Renowned Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadi-Far, were brutally murdered in their home in Karaj, Iran on October 14. While the Iranian state media blamed unidentified perpetrators for the crime, many people in Iran, who still remember the chain murders of the 1990s, believe that the government is responsible.
Authorities claim to have arrested four suspects connected to the murder. Mehrjui’s daughter, Mona Mehrjui, discovered her father and stepmother’s lifeless bodies and immediately contacted the police. In an interview with the Etemad newspaper, Vahideh Mohammadi-Far revealed that they had received threats on October 7. She described an alarming incident where she heard their dog barking and saw a person with a knife outside their kitchen. When she threatened to call the police, the person responded without an Iranian accent.
According to the Fars News Agency, Mehrjui was fatally struck three times in the throat, while his wife suffered a blow to the temple. There were no signs of resistance on Vahideh Mohammadi-Far’s body, and two mobile phones were stolen from the scene.
The chain murders in Iran refer to a series of politically motivated killings that took place in the late 1990s. Dissidents, intellectuals, and writers critical of the Iranian regime were targeted and brutally murdered. The victims were often found with stab wounds or signs of strangulation, and the killings followed a distinct pattern, hence the term “chain murders.” These murders were believed to be orchestrated by a group of individuals within the ruling establishment, primarily associated with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The revelation that the government was involved in these killings, with the Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security, Saeed Emami, implicated, shocked the public.
In an attempt to distance itself from the murders, the regime blamed “rogue agents” and pointed fingers at Saeed Emami. However, since the intelligence and security apparatus ultimately answer to officials affiliated with the Supreme Leader’s office, the regime’s actions were seen as a superficial response. Dissidents in Iran continue to face persecution, arrest, torture, and even death as part of the government’s so-called “national security” agenda.
Dariush Mehrjui’s murder occurred a year and a half after he released a video expressing his dissatisfaction with the Minister of Guidance and Culture’s dismissive attitude towards his demands. In the video, Mehrjui boldly stated that he would stand up for his rights, regardless of the potential consequences. The recent events suggest that the regime responded in its typical manner.
The tragic deaths of Dariush Mehrjui and his wife have reopened wounds from the chain murders of the 1990s, raising concerns about the persistence of politically motivated killings in Iran. People in Iran are anxiously awaiting further investigation and hoping for justice in this case. They also yearn for an end to the culture of violence and repression that has plagued the country for years.