Iran: MEK Remembers Women Killed During February 8, 1982 Attack by Regime
On Monday, the MEK recognized the sacrifice of members who were killed during the Revolutionary Guard’s (IRGC) February 8, 1982 attack on the MEK headquarters. On the order of regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of heavily-armed IRGC troops stormed the headquarters, killing all 20 MEK members inside.
Attack on the group’s leadership
Khomeini believed that the attack would decimate the group’s leadership and cause its membership to splinter, but the MEK instead rallied around their fallen leaders and vowed to fight even harder in their names.
The following are the women leaders who died in the February 8, 1982 attack on the MEK headquarters. Their stories are a reminder of the strength and courage of Iranian women in the fight against oppression.
Ashraf Rajavi (1951-1982)
Ms. Rajavi became acquainted with the MEK while earning her Physic degree from Tehran’s Sharif Industrial University. She joined the organization in 1971 and was arrested several times as a result of her activism for the group. Rajavi endured torture while imprisoned and was sentenced to life upon her last arrest, but she was freed with the final group of political prisoners immediately before the 1979 Revolution.
Rajavi returned to the MEK after she was freed. As the most experienced female member of the group, she was considered a role model to the many girls and women waiting to join the MEK. Rajavi was the most prominent female member of the MEK nominated to run for parliament in the first round of elections after the fall of the Shah. When the MEK sent Massoud Rajavi abroad,
Ms. Rajavi stayed in Iran as the group’s representative. She and her infant son were in the group’s headquarters when it was attacked on February 8, 1982. Ms. Rajavi placed her son out of harm’s way and faced her attackers. She was killed by the other MEK members.
Azar Rezaii (1960-1982)
Ms. Rezaii was born into the Iranian Resistance. As a member of a family that had lost four children fighting against the Shah’s regime, she was arrested at the age of 14. Ms. Rezaii joined the MEK after the 1979 Revolution as part of the student department.
Ms. Rezaii was pregnant when she was killed in the February 8th attack.
Mahshid Farzanesa (1958-1982)
Ms. Farzanesa participated in anti-government demonstrations as a Laboratory Sciences student at Tehran University before the Shah was overthrown. She joined the MEK after the 1979 Revolution and actively participated in the organization.
Ms. Farzanesa and her husband were killed in the February 8th attack. Their infant daughter was in the house, but Ms. Farzanesa put her in a safe place, and she survived.
Mahnaz Kalantari (?-1982)
Ms. Kalantari joined the MEK after the 1979 Revolution while she was a university student. She advocated for the MEK as a student and was well-respected by her friends. Ms. Kalantari was killed during the February 8th attack.
Sorayya Senemari (1959-1982)
Senemari joined the MEK after she finished high school in Isfahan. She later moved to Tehran and worked with the Mothers’ Society in support of the MEK.
Ms. Senemari and her husband were killed in the February 8th attacks. Their one-year-old daughter was present on the day of the raid, but Ms. Senemari placed her out of harm’s way, and she survived.
Fatemeh Najarian (1955-1982)
Ms. Najarian overcame the early loss of her father and family hardship to gain admission to Tehran Polytechnic University. It was there that she learned about the MEK and began her activist work.
She joined the MEK after the 1979 Revolution and helped organize MEK supporters in Tehran. Fatemeh was killed in the February 8 attack, leaving behind two young children.
Tahmineh Rahimnejad (1955-1982)
Ms. Rahimnejad joined the MEK in 1973 while studying chemistry at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad. She was a moderator and announcer at numerous MEK gatherings during her nine years with the organization.
She and her husband were both killed in the February 8th attack, leaving behind one child.
Nahid Raafati (1952-1982)
Ms. Raafati was a teacher in a school on the outskirts of her hometown of Qouchan. She organized women and girls in Qouchan during the 1979 Revolution, and afterward, she organized teachers, students, and mothers’ associations.
Raafati was fired from her job when the mullahs started forcing women out of the labor force, so she moved to Tehran and became more active with the MEK. She was killed during the February 8 raid on the MEK’s headquarters.