Farzad Bazoft remembered


by ramintork

On this day 10th of March 1990 Farzad Bazoft a journalist for the UK The observer newspaper was sentenced to death by one of Saddam Hussein's Baghdad court. He was convicted of spying for Israel while working on a story about an explosion at a weapons complex 30 miles (48km) south of the capital.

The British nurse, Daphne Parish, who was said to have driven him to the site was given a 15 years jail sentence but later released on 16th July 1990.

Before their trial, Saddam Hussein had written to the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, assuring her Farzad Bazoft and Daphne Parish would get a fair hearing.

Farzad had told a British envoy shortly before his death that he was "simply a reporter after a scoop". According to Farzad's friend and colleague Adel Darwish: Someone in the Ministry of Information must have known that they would be severely reprimanded or perhaps shot by Saddam because they were friends with Farzad. So they might have said, "We can compensate for that if we expose him as a spy and say we caught him."

International appeals for clemency fell on deaf ears. Farzad was hanged on 15 March 1990.On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, starting the Gulf War.

What was amazing was that on one side there was a campaign by Journalists to raise awareness of the case and put pressure on the foreign Office, but at the same time there seemed to be a lack of action by the eight or nine MPs who were present in Baghdad and had not even raised this as an issue.

After the execution there seemed to be a smearing campaign, and by digging in Farzad's past it seemed that the foriegn office was trying to compensate for the horrendous outcome of not supporting this British-Iranian Journalist by putting Farzad's character under allegations and rumors.

I recall that living in my London flat, I was particularly moved by this tragedy, and was following the news to see if there would be clemency.

I did not know Farzad but being a British Iranian I felt a great sense of affinity with what he was going through.

When Farzad was executed I felt that he was badly let down, not just the British Foreign office, but also by the Iranian community living in exile.

Six years later I went to visit a friend who took me to the High gate cemetery where Farzad is buried, there was a memorial service for him. It was semi private gathering. Farzad's colleagues and friends were all there and the family had decided that this was the last year they would have a remembrance. The scars of this tragedy was still visible in the lives of those who knew him.

I sometimes wonder if Farzad's fate would have been different if he was born in Argentina, Korea or India.

The Iranian community is just beginning to find a voice. In those days we were utterly voiceless, until we find our unity our fates will be in the hand of others.

In those days many British Iranians amongst us marched in Hyde Park fighting to have Nelson Mandela freed, we marched when the Poll tax was introduced but failed to stand for one of our own, to this day I feel a sense of guilt. Perhaps even with our support the outcome would have still been the same but the lesson to all of us would be that, lack of unity costs lives, and sometimes I envy the unity of other communities.

Here is the link to related aticle:-





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Thanks Tahirih

by ramintork on

Bringing unity to the Iranian community is a tough and a thankless job. Living after centuries of dictatorship has left us with jealousy and mistrust. In the old days Iranians showed their loyalty within their tribe so at least there was some sense of solidarity built within our culture but that system was destroyed. I think the recent events with NIAC and the in fighting within the American Iranian community even upset some of us across the water because it showed that after 30 years of Diaspora we still can't get our act together. We have a tendency to target people who try to take a lead in our community and tarnish their name without any evidence, but sometimes they also betray us, big betrayal, and the likes of which Shakespeare would be inspired to write Macbeth! To an outsider like me it is difficult to see if the accusations were well founded. Most Iranians do not seem to believe in the system of innocent until proven guilty but then again a lot of the events that have shaped our lives have been recorded without concrete evidence.Many years ago when I was student I, along with the group of friends formed the Iranian society within our university.In the previous years some students had done the same but apparently had unashamedly had collected the money that the students had given and given it to their political party.We knew that they had destroyed confidence so ensured that everyone knew that ours was a non political group to serve all members, this was even open to non Iranians, in fact we had a Kurdish Iraqi student at the time of the War who joined our society. The University did not fund us so most of us being poor students put our money together and had various events.After a month or two one guy who was not a member and accused me of stealing all the money verbally attacked me wherever I went!He had his info screwed up and had heard of the events from the previous years so he had automatically assumed that we are pulling the same sting.

I think that puts a lot of people off organizing anything for the Iranian community, but you have to say, if this helped just one  student who desperately needed emotional support during say our Norooz events then it would have been worth it.



I think I recall Dr Nourizadeh mention him

by ramintork on

Dr Nourizadeh has sometimes acted as the conscience of the Iranian community.

Some day our history will be read, and it would be Thanks to the likes of him who record the current events.


God Bless

by Bereft (not verified) on

I didn't know Farzad Bazoft personally. His young and valuable life was terminated in the hands of criminals. I remember when this happened, and everyone felt so helpless and bereft.

I know you think he was not sufficiently supported or cherished. I can only speak for myself. I have remembered Farzad Bazoft during all these years, feeling bereft for his young life's senseless loss. Whether you like Alireza Nourizadeh or not, he is one Iranian media figure who has always remembered Bazoft and continues to talk about him with some regularity.

God bless his soul and give his family patience. It was a pity to lose him so young.


I enjoyed your article about unity.

by Tahirih (not verified) on

I totaly agree with you,unity is so important in every unit of human family.It is important at the smallest unit which is our famililies,and in the bigger picture.
"So powerful is the light of unity which can illuminate the whole Earth".