1994).

6 June

Three people are injured in a bomb explosion in a market in Zahedan (IRNA 6 June 1994; Reuters 6 June 1994). On 13 August IRNA reports that a PMOI member, Bahram Abbas-Zadeh, was hanged after confessing to the bombing (ibid. 13 Aug. 1994). The PMOI denies any connection to Abbas-Zadeh or the bombing (ibid.).

7 June

President Rafsanjani rejects a possible constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek re-election for a third presidential term (Xinhua 7 June 1994).

14 June

Announcements are made in Bonn, Germany and Tehran that a German citizen sentenced to death on espionage charges has been pardoned by Iranian authorities. After his release in July, Helmut Szimkus tells a news magazine that he was tortured to confess that he was a spy. He also states that during his five and a half year imprisonment he witnessed other prisoners, including young children, being tortured (Reuters 10 July 1994).

20 June

A bomb blast at the Imam Reza Mausoleum in Mashhad kills 25 and injures at least 70 according to Iranian news reports (Le Devoir 21 June 1994; Reuters 20 June 1994; MEI 24 June 1994, 14; ibid. 9 July 1994, 15; IRNA 20 June 1994a). Iranian authorities blame the PMOI for the incident (Reuters 20 June 1994; IRNA 20 June 1994b; MEI 9 July 1994), despite denials by the opposition group (ibid. 24 June 1994, 14; Reuters 20 June 1994). Middle East International suggests that Sunni Muslims may have been involved (MEI 24 June 1994, 14; ibid. 9 July 1994, 15). On 1 August IRNA reports that police have captured the main suspect in the bombing, alleged PMOI member Mahdi Nahvi (Reuters 1 Aug. 1994; ibid. 13 Aug. 1994). The PMOI denies any connection to Nahvi (ibid.).

24 June

Christian pastor Mehdi Dibaj, released in January after nine years of detention on charges of apostasy, is reported missing (see entry for 16 January 1994) (Reuters 4 July 1994; International Institute 4 July 1994). Several days later his body is found in a wooded area in western Tehran (AFP 6 July 1994).

29 June

Christian pastor Tehdis Mikhaelian disappears after leaving his house (ibid.). Several days later his son is called in by Iranian authorities to identify his father's "bullet-riddled" body (Reuters 4 July 1994; AFP 4 July 1994; MEI 22 July 1994, 11). Reverend Mikhaelian had succeeded Halk Hovsepian-Mehr as head of the Evangelical Council of Pastors after the latter's assassination earlier in the year (ibid.; AFP 4 July 1994).

18 July

At a press conference in Tehran, authorities present three women they claim are PMOI members who confessed to recent killings and attacks. One woman states that she killed Reverend Tehdis Mikhaelian and helped search for a place to bury Mehdi Dibaj. The two other women declare that they attempted to bomb a mausoleum in Qom and the Ayatollah Khomeini's shrine in Tehran. The PMOI denies any involvement in these incidents (AFP 18 July 1994).

3 August

Riots erupt in Qazvin city after the Majlis votes down a bill that proposed to separate Qazvin from the province of Zanjan (Reuters 3 Aug. 1994; AP 4 Aug. 1994). Demonstrators clash with security forces, resulting in damage to public buildings, shops and banks and reportedly causing four deaths and several casualties (ibid.). The following day, Interior Minister Ali Mohammad Besharati announces that the government will allow the city to split from Zanjan and join Tehran province. This concession addresses one of Qazvin's demands that it receive a larger share of government monies (ibid.; Reuters 7 Aug. 1994).

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