On 28 June 1981 (7 Tir 1360 in the Iranian calendar; Persian: هفت تیر, Hafte Tir), a powerful bomb went off at the headquarters of the Islamic Republican Party (IRP) in Tehran, while a meeting of party leaders was in progress. Seventy-four leading officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran were killed, including Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti,[1][2][3] who was the second most powerful figure in the Iranian Revolution (after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini). The Iranian government first blamed SAVAK and the Iraqi regime. Two days later, on 30 June, the People's Mujahedin of Iran was accused by Khomeini of being behind the attack.[4] Several non-Iranian sources also believe the bombing was conducted by the People's Mujahedin of Iran.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Hafte Tir bombing
Martyrs of 7th Tir on stamp
LocationTehran, Iran
Date28 June 1981
20:20 local time (UTC+3)
TargetIRP leaders
Attack type
Suicide bombing
Deaths74

Bombing edit

 
Hafte Tir bombing victims mausoleum, designed by Mir-Hossein Mousavi

On 28 June 1981, the Hafte tir bombing occurred, killing the chief justice and party secretary Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, four cabinet ministers (health, transport, telecommunications and energy ministers), twenty-seven members of the Majlis, including Mohammad Montazeri, and many other government officials.[1][2][3]

Immediate aftermath edit

Khomeini accused the PMOI to be responsible and, according to BBC journalist Baqer Moin, the Mujahedin were "generally perceived as the culprits" for the bombing in Iran.[11] The Mujahedin never publicly confirmed or denied any responsibility for the deed.[12] They stated that the attack was "a natural and necessary reaction to the regime's atrocities."[13]

Iranian investigation and judicial proceedings edit

SAVAK and Iraq were immediately held responsible by Iranian authorities, but two days later the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) was blamed.[13] On 6 July, the bomber was finally identified as a 23-year-old man named Mohammad Reza Kolahi.[14] Kolahi had secured a job in the building disguised as a sound engineer.[15] Iran accused Kolahi of being a member of the MEK.[14][4][16] But one Iranian dissident said the government did not find him having any organizational links.[13]

According to Tasnim, it is not possible that MEK to be solely responsible for the incident, and the bomb had been transmitted to Iran or built by military technicians in the country, with the help of Western and Israeli spy services. In other words, the United States and Israel, with the sophisticated technology of that day, designed the bomb and plan of operation then presented the bomb and plan to MEK for operating.[17]

Several years later, Iran executed four "Iraqi agents" for the bombing.[13] In 1985, Iranian military intelligence stated that the bombing was not conducted by the MEK but by pro-monarchy officers in the Iranian army.[13]

Aftermath edit

Many scholarly sources believe the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) was responsible for the bombing.[5][6][18][19][20] Anthony Cordesman writes that this bombing, along with 1981 Iranian Prime Minister's office bombing, turned Iranian public opinion against the MEK and expanded Iranian government crackdown on the group.[21]

According to Ervand Abrahamian, "whatever the truth, the Islamic Republic used the incident to wage war on the Left opposition in general and the Mojahedin in particular."[13]

According to Kenneth Katzman, "there has been much speculation among academics and observers that these bombings may have actually been planned by senior IRP leaders, to rid themselves of rivals within the IRP."[22]

The 2006 U.S. department of state Country report says that "In 1981, the MEK detonated bombs in the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Premier's office, killing some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials."[23]

Assassinations of "leading officials and active supporters of the regime by the Mujahedin were to continue for the next year or two," though they failed to overthrow the government.[24]

Commemoration edit

To commemorate the event several public places in Iran including major squares in Tehran and other cities are named “Hafte Tir”.[25]

Assassination of Mohammad-Reza Kolahi edit

Mohammad-Reza Kolahi, accused of being involved in the bombing, was murdered in 2015.[26][27] Kolahi was living in the Netherlands under false identity of Ali Motamed (Persian: علی معتمد) as a refugee, was married to an Afghan woman and had a 17-year-old son.[27] Iran denied it was involved in the murder.[26]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Religion in Iran – Terror and Repression", Atheism (FAQ), About, archived from the original on 2014-07-05, retrieved 2007-12-23
  2. ^ a b "Eighties club", The Daily News, June 1981, archived from the original on 2018-10-03, retrieved 2007-12-23
  3. ^ a b "Iran ABC News broadcast", The Vanderbilt Television News Archive
  4. ^ a b "Enemies of the Clergy", Time, 20 July 1981
  5. ^ a b Colgan, Jeff (31 January 2013). Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War. Cambridge University Press 2013. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-107-02967-5.
  6. ^ a b S. Ismael, Jacqueline; Perry, Glenn; Y. Ismael, Tareq (5 October 2015). Government and Politics of the Contemporary Middle East: Continuity and change. Routledge (2015). p. 181. ISBN 978-1-317-66283-9.
  7. ^ Newton, Michael (17 April 2014). Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO (2014). p. 27. ISBN 978-1-61069-286-1.
  8. ^ Pedde, Nicola. "ROLE AND EVOLUTION OF THE MOJAHEDIN E-KA". ojs.uniroma1.
  9. ^ McGreal, Chris (21 September 2012). "Q&A: what is the MEK and why did the US call it a terrorist organisation?". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  10. ^ Goulka, Jeremiah; Larson, Judith; Wilke, Elizabeth; Hansell, Lydia. "The MEK in Iraq (2009)" (PDF). rand.
  11. ^ Moin, Baqer, Khomeini, Thomas Dunne Books (2001), p. 241
  12. ^ O'Hern, Steven K. (2012). Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat that Grows While America Sleeps. Potomac Books. ISBN 978-1-59797-701-2.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Abrahamian, Ervand (1989). Radical Islam: The Iranian Mojahedin. I.B. Tauris. pp. 219–220. ISBN 978-1-85043-077-3.
  14. ^ a b "IRANIAN GOVERNMENT EXECUTES 27 IN CRACKDOWN ON LEFTIST GROUPS". The New York Times. 7 July 1981.
  15. ^ "(Persian website)". Archived from the original on June 28, 2009.
  16. ^ Boffey, Daniel (14 January 2019). "Death of an electrician: how luck run out for dissident who fled Iran in 1981". the guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  17. ^ "ابهاماتی از حادثه هفت تیر که هرگز پاسخ داده نشد!". tasnimnews. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  18. ^ Barry Rubin, Judith Colp Rubin (2015). Chronologies of Modern Terrorism. Taylor & Francis. p. 246.
  19. ^ Mark David Luce and Ali A Omani. Jonathan K. Zartman (ed.). Conflict in the Modern Middle East: An Encyclopedia of Civil War, Revolutions, and Regime Change. p. 209. The MEK initially aligned with the Islamic Revolution but split from the regime in 1981 and bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, killing 70 high ranking Iranian officials.
  20. ^ Shireen Hunter. Iran Divided. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 115-116. The Mojahedin continued their activities against the Islamists' hold on power, and in June 1981 they killed seventy key members of the Islamic Republic Party
  21. ^ Anthony H. Cordesman, Adam C. Seitz (2009). Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction. Praeger. p. 326. The MEK instigated a bombing campaign, including an attack against the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Prime Minister's office, which killed some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti...These attacks resulted in a popular uprising against the MEK and expanded Iranian government crackdown which forced MEK leaders to flee to France.
  22. ^ Kenneth Katzman (2001). "Iran: The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran". In Albert V. Benliot (ed.). Iran: Outlaw, Outcast, Or Normal Country?. Nova Publishers. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-56072-954-9.
  23. ^ "Background Information on Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations". www.state.gov. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  24. ^ Moin, Baqer, Khomeini, Thomas Dunne Books, (2001), p.243
  25. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  26. ^ a b "The story behind Iran's 'murder plot' in Denmark", BBC, 31 October 2018
  27. ^ a b "Another Twist In Mysterious Murder Of 1981 Tehran Bombing Suspect", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 30 May 2018, retrieved 1 June 2018