Qahderijan: Disappeared in Gardens

March 6, 2018

Sources believe Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi, one of the founders of the IRGC in Esfahan, with his group, tortured and murdered political dissidents in gardens around Qahderijan and buried them there in trenches.

Mohammad Houshi was arrested at the age of 17. He was charged with supporting the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian (Majority) and spent 7 years in Esfahan prisons. He says:

Several people disappeared in Esfahan. Groups such as that of Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi abducted individuals and tortured them in gardens around Qahderijan. Hashemi was tried on this charge later on.

Five brothers known as Taheriun were disappeared in Esfahan in 1980. They were supporting the Mojahedin. I knew the elder one, Mohsen Taheriun. He was a teacher in Esfahan and a member of the Teachers’ Organization associated with the Mojahedin. He also frequented Mash’al library, an old library in Esfahan where he was involved in cultural activities along with a group of writers. His brothers were Mohammad Reza, Ali, Jamal, and Mohammad Jafar.

Seyyed Mehdi was one of the founders of the IRGC and an influential paramilitary officer. His men abducted these five brothers in intervals of two or three years. In 1981, before Seyyed Mehdi was transferred to Tehran to be appointed as a senior commander  in the IRGC, his men had been interrogators at Esfahan prison. They identified the main supporters of the Mojahedin and leftist organizations, as well as former prisoners who had been in detention under the Shah and were respected by the public.

The mother of Taheriun brothers went regularly to the forensic institute holding framed photographs of her sons. Everybody at the forensic institute knew her well.

It is not known where they are. There is no record of their imprisonment either. Detainees in Esfahan were first taken to the IRGC’s central office located on Kamal Esmail Street. Then they were sent to different prisons of the city, Sepah, Seyyed Ali Khan, Shahrbani or Kashefi garden. There is no record of the Taheriun brothers’ imprisonment in these prisons.

I talked to some members of the Arman Mostazafan Organization when I was held in the Esfahan prison. They were from Qahderijan and knew the location of the garden where Seyyed Mehdi’s men tortured and killed prisoners.

The bodies of killed victims were discovered in the wells in the garden. It is recorded in Seyyed Mehdi’s case file. One of his convictions was for the murder of some Basijis. His men had killed them and thrown their bodies into a well.

It is likely that more bodies are buried in the garden.

Many persons are still missing. They have been tortured and killed in the places under protection of the regime, and their bodies were disappeared. There is no record of them in Iran.

We are among the few countries in the world not having a campaign for the disappeared.

When I got released from prison in 1988, the mother of Taheriun brothers was still going to the forensic institute. She has died recently, three, four, or five years ago.


Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi served in many IRGC posts following the 1979 Revolution. He was the brother of Hassan Ali Montazeri’s son-in law. Montazeri was the designated successor of Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic revolution.

Mehdi Hashemi was arrested in 1986 on the charge of murdering Ayatollah Shamsabadi and a number of influential clerics before the 1979 Revolution and burying them secretly in the gardens around Qahderijan. He was tried and executed in 1987 following the escalating disagreement between Khomeini and Montazeri.

During his trial, no reference was made to the killings of the political opponents of Islamic Republic in the gardens around Qahderijan.