Sam Ghandchiسام قندچي Zahra Kazemi: Who Ordered IRI Murder of a Journalist
Sam Ghandchi

P.S. July 11, 2018: This article was written 15 years ago just 20 days after the murder of Zahra Kazemi which occurred on July 11, 2003. At the time, I had speculated the killing of her being a fatwa killing. They have now tried and convicted Saeed Mortazavi in Iran for the crime and no Ayatollah has been named as issuer of a fatwa to kill her. Of course no Ayatollah has been named as the issuer of fatwa to kill Forouhars either, but everyone knows the name of the Ayatollah who issued the fatwa to kill Forouhars. SG



It is about a month since the Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was murdered by Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and we are now hearing that the permission of her mother to bury her in Iran has been by force so that they can clean up the evidence of the murder which had happened when she was been in custody of IRI justice department. IRI is announcing everyday that they have arrested some individuals in relation to the murder and IRI diplomats claim the culprits will be punished. Are these events and the IRI promises anything new?

Many already have noted the similarities with the murder of Forouhars and writers that happened over three years ago when IRI made similar announcements, first denying that they were killed by IRI, and later blaming Zionists and the Kurds for the murders, and finally blaming it on some rogue elements in its own security system, and inside prison, they killed Saeed Emami who was allegedly the head of the operation and they said it was a suicide. Are they going to call the death of Zahra Kazemi the work of rogue elements? Does it matter how IRI reframes these events for the world public opinion?

The reality is that none of these murders is new and the Islamist murder of opponents became a state-sponsored activity since Islamists came to power in Iran, but their murdering activity existed long before Islamists come to power in Iran, although they were not always supported by the state in the pre-IRI Iran. Fatwa killing has always been part of Islamism. Although the world got to see what it means with Khomeini's fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie, Iranians have known fatwa killing especially since the fatwa killing of Ahmad Kasravi the top scholar of Iran in the years before the 1953 coup, during the years of semi-democracy in Iran of 1941-1953.

To understand the murder of Zahra Kazemi, we should not believe some Islamists who shed crocodile tears for the victims, but have always been silent about the fatwa killing as a reality of Islamism. Why don't they say who has issued the fatwas for killing Forouhars and the writers although they all know about it. The question we should ask is why the fatwa killing of Ahmad Kasravi? Why the Khomeini fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie? And why are these so-called "progressive" Islamists' silent on all those occasions? When did these Islamic reformists condemn Khomeini's fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie which is an open fact and they cannot dismiss it as an speculation?

The answer is that Islamists give their message to different groups of their opponents this way. They killed Ahmad Kasravi because there was a large group of scholars who had started to challenge Islamic dogma in Iran of those semi-democracy years of 1941-1953 and Islamists killed Kasravi to show their fist to this rising group of scholars. In 1980's, Salman Rushdie was among many literary authors worldwide, who started challenging Islamic dogma in novel, and he was picked to show the Islamists' iron fist, to scare these authors from challenging Islamism.

Later the IRI Islamists did not just stop at killing Dr. Boroumad, Dr. Bakhtiar, Dr. Ghassemlou and Kurdish leaders in Europe and killed Forouhars inside Iran to clearly give the message to political activists, who had decided to work within the confines of IRI constitution, that if they challenged Islamists, they would not be spared; and Forouhars' lack of support for Khatami had done the trick to be picked by Islamists as target. Mr. Khatami who has the murderous judge of Islamist courts Khalkhali, sitting on his side as a so-called "reformist," surely knows who had issued the fatwa to kill Forouhars, but he kept playing the hide and seek game to catch the so-called rogue elements year after year?

Why did they kill the unknown writers like Mokhtari alongside Forouhars? Again the goal was the message that even as an unknown human rights activist inside Iran, you will not be spared if you challenge the Islamists' rule. It has become actually a tough question to answer why specifically Pooyandeh and Mokhtari were picked as the prime target, even though they were hardly known inside Iran, and were not as famous as many other authors. It may be very hard to answer why X is picked and not Y. This question is even hard to answer in the case of Islamists' picking of Kasravi or Rushdie as targets! Why those specific individuals? The truth is that it is very hard to read the mind of the fanatic Ayatollahs and depending on which one of their followers has provided them the reports about the victims, they decide for whom to issue a kill fatwa.

Sometimes a real objective analysis shows that the victim is not that important in his/her social impact, but the Ayatollah who issues the fatwa has come to the understanding to see that individual as the threat. The fact of the matter is that it is not that important who is picked, because Ayatollahs will pick a victim, when they see Islamism needs a new sacrificial victim among a specific group of population that is challenging Islamism, and now this time they are seeing the journalists as a threat.

The goal of the Islamists is to create the fear and scare among a specific group of people they see as threat at any time. At the time of Kasravi, it was the scholars. At the time of Razmara, it was the military officers. At the time of Rushdie, it was the authors of fiction and at the time of Forouhars, it was the politicians and as far as the Mokhtari, it was the writers.

Now let's take a look at the case of Zahra Kazemi. We all know about Steven Emerson who even lives in the U.S. and how the Western journalists like him have been viewed by the Islamists as the enemy for some time, and that is the view of Islamists of the press and the foreign press in Iran now. Actually many Iranian and dual national journalists and professional correspondents have recently been working *inside* Iran for different Western papers and radios, and this murder is the Islamists' message to them. IRI is a state Islamism. The forces that collect money to hire a hit man to kill Salman Rushdie were freely acting inside IRI, with open semi-official status in different state organs, while IRI diplomats were saying that IRI will not do anything to execute Khomeini's fatwa to kill Rushdie.

Bottom line the world still does not understand the Islamist fatwa killings, which have been known to the Middle East secular freedom fighters for a long time, before even the birth of Islamic Republic of Iran or Taliban. And even in secular Turkey, a top satirist Aziz Nesin was almost killed by Islamists two years before he passed away, and that was long before the current Islamic party comes to power in Turkey, and it was the Islamists' attempt to intimidate the secular forces in Turkey. The fatwa killing of Ayatollah Khoi in Iraq happened just a few months ago and as usual nobody knows which Ayatollah had issued the order and the Islamist reformists are as usual silent about it.

United Nations has not done anything to legally put a stop to this vicious Islamic rule, which still lingers on in the 21st Century, and the Islamists believe in taghieh, which means that they lie even under oath, when they think their action is helping Islam. So all these IRI so-called efforts to find the killers of Forouhars in the last three years, and their investigations to find the killers of Zahra Kazemi now are a facade.

If the world had woken up when Ayatollah Khomeini gave the fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie, we would not have seen more Islamist murders like WTC and now Zahar Kazemi which are all fatwa killings. A few months ago, I wrote that United Nations should take action on fatwa killings, but have we seen UN do anything about it? How many more should lose their lives to Islamist murders before we know fatwa killing is real.

Behind all these IRI and Islamists' murders, there is a so-called "spiritual" Ayatollah leader who issues the fatwa to kill. Most of these killers are not any rogue elements in some obscure organization in Iran's government, and they act by the fatwa orders. They are the same ones who freed the Christian priests from prison in Iran to murder them on the street decades ago, when many Iranian Muslims were changing faith to Christianity in those early days of IRI, long before the murder of Forouhars. Yes, Islamists, murder from every group of society, when they see writers or scholars or politicians or students or journalists are a threat to Islamism.

Decades after the death of Kasravi, still the name of the Ayatollah who issued his murder fatwa is not published, although the Islamist mafia from the first days of the murder gave the message that it *was* their work. Maybe Ayatollah Khomeini's open fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie helped the world to see beyond any doubt that Ayatollahs actually *do* make these fatwa kill orders, and it is not just rumors about them, when taghieh of their diplomats hides this from public, the heinous reality of Islamism and Islamic theocracy.

As I have written before, I hope United Nations to take the lead to legally pursue Islamists and IRI, to disclose the names of the Ayatollahs who are responsible for all the unsettled Islamist murders, and to bring those Ayatollahs to trial in courts of crimes against humanity. That includes the recent murders of Ayatollah Khoi who himself was an Ayatollah and the murder of Foruhars, the writers and now the journalist Zahra Kazemi.

Hoping for a democratic and secular
futurist republic in Iran,


Sam Ghandchi

July 31, 2003



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