Mostafa Chamran

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Mostafa Chamran
مصطفی چمران
Mostafa Chamran Portrait 1.jpg
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 21 June 1981
Constituency Tehran, Rey and Shemiranat
Majority1,100,842 (51.5%)
Minister of National Defense
In office
29 September 1979 29 October 1980
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan
Preceded by Taghi Riahi
Succeeded by Javad Fakoori
Deputy Prime Minister of Iran for Revolutionary Affairs
In office
12 April 1979 29 September 1979
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan
Preceded by Ebrahim Yazdi
Personal details
Born8 March 1932
Tehran, Iran
Died20 June 1981(1981-06-20) (aged 49)
Dehlaviyeh, Iran
Resting place Behesht-e Zahra, Tehran
CitizenshipCitizen of Iran(1932-1981) Citizen of USA(1960s-1981) [1]
Nationality Iranian
Political party Freedom Movement of Iran
Spouse(s)Tamsen H. Parvaneh (1961– div. 1973)
Ghadeh Jaber (1977–1981)
Alma mater Tehran University
Texas A&M University
UC Berkeley
Profession Scientist
Military service
Nickname(s)Jamal [2]
Allegiance Amal Movement
Islamic Republic of Iran
Branch/service Lebanese Resistance Regiments
Irregular Warfare Headquarters
Years of service1975–1979
Battles/wars Lebanese Civil War
1979 Kurdish rebellion
Iran–Iraq War  

Mostafa Chamran Save'ei (Persian : مصطفی چمران ساوه‌ای) (8 March 1932 21 June 1981, Tehran, Iran) was an Iranian physicist, politician, commander and guerrilla who served as the first defense minister of post-revolutionary Iran and as member of parliament, as well as the commander of paramilitary volunteers in Iran–Iraq War, known as "Irregular Warfare Headquarters". He was killed during the Iran–Iraq War. In Iran, he is known as a martyr and a symbol of an ideological and revolutionary Muslim who left academic careers and prestigious positions as a scientist and professor in the US, University of California, Berkeley and migrated in order to help the Islamic movements in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt as a chief revolutionary guerilla, as well as in the Islamic revolution of Iran. He helped to found the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Tehran City in Iran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.


Early life and education

Chamran was born into a religious family on 8 March 1932 in Tehran. [3] Earlier he was educated by Ayatollah Taleqani and Morteza Motahari. [4] He studied at Alborz High School and then graduated from Tehran University with a bachelor's degree in electro mechanics. [3]

Alborz High School Iranian national heritage site

Alborz High School, is a college-preparatory high school located in the heart of Tehran, Iran. It is one of the first modern high schools in Asia and the Middle East, named after the Alborz mountain range, north of Tehran. Its place in the shaping of Iran's intellectual elite compares with that of Eton College in England and institutions such as Phillips Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Milton Academy in the United States.

In the late 1950s, he moved to the United States for higher education, obtaining a M.S. degree from the Texas A&M University. [5] He then went on to obtain his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and plasma physics in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley. [6]

Texas A&M University public research university in College Station, Texas, United States

Texas A&M University is a public research university in College Station, Texas, United States. Since 1948, it has been the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. The Texas A&M system endowment is among the 10 largest endowments in the nation. As of 2017, Texas A&M's student body is the largest in Texas and the second largest in the United States. Texas A&M's designation as a land, sea, and space grant institution–the only university in Texas to hold all three designations–reflects a range of research with ongoing projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumni—over 450,000 strong—and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.

University of California, Berkeley Public university in California, USA

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.

In the book "Self-construction and development" [7] he said he was hired as research staff scientist at Bell Laboratories and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1960s. [8]

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research and development center and NASA field center in California, US

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center in La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States, though it is often referred to as residing in Pasadena, California, because it has a Pasadena ZIP Code.

Career and activities

Chamran was one of the senior members of the Freedom Movement led by Mehdi Bazargan in the 1960s. [3] [9] He was part of the radical external wing together with Ebrahim Yazdi, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh and Ali Shariati. [10]

Freedom Movement of Iran

The Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) or Liberation Movement of Iran is an Iranian pro-democracy political organization founded in 1961, by members describing themselves as "Muslims, Iranians, Constitutionalists and Mossadeghists". It is the oldest party still active in Iran and has been described as a "semi-opposition" or "loyal opposition" party. It has also been described as a "religious nationalist party".

Mehdi Bazargan Iranian politician

Mehdi Bazargan was an Iranian scholar, academic, long-time pro-democracy activist and head of Iran's interim government, making him Iran's first prime minister after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He resigned his position as prime minister in November 1979, in protest at the US Embassy takeover and as an acknowledgement of his government's failure in preventing it.

Ebrahim Yazdi Iranian politician and activist

Ebrahim Yazdi was an Iranian politician, pharmacist, and diplomat who served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in the interim government of Mehdi Bazargan, until his resignation in November 1979, in protest at the Iran hostage crisis. From 1995 until 2017, he headed the Freedom Movement of Iran. Yazdi was also a trained cancer researcher.

Following graduation, Chamran went to Cuba to receive military training. [11] In December 1963, he along with Ghotbzadeh and Yazdi left the US for Egypt where he was trained in guerilla warfare. [12] [13] They met the Egyptian authorities to establish an anti-Shah organization in the country, which was later called SAMA, special organization for unity and action. [10] Chamran was chosen as its military head. [10] Upon his return to the US in 1965 he founded a group, Red Shiism, in San Jose with the aim of training militants. [12] His brother, Mehdi, was also part of the group. [12] In 1968, he founded another group, the Muslim Students’ Association of America (MSA), and it was led by Ebrahim Yazdi. [12] The group managed to establish branches in the United Kingdom and France. [12]

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

San Jose, California City in California, United States

San Jose, officially the City of San José, is the economic, cultural and political center of Silicon Valley, and the largest city in Northern California. With an estimated 2017 population of 1,035,317, it is the third-most populous city in California and the tenth-most populous in United States. Located in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, San Jose covers an area of 179.97 square miles (466.1 km2). San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the most populous city in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, which contain 7.7 million and 8.7 million people respectively.

In 1971 Chamran left the US for Lebanon [12] and joined the camps of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Amal movement. [11] He became a leading and founding member of the Islamic revolutionary movement in the Middle East, organizing and training guerrillas and revolutionary forces in Algeria, Egypt, Syria. During the civil war in Lebanon he actively cooperated with Musa Al Sadr, founder of the Amal movement. [14] Chamran also became an Amal member and "right-hand man of Sadr". [15] [16]

Chamran along with Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was part of the faction, called "Syrian mafia", in the court of Khomeini, and there was a feud between his group and the Libya-friendly group, led by Mohammad Montazeri. [17]

Valiollah Fallahi, Chamran and Abbas Aghazamani after liberation of Paveh Fallahi, Chamran and Aghazamani in Paweh.jpg
Valiollah Fallahi, Chamran and Abbas Aghazamani after liberation of Paveh

With the Islamic Revolution taking place in Iran, Chamran returned to Iran. [18] In 1979, he served as deputy prime minister in the cabinet of Mehdi Bazargan. [19] [20] He led the military operations in Kurdistan where Kurds rebelled against the Interim Government of Iran. [19] He served as minister of defense from September 1979 to 1980, [21] being the first civil defense minister of the Islamic Republic. [22]

In March 1980, he was elected to the Majlis of Iran (the Iranian Parliament) as a representative of Tehran. [23] In May 1980, he was named the Ayatollah's representative to the Supreme Council of National Defense. [24]

Personal life

Chamran was married to Tamsen Heiman, an American Muslim, in 1961. They had one daughter Roushan and three sons Ali, Jamal and Rahim. Jamal was drowned in childhood and the rest of them live in the US. After migrating to Lebanon, due to the difficulties they were facing, Tamsen left Chamran in 1973 and went back to the US. She died in 2009.

Later on Chamran was married to a woman from Lebanon, Ghadeh Jaber. [25]


Tomb of Mostafa Chamran in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in Iran Grave of Mostafa Chamran.jpg
Tomb of Mostafa Chamran in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in Iran

Chamran led an infantry unit during the Iran–Iraq War and received two wounds in his left leg by shrapnel from a mortar shell. [8] However, he refused to leave his unit. [8] He was killed in Dehlavieh on 21 June 1981 as the war was raging on. [3] [26] [27] [28] [29] His death was regarded as "suspicious" and the related details have remained unclear. [18] [30] [31] Chamran was buried in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran. [8]


Ayatullah Khomenei(R.A) publicly proclaimed Chamran as a "proud commander of Islam." [8] Chamran was posthumously given a hero status, and many buildings and streets in Iran and Lebanon were named for him, as well as a major expressway. [8] In 2012, Mohsen Alavi Pour published Chamran's biography. [32] A species of moth were named after him in 2013. [33] [34] Nick Robinson published an English biography of Chamran in the United Kingdom in 2013, 22: Not a new lifestyle for those who thirst for humanity!. [35]

In 2014 a film named Che was released to honor Chamran. The film portrays two days of Chamran's life after the Islamic Revolution defending Paveh and received lots of attention and won some awards. [36]

See also

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