Uniting for Freedom, Democracy & Equality

Iran Regime’s Long History of Killing Dissidents

Iran’s regime terrorists assassinated the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in representative in Turkey, Zahra Rajabi, on February 20, 1996.

Turkish prosecutors said that Iranian intelligence agent Reza Barzegar Masoumi pretended to be a Resistance supporter and led the assassins to the NCRI’s Istanbul office. The MEK has since said that the regime send a professional team to kill Rajabi and her aide Ali Moradi with silenced guns.

Rajabi joined the Resistance in the final years of the Shah’s rule and played a key role in revealing the mullahs’ human rights abuses and oppressive measures. She was elected as an NCRI member in 1995 and appointed by the NCRI President Maryam Rajavi to her role in Turkey, where she helped Iranians refugees.

The regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) initially planned to abduct her, something that then- president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and MOIS Minister Ali Fallahian agreed upon.  But just days later, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) decided to go ahead with the murder plot.

Initially, they tried to kidnap her, presumably to kill her elsewhere, but this plot was foiled by the presence of other people, so four days later, the regime agents arrived to kill her.

Turkish authorities have named the following diplomats as being directly involved:

  • Mohsen Kargar Azad, Deputy Counsellor in Istanbul
  • Shadkar, Embassy Attaché in Ankara
  • Reza Behrouz-Manesh, Deputy Counsellor in Istanbul
  • Ali Ashrafi, Embassy Press Attaché in Ankara

And Rajabi was far from the only Resistance member in Turkey to be abducted, tortured, or killed by the regime. Here is a brief list:

  • Abolhassan Mojtahedzadeh, who was kidnapped in Istanbul in 1989 and tortured for four days, with frequent threats of execution
  • Ali Akbar Ghorbani, who was kidnapped, tortured with the extraction of his nails and the amputation of his limbs, and killed in 1992
  • Massoud Molavi Vardanjani who was killed in 2019
  • Saeed Karimian, owner of a Persian-language TV station, who was assassinated in 2019
  • Habib Chaab, who was abducted in 2020

The Iranian Resistance wrote: “This is not a regime that is bound to diplomatic and international values and norms. Terrorism and murder are part and parcel of its foreign policy. The regime is using its diplomatic facilities and officials to establish spy networks, plot terror attacks, and influence public opinion in every country where it is. And every government that is welcoming so-called Iranian diplomats in its country is putting the lives of its citizens in danger.  In this respect, the world must stop the Iranian regime’s misuse of diplomatic privileges by closing its embassies.”