“Khavaran Mothers” has become a generic term applying to all mothers who have lost their loved ones during 1980s atrocities ordered by the leaders of The IRI. Originally this term referred to mothers who lost their left-leaning sons and daughters executed during the massacre of the political prisoners in the Summer of 1988 and early years of 1980s and were buried in Khavaran.
The date that Khavaran cemetery was opened for burial of left-leaning prisoners murdered by the regime is still unknown. Some refer to the events of 20th June 1981 (30th Khordad 1360) as the starting date. On that day, in response to demonstrations of the opposition groups, the regime mounted an all out attack against all opposition groups and organisations, arresting and summarily executing large number of prisoners. Some of those executed by firing squads at dawn next morning (21st June 1981) at Evin Prison were buried In Khavaran. Also some of those buried by the families in Behesht-Zahara Cemetery were removed in the middle of the night and buried in Khavaran. Some of them distinguished members of the leftist organisations that were arrested before the events of 19th June 1981. After the events of June 1981, Khavaran became the official resting place for left-leaning victims of widespread executions in Tehran prisons in 1980s.
In connection with the discovery of mass burial sites in Khavaran, Mother Lotfi states: “..It was the 40th day of Annoush’s [FN 1] burial. We went to Khavaran to leave flowers on the grave. My sister suddenly screamed ‘What is that hand doing there?’ We all looked and saw a hand that has come out of the sands. They had buried our youth in shallow graves. All the women started to scream. One had a camera and took some pictures.”
In a number of large and small cities across the country, the regime has buried the victims of left-leaning groups secretly and in unnamed graves like They did in Khavaran. All these mass graves are collectively referred to as “Khavarans”.
The regime uses all its endeavours to stop the families to gather together at Khavaran; to hold memorials and ceremonies for their loved ones and to continue with their justice-seeking struggle. The bereaved families, led by Mothers of Khavaran, whose loved ones are buried in Khavaran, all these years have withstood the pressures and faced the troubles and restrictions imposed by the regime against them but have not surrendered. According to Mother Lotfi “..Every year on 10th Sharivar (31st August) we make “halva” (FN a special Iranian sweet served at mourning and memorial services) and cover the whole Khavaran with flowers. Of course they would come and torment us; breaking car windows; beating up the Mothers and evicting us”. That is how Khavaran was converted to “rose Garden”.
One of the family members of Khavaran Mothers makes the following statement regarding the brutality of the regime. “In early September 1981, together with other family members, we visited Khavaran. Khavaran had no Trees, perimeter walls or enclosures, except for a broken wall at the southern part of the cemetery. It was a Thursday and around 4.30 pm family members of the victims of the murders of that Summer were starting to gather near the resting place of our loved ones. Before we had a chance to exchange greetings, We were attacked by a group of club-wielding men, who approached us from the broken wall. Some were quick to move towards their cars, they were surrounded by these men who tried to break their car windows before they escaped. The others were beaten badly, some with broken limbs. When they managed to get to their cars, they found them with windows shattered and some totally destroyed. Next week, when we re-visited Khavaran, we saw that all the memorabilia we had left at the graves were destroyed and they had moved the earth so the graves cannot be identified. This was the first organised attack against the Khavaran and the families. Nevertheless they never managed to silence the families and their struggle for justice.”
Mothers and families of the of political prisoners executed in Iran in the 1980s gather in Khavaran together two times a year, once in the last Friday before the Iranian New Year, Nowrooz, and once on 30 August (10 Shahrivar).
The family movement in Iran, like many other living and dynamic movements has a strong and steady base. Mothers, the Mothers of Khavaran, are the base for the family movement in Iran.
Here are some of the mothers members of “Mothers of Khavaran”: Mother Lutfi, Mother Milani, Mother Behkish, Mother Ghaedi, Mother Reyahi(Zinab Heydari), Mother Niko Kar, Mother Safaeian, Mother Partovi, Mother Kaydpoor, Mother Abknari, Mother Alipoor, Mother Rezazadeh, Mother Saadat, Mother Ansari, Mother Sharifi, Mother Moeini, Mother Sarhadi, Mother Zakipoor, Mothr Zargari, Mother Mohseni, Mother Rezaei, Mother Jahandar, Mother Amirshekari, Mother Panjeh Shahi, Mother Okhovat, Mother Reyahi(Zari Nassiri), Mother Chehreh Razi, Mother Ajam, Mother Hebsetareh, Mother Roodgarian, Mother Dehkurdi, Mother Panahi, Mother Mohammadi, Mother Sadeghi, Mother Tonkaboni, Mother Madaen, Mother Bazrgan, Mother Azarang, Mother Tahri, Mother Aghili, Mother Fariabi, Mother Ghebakkhlo, Mother Ghandi, Mother Golchobian, Mother Mirarab, Mother Shakeri, Mother Taghadossi, Mother Rostamalipoor, Mother Samadi, Mother Jenab, Mother Hosseini, Mother Fatahi, Mother Taymouri, Mother Entetari, Mother Assadi, Mother Ghorbanpour and…
[FN 1]. Annoushervan (called Annoush by the family) is Mother Lotfi’s son. Annoushervan was one of the first victims to face the firing squad In Evin Prison On 15th June 1988. He was buried with few other victims In one of the mass graves of Khavaran.