This time some 36 years ago, the lives of President Mohammad Ali Rajaei and Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar were cut short in an explosion set by Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as MKO.
The bomb went off at the office of Islamic Republican Party in Tehran where a meeting was held. It also claimed lives of other officials.
Survivors said the bomb was set off when one of the victims opened a briefcase which was carried inside by Massoud Keshmiri, a security official at the Islamic Republican Party, to the meeting. The blast killed Rajaei, Bahonar and three other members of the Islamic Republican Party.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Massoud Kashmiri, who had brought the briefcase into the conference room, was an operative of the MKO disguised as a state security official.
39 days earlier, Rajaei had gained the votes of the majority of Iranians in an early election and had become the second president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, after Abol-Hasan Bani-Sadr, who had fled to Europe after being removed from his post by the parliament. Rajaei served as the prime minister under Bani-Sadr.
“Rajaei’s simple life-style, his popular policies, and his authority and effectiveness provoked the envy of the West-oriented President (Bani-Sadr) to the point where the latter would openly malign his prime minister on numerous occasions in an effort to drive him away from the government,” according to Kevin Barrett, a Arabist-Islamologist.
Rajaei and Bahonar, who knew each other for 20 years and were very active in the anti-Shah campaign, stood shoulder to shoulder after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
The assassination took place when the government of Rajaei was only in office for 29 days and ever since the Government Week is observed in memory of those men beginning on August 23.