Mostafa Chamran

Mostafa Chamran Save'ei (Persian: مصطفی چمران ساوه‌ای‎) (2 October 1932 – 21 June 1981, Tehran, Iran) was an Iranian physicist, politician, commander and guerrilla fighter who served as the first defense minister of post-revolutionary Iran and a 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.

Mostafa Chamran
مصطفی چمران
Mostafa Chamran Portrait 1.jpg
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 – 21 June 1981
ConstituencyTehran, Rey and Shemiranat
Majority1,100,842 (51.5%)
Minister of National Defense
In office
30 September 1979 – 10 September 1980
Prime MinisterMehdi Bazargan
Preceded byTaghi Riahi
Succeeded byJavad Fakoori
Deputy Prime Minister of Iran for Revolutionary Affairs
In office
29 April 1979 – 30 September 1979
Prime MinisterMehdi Bazargan
Preceded byEbrahim Yazdi
Personal details
Mostafa Chamran Save'ei

2 October 1932
Tehran, Iran
Died20 June 1981(1981-06-20) (aged 48)
Dehlaviyeh, Iran
Resting placeBehesht-e Zahra, Tehran
Political partyFreedom Movement of Iran
Spouse(s)Tamsen H. Parvaneh (1961– div. 1973)
Ghadeh Jaber (1977–1981)
Alma materTehran University (BS)
Texas A&M University (MS)
UC Berkeley (PhD)
Military service
AllegianceAmal Movement
Islamic Republic of Iran
Branch/serviceLebanese Resistance Regiments
Irregular Warfare Headquarters
Years of service1975–1979
Battles/warsLebanese Civil War
1979 Kurdish rebellion
Iran–Iraq War 

Early life and educationEdit

Chamran was born into a religious family on 2 October 1932 in Tehran.[citation needed][3][dead link] 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]

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]

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]

Career and activitiesEdit

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]

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]

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

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 lifeEdit

Chamran was married to Tamsen Heiman, an American Muslim, in 1961. They had one daughter Roushan and three sons Ali, Jamal and Rahim. Jamal drowned during 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

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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "IICHS - Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies".
  2. ^ article in ‘’New Youk Post’’
  3. ^ a b c d Moezzinia, Vida. "Dr. Mostafa Chamran". IICHS. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Shahid Mostafa Chamran has been known for his life of sacrifices". ABNA. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  5. ^ "An integrator based on motion and electrostatic charge. (Book, 1959)". []. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Ph.D. Dissertations; EECS at UC Berkeley". CS. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  7. ^ دارالحدیث, موسسه علمی فرهنگی. "Self-construction and development (author Mostafa Chamran) - کتابخانه تخصصی جهاد و شهادت (موسسه فرهنگی روایت سیره شهدا)". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Scott Peterson (21 September 2010). Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran--A Journey Behind the Headlines. Simon & Schuster. pp. 701. ISBN 978-1-4165-9739-1. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Mehdi Bazargan's biography". Bazargan website. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Houchang Chehabi; Rula Jurdi Abisaab; Centre for Lebanese Studies (Great Britain) (2 April 2006). Distant Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the Last 500 Years. I.B.Tauris. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-86064-561-7. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  11. ^ a b Zabih, Sepehr (September 1982). "Aspects of Terrorism in Iran". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. International Terrorism. 463: 84–94. doi:10.1177/0002716282463001007. JSTOR 1043613.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Barsky, Yehudit (May 2003). "Hizballah" (PDF). The American Jewish Committee. Archived from the original (Terrorism Briefing) on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  13. ^ Samii, Abbas William (1997). "The Shah's Lebanon policy: the role of SAVAK". Middle Eastern Studies. 33 (1): 66–91. doi:10.1080/00263209708701142.
  14. ^ Ostovar, Afshon P. (2009). "Guardians of the Islamic Revolution Ideology, Politics, and the Development of Military Power in Iran (1979–2009)" (PhD Thesis). University of Michigan. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Musa al Sadr: The Untold Story". Asharq Alawsat. 31 May 2008. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  16. ^ Ataie, Mohammad (Summer 2013). "Revolutionary Iran's 1979 endeavor in Lebanon". Middle East Policy. XX (2): 137–157. doi:10.1111/mepo.12026.
  17. ^ Gayn, Mark (20 December 1979). "Into the depths of a boiling caldron". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  18. ^ a b John H. Lorentz (1 April 2010). The A to Z of Iran. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8108-7638-5. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Iran Unleashes Might on Kurds". The Pittsburgh Press. Tehran. UPI. 2 September 1979. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Kurds claim town siege". The Palm Beach Post. 17 August 1979. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  21. ^ Sepehr Zabir (23 April 2012). The Iranian Military in Revolution and War (RLE Iran D). CRC Press. p. 277. ISBN 978-1-136-81270-5. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  22. ^ Rose, Gregory F. (Spring–Summer 1984). "The Post-Revolutionary Purge of Iran's Armed Forces: A Revisionist Assessment". Iranian Studies. 17 (2–3): 153–194. doi:10.1080/00210868408701627. JSTOR 4310440.
  23. ^ Bahman Baktiari (1996). Parliamentary Politics in Revolutionary Iran: The Institutionalization of Factional Politics. University Press of Florida. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-8130-1461-6. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Khomenei's hard-liners triumph". The Spokesman Review. AP. May 1980. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  25. ^ "Mostafa Chamran's Lebanon converted into Arabic". Iran Book News Agency. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  26. ^ Bernard Reich, Political Leaders of the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa p.466
  27. ^ Daniel Brumberg, Reinventing Khomeini p.272
  28. ^ Houchang Chehabi; Rula Jurdi Abisaab (2 April 2006). Distant Relations. I.B.Tauris. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-86064-561-7. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  29. ^ Houchang E. Chehabi, Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism p.293
  30. ^ Manouchehr Ganji (2002). Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-275-97187-8. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  31. ^ Augustus R. Norton (19 January 2009). Hezbollah: A Short History. Princeton University Press. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-0-691-14107-7. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  32. ^ "Martyr Chamran's biography book unveiled". Taqrib News. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  33. ^ Esfandiari, M.; Gyulai, P.; Rabieh, M.; Seraj, A.; Ronkay, L. (2013). "Anagnorisma chamrani sp. n. (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) from Iran". ZooKeys. 317 (317): 17–25. doi:10.3897/zookeys.317.5515. PMC 3744136. PMID 23950668.
  34. ^ "New Anagnorisma Moth Species from Beautiful Binaloud Mountain Iran". Science Daily. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  35. ^ "Book on lifestyle of Iranian veteran Chamran published in UK". Tehran Times. Tehran. 10 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  36. ^ Iran 32 nd Fajr Intl. Film Festival honor winners Archived 7 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Press TV: 15 February 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Mostafa Chamran at Wikimedia Commons