Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Shiva Shirvani


Age: 19
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: December 2, 1981
Location of Killing: Mashhad, Khorasan\Khorasan-e Razavi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Membership of anti-regime guerilla group

About this Case

The information about Ms. Shiva Shirvani is based on several electronic forms sent to Omid by Ms. Shadi Sadr. According to this information, Ms. Shirvani was born in Mashhad in 1962. She was a high school graduate and a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. However, according to an electronic form sent to Omid by a person familiar with this case, Ms. Shirvani was born in Gonbad-e Kavus and was a senior high school student.       

Ms. Shiva Shirvani is one of the 1,533 executed prisoners listed by the Association of Iranian Women of Köln (Germany). The list published in 1997 is entitled:  "A Partial List of Names of Women Executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principals of Islam as its ideological guideline. However, its members’ interpretation of Islam was revolutionary, and they believed in armed struggle against the Shah’s regime. They valued Marxism as a progressive method for economic and social analysis but considered Islam as their source of inspiration, culture, and ideology. In the 1970s, the MKO was weakened when many of its members were imprisoned and executed. In 1975, following a deep ideological crisis, the organization refuted Islam as its ideology and, after a few of its members were killed and other Muslim members purged, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move led to the split of the Marxist-Leninist Section of the MKO in 1977. In January of 1979, the imprisoned Muslim leaders of the MKO were released along with other political prisoners. They began to re-organize the MKO and recruit new members, based on Islamic ideology. After the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the MKO accepted the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and supported the Revolution. Active participation in the political scene and infiltration of governmental institutions were foremost on the organization’s agenda.  During the first two years after the Revolution, the MKO succeeded in recruiting numerous sympathizers, especially in high schools and universities; but its efforts to gain political power, either by appointment or election, were strongly opposed by Islamic Republic leaders.*

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of this defendant’s arrest and detention are not known. According to the information sent to Omid, Ms. Shiva Shirvani was arrested in Mashhad.      


No information is available on the defendant’s trial. According to the information sent to Omid, the trial of Ms. Shiva Shirvani took place in Mashhad.     


According to information sent to Omid, the charge against Ms. Shiva Shirvani was announced as, “Cooperation with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization.”   

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

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against Ms. Shirvani.


No information is available about Ms. Shirvani’s defense.  


No specific information is available about Ms. Shirvani’s execution. According to information sent to Omid, Ms. Shiva Shirvani was executed in Mashhad on December 2, 1981. She was only 19 years old.


* The exclusion of MKO members from government office and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, widened the gap between the two. Authorities of the new regime referred to the Mojahedin as “Hypocrites,” and the Hezbollahi supporters of the regime attacked the Mojahedin sympathizers regularly during demonstrations and while they were distributing publications, leading to the deaths of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the efforts of government officials to impeach their ally, President Abolhassan Banisadr. Despite the fact that the regime called this demonstration illegal, thousands came to the streets, some of whom confronted the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollahis. The number of casualties that resulted from this demonstration is unknown, but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. The day after the demonstration, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history. Thousands of MKO members and sympathizers were arrested or executed. On June 21, 1981, the MKO announced an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of high-ranking officials and supporters of the Islamic regime.

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where they founded the National Council of Resistance. After the MKO leaders and many of its members were expelled fromFrance, they went toIraqand founded the National Liberation Army of Iran in 1987, which entered Iranian territory a few times during the Iran-Iraq war. They were defeated in July 1988 during their last operation, Forugh Javidan . A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. Ever since the summer of 1981, the MKO has continued its activities outside of Iran. No information is available regarding members and activities of the MKO inside the country.

In spite of the “armed struggle” announcement by the MKO on June 20, 1981, many sympathizers of the organization had no military training, were not armed, and did not participate in armed conflict.

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