Human Rights Violator: Mohsen Rezaei (Sabzevar Rezaei Mirghaed)

Mohsen-Rezaei  First Name and Last Name:

Mohsen Rezaei (Sabzevar Rezaei Mirghaed)

Background:

Mohsen Rezaee, real name Sabzevar Rezaee Mir-Ghaed was born in 1955 in Lali, near Masjed Soleiman. He graduated from School of Economics of the University of Tehran after the end of the war. He holds a doctorate degree from the University of Tehran in Economics (2000).

   In 1975, he married his wife, Masumeh Khadang, also a member of Mansurun Group.

His son, Ali Rezaee, is a member of the central council of the Resistance Front (1). Ali Rezaee in turn married Hoda Tabatabaee, granddaughter of Ayatollah Khomeini (child of Zahra Mostafavi and Abdulhossein Tabatabaee who was Khomeini’s brother in law as well as brother to Morteza and Sadegh Tabatabaee), head of the Ladies Committee and the youth committee of the Expediency Council, Attorney at law, and advisor to Mohsen Rezaee about women during the tenth election.

His brother, Omidvar Rezaee is Masjed Soleiman’s representative in the Majlis.

Mohsen Rezaee has three daughters, Sara, Zahra, and Mahdiyeh. His first daughter, Sara, is married to Ruhollah Ra’isi, lawyer and inspector at the prosecution office. (2) In November 2011, his other son, Ahmad Rezaee died in a hotel in Dubai at the age of 30 under suspicious circumstances.

Titles and Positions Held:

1970’s – High ranking member of the Guerilla organization Mansurun. (3)

1979 – Guard of Ayatollah Khomeini as a member of Mansurun along with members of Saf and Mowahedin.

1979 – Membership in the central council of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution for three months.

1979 to 1981 – Membership in the Sepah’s commanding council and in charge of the Sepah’sintelligence Unit.

September 1981 to September 1988 – Main commander of the Sepah-e Pasdaran.

founding two universities, Imam Hossein and Baghiyyatullah, subsidiary of the Sepah.

1989 to 1997 – Commander of Khatam’ul’ Anbiya Base (4)

1989 to present – Secretary of the Expediency Council appointed by Khamenei after he resigned from commanding the Sepah in September 1997.

Presently – In charge of specialized Commission for documenting the next 20 years of Iran, policies of the regime regarding attracting outside investors and general policies related to article 44 of the Constitution in the Expediency Council. (5)

1999 – Candidate for the Majlis aligned with Imam and Leadership’s Path

2005 – Presidential Candidate (resigned two days before election).

2009 – Presidential Candidate.

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

Crimes and Violations of Human Rights as per Prisoners and Other Sources

Suppressing Political Dissent in the First Decade after the Revolution

Prior to becoming the commander of the Sepah-e Pasdran, Mohsen Rezaee was in charge of the intelligence unit of the Sepah that was formed for the purpose of combating the anti IRI groups. In 1984, this unit was split into three branches, one joining the Ministry of Intelligence. Another branch took up the responsibility of gathering military intelligence, Sepah’s new responsibility. The third branch remained asSepah’s Intelligence Unit.

In Tehran and other cities, Sepah’s Intelligence was the organ responsible for suppression of IRI opposition that appeared in form of Marxist, political organizations or the Mojahedin-e KhalqOrganization. Sepah had control of all the buildings and headquarters of SAVAK (Intelligence and Security Organization of Pahlavi Era) and used many of them as detention centers and interrogation chambers for political activists. In Tehran, until the formation of the Ministry of Intelligence in 1984, ward 209 of Evin Prison was in the control of Sepah.

In February 2010 and in a Television program “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” Mohsen Rezaee himself spoke of the governmental conflict with the Kurdistan uprising in the 1980’s and said, “In 1981, all the cities in Iran were involved in the conflict. The revolutionary forces were ignites in this year. At that time we didn’t know if we should fight the Iraqis or hold Tehran secure. This is because in July 1981, from one side we were facing shortage of armament in the war and from the other, the streets of Tehran, in front of the Majlis and the Judiciary, were scenes of attacks and bombings.”

A large number of the assassinations of the IRI opposition inside and outside of the country, along with the arrests and suppression of the Kurdistan uprising and the widespread arrests and executions of the 1980’s happened during Mohsen Rezaee’s tenure as the commander of the Sepah-e Pasdaran. Mohsen Sazegara, one of the first members of the Sepah-e Pasdaran, states that after his entry into Sepah, Mohsen Rezaee transformed the Sepah Intelligence Unit, initially created to be the brain behind Sepah’soperations and planning and maybe act as a military intelligence unit, into a security office and placed himself at the head of that office. During the war, he also discussed that Sepah has to have organizations to combat regime’s oppositions. (6) In a speech about the role of Sepah in the early post-revolutionary years, Hojjatolislam Rafsanjani said, “the first positive signs of the formation of Sepah were evident during their combating the rioting anti-revolutionaries who were slowly defeated. The centers of sedition in Khuzestan by the Arab Nation, In Kurdistan, Turkmen Sahra, Baluchestan, and other places were destroyed by the children of Sepah. The sovereignty of the country was preserved. Sepah showed itself and proved its worth in the first steps during the inter city combats.” (7)

He affirms his role in the suppression of the Kurdish uprising and says, “From the onset of the formation of Sepah Intelligence, I would discuss the matters with Imam. Even in 1986 when Imam was hospitalized and Dr. Aref, his physician, would not allow any of the officials to approach him, I would go to him and whisper the intelligence in his ear. This year was the height of the conflict with the Coup starters and the Forqan group (8) and unusual matter took place in Kurdistan, Sistan and Baluchestan. At that time, my contact with Imam was increased and when there was not opportunity for meeting him, I would write the matters to him.” (9)

Tuba Kamangar who was held hostage in prisons of Nashur village of Kamiaran and Sepah prison located at SAVAK building of Sanandaj for over a year between June 1981 and August 1982 for the purpose of exchange with pasdars captured by the Komala forces, bore witness against Mohsen Rezaee. While in custody, she faced Rezaee three times and was given the option of marriage with one of the pasdars or execution both by Rezaee and by other prison officials. This is while at the time, she was married and pregnant.

Testimony of Tuba Kamangar regarding Mohsen Rezaee is as follows:

After six months, no matter what they did, I was not willing to give up in any way and said nothing about the party or the works they did. Mohsen Rezaee, who has now candidate himself for presidency in Iran, was in Sanandaj and generally Kurdistan prisons during those days.  He came. They spoke to Mohsen and said that I have been in prison for six months. That my crime was that I was Komala myself and my family was as well and it has been six months and I have not been willing to say anything or marry any one of them although they had threatened me a few times. After six months, they took me to SAVAK prison in Sanandaj. There I was kept in a solitary cell for a week. Within that week, Mohsen Rezaee came three times and started trial procession for me. They brought one of the Jash (10) from the village I was imprisoned in to translate. On the first day, they didn’t even blindfold me. the second day, I was in the cell and they said, you have been imprisoned for six months and this is your crime, that you are a Komala member. He said a lot of nonsense about Komala, yelled insults and said, “Be assured that we will bring them all, one after another, bring them all to you and you will be executed along with them, one after another.” I said, “Fine! It’s not important! You can execute me; I have no problems with it.”

I was six months’ pregnant. When they took me downstairs the second day they blindfolded me. I know that we went down a lot. We were at SAVAK of Sanandaj office. Each floor that we climbed down I could hear the scream of girls from the nooks and crannies of the prison. The whole of the six months that I was in the village prison and felt like I will be killed any day, I hadn’t been bothered as much as I was during that week. Each floor that we went down, he would say, “All these people who are screaming are your comrades, Komala members. They are being tortured and raped.” Mohsen was saying this.

I didn’t know how to speak Farsi then and so they had brought someone [to translate]. I was blindfolded. Someone was holding my hand. Mohsen Rezaee was with us. He said, “We will do this if you don’t talk.” I said nothing; he was the one who used the term “rape.” He said, “These people who are screaming, are your like-minded fellows and comrades, Komala members.” I said nothing. Then took me inside a room and I sat on a chair. They said it is nine am. They questioned me until 8 pm. They didn’t even give me water to drink. They said, “You will remain here.” Mohsen said, “You can’t be any stronger than others. You can hear all the noise they are making and know what it is. Just know that we shall do much worse to you.”

He said, we will do one thing. Maybe we will allow you to remain alive until your child is born. If we could, [we will wait] until then. If not, so be it. It is not important.” I said, “It is not important. [I’ll be like] all other humans who wasted away.” In truth I had no fear and the only thing that happened and really bothered me was that you couldn’t cross into the lower level without hearing the screams and yells.

Unfortunately they wouldn’t allow anyone to visit or see me. Because they knew that we all know one another. There was no one there. During that one week at Sanandaj prison, I was alone inside a small cell with a toilet and a bed. No one was there. Last day of that week, Mohsen Rezaee came and said, “we are returning you to the village prison where you were kept but I have spoken to the head of that prison and said that you are to be executed either before your baby can be delivered or allow the delivery and then execute you. There is another simple solution too; you can marry one of our Muslim brothers.” I said nothing. (11)

Kamangar affirms, “I am myself a complainant of Mohsen Rezaee. Once I saw him without a blindfold and twice with blindfold but I knew his voice and recognized him to be Mohsen Rezaee.” (12)

Mohsen Rezaee in Kurdish garb alongside Khamenei (president of the time) in the Iranian war fronts

Interview with two male prisoners who were held at Sanandaj prison during that time period proves that, as the commander of the Sepah-e Pasdaran, Mohsen Rezaee repeatedly visited Hamzeh Seyyed-al-Shuhada base in Orumiyeh. This base was the authority for the war related military operation in the west of the country as well as having jurisdiction over the security matter related to the various political opposition groups. Along with supervising the matters related to the aforementioned base, Mohsen Rezaee and other Sepah officers would also visit Sanandaj prison. Those interviewed believe that if a prisoner was of significance to the Sepah officials who controlled the Kurdistan security, Mohsen Rezaee would enter his case during one of his visits. It seems that Tuba Kamangar, due to her husband’s status in Komala as well as for the purpose of prisoner exchange, was of significance to the Sepah officials.

Terrorism Activities Outside of Iran

In the years following the Iran-Iraq war, the Sepah-e Pasdaran engaged in a number of terrorism activities outside of Iran. On September 17, 1992, three Kurdish leaders along with one of their friends were gunned down inside Mykonos Restaurant in Berlin in a terroristic act. The trial for this case took three and a half years and at the end of it, the German authorities came to the conclusion that Iranian government was directly involved in the murder. During the trial, Abulhassan Bani Sadr, testified to the existence of a committee known as the Special Operation Committee one of the responsibilities of which is preparation and supervision of political assassinations. In this committee, assassinations to be performed are finalized by Khamenei and Rafsanjani. (13) As per testimony of “Witness C” or Abulghasem Mesbahi, a former high ranking officer of the Ministry of Intelligence and one of the main sources brought forth by the German Prosecutor many of whose information were validated later, members of this Committee are:

–    ayatollah Khamenei, Leader, or his representative Asghar Mir Hejazi

–    President (Hashemi Rafsanjani at the time) or Mohsen Hashemi, his son and representative

–    Foreign Policy official, at the time Velayati who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs

–    Ali Fallahian, Minister of Intelligence

–    Mohammad Reyshahri (Mohammad Mehdi Nik), the first Minister of Intelligence,

–    Mohsen Rezaee, Commander of the Sepah-e Pasdaran

–    Reza Seifollahi, Head of the Law Enforcement Forces (at the time)

–    Ayatollah Abulghasem Khazali, Member of the Guardian Council (14)

an explosion in a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in January 1994 killed 85 people and injured 300. two years prior to that a bomb had exploded in the Israeli Embassy that caused the death of 29 individuals. Argentina and Israel both pointed to Iran as the cause of the two explosions which led to the issuance of Red Alert by Interpol for a few Islamic Republic Officials. Mohsen Rezaee and Ahmad Vahidi (Commander of the Qods Forces at the time and the current Minister of Defense), Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (President of the time), Ali Fallahian (Minister of Intelligence of the time), Ali Akbar Velayati (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the time), Mohsen Rabbani (Cultural attaché of the Iranian embassy in Argentina at the time), Hadi Soleiman Pour (Ambassador of Iran in Buenos Aires at the time), and Ahmad Reza Asghari (under secretary of the embassy) are individuals whose name appeared in the indictment requested by the Argentinean prosecutor’s office. However, agreement was not made to include Rafsanjani, Velayati and Soleiman Pour in the final indictment.

With the construction of Khatam’ul’ Anbiya base in 1989 and the registration of the part time companies, Mohsen Rezaee paved way for the entry of Sepah-e Pasdaran into the economic activism. Today, a large part of the Iranian economy, including oil and gas industry, road construction, dam building, rocket building, automobile production, and other such industries are in the hands of Sepah. In May 2010, Khatam’ul Anbiya base, along with it subsidiary companies and its commander Rostam Ghasemi were placed under targeted sanctions by USA. in June 9, 2010, in a resolution, the UN Security Council also placed sanction on this base along with the four subsidiary institutions of Makin, Rahab, Fater, and the Imen Sazan Consulting Engineers as well as 40 other Iranian companies and institutions. Based on this revolution, the properties of those companies in foreign banks must be frozen and their officers must be barred from traveling to foreign countries. (15)

2009 Presidential Election

Upon the release of the 2009 election results, Rezaee along with the other defeated candidates of the presidential election, Karroubi and Mousavi, protested the results. Rezaee submitted his official complaint to the Guardian Council. However, in a letter released later, Rezaee called himself the “Soldier of the Leader,” and dropped his complaint. He called the protests to the election results “sedition” and said, “Both before and after the election, you saw how my methods were different than those of the other candidates. I know what understanding people had about my action before the election so I won’t talk about them. However, after the election I chose to cling to a rope called law. So long as there was time for protesting, I spoke and protested and complained. However, when the Guardian Council issued its ruling, I deferred to it.”

Sources:

(1)   The Resistance Front is a gathering comprised of 11 groups and political parties adhering to the Iranian Fundamentalist wing. See, Membership of Mohsen Rezaee’s Son in Resistance Front, Mehr News Agency, July 19, 2011, available at http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=1362470.

(2)   Father, You Have Fulfilled Your Duty, Hamshahri, June 10, 2009 available athttp://www.hamshahrionline.ir/news-83244.aspx.

(3)   Mansurun Group was organized in 1970 amongst the religious youth of the cities of Dezful, Ahvaz, and Khorramshahr in the South of Iran. Historian Abdullah Shahbazi believes that the group was formed in 1975 by religious members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization who were disheartened by the ideological shift of the organization and in order to place more emphasis on their religious beliefs. However, between 1975 and 1977, the group is considered to be more of a covert religious – political assembly with belief in armed conflict than an organized group. in the days prior to the revolution, the group committed a few armed operation, the most notable of which was the assassination of Brigadier General Ayughi, head of Jundi Shapour University on January 22, 1979. Mohsen Rezaee, Ali Shamkhani and Mohammad Bagher Zulghadr are the most famous remainders of this group. With the pseudonym of Brother Ghasem, Mohsen Rezaee was responsible for one of the Hassan’s (team houses) of this group. After the revolution, Mansurun joined 6 other Islamic groups to form the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution (initially an armed group). Many of the members of the MOIR later left the group due to disagreement with other members. For further information about Mansurun, see their website athttp://www.mansouroun.com/. Mohammad Shahbazi’s research about some of the pre-revolutionary groups is “Experience of Political Resistance During the Pahlavi Era,” Mohammad Shahbazi, available athttp://www.shahbazi.org/pages/Services_SAVAK4.htm. Mohsen Sazegara who himself is one of the initial members of the Sepah-e Pasdaran states that Mansurun is the group responsible for the bombing at “Khansalar” restaurant in Tehran which caused dead of a laborer. For more detail, see Sepah and Three Diversion, Mohsen Sazegara, available athttp://www.sazegara.net/persian/archives/2006/07/060723_154435.html.

(4)   This Military base, constructed in 1989 by order of Ayatollah Khamenei, is a subsidiary of Sepah-e Pasdaran and one of the largest construction companies in Iran. Building Base of Khatam’ul’ Anbiya and its four sub-institutions of Makin, Rahab, Fater and Imen Sazan Consulting Engineers have been placed in the list of sanctions of the UN Security Council since 2010. See New Resolution of the Security Council Against Iran, BBC Persian, June 9, 2010, Available athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2010/06/100609_l10_u01_un_iran_resolution.shtml.

(5)   See the Personal Website of Dr. Mohsen Rezaee, available at www.rezaee.ir

(6)   Interview with Mohsen Sazegara, Justice For Iran.

(7)   Speech in the opening ceremony of the engineering conference of the Sepah-e Pasdaran of the Islamic Revolution, December 18, 2002, available at http://www.hashemirafsanjani.ir/.

(8)   Forqan group was one of the first armed groups to start its activity against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of important government officials such as Commander Gharani, head of the Military office, and Morteza Motahari, most notable ideologues of the Islamic Republic.

(9)   Mohsen Rezaee at the program “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” February 10, 2011, Farda website, available at http://alef.ir/vdcdns0n.yt0kj6a22y.html?95389

(10)             Kurdish activists called the Kurds who aided the IRI forces “Jash,” which is Kurdish means donkey.

(11)             Witness Testimony of Tuba Kamangar, Justice For Iran. To read the complete text of this testimony, see “Crime Without Punishment, Part One: 1980’s” published on this website at

(12)             Ibid.

(13)             IHRDC, Murder at Mykonos, Analysis of a Political Assassination (2007)

(14)            Mehran Payandeh et al, Criminal System, Documents of Mykonos Court (2000), Nima Publication, Essen, Germany.

(15)             New Resolution of the Security Council Against Iran, BBC Persian, June 9, 2010, Available athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2010/06/100609_l10_u01_un_iran_resolution.shtml.