December 9, 2021

Navid Afkari was executed and everyone was crying. They had killed the hero!
I did not say a word! You were crying for Navid Navid and I remembered my friends and fellow athletes “Forouzan and Habib, Shahla and Mojtaba”. Those who were silently and secretly executed by the Islamic Republic in the 1980s and the many more whose names were never revealed.

Habib Khabiri
Forouzan Abdi

Almost immediately after gaining power in the winter of 1979, the Islamic Republic, began an execution spree and set about eliminating all whom it perceived as enemy. The purge of Iranian sports began with the arrest of Lieutenant General Ali Hojat Kashani the head of Iran’s Physical Education Dept. He was arrested for the crime of holding the 1974 Asian Games in Tehran and encouraging sports, which was perceived to be part of a plan to corrupt young people. He was summarily tried and executed as “a corruptor on earth”.

Next to face the firing squad was General Nader Jahanbani, the country’s equestrian champion and a jet pilot. He was also the head of the Iranian Physical Education Organization until 1978, when he was arrested after the Iranian revolution. At his show trial, the revolutionaries failed to find any evidence of any crime but were determined to execute. Jahanbani appeared at the last court session with a signboard hanging around his neck on which had been written “Agent of Corruption.”

Since then, the following from the Iranian sports world were executed:

1- Bahman Nasim, swimmer and water polo player of the Iranian national team, executed in the summer of 1979
2- Dariush Dehghani, boxer of the Iranian national team, executed in the summer of 1980
3- Ali Asghar Manouchehri, the long jump champion of the Iranian army

The grim 1980s

From the black year of 1981 to the summer of 1988, many among the Iranian youth faced death by execution for the crime of dissent and protesting. were handed over to execution squads in groups for dissent and only for dissent. I only mention the names of the athletes of the national team and the national champions, and I do not mention the names of many very good athletes from different provinces, teams and clubs, because even the families did not dare to reveal their young names and did not announce them anywhere. ).

  • Foruzan Abdi, was a student of physical education and a member of the Iranian national volleyball team. She was arrested in 1981 at the age of 23 on charges of supporting the opposition group, Mojahedin-e Khalgh (MEK) and was sentenced to five years in prison. Even after serving her five-year sentence in 1986, she was not released and was hanged in Evin prison in the summer of 1988 after she refused to make a televised confession.

Foruzan Abdi (third from the left) was the captain of Iran’s women’s national volleyball team. 
  • Mahbubeh Parcham Kashani, the country’s gymnastics champion, she served as an international gymnastics judge at the 1972 Munich Olympics. She was arrested for being a member of leftist group “Rah-e Kargar” in 1982 and hanged in the same year. She was 29 years old and her son was only two years old at the time of her execution.
  • Shahla Shahdoust, law student at the University of Tehran, tmember of national table tennis team.
  • Habib Khabiri, football player and captain of the national team. He was executed in 1984.
  • Hossein Razaghi, better known as Mahshid Razaghi, was a member of Iran youth team, the Omid Iran, and played for Homa Football Club. He was arrested at the end of 1980 and sentenced to one year in prison. However, he was never released from prison was and was kept at various prisons from Evin, Ghezel Hesar and Gohardasht for 8 years until the summer of 1988. He was hanged in Gohardasht prison of Karaj in August of 1988 during the mass executions of political prisoners. A few days later, his brother Ahmad Razaghi was also executed in Evin prison.
  • Houshang Montazer Al-Hazour, a member of the Iranian national wrestling team. He competed in in the 1976 Montreal Olympics as part of the Iranian national wrestling team. He was executed in 1982 along with 65 other dissidents.
Houshang Montazer Al-Hazour
  • Mojtaba Mojahedpur, a student at the University of Tehran, a member of Iranian national handball team, was executed in 1982.
  • Mehdi Zaboli, weightlifter of Iran’s national youth team.
  • Ahmad Shaterzadeh, a wrestling champion, he was executed in 1982.
  • Aladdin Etrati, football player of Persepolis club
  • Ebrahim Hooshmand, football player
  • Ali Shabani, wrestler of Taj Club
  • Ebrahim Habibi, football player

The list is unfortunately longer than this, but some families have kept the names of their loved ones who were executed secret for fear of further punishment and it has not been possible to publish a full list.

Other athletes who escaped executions, spent many years in the prisons of the Islamic Republic and even after their release they have struggled with psychological and physical problems. Of course many are living with severe economic problems in Iran or have left the country.

Footnote: Haj Mostafa Davoodi was the first head of the Physical Education Organization of the Islamic Republic. His first action was to destroy the Iranian national football team, the winner of Asian Cup and champions of Asia. Davoodi in order to destroy the stars of the national football team, came up with a plan of his own – he axed all the stars over the age of 27. In one fell swoop he removed the celebrities of the Iranian national football team and expelled them without ceremony. Under this harebrained scheme, such stars as Nasser Hejazi, Iraj Danaeifard, Hassan Roshan, Ali Parvin, Hossein Faraki, Nasrollah Abdollahi were removed from the Iranian national team. Many years later, the scheme was abandoned but the damage had been done. Iranian football has been politicized ever since. And ironically, the last championships Iran won came in 1976 before the meddling of Davoodi and his corrupt cohorts.

BY: Tonya Valioghli