Yesterday, an article was widely published in the Islamic Republic media. Its title was a question: “Where was Pezeshkian on July 9, 1999?”

    Islamic Republic media posting: “Where was Masoud Pezeshkian on July 9, 1999?”

    In the article, with reference to a story by “Mr. Saeed AllahBadashti” (son of Ayatollah AbulHasan AllahBadashti. When Hassan Rouhani was president, he was “junior assistant” of the Coordinating Council of Free Trade and Special Economic Zones. Member of the Central Council of Khomeini Forces…) it was claimed that during the attack on the university campus on July 9, 1999, Masoud Pezhekian was the president of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and on that day “in the middle of the attack on Tabriz University by plainclothes of the regime, he stood by the students and was beaten and injured, but defended the dignity of the university and students.”

    Saeed AllahBadashti, Senior member of Khomenei Forces

    Absolute lie!

    The attack on Tabriz University happened on Sunday, July 11, 1999; Not on July 9. On July 9, 1999, nothing happened at Tabriz University. All the people who were involved in the suppression and killing of students and the attack on Tabriz University, later achieved higher positions. The regime rewarded their “services”. Some agents of repression found their way to Tehran and the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), others to the ministries. One of these people was “Mohammed Hossein Farhangi“, the “commander of East Azerbaijan Basij” during the attack on Tabriz University on July 11, 1999, and his brother, “Mohammed Javad” who was killed by Basij forces during the violent suppression of student protests on that day, according to the testimony of some of the students. “Farhangi” remained in Majlis until June of this year, that is, for about 2 decades he stayed in Majlis.

    Right: Mohammad Hossein Farhangi – Left: His brother, Mohammad Javad Farhangi

    Another one of those whose path to Tehran was paved after the suppression of July 11 students protests of Tabriz was Masoud Pezeshkian. A short time after the bloody crackdown of Tabriz University, Pezeshkian first got promoted to “Deputy Health Minister in Health Affairs”. A little later, he became “Khatami’s Minister of Health”.

    So far, Masoud Pezeshkian has not said a single word about the crime that the “reform regime” committed in Tabriz University that day. The official narratives of this incident are only told by the “suppressors” of the July 11 students protests of Tabriz University; people like “Mohammed Hossein Farhangi” and “Mohammed Ismail Saeedi”, the commander of Tabriz IRGC at the time, who later entered the Majlis, too.

    In general, there is not much, except for a few scattered reports from eyewitnesses about the attack on Tabriz University. For this reason, a quarter-century after those events, it is not a bad idea to review what happened 25 years ago on this day in Tabriz University.

    On Saturday, July 10, according to Khalil Alizadeh Azar, a member of “Tabriz University Students’ Independent Association”, the news of the “attack on Tehran University’s Dorms (Kooy-e-Daneshgah)” reached Tabriz students. On the same day, the association called for a sit-in on July 11 in protest of the attack on Tehran University. The “Islamic Association of Tabriz University” also called for protests. On Sunday morning, July 11, two separate gatherings were formed, with about 100 people. By 2:00 p.m., the population reached 5,000, according to regime sources. Tabriz seminary building is located on the eastern side of Tabriz University. Seminary students (mullahs) enter to confront the Tabriz University students. The Basij base is also located on the west side. 29 Bahman Blvd has been flooded by “anti-riot forces” equipped with repression tools. The university is completely surrounded and after a few hours of student resistance, it falls completely and is captured by the forces of “Basij, mullahs, and plainclothes”.

    Alireza Rayegan, one of the students and eyewitnesses of the July 11 crackdown of Tabriz University:

    “When the gathering started at this hour, it was drawn to the College of Agriculture, which was near the northern door of Tabriz University. The doors were closed. A number of mullahs had gathered in front of the Tabriz seminary school, which is very close to the university. On this side were the slogans of the students and on the other side mullahs were almost standing on alert. In groups of ten and twenty were all waiting in front of the university. The physical encounter started after 11:00, 12:00 and 13:00. At first it was stone throwing with the mullahs. Sometimes they came forward, sometimes students. From time to time, the coordinating students would talk to the students and they would temporarily return to the university and the door would be closed. Later, the mullahs would come to the fences of the university door and throw stones from there.”

    One of these “stone-throwing mullahs” and attacker of the student gathering was “Mohammed Javad Farhangi”, brother of “Mohammed Hossein Farhangi” who was mentioned before.

    “Stone throwing” turned into shooting a few hours later; shooting in the air and direct. Alireza Rayegan: “Soldiers in plainclothes were already in the hospital. Some of them had gone to Imam Khomeini Hospital [the current Madani Hospital], one part of which is Tabriz University of Medical Sciences; or even in the same surrounding streets, if an ambulance came and they saw that it was carrying a student, they would drag him out and take him away. We saw it with our own eyes from a distance away from the southern door.

    Nader Zamen, an eyewitness and one of the injured and arrestees during the July 11, 1999 protests at Tabriz University:

    “…the university was completely surrounded by plainclothes forces. After a few hours, the plainclothes started shooting into the air, and after a while this turned into direct shooting. It was around 6:30 p.m. that I fell to the ground after being hit by a Kalashnikov bullet from Basij forces. The attacking forces, who received the order, stormed into the university. After entering the university, Basij forces beat the students and arrested many of them. They then went to Imam Khomeini University Hospital, where a large number of shot and wounded students were hospitalized, they took the wounded students out of the operating room and arrested them. Being wounded, I was able to escape from the university with the help of my friends, and after surgery at Shohada Hospital, I went to my hometown Maragheh after two days. 13 days after this incident, the agents of the Tabriz Intelligence Department went to my father’s house with a warrant and took me with a plaster cast on my leg. I was detained for 63 days in Tabriz Intelligence Department and then I was transferred to Tabriz Prison. After some time passed, I was tried in various branches of the Tabriz Islamic Revolution Court and East Azarbaijan province’s appeals branches of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts and Appeals Courts on the charges of “disturbing the order and security of the country”, “carrying weapons”, “murdering the brother of the provincial Basij commander” and “Muharebeh (waging war against God)”. After being acquitted of most of the charges, I was imprisoned in Tabriz prison for 1 year on the charge of disrupting the country’s security.

    The “brother of Basij commander” that Nader Zamen is talking about here is none other than “Mohammad Hossein Farhangi’s brother”. Nader Zamen says that the person who wounded him with a bullet had falsely testified in the court that he saw a “handgun” in Nader’s possession. 3 other people from the forces attacking the university also confirm this false testimony. Even after the court acquitted Nader Zamen, Mohammed Hossein Farhangi, the commander of Student Basij and a member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly for 20 years, used all his influence and power to execute Nader: “IRGC commander Mohammad Hossein Farhangi by influencing on the case, overturned the verdict in the Supreme Court and opened new cases for me in the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz accusing me of murdering his brother and Muharebeh, and finally, after 3 years, I was acquitted of the charge of Muharebeh. These accusations were made when, according to the report of the intelligence department, the brother of this IRGC commander was accidentally killed during the attack on the university with a gunshot of another Basiji, but these accusations became a factor for me to struggle for 5 years with the nightmare of possibly getting executed!”

    The names and details of the dead, injured and detainees of “July 11 Protests of Tabriz University” were never published. However, among the scattered accounts of eyewitnesses and accounts of some officials, including Akbar Alami, a member of Majlis, on the first anniversary of Tabriz University crackdown on July 11, 1999, where attackers stormed the “female students dormitories”, name of one of the dead was reported in the media: Mojgan Tavakoli! Regarding the way this female student was killed, student sources say that Basij forces threw her down from the top floor of the girls’ dormitory.

    On July 27, 1999, Tabriz Governorate announced the number of university detainees as 260.

    Hamshahri newspaper, September 16, 1999, reported on the heavy convictions of 21 students (between 3 months and 9 years imprisonments).

    According to classmates, many arrested or injured students never returned to class even after the campus calmed down.

    Nader Zamen names two other people who were wounded by the direct fire of the repression forces along with him: “Kaveh Javidnia” and “Ayoub Salimi”.

    November 2000: 16 months have passed since the bloody repression of Tabriz University on July 11, 1999. Ayoub Salimi writes an open letter to the members of Majlis. Parts of this letter are still available on the ISNA news agency website:

    “I, Ayoub Salimi, was injured in the July 11, 1999 incidents at Tabriz University with three bullets hitting my right leg and I was sentenced to one year of suspended imprisonment for the charge of participating in an illegal rally, which was only based on my injury. And I spent four months in prison without a trial. […] I am not a member of any student or non-student organizations and I am not affiliated with any party and on the day of the incident I had gone to the university only according to the previous schedule and only to participate in exams and after the exam I was resting in front of my school where I was hit by a bullet. […] While I was injured and asking for help, I was hit by two direct bullets from close range by armed men in plainclothes who had entered the university, then I lost consciousness and arrested. […] By the order of the judges of the Revolutionary Court, I was transferred to Tabriz prison with the same injured leg and without surgery. I was in prison for 28 days with a wounded leg and in difficult conditions which led to serious infection. It was not treated, then transferred to Shohada Hospital in Tabriz. […] In the Revolutionary Court, without a lawyer and without even seeing the judge and explaining the charge, I was tried with a question: write your last defense about the charge of participating in illegal demonstrations, which was also placed in writing on a table. And this is while I was in difficult physical and mental conditions and wrote my defenses lying on the chairs. […] You are representatives of this nation and I have nothing to do with political factions and I just want you to use your conscience as judge and answer my questions. […] Is it a crime to be shot accidentally inside the university?
    What should be done with someone who is injured on the ground and needs help?
    Is the trial without a judge and indictment in unfavorable physical and mental conditions the implementation of justice?
    Is it fair to send an injured prisoner who was shot three times to the hospital after 28 days?
    Is making a young man disabled, justice?
    If what happened to me (Ayoub Salimi) is justice, then what is injustice? […] According to the oath you have taken, you must follow up on the above questions and give a convincing answer to me and the honorable people of Iran.”

    Now, after 25 years from those events, not only have none of the questions of this injured student been answered, but according to Akbar Alami, the contents of the investigation report have also remained classified. Attackers and killers have found their way to the same Majlis and its commissions and occupy its seats. Parasites like “Saeed AllahBadashti” are brazenly distorting history and “Masoud Pezeshkian ” – yes, the name of Masoud Pezeshkian, who has been mute for 25 years regarding the suppression of July 11 students protests of Tabriz University, was pulled out by Khamenei himself from the empty and boycotted election circus’ ballot boxes.

    The names of some of the detainees of July 11 protests of Tabriz University:

    Ali Mehri
    Ali Bikas
    Khalil Alizadeh
    Ali Sadeghi
    Berhanu Hiva
    Iraj Taghizadeh
    Yunus Mashbouli
    Hassan Azarpour
    Aref Salimi

    Students Movement

    Where Was Pezeshkian During Bloody Tabriz University Attack in 1999?

    Takeaways:

    • Crackdown of July 11 Tabriz University protests became the platform for promotion of oppressors
    • Eyewitnesses describe what happened on July 11 in Tabriz University
    • Mohammad Hossein Farhangi attempts to execute an innocent student, Nader Zamen
    • Masoud Pezeshkian's silence and regime's coverup
    • Ayoub Salimi's letter