Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Zohreh Eslami


Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: May 16, 1982
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech
Age at time of alleged offense: 21

About this Case

Ms. Eslami was concerned about social issued since adolescence. She held a high school diploma and worked at a factory.

News of the execution of Ms. Zohreh Eslami, daughter of Yussef, was communicated to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center through submission of an electronic form (December 12, 2021, and May 3, 2022) by a person who knew her. News of this execution was also published on the Andisheh va Peykar website (Peykarandeesh.org) (research date: May 4, 2022). Additional information about this case was obtained from Jomhuri Eslami newspaper, page 7 (February 13, 1982); Ettela’at newspaper, page 2 (March 18, 1979); Nedaye Azadi website (July-August 2013): Eshterak website (February 7, 2018; July 29, 2020); List of Fadaiy Martyrs weblog (April 26, 2015); Lajavar website (March 7, 2018); the Communist Party of Iran website (July 23, 2005): Naqd-e Eghtessad-e Siasi (“Polotical Economy Critique”) website (April 27, 2021): and Political Studies and Research Institute website (May 28, 2021).

Ms. Eslami was born in 1961-62 in a religious family in the city of Abadan. She was single and held a high school diploma. Ms. Eslami joined the Unemployed High School Graduates Movement* after obtaining her high school diploma in Abadan. This Movement was a part of an extensive civil effort by unemployed individuals to secure the right to employment and to government support for the unemployed, which had started around February-March 1979. (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022; Andisheh va Peykar website, May 4, 2022).

With the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, Ms. Eslami subsequently moved to Tehran with her family. One of Ms. Eslami’s brothers was killed in the war. Ms. Eslami worked at a soap production factory for a while, and was subsequently employed at the Starlight sock-making factory. (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022; Andisheh va Peykar website, May 4, 2022).

Ms. Eslami was a Marxist and a member of the Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class. She was an avid reader and was very sociable. (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022; Andisheh va Peykar website, May 4, 2022).

The Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class 

The Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class was founded by a number of dissident members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who had converted to Marxism-Leninism. Peykar was also joined by a number of political organizations, known as Khat-e Se (Third line). The founding tenets of Peykar included the rejection of guerrilla struggle and a strong stand against the pro-Soviet policies of the Iranian Tudeh Party. Peykar viewed the Soviet Union as a “Social imperialist” state, believed that China had deviated from the Marxist-Leninist principles, and radically opposed all factions of the Islamic regime of Iran. The brutal repression of dissidents by the Iranian government and splits within Peykar in 1981 and 1982 effectively dismantled the Organization and scattered its supporters. By the mid-1980s, Peykar was no longer in existence. 

Arrest and detention

Ms. Eslami was arrested on February 8, 1982, in Tehran by members of the [Revolutionary] Comite and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. (Boroumand Center interview, December 12, 2021, and May 3, 2022). According to official published reports, 23 places where the Peykar Organization’s members and supporters had been hiding were attacked and more than 40 of the Organization’s members were arrested, including its central leadership. (Jomhuri Eslami newspaper, February 13, 1982).

Ms. Eslami was detained at Tehran’s Evin Prison and was deprived of visitations. (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022).


There is no information regarding Ms. Eslami’s trial session(s). She was not, however, represented by an attorney.


Ms. Eslami’s charges were stated to have been “membership in the Peykar Organization, and Moharebeh (“waging war against Allah”). (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022).

Ms. Eslami was arrested in the course of the widespread arrest of Peykar Organization members, and was executed three months later.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available on Ms. Zohreh Eslami’s defense.


Ms. Zohreh Eslami was executed by firing squad on May 16, 1982, at Evin Prison.

News of Ms. Eslami’s execution was communicated to her mother in a phone call by Evin Prison officials. Ms. Eslami’s body was not turned over to her family. They and another family were shown a grave at Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery as her and the other individual’s burial place, and they were not permitted to hold services. (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022).

Of all of Ms. Eslami’s personal effects, only her will was given to her family. (Boroumand Center interview, May 3, 2022).


* A few weeks after the February 1979 Revolution, individuals looking for work, others who had been fired before the Revolution, as well as graduates who had been looking for employment, organized various protest gatherings in a number of cities across the country. For instance, thousands of out-of-work laborers in Esfahan organized multiple gatherings beginning in February-March 1979, in order to resolve the problems they faced just to make a living. Furthermore, according to an Ettela’at newspaper report (March 18, 1979, page 2), more than a thousand workers gathered in front of the Ministry of Labor building in Tehran in mid-March 1979, in order to follow their representatives’ negotiations with the people in charge of the Ministry. They announced “the establishment of real labor unions, participation in the drafting of labor laws, and being paid unemployment benefits that provide for a minimum of livelihood” as part of their demands. No reports have been published regarding the results of these negotiations. The protests of Esfahan’s unemployed workers were violently suppressed on April 7, 1979. A number of the workers were killed in the streets in the course of the clamp down. In approximately autumn of 1979, Kanun-e Bikaran (“Center for the Unemployed”) was established in order to follow up on the demands of out-of-work individuals. The Center’s members first tried to advance their demands through negotiations with government officials. These demands included "creating jobs for all the unemployed; striving to establish and pay unemployment benefits and insure the unemployed; abolishing the rules of Gozinesh (a special selection process by the Islamic government, testing individuals on their knowledge of Islam and their allegiance to the Islamic Republic and Velayat-e Faghih (“Guardianship of High Religious Scholar”), among others); and abolishing discriminatory practices in hiring employees for various jobs and [government] positions”. When these demands were not met, members of the Center for the Unemployed conducted sit-ins in government buildings in several towns, such as Education Administration buildings or Provincial Government’s buildings. The Center for the Unemployed and the Unemployed High School Graduates Movement were also active in Khuzestan Province, including the city of Abadan. In many of these cases, the government, and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, violently quashed the gatherings; a number of the protesters were arrested, and some were issued death sentences. The unified and cohesive activities of unemployed workers were ultimately suppressed in the spring of 1980.

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