Can we forgive and forget?

To this day, the case of all the murdered victims remains unsolved


Can we forgive and forget?
by Fariba Amini

In a few days, 10 years will have passed since the brutal death of Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar. Later Mohammad Mokthari,  Ja’far Pouyandeh and  Majid Sharif were abducted and strangled by rogue agents of the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic.  To this day, the case of all the murdered victims remains unsolved.   No one has really been charged and no one has been imprisoned.  Yet, the best and the brightest of our young journalists, women activists and even some of their lawyers have been incarcerated, and the saga continues.  The lucky ones get to leave but they, too, have to struggle.

The other day, Mr. Abbas Amir Entezam in an e-mail message said that he may have to go back to prison after a furlough.  The date is set for the 30th of Aban.  Whether this is just a threat or it’s real, it is intimidation, psychological warfare, an all too familiar tactic on the part of the Islamic Republic:  to let their opponents always  be on guard.  They routinely accuse everyone of conspiring with the enemy, acting against national security and being spies!  It is the norm rather than the exception.  The men and women who go back to Iran to visit their loved ones or just do something positive and productive are arrested without any real charges, and immediately their families have to post a huge bail, usually their homes,  an easy way to scare them and their families. Dozens of names come to mind.

And the President of the Republic, the mouthpiece of the great leader has the audacity to say that there is absolute freedom in Iran!  Oddly enough,  it was Ahmadi Nejad who appointed Pour Mohammadi ,  Deputy Minister of Information at the time of the serial murders,  as his Minister of Interior.

Mokhtari was a writer and a poet.

Pouandeh was a translator.

Sharif was a journalist.

Dairush and Parvaneh were national heroes and political activists.

On this day, every year, I always try to call the Foroushars’ son and daughter, just to let them know that we have not forgotten and will never forget.  It is up to them to forgive.  It is unclear whether they can even hold a memorial service in honor of their loved ones who perished in the month of November and December a decade ago.

I also get emails from friends, journalists from Iran who ask for help, but I am helpless.   The latest casualty of the ban on print media has been Shahrvand.  A friend of mine, a journalist, is now jobless. I asked him what he was going to do. He said he didn’t know. Something will come up, he said.  He is still hopeful .  There is no way to survive this situation except to be hopeful.  Nevertheless,  he told me, “in this country we want to try to live a thousand times over but every time they remind us of death.”

How long will this go on?  How long can people who want nothing except lead normal lives, have a job, go to work, make decent money and tend to their families and just be free, go on with this charade?

When Dariush Forouhar first went to prison the trees in the prison yard were still saplings. He was still in and out of prison when the trees were fully grown.  All his life, he hoped to see a free and democratic Iran.  The trees are getting old, but the dream has yet to come true.

A decade has passed since the brutal serial murders.  It’s been almost 30 years since Abbas Amir Entezam was arrested on false charges and imprisoned.  He is now in his late seventies, in poor health, but he still ends every email by saying “Be omid-e Azadi-ye Iran. “

No dictatorship lasts forever.   This Islamic Republic may still abuse popular sentiment to cry wolf, but there will come a time when even that may not work.

It's about  time for this regime and its leaders,  to give up on their monoploy on power and let real elections take place.  It may be wishful thinking but as my journalist friend said, we cannot give up hope.


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Darius Kadivar

Mr Entezam has my Moral Support

by Darius Kadivar on

I admire his brave stance and stamina despite his own personal predicament. More Power to you to be heard.

Wishing him a quick recovery and hope he leaves prison for good. He is not a Criminal and his place is not in prison no more than any other political activist. As for the Assassins of Forouhar couple to which I would like to add others like those of patriots like Bakhtiar and Farrokhzad as well as those responsible for the massacres of 1988 they should be one day brought to justice if ever found or discovered for they are all still on the run for their crimes

Thank you for sharing Fariba Jan,


Iranian Reader

We do remember.

by Iranian Reader on

Thanks, Fariba, for voicing it. The forgiveness issue is one thing, forgetting is another. We cannot allow what we know to be "exiled from memory," as Garcia Marquez put it. We may have no control over other kinds of exile but we have control over our collective memory. I appreciate the work of people like you who fight the attempt to exile so many Iranians from memory.


Ms. Amini,

by Killjoy (not verified) on

You wrote:

"Deputy Minister of Information at the time of the serial murders, as his Minister of Interior."

This criminal has been involed in more crimes than the serial murders. He's an excerpt from Wikipedia:

"Hojatoll-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi (born in Qom circa 1959 is a politician in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2005, he was appointed as the new interior minister of the country by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with the approval of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is reportedly implicated in the 1988 Massacre of Iranian Prisoners based on the orders of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and other key Islamic scholars. According to Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi was "the representative of the Ministry of Information in charge of questioning prisoners in Evin Prison" during the massacre. Montazeri saw Pour-Mohammadi as being "a central figure" in the mass executions of prisoners in Tehran."


To Dear Fariba

by Concerned (not verified) on

Please convey this to Trita whom I am sure you know. It seems to me that human rights and what that regime is doing to its own people are the least of NIAC's worries and could very well be completely ignored in the "Grand Bargain" NIAC is aiming for.

Best regards,