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Haunted Memories: The Islamic Republic’s Executions of Kurds in 1979

Article four – revolutionary courts will not be held in Mahabad.

Khalkhali responded: “it is not possible. The court has to do its job.” The young man continued:

Article five – release of the Kurdish brothers arrested in Mahabad.

Khalkhali said: “those who are against the masses, if they repent, they will be subject to the amnesty and those of them who are leaders are a different story.” The young man continued reading:

Article six - forgiving of a group of military brothers who were serving in Mahabad and are presently held imprisoned in Orumiyeh military base.

Khalkhali exclaimed that he did accept the demands and that they would be dealt with in accordance with military law so that the military men understand that when they get paid by the people, they have to act in their interests. The young man read Article 7:

Article 7 - prevent the execution of Kurdish brothers who are military men in Sanandaj.

Khalkhali said that this was not possible either and that he should not say such things because scholars were sitting there and if there was a problem, they would discuss it. The young man directed Khalkhali to issue a response to the resolution within 48 hours on television and radio. Khalkhali dismissed him saying that he had given his responses already. He added that “demonstrations are forbidden and the military and pasdaran are everywhere.”192

On September 9, the central government took control of Kayhan and Ettelaat newspapers and handed them over to the Bonyad-e Mostazafan (Foundation for the Dispossessed).193 Khomeini ordered the establishment of the Foundation in March 1979 to

confiscate for the benefit of the weak and needy laborers, employees and others, all movable and immovable property of the Pahlavi dynasty and their branches and agents and others connected to them that had been accumulated illegally through embezzlement from the national coffers over the years of their dominance.

A not-for-profit that operates under the authority of the Supreme Leader, the Foundation nationalized thousands of workshops, factories, hotels and other properties during the post-revolution period and remains one of the most powerful of the state-run foundations today. 194

4. Executions and Battles Continue

Neither the executions nor the fighting ended. On September 2, government forces brutally took control of the small village of Gharna. On September 11, it was reported that Khalkhali, still in Kurdistan, had ordered his men to gouge out the eyes and smash the teeth of a man deemed guilty of using torture under the Shah’s regime. After three teeth had been extracted, relatives of the man he


[192] Id.
[193] Thurgood, Government Admits to Massacre of Kurds, GUARDIAN, Sept. 10, 1979, at 7, available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[194] IHRDC, A FAITH DENIED: PERSECUTION OF THE BAHA’IS 39 (2006), available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3149-a-faith-denied-the-persecution-of-the-baha-is-of-iran.html; Tarikhcheh [History], ISLAMIC REVOLUTION MOSTAZAFAN FOUNDATION, available at http://www.irmf.ir/About-Us/History.aspx.

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