The doors of the Khavaran mass grave, where the executed political prisoners of the 1980s are buried, remained closed to families who tried to visit it on the last Friday of the Iranian calendar year.

Khavaran

Khavaran

Reports from Tehran indicate that the routes to Khavaran were blocked on March 13 and security forces had begun identifying the people who wanted to go there. Last summer, however, some of the families were successful in marking the anniversary of the mass executions of 1988 at the site of the unmarked graves.

Khavaran is located in southeastern Tehran beside the cemetery for B’hais and Armenians. Four thousand political dissidents were killed in 1988 and buried in this location.

Families have made a tradition of gathering on the last Friday of each summer and winter to remember these political prisoners.

The families were hopeful that under the Rohani administration they would be allowed to hold their remembrances. During the Ahmadinejad administration, the persecution of the families of these political prisoners intensified.

In the summer of 1988, Iranian Sharia judges followed a directive by late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei and sentenced 4,000 political prisoners to death. Many of these prisoners had served their earlier sentences and were close to release.

The directive by Ayatollah Khomeini encompassed a wide range of political groups from leftists to religious and militant opposition groups. Ayatollah Montazeri, who at the time held the highest position in the Islamic Republic establishment aside from the leader himself, was removed from his position for speaking out against the executions.

Islamic Republic authorities remain silent about the truth of these executions and hinder the families and relatives who seek to mark their death each year.