Sadeq Khalkhali is the representative from Qom in the Majles. Although not himself a leading element in the Islamic Republican Party, he has a small following among the extreme right-wing clergy. He wielded considerable influence within the regime, particularly in its formative period, and consistently criticized successive IRP governments as “too soft” toward “counter-revolutionaries.” He was interviewed by an Iranian journalist in the summer of 1980.

Could you tell us when and where you were born, and what kind of Islamic training you have?

I was born in 1926 in Khalkhal, a small town in northwest Iran and I’ve gained the title of Hojjat-ol-Islam.

When did you start your political activities? Did you have any significant involvement before the revolution?

I started in the 1950s, obviously, working underground. I remember that one of my big protests against the Pahlavi regime was to try to burn the body of Reza Shah [the late Shah’s father], when it was brought back from exile to be buried in Iran. Unfortunately the attempt failed. But I bulldozed his tomb as soon as I came to power. Such people should be wiped off the earth.

What kind of posts and responsibility have you had since the revolution?

I’ve been an active member of Parliament, but my biggest responsibility lies in my activities as an Islamic judge. Before my present post, I was the Islamic judge of Iran.

As I understand it, according to Islam, an Islamic judge can exercise his power only in the area he is in charge of, which covers a certain number of people. Above this number, more than one judge is needed. So how is it that you were in charge of justice for the whole of Iran?

Nonsense. How is it that there can be the imam or a president for the whole country, but not a judge? Even if there is such a law in Islam my case is an exception. On Imam Khomeini’s order, I became the Islamic judge of Iran. The imam is the only person I take orders from and report back to. I went to every part of this country. I executed, imprisoned, confiscated. I’ve done the job of eight judges. All the others have only one jurisdiction, while I covered eight regions.

So you would consider youself a successful judge?

Certainly, and I won’t stop until I’ve accomplished my duty.

Then why were you called back to Tehran while you were still in the middle of your executions in Kurdistan?

At that time the government thought they could solve the problem through negotiations, but they’ve now reached the conclusion that I was right. All the people who are opposed to our revolution must die.

During your one week in Kurdistan, how many people did you execute? Were they all, including a Tehrani doctor, counter-revolutionaries?

How do you expect me to remember how many they were? Forty or 50, or maybe more. Most of them were counter-revolutionaries like the Kurds or Fedayi. The doctor you mentioned, Bolqasm Rashmand Sardarri, was also a traitor, by treating the Kurds. There were others, too — the rapists, the addicts.

It has been said that among the executed was a wounded man dragged out of a hospital, and this was the reason that you were asked to return to Tehran.

That is not true. I told you the reason for my return to Tehran — the stupidity of the government, not realizing at that time that there has never been and will never be a revolution without bloodshed.

How would you justify the executions of 300 alleged drug dealers during your three months as head of the drug squad?

The drug dealers’ activities brought 2 million young people to nothingness, thousands of couples to separation, thousands of children to a miserable life, the entire country to destruction. So far, I’ve seized more than 500 kilos of heroin and saved many young people from falling into this horrible trap. A month ago hundreds of drug addicts lined the streets of the Jamshid quarter. After three public executions of dealers, almost all of them have disappeared now. I’ve stopped all that. Killing makes people think. And I kill only those who are harmful to our society — the top international smugglers. The rest, the very sick addicts, are sent to hospitals.

What do you think of capital punishment for adultery (zena) and homosexuality (lavaht)?

These kinds of crimes don’t concern me. I haven’t executed anyone for zena or lavaht unless they were addicts as well. But generally speaking, I agree with punishing sinners. After all, we’ve made an Islamic Revolution so we should act “Islamically.” Besides, all this fuss, protesting against stoning people, is the West’s idea — I don’t see any difference between hanging, shooting or stoning — they are all ways of killing. If the West thinks our way is not humanistic, then neither is theirs. From bombing Hiroshima to Vietnam and supporting the criminal Pinochet. I don’t think the perpetrators of such actions should assume the right to criticize us for stoning people, or any other policy we take in this country. One thing the West never predicted was our Islamic Revolution and the fact that it is Islam which has held us together. Nothing will dispirit us.

How to cite this article:

"“All the People Who Are Opposed to Our Solution Must Die”," Middle East Report 104 (March/April 1982).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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