Iran 1988 Massacre

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At the end of July 1988, Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the massacre of political prisoners. Death Commissions were formed in more than 70 cities.

The Death Commissions were comprised of a Sharia judge, Intelligence Ministry representatives and Prosecutor. Some of the Commissions also included substitute members, including the local or provincial prison chief. The religious judge and the prosecutor were appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council that was at the time headed by Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili.

The true number of perpetrators of the 1988 massacre may never be known; however, in 2016-2017, with the resurgence of a public movement demanding accountability and justice for the victims of the massacre, more information became available. Many families of victims who had remained silent in fear of persecution began providing their information. The political dispute among various factions of the regime also led to the revelation of new information.

JVMI has collected the relevant information regarding the perpetrators and has collated a list of 96 individuals who acted as members of the Death Commissions in 1988 or supervised their operations. At least 87 of those individuals were members of the Death Commissions. It is shocking that many of the perpetrators continue as of the summer of 2017 to hold key positions in various branches of the Iranian government.

The current Minister of Justice, Alireza Avaie, was a member of the Death Commission in Khuzestan. His two predecessors, who held office in the previous eight years, Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi and Morteza Bakhtiari, were also members of the Death Commissions. In addition, the Minister of Justice from 1989 until 2005 was Mohammad Esmail Shushtari who in 1988 headed the state Prisons Organisation and was an active member of the Death Commission in Tehran.

Seventeen other members of the Death Commissions are currently holding judicial offices including the post of Supreme Court judges. Two Members of Parliament, seven members of the Assembly of Experts and two members of the powerful State Expediency Discernment Council are also among the members of the 1988 Death Commissions. Additionally, Some of Iran’s largest financial and trade institutions are run and controlled by the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre. Iran’s current Supreme Leader, who was President in 1988, was directly involved in the massacre.

Use our interactive map to find further details and photographs of the members of the Death Commissions whose identities have been announced by the JVMI:

Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Speaker of the Majlis (Parliament) and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces, the de facto number two official of the regime after Khomeini. Present post and occupation: Chairman of the State Expediency Council; […]
Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri

Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Intelligence Minister Present post and occupation: Member of Assembly of Experts; Head of Shah Abdul-Azim Endowment A.K.A. Mohammad Mohammadi-Nik. All representatives of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in the ‘death commissions’ were appointed […]
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi

Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Representative of Intelligence Ministry in the “Death Commission” in Tehran Present post and occupation: Advisor to Chief of the Judiciary; Iran’s Minister of Justice until August 2017 All those executed in Tehran and […]
Ali Fallahian

Ali Fallahian

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Deputy Intelligence Minister Present post and occupation: Member of State Expediency Council Before 1985 he was a religious judge in Khuzistan courts and was directly involved in killings and murders. He served as Intelligence […]
Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Tehran’s Deputy Prosecutor; member of “Death Commission” in Tehran Present post and occupation: Head of Qods Razavi Endowment Foundation; President of Governing Board of the Fifth Assembly of Experts; member of the State […]
Hossein-Ali Nayyeri

Hossein-Ali Nayyeri

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Head of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Courts; Shari’a judge; and head of the “Death Commission” in Tehran Present post and occupation: Head of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges and Vice President of the […]
Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei

Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: The Judiciary’s representative in the Intelligence Ministry Present post and occupation: First Deputy Chief and spokesperson of the Judiciary; member of the State Expediency Council He played an active role in the decision making circle […]
Majid Ansari

Majid Ansari

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Head of the state Prisons’ Organization  Present post and occupation: Vice President of Iran for Legal Affairs; member of the State Expediency Council
Ali Khamenei

Ali Khamenei

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: President and a key decision-maker. Present post and occupation: Supreme Leader Khamenei and Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani worked alongside Khomeini in initiating the massacre. Khomeini’s former heir Hossein-Ali Montazeri said in a letter that […]
Ahmad Khomeini

Ahmad Khomeini

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s chief of staff. Present post and occupation: Deceased.
Ali Razini

Ali Razini

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Head of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces; member of “Death Commission” in Tehran Present post and occupation: Head of the 41st Branch of the Supreme Court Khomeini’s assigned him on 24 […]
Morteza Moqtadaee

Morteza Moqtadaee

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Member and spokesperson of the Supreme Judicial Council Present post and occupation: Head of Qom Seminary, member of Assembly of Experts He started his activities within the Judiciary since March 1979 when he was […]
Mohammad Esmail Shushtari

Mohammad Esmail Shushtari

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Head of the state Prisons Organization; member of the “Death Commission” in Tehran Present post and occupation: Retired He served as Iran’s Minister of Justice for 16 years under Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad […]
Morteza Eshraqi

Morteza Eshraqi

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Tehran’s Prosecutor; member of “Death Commission” in Tehran Present post and occupation: Lawyer practicing in Tehran The task of issuing death sentences in Tehran was entrusted to him directly by Khomeini. Death sentences […]
Seyyed Abdulkarim Mousavi Ardabili

Seyyed Abdulkarim Mousavi Ardabili

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Head of Supreme Judicial Council Present post and occupation: Head of Mofid Seminary and a religious authority He was first to receive Khomeini’s death decree and he was fully aware of the 1988 […]
Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha

Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Member of Supreme Judicial Council, Attorney-General Present post and occupation: Member of Association of Combatant Clerics During the US Embassy occupation in Tehran, he was Khomeini’s representative among “Muslim Students following the Line […]
Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Bojnourdi

Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Bojnourdi

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Member of the Supreme Judicial Council Present post and occupation: Member of Association of Combatant Clergy He started working in Khomeini’s office in a section responsible for answering questions in 1979. In 1981 he launched […]
Ali Mobasheri

Ali Mobasheri

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Shari’a Judge, also acting as substitute to Hossein-Ali Nayyeri in the “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Supreme Court judge He joined the Judiciary in 1981 and was responsible for murdering the regime’s […]
Seyyed Morteza Bakhtiari

Seyyed Morteza Bakhtiari

Position during 1988 massacre: Birjand Prosecutor; member of Birjand “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Deputy Custodian of Astan Quds Razavi conglomerate (Deputy of Ebrahim Raisi) As prosecutor, he was one of the key people in the “Death Commission” in […]
Mohammad Ali Zanjirei

Mohammad Ali Zanjirei

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Head of Prison in Isfahan; member of Isfahan “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Senior advisor to the head of the Prisons Organisation He is alleged to have had an active role in […]
Mohammad Salimi

Mohammad Salimi

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Shari’a Judge in Hamedan and western border areas of Iran; member of Hamedan “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Head of the high court for determining judges’ competence He was dispatched to Iran’s […]
Abbas-Ali Soleimani

Abbas-Ali Soleimani

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Friday Prayers Leader; member of Babolsar “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Member of Assembly of Experts and Khamenei’s representative in Zahedan As Friday prayers leader he allegedly was actively engaged in the […]
Zekrollah Ahmadi

Zekrollah Ahmadi

Position at the time of 1988 massacre: Shari’a Judge; member of Kermanshah “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Head of religious seminary During the 1988 mass executions he acted as the Shari’a Judge and had allegedly issued the execution orders […]
Hassan Zarif-Jalali

Hassan Zarif-Jalali

Position during 1988 massacre: Head of the IRGC Prison; member of Mashhad “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Deceased (1999) He was the prison’s director during the 1988 mass executions. He was involved in running various prisons of Khorasan since […]
Nasser Ashuri Qal’e Roudkhan

Nasser Ashuri Qal’e Roudkhan

Position during 1988 massacre: Head of IRGC Prison in Fuman; member of Gilan Province “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Managing director of the Atieh Damavand Investment Company Allegedly, he was part of the “Death Commission” during the 1988 mass […]
Zeinolabedin Qorbani Lahiji

Zeinolabedin Qorbani Lahiji

Position during 1988 massacre: Shari’a Judge; member of “Death Commissions” in Lahijan and Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh Present post and occupation: Member of the Assembly of Experts; representative of the Supreme Leader in Gilan Province; Friday prayers Imam of Rasht Zeinolabedin Qorbani […]
Allah-Verdi Moqaddasi-Far

Allah-Verdi Moqaddasi-Far

Position during 1988 massacre: Shari’a Judge; member of Rasht “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Runs a law firm At the time of the mass executions, he was the Shari’a Judge of Rasht and a top member of the “Death […]
Mirza Biuk Khalilzadeh Moravej

Mirza Biuk Khalilzadeh Moravej

Position in 1988 massacre: Friday prayers leader; member of Ardabil “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Deceased (2001) He gave advice for executions to Khomeini’s representative in the city of Ardabil (Shari’a judge called Tabatabai). He was later Friday prayers […]
Mir-Naghi Ghazipour (Ghazi Tabatabai)

Mir-Naghi Ghazipour (Ghazi Tabatabai)

Position in 1988 massacre: Shari’a Judge; member of Ardabil “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Head of 2nd branch of Administrative Court As a Shari’a judge, he was responsible for the execution of dozens of PMOI-affiliated prisoners. Allegations pointed out […]
Mohammad Ali Nosrati Zaglujeh

Mohammad Ali Nosrati Zaglujeh

Position in 1988 massacre: Director of Tabriz Prison; member of the Tabriz “Death Commission” Present post and occupation: Secretary of the Drug Coordination Council of East Azerbaijan After Khomeini’s fatwa ordering the mass executions, he allegedly turned the prison carpentry […]