Excerpts from the memoirs of Valiollah Chehpour

Explosion in the Prime Minister Office

Translated by Zahra Hosseinian

2020-09-08


The day the Prime Minister Office exploded in Pasteur Square and Mr. Mohammad Ali Rajaei, the President, and Mr. Bahonar, the Prime Minister, were martyred, I and Mr. Ashraf Eslami, who was then the Deputy and Legal Representative of Prime Minister, were having lunch on the restaurant at ground floor of the building, when suddenly there was a terrible explosion from the upper floor of the building where the meeting room of the Prime Minister and the President was held. Immediately, thick and suffocating smoke filled the space and caused panic. Downstairs, I saw Mr. Behzad Nabavi, the Deputy Prime Minister, and asked him angrily, "What happened?" he answered, "The blast was from the meeting room." Firefighters had arrived and started extinguishing with a fire hose. After the smoke and dust faded away and the fire subsided, we went upstairs. The meeting room was completely burned out, everything was in mess, and the participants at the meeting were unrecognizable. I searched for the bodies of Mr. Rajaei and Mr. Bahonar. Seeing the body of the martyrs and that indescribable heartbreaking scene, I was upset and out of control for a few minutes. Due to the explosion, the chair of Shahid Rajaei was turned back as he had sat down on it, and his body had fallen on his back on the floor. The body of Shahid, which was in sit-down form, had been burned inside the chair and severely damaged, in such a way that the flesh was torn by a single touch! Dr. Bahonar was also burned almost in the same way and his body had been completely damaged. No one could identify the bodies because of severe burns. With the help of several people presented at the scene, we took the bodies out of the room, went downstairs, and then placed them in the morgue of the opposite building, where was in the possession of the jihad, until a decision is made. "Who is in charge of security here?" I aggressively said to Mr. Behzad Nabavi, as I was so disturbed. A security guard who fails to protect the president and the prime minister in a meeting should be arrested immediately?! Who is to blame for this tragedy?" Mr. Nabavi said, "It’s the responsibility of the National Guard to protect the authorities." I shouted, " Should a person with such a weakness not be able to protect a cabinet meeting room, was given the presidency of the National Guard of entire country?!" I was about to wrestle with Behzad Nabavi out of extreme anger, but Mr. Rajaei’s wife was present and stopped me by inviting to calm down.

I took the key of morgue from the security guard and kept it with me. Early in the morning, according to the previous coordination, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani asked me to transfer the bodies to Imam Khomeini Street, opposite to the Islamic Consultative Assembly, for funeral ceremony. I opened the morgue door, but the bodies could not be identified. Fortunately, Mr. Rajaei’s wife could recognize her husband from the appearance of his teeth, and thus the problem was solved, because the other body belonged to Shahid Bahonar. The two bodies were put in the coffin to be carried by a hearse and to be transported to the opposite of the Iranian parliament. In the meantime, a tall man appeared with a nylon bag in his hand and said, "This is the body of Shahid Keshmiri. Please take it to the parliament for funeral ceremony with two other bodies." I opened the nylon bag and saw some burnt items that weighed less than two kilograms. I was surprised and doubted; it was an odd situation, how Keshmiri’s corpse could have shrank and was not look like the other two corpses! So, I didn’t send that bag with those bodies to the parliament for burial to find out what it is, and if it is the body of a human being, who is it? I do not know who told Mr. Mortezaeifar (known as the Minister of Slogan) that Keshmiri had been martyred. Mortezaeifar repeatedly chanted "Keshmiri, happy martyrdom." After the funeral ceremony of the martyrs in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, I sat on the roof of the hearse carrying the bodies and saw them out to Behesht-e Zahra. There, I climbed down the car and as I was busy to bury the martyrs, was thinking of the person who had given me that suspicious bag and said that it was Keshmiri’s body. I had not seen that man until then and I did not know from where he appeared. Was it true that the content of that bag was Keshmiri’s corpse? And several other questions. It soon turned out that Keshmiri himself was involved in the explosion and fled the area quickly. He was one of the important elements of MKO, and with special skill, he showed himself as one of the most loyal supporters of the revolution, and with his clever behavior, he opened a place in the hearts of the officials and gained everyone's trust; so that, he penetrated in the most sensitive place of the country, namely the Prime Minister’s office, and committed that heinous crime at the right time. I warned Shahid Rajaei several times not to trust some of his companions who were part of penitents, and I told him that I was suspicious of these people, but Mr. Rajaei trusted them so much that he followed them; therefore, what should not be happened was done by Keshmiri.

The tall man who gave me that suspicious nylon bag intended to deceive us, so that Keshmiri would have a chance to escape.

A short while after this incident, I heard that the investigation of this crime has been entrusted to Assadollah Lajevardi. I visited and told him the story of the tall man and the suspicious nylon bag. "Will you know him, if you see that guy?" Lajevardi asked. I replied, "If I see him, will recognize him!" Mr. Lajevardi asked me to see him tomorrow. I went to Evin prison and talked to Mr. Lajevardi about how to deal with that person. "When you face that person," he said, "don’t say anything if it was him, but tell me later." He then ordered to guide me to a room where I should wait for seeing the said man. A few minutes later, the prisoner was brought blindfolded. Seeing his face, I immediately recognized him and made sure he was the said man. I gestured Lajevardi that he is the said guy!  Lajevardi ordered that his blindfold to be removed. He then asked him if he knew me (by pointing to me). But the perpetrator refused to open his eyes, and their pressures failed. He was very shrewd and each time answered that his eyes could not see the light! Finally, Mr. Lajevardi ordered that he was taken to the relevant ward. Most likely, he had seen and recognized me from the corner of his eye, and when he had realized that he had been disgraced, refused to open his eyelids with cleverness and insidious behavior, and had made excuses.

At the end, his fate was not determined, and it was not cleared what happened to him and his case after martyrdom of Assadollah Lajevardi[1].

 


[1]. Chehpour, Valiollah, With Innocent Mentor (Memoirs of Valiollah Chehpour), Tehran, The Islamic Revolution Document Center, 2011, p.174



 
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