List of Atrocities committed by Iran

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The Islamic Republic of Iran has become known to the international community for atrocities, whether they would be against an ethnic group or a foreign nation. This can include war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kashf-e hijab

On January 8 1935 Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi issued a decree known as Kashf-e hijab that prohibited the wearing of Islamic veils as part of his campaign to secularise the country. This resulted in a spike in police brutality as the Iranian police were instructed to forcibly and violently remove any headscarf worn in public, and led to some women confining themselves to their homes or even committing suicide rather than remove their hijab.

Goharshad Mosque rebellion

In response to the Shah's aggressive de-Islamization policies, a protest took place in August 1935 at the Goharshad Mosque. Many Islamic merchants took refuge in the mosque in order to safely protest the government's policies. The standoff went on for four whole days as the police refused to violate the shrine, until troops finally arrived and opened fire on the protestors. The number of casualties varies depending on the report, but even the most conservative estimates put the number of dead at 800 minimum.

Persecution of Baháʼís

Following the 1979 Islamic revolution overthrowing the secular government and replacing it with a theocracy, people belonging to the Baháʼí faith were persecuted in the country. This persecution continues to this day, with Baháʼís being arrested, tortured and sometimes killed. A government memo from 1991 also enforced a policy of Baháʼís being expelled from schools and denied employment in Iran. The number of hate crimes committed against Baháʼís has also increased since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Prime Minister.

Black Friday

On September 8 1978 a crowd of people protesting the introduction of martial law in Iran were fired on by the Imperial Army of Iran. 100 were killed and a further 205 were injured.

1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners

In summer 1988 Ruhollah Khomeini issued a memorandum, interpreted by some as a fatwah or religious death order, commanding the executions of members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran as enemies of Islam and also to kill leftists for being apostates. Thousands were detained and tortured because of this order, most never to be seen again as they were murdered in custody.

Mykonos restaurant assassinations

On September 17 1992, three Kurdish dissidents who had fled from Iran were shot to death in a Greek restaurant in Berlin along with their translator. Several Swedish diplomats had also planned to be in the restaurant, but had been called back to Sweden due to economic problems. Iranian agents Kazem Darabi and Abdolraham Banihashemi were sentenced to life in prison for the murders, and the court later issued an international arrest warrant for the Iranian intelligence minister Ali Fallahian on charges of ordering the killings.

Support of Hezbollah

The Lebanese Shi'ite organization Hezbollah has long been accused of being a proxy for Iran. They most notably provided support to them against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War, which began when Hezbollah militants attacked an IDF patrol on the Israeli-Lebanese border, killing 8 soldiers. During the conflict, Hezbollah launched dozens of rocket attacks on civilian targets in Israel using weapons provided by Iran.

2007-2008 homosexuality crackdowns

In 2007 and 2008 two reported crackdowns against homosexuality took place in the city of Isfahan. The first was an incident in which Isfahan police detained 87 men at a party on suspicion of sodomy (homosexual activity), beating and abusing them for two days until all but 17 of them were released. The second was in February 2008, when 30 men were arrested and held on suspicion of homosexual activity.

Abdel al-Jubeir murder plot

In late 2011, Iranian agent Manssor Arbabsiar was arrested in the USA after trying to kill the Saudi ambassador, Abdel al-Jubeir. Arbabsiar had contracted a member of a drug cartel (actually an FBI informant) to blow up al-Jubeir at his favourite restaurant. In a phone call to Arbabsiar, Arbabsiar's superior in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ordered him to carry out the attack with no regard for the civilians who would be in the restaurant. With the number of explosives being enough to destroy an apartment building, the number of deaths would be around 150.

Involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Iran is heavily involved in the Syrian Civil War, providing support to Bashar al-Assad's regime. Thousands of Iranian operatives - as many as 10,000 by the end of 2013 - have fought in the Syrian civil war on the pro-government side, including regular troops and militia members. They have also actively armed and funded various pro-government militia groups.

Battle of Aleppo (2012–2016)

Along with Syria and its allies, Iran is suspected to have committed war crimes during the Battle of Aleppo. These include executing prisoners of war, bombing civilian targets and hospitals and dropping the now-illegal barrel bombs on Aleppo.

Involvement in the Yemeni Civil War

In March 2017, Reuters published an exclusive story in which it cited regional and Western sources as saying that Iran was sending "advanced weapons and military advisers" to Yemen to assist the Houthis during the ongoing civil war in Yemen. Sources claimed Iran has stepped up its involvement in the civil war over the last few months, and an Iranian official claimed that Qasem Soleimani discussed ways to "empower" Houthis at a meeting in Tehran in February 2017.

Assassination of Saeed Karimian

TV executive and British national Saeed Karimian was murdered in Turkey in April 2017. Karimian had previously been convicted in absentia of spreading propaganda against Iran and sentenced to six years in prison. It has been alleged that the Iranian government ordered the murder to punish Karimian for criticising their regime.

Mahshahr massacre

During the 2019 protests against Ali Khamenei's rule, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps entered a suburb in the city of Mahshahr and indiscriminately fired on protestors. Iranian media claimed that the protestors were separatist terrorists in order to justify this atrocity, as well as an unrelated incident where tanks were utilised against unarmed protestors during which a leading organizer of the protests was shot in the ribs.

Operation Martyr Soleimani

On January 8 2020 the Iranian military launched ballistic missiles at two American military bases in the neighbouring country of Iraq in revenge for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani. Nobody was killed but 100 people suffered traumatic brain injuries as a direct result of the attack.