I have never taken Amirabbas Fakhravar seriously enough to even think about him. Years ago, when I was in Iran, I wrote a statement and clarified my position toward him. (Link) But now things have in fact changed, in a way that I realize that it’s crucial t to examine his background, once and for all, in order to inform public opinion.
With a simple search on the internet, one can clearly see that during the past few years, in an attempt to discredit and tarnish the image of recognizable members of the opposition, that proves Fakhravar has been one of the main news sources . Link – Doc , Link – Doc , Link – Doc , Link – Doc – 1:35 minute video , 3:35 minute video
Destructive statements and contradictory actions, as well as audio and video files released by Abbas Fakhravar have been used time and again, by the Iranian regime, as a part of their schemes to damage and vilify.
Therefore, the first question that crosses ones mind is: who is Amirabbas Fakhravar? Has he also played the same role in the past? What is his record and background and what specifically, is he doing right now in this part of the world?
To understand this, we must refer to some of his own statements and what others have to say about him.
He was accepted by the faculty of medicine at University of Orumiyeh!
In one part of his website, entitled “Biography and Honors”, Amirbbas Fakhravar writes the following about himself:
Here, Fakhravar claims to have been a student at the Orumiyeh University’s faculty of medicine however, he does not specifically mention his specialty.
After leaving Iran, in a number of interviews, such as the interview with Khosrow Shemirani of Shahrvand newspaper, which was published in the Biography and Honors page of his website, Fakhravar has presented himself as a medical student at Orumiyeh University, and adds:
He claims that he had been studying a specific branch of medicine which was only available at that university. However, due to various reasons, this claim must be regarded suspiciously. On Amirabbas Fakhravars Wikipedia page, he has been described as a graduate of Nursing college. Link – Doc – Page Freeze
This page has been edited many times by Abbas Fakhravar himself and his field of study has been changed from Nursing to Medicine. But Wikipedia managers have reversed the changes he has made since he has not produced valid documents.Link – Doc – Freeze
But the most important reason for questioning his claim is that, during the last years he spent in Iran, he had claimed to me and many others as an Operating Room college student and to many, as a nursing college student.
Abed Tavanchehh an imprisoned student and a member of the Association of Amirkabir University students is one of the people who has challenged Fakhravars statements about his education. On August 18th 2006, Abed published a letter about Fakhravars past and identity; disparate versions of Fakhravars claims can still be found on the web. Link1 – Link2 – Doc
Abed mentions Fakhravar as a college student in Orumiyeh University. I spoke to Abed Tavanchehh about this. He says: “While in prison, he told his fellow prisoners, Fakhravar said that he was a college student specializing in Operating Room Nursing. But after he left Iran he claimed he had been a medical student. Despite our numerous requests, he has not provided any proof for that. Listen to the complete version of my interview with Abed Tavanchehh here:
Dr. Nasser Zarafshan, defense attorney for the controversial serial murders case who has spent more than five years in prison, was in the same cell with Fakhravar. He says one of the imprisoned students asked Fakhravar about his field of study and he had refused to respond clearly, saying: “I am a natural born student.” Listen to my Q and A with Dr. Zarafshan here: *
The Supreme Leaders representative in Azerbaijan had handed down a Fatwa to kill me.
In another part of his interview with Khosro Shemirani, Abbas Fakhravar claims that he had been the secretary of the Islamic Association of Orumiyeh University; and the representative of the Supreme Leader had issued the Fatwa of killing him for student activism. He says:
“What happened in 1995, when I was the secretary of the Islamic Association of the faculty of medicine, was as follows. I had previously been elected the political secretary of the (Orumiyeh) university. It was a very restricted ambiance. I formed a theatre group to express my view points. I remember I organized a free student council meeting on January 7th 1994… the program started and no one wanted to be the first speaker. I started myself. After me there was a long line of interested people who wanted to talk… These discussions continued and the university became polarized. The hardliners and conservatives formed a group called “Heyate Ahbab Ol’aemmeh” (The Assembly of Friends of the Populace) which had been handed the Fatwa by Mr. Ghoreishi, the representative of the Supreme Leader in Western Azerbaijan to assassinate me. It was then that I was suspended. So I left Orumiyeh following heartfelt farewells from professors, their families and many of the students…74 days later I went back to Orumiyeh to start the courses for the new term. That day a number of students gathered in the prayer room for my return. I gave a speech after the prayer, but I was arrested immediately after leaving the prayer room… I was hauled off to solitary confinement which was a space, no more than a meter and a half wide by two meter and a half long…”
I asked Dr. Farzad Hamidi, student activist, member of the Democratic Front, political prisoner and Medical Student who entered Orumiyeh University in 1988 and graduated in 1997, about the incidents Fakhravar talks about. He responded that he doesn’t remember any such incidents at Orumiyeh University campus. He says: “I was a student activist. Obviously if such controversial incidents happened, I would have known or at least would have heard from my friends. But because of the extremely restrictive environment of the university in those days, incidents such as that which Fakhravar describes were simply impossible.” Listen to my interview with Dr.Farzad Hamidi here:
Fatemeh Haghighatjou, former student activist and member of the sixth session of the Islamic Parliament, was one of the representatives who investigated and followed up the conditions of political prisoners and imprisoned students. I asked her if during the years she was an MP, she had come across an issue such as one where the representative of the Supreme Leader in a university or a province had issued a Fatwa to kill a student. She told me that in her opinion such a claim is a lie. Listen to my interview with Mrs. Haghighatjou here:
The 1999 student protests occurred while I was serving my (mandatory) military service!
Further, in his interview with Shahrvand newspaper, when asked “What were you doing during the incidents of July 1999?” Abbas Fakharvar replies by saying:
“I was serving in the military service at that time and I had been assigned to the police hospital located in Tehran’s Bahar Avenue. I saw a lot of wounded people. I personally stitched and dressed many wounded students. I produced a reportage for Khordad newspaper that became the headline of the newspaper…”
During the July 1999 student movement protests Amirabbas Fakhravar was neither a student nor a police draftee. Once again, Fakhravar repeats this claim during aninterview with Kambiz Hosseini, of Voice of America’s Persian broadcast talk show, Parazit. Here are two excerpts:
Abbas Fakhravar claims that he had been in direct contact with student activists during these incidents. But he never mentions any names anywhere, so that they can confirm his claims.
“They called and said they were beating our guys up in that area.”
Who can could have contacted him, a draftee of the security forces to tell him that they were beating our guys up? What possible responsibility or role does a person in that rank have to get the call, to be informed? What does he mean by “our guys”, when he describes the clashes between dormitory students and “Ansar-e-Hizbollah”? Which one would a police draftee be called to support in that kind of a situation? These are questions that Amirabbas Fakhravar has never answered. But aside from these questions, the interesting point remains, his reportage for Khordad newspaper. He claims that he had produced a reportage for Khordad newspaper that ended up being the headline.
I mentioned his claim via e-mail with Morteza Kazemian, who was the political editor of Khordad newspaper at the time of that incident. He responded by emphatically saying me that ‘his claim is unequivocally untrue’.
The fact that Abbas Fakhravar has not had any role during the July 1999 student protests and the dormitory incidents has been repeated time and again by different people, as well as leaders and distinguished figures of the student movement. As an example, Ali Afshari who was the political secretary of the Office for Fostering Unity during the July 1999 catastrophe and one of the active figures during the incident, clearly mentions this during a Voice of America interview Amirabbas Fakhravar has no background in the Iranian student movement:
Despite all these factors, Amirabbas Fakhravar has always tried to connect himself as a soldier, to that specific event. For instance last year during the anniversary, Fakhravar added his name to the list of figures of 1999 July incident on the Farsi Wikipedia page, however, Wikipedia managers corrected the mistake and returned the content back to its original form. Link – Doc – Freeze Page
I had gone shoe shopping with my sister!
In the interview with Shahrvand, Abbas Fakhravar says:
“In 1995 I had gone to a demonstration that was taking place in Tehran’s Baharestan square to compile information for a report. It was after the newspapers were shut down. I was arrested alongside my sister and we were moved to Evin prison.”
This arrest is true; I and other political prisoners saw Amirabbas Fakhravar among the Baharestan Square detainees. It in ward 3 of Evin prison, where we met him for the first time. He told prisoners that the reason he was arrested was because he had gone shoe shopping with his sister. Fakkhravar was released from prison after a couple of days however.
Once again, in his very revealing letter about Amirabbas Fakhravar, Abed Tavancheh writes:
“In 1995 a young man called Amirabbas Fakhravar enters Evin prison and stays there for three days. He is bailed out and the story ends. The particulars are however as follows: Fakhravar gets arrested in a gathering on August 19th that is called by Radio Seday’eh Iran. During the interrogations he says that he had gone shoe shopping with his sister during which time, he had been arrested.
In 2002 Fakhravar is sent back to Evin prison, where he labels himself a security prisoner. Unlike all security prisoners, he denies having an attorney and is terrified of the contents of his file to be exposed. One of the veteran attorneys however manages to have a look at parts of his file. In that file 5 female students had sued Amirabbas Fakhravar; each of those girls attended the same university Fakhravar attended…” Link – Doc – Freeze Page
This is also true. Fakhravar was taken back to prison in 2002, however before being transferred to Evin prison, he had been detained for a period of time at Tehrans criminal prison, known as Ghasr prison. Shortly after that, Ghasr prison was closed and all its prisoners were moved to Evin, and Fakhravar, among other prisoners was therefore also transferred to Evin. He says the reason he was arrested was political and that he was in actuality a political prisoner, but the question prisoners asked was, if he was in fact a political prisoner, why was he sent to Ghasr prison?
Abbas Fakhravar was not sent to the political ward of prison, even after he was transferred from Ghasr to Evin prison. He was immediately sent to ward 4, where general criminals such as murderers, rapists, thieves and so on are detained.
Some other political prisoners like Hojjat Bakhtiari, Dr. Farzad Hamidi, Kurosh Sehati of the Democratic Front who were previously been exiled to Ghasr prison by Judge Haddad (Hassan Zare’ Dehnavi) had very negative stories to recount about Fakhravr. Dr. Farzad Hamidi says that Amirabbas Fakhravar would frequently harass all prisoners including general prisoners. Listen to Dr. Farzad Hamidi’s statements here:
Kurosh Sehhati another political prisoner and an exiled member of Democratic Front to Ghasr prison, also confirms Dr. Hamidi’s comments and adds: “Fakhravar’s abominable treatment of other prisoners lead to the general prisoners decision to sexually violate him as a form of retribution; in this midst political prisoners had to interfere in order to stop any such attempt. Listen to my interview with Kurosh Sehhati here:
Hojjat Bakhtiari a member of the Democratic Front, who had also seen Fakhravar in Ghasr prison, published a letter about him during those days, which is still on the internet. Link – Doc – Freeze Page
He also confirms the account of the sexual chastisement of Fakhravar by the criminal prisoners. He especially notes Fakhravars explicit cooperation with the prison security. Bakhtiari writes in a part of this letter:
“I am just mentioning this to show that I am not naïve, to be drawn in and influenced by anyone to speak out against someone. I did not know Amirabbas Fakhravar for a long time after I was imprisoned and have no axe to grind against him, to be accused of writing a letter motivated by personal issues.
If I wrote a letter about his cooperation with the security of the prison, the intelligence ministry and the judiciary, it was just to warn younger people not fall prey to his tales, and that before getting involved in politics, they take care not to be identified by the intelligence agents. How many years does one have to study to recognize a traitor? I hear he has claimed that I’m illiterate. If being illiterate means not attending university, he himself is therefore illiterate as well. Don’t get me wrong, if I am talking about Amirabbas Fakhravar, he is neither a student, nor is he a political prisoner. This is all about a debauched, con artist who was convicted for immoral and obscene crimes and was sent to prison.
I met him, Kurosh Sehhati, Dr. Farzad Hamidi and several other when I was first arrested and detained in the criminal ward at Ghasr prison. I Touch on his snitching and selling people out, in my previous two letters.
His first transgression against me and other political prisoners was an untrue report he passed to the security, claiming that we wanted to start a revolt inside the prison. In order to gain favor with the prison authority, he had reported to the prison security that some of the prisoners were going to revolt with assistance of some general prisoner. The general prisoners named Mehdi, Vessal and Ali Farhadi who were later transferred from Ghasr prison to Rajaishahr prison, wanted to strip him and teach him a lesson that was beneath us, therefore we prevented them from doing that and didn’t let them hurt him…”
Following these incidents, and the prisoners turning against him, Fakhravar turned to Fatemeh Haghighatjou for help. Fatemeh Haghighatjou had met Fakhravar in Ghasr prison once, during her time as a member of parliament. She told me that Fakhravars mother had called her late one night and had told her that her sons condition was bad and they were killing him. She had gone to Ghasr prison early in the morning and visited him. But the reality was, nothing had happened to him. Listen to my interview with Fatemeh Haghighatjou here:
Following the closing of Ghasr prison and the transfer of its prisoners to Evin. Fakhravar was sent to ward 4 alongside other criminal prisoners but after a month he was moved to the political prisoners ward. He said this transition was made because of his political conviction. Dr. Nasser Zarafshan, the attorney of the serial murders file who was imprisoned in Evin prison at that time, says the following regarding the events of those days:
“All prisoners wondered why if he was convicted politically, why was he sent to the criminals’ wing for the first month? No matter how we tried to ask him what his case was about, he refused to tell us and never provided an acceptable answer. We asked friends in the legal profession who were connected to the judiciary and it turned out that he had been charged with violation. He had essentially violated a girl in Reza’ieh and that was the core of his case. The reason he was sent to the security wing was, he was in contact with the head of prison security. This made prisoners very nervous and tense when it came to him…” Listen to my interview with Dr.Nasser Zarafshan here:
The nickname “Parivash” and a liaison with a smuggler!
From the moment he was sent to the security wing, he was given the nickname “Parivash” (a female name in Persian). He was called by that name outside prison as well, and even on the internet. Doc – Freeze Page , Doc – Freeze Page , Doc – Freeze Page , and… ,Nasser Zarafshan says the reason for giving him the female nickname such as Parivash, was due to the fact that he carried on a personal relationship with a large and brawny man. Mr. Zarafshan describes this man:
What was the “cell phone in prison” story?
The point about which Fakhravar is most hypersensitive, was when political prisoners found a cellphone he had hidden inside his underwear.
A short while after Fakhravars destructive behavior toward a hunger strike by prisoners of the political ward, prisoners began to notice him acting suspiciously. It turned out that Fakhravar had a cellphone that he would secretly offer up to a number of prisoners to use.
He claimed that he had gotten this cellphone from one of his friends in ward 4 (the criminal ward where he had come from). Among others, he had offered me and others the opportunity to use the cellphone.
In his letter, Hojjat Bakhtiary the member of the Democratic Front writes about this cellphone:
“After he was sent to ward one from ward 4, prisoners observed his actions and their suspicion turned into certainty.
As an example, he was once given a two, three day furlough from prison; he then returned after a entire month and claimed that during his time out of prison, he had been in contact with certain people and as a result, upon his return he was sent to solitary confinement, and had been kept under interrogation for the previous 25 days. Then it became clear that he had lied and he had in fact been on furlough the entire time.
In the prison, they had made a pressure group with some intelligence agents, some members of the Revolutionary Guards, and a couple of soldiers who were in prison for robbery, drug trafficking and financial malfeasance. They regularly instigated all kinds of chaos and conflict based on the scenarios given to them by the police. Till one day when Saeed Masouri managed to reach in and grab the cellphone that was known to belong to the prison security, out of Fakhravars underwear. That is when, Dr. Nasser Zarafshan says, among political prisoners, the story heated up.
Saeed Masouri was then transferred to ward 209 (which is the solitary cofinment ward under the control of the Revolutionary Guards) for doing just that and is in fact still paying for it. Then all prisoners wrote a letter to the prison warden, saying that if they do not move Fakhravar out of their specific ward, that he would be dealt with by the prisoners themselves and that it would then be the prison authorities who would be held accountable for anything that happened…”
Listen to this story as described by Dr. Nasser Zarafshan himself:
Dr. Nasser Zarafshans murder and payment of blood money by Reza Pahlavi!
The prison milieu was completely adverse to Abbas Fakhravar due to his ongoing destructive actions.
At that time, the political ward had been separated into two sections: one was for political prisoners and the other was for those members of the armed forces, Revolutionary Guards, the Basij militia, army and some of the agents of the ministry of intelligence who themselves had been convicted by the judiciary.
With the help of some of the imprisoned agents of the ministry of intelligence, some of the members of the Revolutionary Guards and Basij who had been imprisoned for robbery, drug trafficking and financial malfeasance, Fakhravar attempted to pressure and threaten some of the prisoners. One of the members of this pressure group who had been separated from them, confessed to a group of political prisoners that he had been among them, and that Fakhravar had said, if they succeed in killing Dr. Zarafshan, that Reza Pahlavi would pay up to $60 000 USD blood money in addition to their salary.
In the revealing letter penned by Hojjat Bakhtiari, mentioned above, this incident has been clearly described. At that time, Dr. Nasser Zarafshan sent the information about this attempted assassination to the prosecutor’s office, in the form of a law suit. Listen to the story of this attempt as described by Dr. Zarafshan:
Sabotaging the political prisoners group hunger strike!
One of the main attempts made by Abbas Fakhravar during his time in the political ward of Evin prison was his active role in sabotaging the group hunger strike organized by the political prisoners in order to protest pressure being put on the families of some political prisoners (specifically the family of the political prisoner Peyman Piran), as well as the general unsanitary prison conditions. The strike was so vast that all the groups in the prison joined in.
After the strike began, the pressure group consisted of prisoners known to be members of the intelligence, Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, with strong cooperation from Amirabbas Fakhravar who tried to make political prisoners, especially the more distinguished individuals, suspicious of one another and to create a confrontational atmosphere by inventing and spreading lies. He claimed that some political prisoners were cooperating with him and began the process of discrediting them and destroying their reputations. This problem was however very deliberately solved by veteran political prisoners.
In addition to getting into physical altercations with prisoners who had become week as a result of the hunger strike, Fakhravar tried to depict the hunger strike as fictitious, by sending contradictory messages out of the prison.
This action of Abbas Fakhravars resulted in serious repercussions against him, at the time. Abed Tavancheh mentions that the reason for him to write that revealing letter about Fakhravar was specifically due to this incident. He states:
Years later and after exiting the country, in justification of his action during the hunger strike, Amirabbas Fakhravar has consistently lied. During those days nearly all those who knew him and knew about his background were in prison. Amirabbas Fakhravar used this opportunity and spread nothing but fabricated stories about that period. He has even used my name as a very close friend who according to him, would confirm his claims. Link – Doc – Freeze Page
While he claimed to have a close personal relationship with me in order to verify his lies, I and other political prisoners issued statements from prison that clearly stated that Abbas Fakhravar cooperated with security networks.
The statements are still online and as an example in paragraph 4 of statement 2 of the strikers, issued on July 5th, 2004 it clearly states that “Amirabbas Fakhravar has absolutely cooperated with the prison security and is trying to sabotage the hunger strike, in that he is in direct contact with the prison authorities. The full statement can be viewed on www.iransocialforum.org . Link – Doc – Freeze Page
They have issued a shoot-to-kill order for my arrest!
After this incident, Fakhravar was moved to ward 350 (workers wing) of the prison. After a while, and after ongoing protests by political prisoners and their pressure for segregation of convictions, they were also moved from ward one to ward 350.
From that time on, Abbas Fakhravar was sent out on an indefinite furlough from prison, in order to be subdue angry prisoners. Regarding these periods of furlough, Dr. Nasser Zarafshan says: “Abbas Fakhravar would disappear for long periods of time and would return to prison after some time with childish excuses. There were reports that he would be regularly seen on Valiasr Avenue. After a while he left prison and told everyone that he was a fugitive and on the lam. Outside prison he contacted one of the attorneys and asked to see him/her. The attorney made an appointment with him in the office of sentence implementation, where he had to be arrested, had he in fact been a fugitive. But he very brazenly went to visit the attorney. Then he went to the US from Dubai. Apparently he did that quite casually.
Amirabbas Fakhravar was at the branch of the judiciary’s bureau of sentence implementation when he told the media that he was a fugitive and a shoot-to-kill order had been issued for his arrest.
In an interview with Radio Farda, Abbas Fakhravar had said:
“On Saturday… the supervisory judge, Mr. Alizadeh showed the shoot-to-kill arrest order, and my pictures have also been sent to police offices, the Revolutionary Guards and Basij bases. They have said that I must be arrested as soon as possible and that they can in fact shoot me if they need to arrest me. Link – Doc – Freeze Page
On another occasion in response to the Deutsche Welle reporter, who asked: “Mr. Fakhravar, You speak very openly and bravely. Aren’t you afraid that while you are on furlough from prison, that you can hand someone the perfect excuse to make trouble for you?”
Fakhravar replied: “Thank you for asking this question. The word fear does not exist in my and my friends vocabulary. What should we be frightened of? I am not afraid of Mr. Khamenei, Mr. Rafsanjani, Mr. Shahroodi. Maybe they are scary creatures, but they have not managed to frighten us. I was only 17 when I experienced solitary confinement. After that I was arrested many times every year, till March 2003, when I was imprisoned. I have been arrested 17 times during the past 12 years and have gotten through the most unimaginable tortures.” Link – Doc – Freeze Page
Exiting Iran by passport and through Imam Khomeini airport!
Finally he managed to deceive some of the political activists and opposition figures by connections that he had made through political prisoners, figures that have now all cut ties with him and regret helping him.
These figures trusted Amirabbas Fakhravars claims and were under the impression that they were helping a young Iranian hero who has suffered a lot. They put him in contact with American authorities and made it possible for him to travel to the US. Amirabbas Fakhravar left the country without any problem from Tehrans Imam Khomeini airport.
Later in interviews like the one in the VOA talk show, Parazit, Fakhravar said that he had managed to leave the country with the help of criminals he knew from Ghasr prison who bribed agents at the Imam Khomeini airport.
Above: A segment of the interview of Abbas Fakhravar with VOA talk show Parazit
Is Fakhravars story about leaving Iran true?
This is an image of the passport of Abbas Fakhravar and the US visa stamp
The information of the passport owner, like Name, Family name, Date of Birth etc. are all correct and belong to Abbas Fakhravar.
At least he told Kambiz Hosseini, the host of the VOA talk show, Parazit that those Ghasr prison criminals arranged for him to pay $3000 USD in order for him to obtain a passport, get a visa and bribe the agent.
The first question that any gullible person would ask is: Is it possible for a person who says is a fugitive and his “arrest warrant, as well as, shoot-to-kill order has been issued and his pictures has been widely distributed to police offices, Basij and Revolutionary Guards bases” can travel with a passport, all of whose information is correct and belongs to him?
There are only two kinds of passport, fake, meaning untrue information, or real and with correct information of the owner.
Clearly if a person wants to leave a country illegally and asks criminals for a fake passport, he would not ask for one with his own information.
Before the receipt of the U.S. visa (as stated by himself during the Parazit interview) he had also received a Dubai visa. Furthermore the US embassy has issued the visa for him in the same passport.
How is it possible that the US would issue a visa on a fake passport given the tough U.S. immigration laws, and the heavy penalty that the officer who issues this visa would have to pay.
Hence, this passport cannot be fake.
How could Amirabbas Fakhravar secure a passport from the Islamic Republic during the time he was a fugitive?
Who has sent him outside the country and why?
These are questions whose answers, during these years, Amirabbas Fakhravar has sidestepped.
But maybe the answer to all these questions is in the big blunder he made in the same interview with Parazit. Immediately after a question about how he had left Iran, he says:
“Hamshahri newspaper which is backed by the ministry of intelligence has written that Fakhravar went to the Central Asia to meet Richard Perl…”
He immediately says that the reason why this news had been published was his telephone conversation with his mother before leaving the country.
Above: Interview of Abbas Fakhravar in Parazit program of VOA
Listening to his conversation with his mother by the security forces means that they knew he was leaving the country (whether to Central Asia or Dubai) but did not stop him. What does not stopping him with the real passport imply?
During the early days he arrived in the U.S. he continued to bandy my name around, though I was still in prison in Iran. He repeatedly said that the way he had left the country was the way Ahmad Batebi would leave the country and as a result he could not provide any details.
These false statements made by Fakhravar were made while I neither had any information nor any shared plan with him.
Now years have passed and myself and many of the others who personally witnessed Amirabbas Fakhravars cooperation with security and intelligence networks, have either been released from prison or fled the country.
Now it is time that the Iranians who live outside Iran and have been away from the atmosphere in Iran, and non-Iranians who have been deceived byhim, realize what his true identity is and his hidden connections are.