Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mahdad Qorashi


Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: October 21, 1982
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Death in custody
Charges: Unspecified counter-revolutionary offense

About this Case

The information about Mr. Mahdad Qorashi (Mahdaad Ghorashi), son of Shahrokh, is based on an electronic form sent to Omid by a person familiar with his case.

According to this information, he was born in Tehran and was a junior electrical engineering student at the Science and Technology University in Tehran. Mr. Qorashi graduated from the high school of Math and Physics in 1978 and passed exams both for acceptance in Iran’s universities and going outside of Iran for education. Due to family problems, he was not able to get his passport and leave Iran on time. So, he studied at the Science and Technology University. After all universities were closed during the Cultural Revolution, he began teaching math in middle school and became a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. 

According to the existing information, observing the conditions that the country was experiencing after the revolution, removing the first president in 1981, and the persistence of the government to continue war with Iraq after freeing Khorramshahr, caused Mahdad’s anger towards those who were in charge. In spite of all the dangers, he tried hard to explain his beliefs to others and encourage them to support the Mojahedin Khalq.         

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 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 the Islamic Republic’s leaders. * 

The Cultural Revolution began after Ayatollah Khomeini gave a speech in March 1980 and ordered that universities be purged of all those who opposed his regime and be transformed into “learning environments” [as opposed to political forums] where “an all-Islamic curriculum” would be taught. The first wave of violence began on April 15,1980 during a speech by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution and Minister of Interior] at the University of Tabriz.  Following the speech, students supporting the regime took control of the University’s central building and demanded that the “university be purged” from “pro-Shah elements and other sellouts.” 

On April 18, the Council of the Islamic Revolution issued a communiqué accusing political groups of converting higher education institutions into “headquarters of discordant political activities” and naming them as obstacles to the radical transformation of the universities. The communiqué gave these groups three days (Saturday April 19 to Monday April 21) to shut down their activities in the universities. The Council stressed that the decision included libraries along with activities related to arts and sports. Political groups, which recruited members and had strong support in the universities, refused to evacuate.  

Before the Council’s deadline, serious clashes took place between leftist groups and Islamist Associations, which were at times supported by security forces and paramilitary groups.  These clashes, which peaked at the end of the three-day deadline, resulted in the death of several people and the wounding of hundreds of others on university campuses around the country. 

On April 21, the Islamic Republic authorities announced the victory of the Cultural Revolution and the closure of all universities in order to Islamicize the curricula. The universities remained closed for two years. One of the outcomes of the Cultural Revolution was the purging of many university professors and students based on their political beliefs. 

Arrest and detention

According to the information sent to Omid, Mr. Mahdad Qorashi left his home on October 14, 1982 in the afternoon. That night he did not return home as usual. The next day, Revolutionary Guards searched his house while no one was present. Then they went back and, without showing any warrant, searched the house again and told the family of Mr. Qorashi’s arrest and detention in the Evin prison. He had no access to an attorney or any visitation with his family. Later the prison authorities told his family that he had rejected cooperating with his interrogators. “We told him have pity on your youth and think of your family, but he did not pay attention. He also cried some slogans and destroyed his documents when arrested.” This made his interrogators angry. Mr. Qorashi’s mother was once arrested for several hours when she went to the Evin prison for visitation.   


No information is available on Mr. Qorashi’s trial. 


No information is available on Mr. Qorashi’s charges. However, when authorities informed his family of his death, they told them: “We killed him because he was a Monafeq.” [a term used by the Islamic Republic officials to refer to sympathizers and members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization.]” According to the information sent to Omid, Mr. Qorashi’s will showed that he stood by his beliefs to the end.   

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 the defendant. 


No information is available about Mr. Qorashi’s defense.   


Authorities did not clearly inform Mr. Qorashi’s family about the circumstances of his death and did not allow them to see his body or his will. According to the information sent to Omid, it is unknown whether Mr. Mahdad Qorashi was executed or died under torture. According to his death certificate, he died on October 21, 1982. He was buried at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery on the same day. On November 9, 1982, prison officials called Mr. Qorashi’s family and informed them of his death.     

During that winter when the family of Mr. Qorashi went to the Evin prison to find out why their loved one was killed, they were taken to a place where families of victims were allowed to ask Asadollah Lajvardi, the Public Prosecutor of Tehran and the Head of the Evin prison at the time, questions regarding their beloved ones.  The family of Mr. Qorashi had no chance to ask any questions; however, they were questioned before being allowed to leave the prison. From Lajvardi’s reaction, the family inferred that there was some sensitivity in the case of Mahdad. The only response they received from Lajvardi was that “He was a Monafeq and was killed.” A few days later, Mr. Qorashi’s younger brother was summoned to the prison and allowed to leave only after completing a detailed written interrogation and promising that he would never have any political activity against the regime.


* The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with to 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 distributing publications, leading to the death of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the government officials’ efforts 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 Guardsmen 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 from France, they went to Iraq and 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, the Forugh Javidan Operation. 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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