A Remembrance, 15 Years After Their Tragic Murder
Kindred SpiritsThe union of politician/activist Dariush Forouhar (داریوش فروهر) and Parvaneh Majd Eskandari (پروانه فروهر), a school teacher and poet, was forged from a shared passion for freedom and justice.
Dariush had founded the Nation of Iran Party (Hezbe Mellat-e Iran), which advocated secular democracy, and met Parvaneh while she was a student activist. They married in April 1961. Though associates and dedicated supporters of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the deposed former Prime Minister, still under house arrest, was not free to attend their wedding, but gave his sincere blessings to the couple in a personal letter they would always treasure. Dariush’s continued opposition to the Shah resulted in his repeated imprisonment — totalling some fifteen years. He briefly became the Minister of Labor under the revolutionary government which replaced the Shah in 1979, but resigned in disgust soon after realizing the country was being led in the wrong direction.
The Forouhar’s home came under constant surveillance by the Khomeinist regime, and eventually they urged their adult children, Arash and Parastou, to seek asylum in Germany. They had good reason to fear for their lives, especially after giving a number of interviews with the Western media denouncing the state.
Dariush Forouhar speaking at a meeting of the Pan-Iranist Party, which he had co-founded in the 1940’s. Seated at left are Mossadegh’s Foreign Minister Hossein Fatemi and Deputy Hossein Makki.
Paying their respects to Dr. Mossadegh at his Ahmadabad home/grave site include then Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan (third from left), Minister of Interior Hashem Sabaghian (center), and Minister of Labor Dariush Forouhar (far right).
An Unspeakable CrimeOn November 22, 1998, Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar were brutally stabbed to death in their home on Hedayat Street in Tehran, in the most grotesque manner imaginable. The shocking act of savagery was later revealed to be committed by members of the Ministry of Information, though the murders basically remain unsolved. Thousands filled the streets for the Forouhar’s funeral procession, chanting their name and carrying their pictures. Henceforth, portraits of the Forouhars took on an iconic resonance, not unlike the ubiquitous image of Neda Agha Soltan a decade later, as a symbol of the struggle against the brutal Islamic regime. Naturally, the annual observances of their death are most unwelcome by the government, as there is just no way to separate the mourning of two innocent homicide victims from what is, inescapably, also a demonstration against the regime who murdered them and many others like them.
The Forouhars are survived by their children, son Arash and daughter Parastou, an artist and human rights activist. Each year since their deaths, Parastou travels home to Iran from Germany to honor them and draw attention to the deplorable conditions in her home country.
In life and in death, Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar proved inseparable. On their first wedding anniversary in 1962, Dariush was in jail. Parvaneh wrote to him a letter with a poem vowing her wish to be with him for eternity. “Even if they should tear my body apart”, she wrote, “I will never allow them to tear me away from you”.
Parvaneh Forouhar (1939-1998)
Dariush Forouhar (1928-1998)
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