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New Left Review I/133, May-June 1982


Fred Halliday

A Persian Tale—Mr Rezai’s Family

The family of Khalilullah Rezai occupies a special place in the tormented annals of Iran’s revolution. During the reign of the Shah, Mr Rezai’s children were actively involved in supporting the Mojahidin guerrillas and four of them—three sons and a daughter—were slain by government forces. He himself was imprisoned, and his wife and son-in-law tortured. When he first met Khomeini in Paris in 1978, the Ayatollah welcomed him warmly and told him how jealous he was of a father who had produced four martyrs for the revolutionary cause. But the fall of the Shah has not brought an end to Mr Rezai’s sufferings. He is now a victim of Khomeini’s dictatorship as he was earlier of the Shah’s. In 1981 he went into exile from his country while his wife and fourteen other family members went into hiding in Iran. The official television named his wife as a ‘spreader of corruption upon earth’, the current term of excommunication, and encouraged the population to report her whereabouts. His home and two shops, which sell central heating equipment, were expropriated and his employees were jailed. A nephew, Said Shahruqi was executed in the prison at Mahallat, on the Tehran-to-Isfahan road, for being a supporter of the Mojahidin. Four of Mr Rezai’s nieces are also in jail.

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