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The Mujahedin made me a killer

Naser Naderi : They made me a killer

Naser Naderi comes from Shah Reza, near Ispahan in southern Iran. He was 21 when he joined the movement in 1979. He participated in many military actions, but only admits one murder, that of Ardeshir Doudanger, a young security guard in 1981. Tearfully, he recalls:” I was unemployed, a social reject. They made me a killer. I am not proud of myself”.

His downfall:” it was 1981.90% or our networks in the city had been dismantled. I was one of the only people still active. The organization’s leaders counted on me a lot and I was very proud of that. In October they gave me a new mission. I was to kill the security guard on duty at the Al-Jihad Company; a firm specialized in road construction. I did it without thinking about its meaning or consequences. I went right to the company’s building and shot the young man. I emptied my revolver, firing at the guards who came to help him, and then ran away. The operation was a success. The BBC broadcast a story about it. After handling over the weapon to the organization’s leaders, I wandered through the fields alone, like a wounded wolf. Crushed by me sense of guilt, I turned myself in to the police three months later. But I did not admit committing the crime, only membership in the Mojahedin.

The peoples Mujahidin of Iran: A Struggle for what

Arrested in the meantime, my immediate superior, Ismaeil Dadoghr, told the police I was the murder. He was soon to be tried and executed. I had to confess. The Revolutionary Tribunal sentenced me to death. During the second day of hearings, the victim’s mother came up to me and said,” did you kill my son?” I answered,” Yes, but I was not aiming at him”. She took some candy from her handbag and held out her hand:” eat them, my son liked sweets, too”. When she saw my chains, she cried out:” Let him go! He confessed his crime”. She appealed to the court to reduce my sentence. For a five-year jail term, I eventually served only 25 months. When I was free, it became a habit to pay my respects to Ardeshir Doudangher’s grave from time to time. But when I saw his mother arrive, I ran away because I could not look her in the eye”.

When he was freed, a stage director he had met in prison convinced Nacer Naderi to tell his dramatic story in a play. Lasting almost three hours, it was produced in Tehran and Ispahan toward the end of 1983. The play was a success:” the director told me that:” We are all bastards. In each of us, at some time, something stops working”. Nacer Naderi adds,”People liked the play very much. At the end, a women hugged me, looked me in the eye and cried. By allowing me to publicly admit my crime,the play let me cleanse my soul”.

Now 44, Nacer Naderi married the widow of his younger brother,who died at the front during Iran-Iraq war. The former Mojahed,who has raised his brother’s two children,says:”No, I am not healed from the pain I feel, the wound is too deep. My crime had no justifiable motive: it was not religious, ideological or even political. One day I may use a gun again, but this time it would be against the organization.

From the book: The People’s Mojahedin of Iran: A Struggle for what? “By Victor Charbonnier

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