Iran bans public commemoration of dissident murders

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AFP: Iranian authorities have barred relatives of a dissident couple murdered by intelligence agents in 1998 from marking the anniversary in public this year, the couple’s daughter told AFP Sunday. Parastoo Foruhar, the daughter of Daryush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, said “objections” to her plans for this year’s ceremony “were so strong” that the office of the governor of Tehran withdrew a permit issued two days ago. AFP

TEHRAN – Iranian authorities have barred relatives of a dissident couple murdered by intelligence agents in 1998 from marking the anniversary in public this year, the couple’s daughter told AFP Sunday.

Parastoo Foruhar, the daughter of Daryush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, said “objections” to her plans for this year’s ceremony “were so strong” that the office of the governor of Tehran withdrew a permit issued two days ago.

“We have decided to hold the ceremony at home tomorrow (Monday), and there will be no speeches, only prayers for their souls,” she said.
Last year around 2,500 people gathered in a Tehran mosque to mark the anniversary of the grisly murders and the ceremony took on a political tone with many shouting slogans against the Islamic regime.

The dissident couple were found dead in their homes, having been repeatedly stabbed, with their bodies left in a pool of blood and facing Mecca.

Daryush Foruhar, who was 70, had been a minister of labour in the left-leaning government that followed the 1979 Islamic revolution, and went on to be highly critical of the regime as head of the banned but tolerated Iran National Party.

The killings were among a number of gruesome murders of anti-regime activists, which authorities here eventually blamed on “rogue agents” from the intelligence ministry.

But the trials of the 10 agents allegedly involved in the killings were held in private, while the main suspect — then deputy intelligence minister Saeed Emani — was reported to have committed suicide in prison by drinking hair remover, a development that only raised more suspicions over the killings.

And a reformist journalist, Akbar Ganji, was later jailed after he wrote a series of articles accusing senior officials of ordering the killings. He remains behind bars.