Interrogation of former agents of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence
National Union of Journalists, UK
January 22, 2002
The National Union of Journalists
in the UK has released details of videotapes that throw light on a desperate
conspiracy to conceal the truth about the serial killings of journalists
and writers in Iran. Five were killed between November 1998 and February
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The Iranian authorities announced that "rogue elements"
in the security services had carried out the killings, and some Ministry
of Information employees were tried in secret for the murders. The trial
was condemned as a sham by the victims' families, their lawyer (who was
arrested on the eve of the trial) and human rights and journalists' organisations
Now copies of videotapes have come into the NUJ's possession that
appear to show these "rogue elements" being beaten and mistreated,
and then confessing to fantastic "crimes" including working for
foreign intelligence agencies, blasphemy, adultery etc.
The videos, received in Video CD (VCD) format, appear to show the
interrogation of former agents of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence about
their part in the serial political murders of writers and journalists in
The videos appear to have been made in the detention centre
of Iran's military security agency. They consist of recordings made with
interruptions, and it also appears that parts of different tapes have been
cut and spliced together, with interruptions between episodes concerning
different prisoners. Irrespective of whether the videos are genuine or forged,
they have certainly been made as part of an attempt to support the "theory"
repeated on a number of occasions by Ayatollah Khamnei (Iran's supreme leader)
that "rogue agents" within the Islamic Regime's Ministry of Intelligence
were acting on behalf of the CIA and Israel.
It should be noted that in the videos the clothing worn by the prisoners
is the type of uniform given to political prisoners. The sequence and method
of questioning is exactly as reported by anyone who has come out alive from
such interrogations, i.e starting with accusations of personal "sins"
(adultery, blasphemy etc) leading to treason. The prisoners are sometimes
told to go and write confessions in their own hand, and the interrogators
are often not satisfied with the written confessions. The interrogators
are also keen to portray president Khatami in a negative manner by saying
he supported their methods, which had already been sanctioned by Khamnei.
Whenever the interrogators start to use violence against the prisoners,
the tape is interrupted or the violence continues away from the camera.
The videos appear to show the interrogation of the first group of
people known to have been arrested in connection with the serial murders,
i.e. those arrested with or immediately after the arrest of Saeed Emami
(Eslami) a high-ranking security official in the Ministry of Intelligence.
Those arrested according to agencies were: Mostafa Kazemi, Mrs Emami
(Eslami), Pur-Mohammadi, Pur-Fallah, Akbarian, and Taheri.
Three of these appeared in the trials of agents of Ministry of Intelligence,
accused of "masterminding and executing serial political murders".
They were: Mostafa Kazemi (sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment),
Alireza Akbarian (acquitted), Morteza Fallah (one term of life imprisonment).
These sentences were passed on 27 January 2001.
Note: times are given in minutes and seconds from the start of each
What can be seen are apparently extracts from over 300 hours of film
left by the interrogators of the first group of "agents" arrested,
following the dismissal of Mr Nizai and his team from investigation of "serial
political murders". They depict the atmosphere of questioning faced
by "agents" of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence during interrogations
that lasted until March 2000.
The first man interviewed is assumed to be Seyyed Moussavi (the interviewer
calls him Moussavi at minute 0.54), who also uses the name Mostafa
Kazemi, a former head of internal security sentenced to four terms of life
imprisonment in last January's trial (minute 1.06).
The woman witness is supposed to be Mrs Emami (Eslami) the wife of the
ex deputy minister of Intelligence Saeed Emami (Eslami). She is told that
she and others in their group have been followed for months and that they
have all been arrested.
The interrogator tells her that she is wrong if she thinks that because
of the current political atmosphere (i.e. the "reformist" initiatives
of Khatami, etc) they will not arrest a woman. That isn't true. The first
three are told by various interrogators that they had "illicit"
relationships with each other's spouses. In this section of CD 1 they all
The interrogators (heard but not seen) tell the male prisoner,
who they call Morteza, that they are acting under the direct control of
Khatami. They threaten one of the accused that they will flog him, hit him
so much that he will confess to everything.
Minute 3.00-4.00 The interrogator accuses the prisoner of moral
corruption and he denies it.
The shots in minute 6.00 are sounds of beating and pleas for help.
In the next round of interrogation the man named Morteza is beaten while
his interrogators talk.
Minute 9.00-9.21 the prisoner appears to be beaten up.
Minute 9.43 the woman assumed to be Mrs Emami is returned to interrogation.
She ends up admitting that she took a "security" report to Canada
to give to the CIA.
The interrogators then tell the woman (assumed to be the wife of former
Deputy Minister of Intelligence in Iran) that she has to explain her visits
to Israel. At minute 11.33, she keeps saying she has never gone to
Israel and repeats this a number of times. The interrogator tells her, what
if we do something that forces you to admit that you have gone there, what
will you say.
Minute 12.0 they insult her relationship with her husband.
They repeat their accusations that she had "illicit relations"
with other men, including that she claimed to be pregnant from one of these
ex-agents. The interrogators keep telling her that they will really hurt
her where it matters. She keeps denying accusations that she connected agents
to each other.
They also keep telling her that she was a nymphomaniac and call her a
dirty whore.They also tell her to confess how her husband brought men home
for her pleasure. An interrogator is named as Mr Ameli. She finally confesses
to this series of accusations, including sex with other men. They then accuse
her of lesbian relations. The interrogators then appear to talk to each
other about giving her 70 [? sound of number not clear] lashes in order
to get the "rest of the truth". She confesses that she was involved
with Moussavi (a.k.a Mostafa Kazami) in putting a bomb in Tehran. The interrogators
are not happy and take her (limping) to another session of beating, she
keeps pleading that she will confess if they leave her alone.
The next scene shows her walking in pain. The film is then interrupted,
and then another woman and man are interviewed briefly.
Another prisoner (unidentified, bearded) is told by the interrogators
that he was asking to meet Ayatollah Khamneii's security chief. He claims
he wanted to warn the security chief of the dangers of Friday prayers. The
prisoner not only denies this but also says he is great admirer of the supreme
leader. The interrogators then tell the prisoner he is definitely the man
who killed "Sayyad". The interrogation continues after an interruption
for lunch and the next scene shows the prisoner pleading his innocence and
crying. He swears on religious imams that he is not guilty. He is thrown
off his chair (minute 36.0).
The tape is interrupted. In the next section, Moussavi (a.k.a. Kazami)
is being questioned. The interrogators tell Moussavi (a.k.a. Kazami) that
he has now been in prison for a while. They tell him that he drank alcohol
and that they have witnesses. Regarding a further accusation of fathering
a child, the prisoner says that if they did a medical test they will find
out he is not responsible.
The man is shaking (minutes 40.55 to 41.22) at the end the interrogator
reminds him that he entered prison is Dec 1999. Later, as he leaves the
room, the interrogator is heard saying: remember the number of this room,
402, we will hang you upside down here.
The next interview starts minute 41.45. The accused, also unidentified,
is told that he was not a Muslim but a Bahaii, pretending to be a Muslim.
He is told: this room is number 404, remember this number. In this room
the last words will be said to you; when you leave this room you realise
what will happen to you; there will be two barrels and a piece of wood and
a noose to hang you; Your wife has confessed all. He pleads (minute 60.00)
and he is told by the interrogator to shut up. The interrogator adds: in
order to close this dossier and stop public attention [regarding the serial
murders of writers and journalists] we are supposed to release a number
of names, claiming them as culprits, and even announce that these people
were already killed, tnat nothing is hidden from us. The unidentified prisoner
writes a note at the end admitting that he received last warnings and he
has nothing else to say.
Mrs Emami is again interviewed. She is asked about a bomb
placed in Tehran prosecutor's office. She denies this repeatedly, but she
says, of course if I am beaten up I might admit to it. The interrogator
then tells her to imagine that she is repeatedly flogged, what would you
say. The prisoner says, yes I will admit to anything then. The interrogator
says imagine you are really severely beaten, tell us how you planted the
bomb. The interrogator says, now you are bleeding. She says, maybe I took
it with Haj Ghassem. The interrogator says, imagine you are now beaten up
even more, that "you can't tolerate the pain". The prisoner starts
saying, may be there is a car entrance ... she is then pressed to tell the
exact day when the bomb was planted. She is beaten up with a shoe. [Note:
some interpretations of Islam would disallow beating a woman by hand on
religious grounds]. The interrogator say: "you are like an insect,
while we crush you". She is seen being beaten up again with the shoe.
She still denies that she planted the bomb.
Minute 21.17 The interrogator says: We are the judge the jury
and the trial in this case.
Minute 38.31 The interrogator says: once we flog you the version
of events you give will be exactly what we want, eactly what we got from
Saeed Emamai. Here we beat you so much in this very room where everything
happens, we will get all the confessions. There will be no trial, no newspaper
report. (Minute 40.13) The interrogator says, you have shown you
are of the same ilk as "shemr" (the devil, enemy of Shia Islam).
A prisoner, whom the interrogators call Akbar, is asked how
the bomb was placed in Khomeini's tomb and who pushed the button. The prisoner
replies, Majidi. The interrogators comment how well he is and how he has
recovered. As he bends his head and cries (minute 1.09), the interrogators
ask themselves why he is doing this. They ask him if he would like not be
hurt any more. They ask why should we take pity on you. The prisoner says
in six months he has been beaten up more than 40 [or 60, the sound isn't
clear] times. At minute 2.28, he pulls down his trousers to show
the signs of flogging. At minute 3.31, the interrogator is seen slapping
the prisoner while questions continue. At minute 4.00, in a conversation
that takes place outside the camera shot, the interrogator tells the prisoner
he will die under "shallagh" (flogging) and his faamily will never
see him again. He is also told that the interrogation is sanctioned by Khatami
and Khamneii, and that Khamneii has told Khatami to pull no punches in order
to get results. They also tell him he is very likely to be hanged as they
plotted a coup d'etat.
(Minute 8.33) The woman, assumed to be Mrs Emami, is returned.
The interrogators keep telling her that she showed disrespect to Koran.
She says we put the Koran out of our life and we didn't read it any more;
"we threw it down".
(Minute 10.07) The sound of someone screaming from pain is heard.
She is reminded by the interrogator that they can cause her a lot of pain,
as she can hear from screams next door. On at least three occasions the
interrogator tries to make her confess where her and her husband took the
Koran, and how she showed disrespect to the Koran. She refuses to admit
anything more. But finally, the interrogator step by step gets her to say
that they tore papers from the Koran. She confesses, with a lot of help
from the interrogator, that she and her husband touched each others' bodies
with pages of the Koran during sexual intercourse.
At minute 13.18, a woman is heard screaming in the background.
The interrogator asks the woman prisoner, will you confess to all? and ask
for redemption? At minute 14.01 she is asked who she thinks Said
(her husband, ex deputy minister of Intelligence) worked for. She replies:
probably for CIA, the interrogator tells her to forget about "probabilities".
The interrogator tells her that you even know who was his CIA "contact"
was. She volunteers the name "Mojtaba Amiri". and she then tells
the interrogator you knew him (Saiid Emami) better than me, you worked beside
him. The interrogator says: OK, we know he came back to Iran in 1363 (1985
in the western calendar). She moves on her chair, obviously in pain, and
says, probably he started working with the CIA when he was in the US.
Minute 13.41 Screams of pain are heard in the background , the
prisoner assumed to be Mrs Emami swears on her children's life that she
is doing her best to answer. Minute 15.12 she pleads with interrogators
to take her hand and lead her out of the room. She says she will do anything,
they ask her to answer the questions properly, she returns having written
some replies to their questions. At minute 16.18 she is asked how
many times she went to Haj (journey to the holy places at Mecca) last year,
and she gives details, including details of who she went with. The interrogator
tells her weren't you ashamed of yourself. She says we did propaganda for
Iran and the Islamic revolution, the interrogator asks her what she did
with contacts they found in Mecca. The film is interrupted again.
At Minute 16.59, she returns (wearing different clothes) and says
her husband worked for the CIA while she worked for Israel. The interrogator
asks her who, between Israel and the US, did Said favour. She replies, the
US. They ask her, how about you. She first says I preferred the US but I
worked with the CIA, and then corrects herself and says no I mean I preferred
the US but I worked for Israel. "They are the same after all."
The interrogators tell her not to confuse her answers. They ask her if the
bombing of "behsht zahra" (i.e. cemetery near Tehran, it is unclear
from the tape whether this is another reference to Khomeini's grave) was
the work of US and why. She seems totally confused. The interrogators then
tell that her husband [before his death, which was allegedly suicide] had
told them about her weakness, that she is a nymphomaniac. They then tell
her (minute 19.15) that she is making fun of them. She is given time
to take her pill. The CD is blank until minute 19.55. The interrogators
don't accept her answers and she changes her story, she says: we are a branch
of Mossad in Iran.
There then follows detailed questioning regarding her sexual behaviour
and relationships with various men. She keeps using words such as, "do
I have to guess", "probably", etc. They tell her not to use
this words. At minute 22.30 she is asked about her sexual relations
with a young man named as Mehdi. She says she was training him as a security
agent, and teaching him how to woo women as part of his job as an agent
of the Ministry of Intelligence. They keep telling her she is not saying
enough and as soon she says she doesn't know an answer they taunt her that
she will be executed.
At Minute 26.12 a man is interrogated the interrogator calls him
"Samimi", and says when are you going to give up this pretence.
The interrogator calls him dirt, pimp. With reference to his written
the interrogators say that they are not complete. The interrogator then
says, do you want me to write the confessions. He says I went to Niavaran,
Hashem was there, this was part of the route. The prisoner then asks the
interrogators to tell him what they should say. The interrogator tells him,
"you eat shit, admit that". The interrogator keeps calling him
a pimp, and tells him, we want to hurt you they will beat you up (minute
34.00). The prisoner describes how he was involved in a plot of the
"special forces" but refuses to involve another man named Ghassem,
despite repeated questioning by the interrogator about "Ghassem".
At Minute 40.25 the prisoner, called Said by the interrogator,
is told to correct his story or else he will be beaten to death. They threaten
to kill him and leave his body in a well. Minute 42.27 he say he
doesn't know. He is beaten by his interrogator. The prisoner mentions a
visit with Falahian, the Minister of Intelligence, but the interrogator
is only interested to get the reply he wants. [This is an extraordinary
admission, because the prisoner is suggesting he was taking ministerial
orders, and no attention is paid to it by the interrogator.] Beatings and
swearing follow. Minute 45.46, he is asked, why does he keeps changing
his written confessions. The tape is interrupted.
Minute 49.33: Prisoner Moussavi ( Mostafa Kazemi) is asked
about his alleged crimes. He says this was a duty given to me by others.
The interrogator is not happy about this prisoner's story. [Note: After
Kazemi was given four life sentences, the heaviest punishment imposed by
the court, his lawyer stated that he had constantly maintained that he was
following religious duties and orders from superiors.]
The prisoner continues: I left the house at 6am and got to the place
at around 8.00. Minute 52: another prisoner is brought in (the one
accused of being a Bahaii) and is told to write a request for a "paternity"
test regarding an illegitimate child. However the prisoner is adamant he
is not the father .
Then there is a last interview with Mrs Emami. Here she confesses to
working for Israel and the US, and even to "cannibalism", which
she says was part of Israel's plot. The interrogators are still not happy;
she is seen crying and in a very disturbed state.
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