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On 28 June 1981 (7 Tir 1360 (Hafte Tir – هفت تیر) in the Iranian calendar), a powerful bomb went off at the headquarters of the Iran Islamic Republic Party (IRP) in Tehran, while a meeting of party leaders was in progress. Seventy-three leading officials of the Islamic Republic were killed, including Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti[2][3][3][4] (who was the second-most powerful figure in the revolution after Ayatollah Khomeini at the time). The Islamic Republic of Iran first blamed SAVAK and the Iraqi regime. Two days later, Ruhollah Khomeini accused the People's Mujahedin of Iran. A few years later, a Kermanshah tribunal executed four "Iraqi agents" for the incident. Another tribunal in Tehran executed Mehdi Tafari for the same incident. In 1985, the head of military intelligence informed the press that this had been the work of royalist army officers. Iran's security forces blamed the United States (referring to it as the Great Satan)[5] and "internal mercenaries".[6][7]

Hafte Tir bombing
In the momory of martyrs of 7th Tir.JPG
Martyrs of 7th Tir on stamp
LocationTehran, Iran
Coordinates31°15′17″N 29°59′37″E / 31.254825°N 29.993677°E / 31.254825; 29.993677
Date28 June 1981
20:20 local time (UTC+3)
TargetIRP leaders
Attack type
Suicide bombing
Deaths73
Suspected perpetrator
SAVAK, Mehdi Tafari, Iraqi agents, People's Mujahedin of Iran, United States, "international mercenaries".[1]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, the newly established theocratic government of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran consolidated its power by eliminating opposition to their rule, including the Islamic socialist organisation known as People's Mujahedin of Iran (also PMOI or MEK). Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini attacked the PMOI as elteqati (eclectic), contaminated with Gharbzadegi ("the Western plague"), and as monafeqin (hypocrites) and kafer (unbelievers).[8] In retaliation, in February 1980 concentrated attacks by hezbollahi began in the meeting places, bookstores, newsstands of the Mujahideen.[9] Hundreds of PMOI supporters and members were killed from 1979 to 1981, and some 3,000 were arrested.[10] Ultimately, the organization called for a massive demonstration under the banner of Islam on June 20, 1981 to protest Iran's new leadership which was also attacked.[citation needed]

EventsEdit

 
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 several other government officials.[2][3][4]

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, but stated the attack was ‘a natural and necessary reaction to the regime's atrocities.’ The bomber was identified as a young student [12] and Mujahedin operative by the name of Mohammad Reza Kolahi, who had secured a job in the building disguised as a sound engineer.[13] No group or person has ever accepted the responsibility or been put on trial for this bombing. This has led to conspiracy theories by some who claim that the bombing was motivated by an internal power struggle and perpetrated by a faction within the Iranian ruling party. IRP was eventually dissolved because of these polarizations.[14] Another conspiracy theory maintains that only state-backed organizations could ever acquire such a powerful bomb and points the finger at Israel's Mossad.[citation needed]

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.[15] Two months after Hafte tir on August 30, another bomb was detonated killing the President Rajai and Premier Mohammad Javad Bahonar. An active member of the Mujahedin, Massoud Kashmiri, was identified as the perpetrator, and according to reports came close to killing the entire government including Khomeini.[16] The reaction following both bombings was intense with many arrests and executions of Mujahedin and other leftist groups.[15]

To commemorate the event several public places in Iran including major squares in Tehran and other cities are named “Hafte Tir”.[17]

AnalaysisEdit

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."[18] 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."[19]

2018 developmentsEdit

In 2018 Dutch media revealed that the mastermind behind the bombing, Mohammad-Reza Kolahi, was assassinated in the city of Almere on 15 December 2015. Samadi was living undercover as an electrician in the Netherlands since the early 1990s under the name 'Ali Motamed'.[20]

Timeline of eventsEdit

  • 11 February 1979: Collapse of the Shah's regime in the Iranian Revolution.
  • 4 November 1979: Iran hostage crisis starts.
  • March–May 1980: Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), are denounced and its rallies and offices are attacked.[21]
  • 22 September 1980: Iran–Iraq War started.
  • 20 January 1981: Iran hostage crisis prisoners freed.
  • 27 April 1981: Demonstration by MeK in Tehran draws 150,000. Chief prosecutor bans the Mujahedeen from demonstrating.[22]
  • 7 June 1981: Israel destroys Iraq's Osirak nuclear facilities.
  • 8 June 1981: Abolhassan Banisadr calls for resistance to dictatorship. Khomeini forbids street demonstrations.[22]
  • 20 June 1981: Demonstration against Khomeini and theocracy violently suppressed.[23]
  • 21 June 1981: President Abolhassan Banisadr impeached by parliament.
  • 21–27 June 1981: Conflicts between Mujahideen and authorities intensifies.[23]
  • 26 June 1981: Failed assassination attempt on Ali Khamenei.
  • 28 June 1981: Hafte Tir bombing.
  • 29 June 1981: Abolhassan Banisadr flees the country.
  • 30 August 1981: Iranian Prime Minister's office bombing leading to the death of Prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Bahonar, president Mohammad Ali Rajai, and six other people.[24]
  • 5 September 1981: French ambassador to Lebanon Louis Delamare is shot to death in Beirut.[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "33 HIGH IRANIAN OFFICIALS DIE IN BOMBIMG AT PARTY MEETING; CHIEF JUDGE IS AMONG VICTIMS", NY Times
  2. ^ a b "Religion in Iran – Terror and Repression", Atheism (FAQ), About
  3. ^ a b c "Eighties club", The Daily News, June 1981
  4. ^ a b "Iran ABC News broadcast", The Vanderbilt Television News Archive
  5. ^ Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr. (2013). Mujahedin-E Khalq (MEK) Shackled by a Twisted History. University of Baltimore College of Public Affairs. p. 27. ISBN 978-0615783840.
  6. ^ "33 HIGH IRANIAN OFFICIALS DIE IN BOMBIMG AT PARTY MEETING; CHIEF JUDGE IS AMONG VICTIMS", NY Times
  7. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand (1989). Radical Islam: The Iranian Mojahedin. I.B. Tauris. pp. 219–220. ISBN 978-1-85043-077-3.
  8. ^ Moin, Khomeini, 2001, pp. 234, 239.
  9. ^ Bakhash, The Reign of the Ayatollahs (1984) p. 123.
  10. ^ "Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK)", Terrorism knowledge, archived from the original on 15 January 2008.
  11. ^ Moin, Baqer, Khomeini, Thomas Dunne Books (2001), p. 241
  12. ^ "Enemies of the Clergy", Time, 20 July 1981
  13. ^ (Persian website) Archived 2009-06-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Iran Islamic Republican Party
  15. ^ a b Moin, Baqer, Khomeini, Thomas Dunne Books, (2001), p.243
  16. ^ Moin, Baqer, Khomeini, Thomas Dunne Books, (2001), pp. 242–3
  17. ^ Google Maps
  18. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand (1989). Radical Islam: The Iranian Mojahedin. I.B. Tauris. pp. 219–220. ISBN 978-1-85043-077-3.
  19. ^ Kenneth Katzman (2001). "Iran: The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran". In Albert V. Benliot. Iran: Outlaw, Outcast, Or Normal Country?. Nova Publishers. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-56072-954-9.
  20. ^ "In Almere geliquideerde 'Ali' achter beruchtste aanslag Iran". Algemeen Dagblad.
  21. ^ Moin, Baqer, Khomeini, (2001), pp. 234, 239
  22. ^ a b Moin, Khomeini, (2001), p. 239
  23. ^ a b Moin, Khomeini, (2001), p. 240
  24. ^ "Iran marks anniversary of 1981 bombing at PM's office". Tehran Times. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  25. ^ Jenkins, Loren (5 September 1981), "French Ambassador Slain in Midday Beirut", Washington Post