The real spider behind the "Spider killings"

Some events are mirrors into the very heart of a system. Such was the wave of murders of intellectuals and other-thinkers, an event which exploded over Iran in 1988. Such again is another wave of murders – this time of prostitutes. By the end of July, twenty one women aged 27 to 50 had been killed in a ritual manner. They had been strangled by their own scarf, wrapped up in their chador and dumped on the road.

Up until now, nothing particularly unusual. After all this is a regime well versed in ritual killing: in the mass executions of 1981-2, most for their beliefs under the label of "corrupters on this earth". In the ritual murder of long-serving political prisoners in 1988 who gave an unsatisfactory answer to three questions – all directed at their inner values [1].

Nor is ritual killing confined to "religio-political crimes". The ritual condemnation of hundreds of women to death, even to the mediaeval ritual of stoning to death, by the courts of this regime is too well known to need reminding.

And when after outrage to the "spider killings" inside and outside the country the regime paraded Saeed Hanai’, a 39 year old bricklayer and father of three who boasted to killing 16 of the nineteen bodies found in the north-eastern city of Mashad, no one was surprised. In a country where the security forces boast that they can hoof a mosquito, the serial ritual murder of these hapless women over many months in one city could not have gone undiscovered – that is unless the murderers were hand in hand with the "house of ghosts".

Bloody heroes

That is of course precisely what happened with the serial murders of a few years ago. And like now, when public opinion became impossible to ignore, a handful of men were rounded up and all blame heaped on them. And when one of them, Saeed Emami (Eslami) was "suicided" in prison he was praised as a hero by the ultra-conservative establishment. And the others? Well they went free and the entire affair hushed up. It was as if nothing had happened.

So when the newspapers belonging to the ultra-conservative faction praised Saeed Hanai’ they were true to form. Jomhuri Eslami, which speaks for the religious ruler Khamenei, praised this man accused of ritual mass murder as a hero who went out to "eradicate the sickness". True to form, Jahan another paper belonging to the ultra-reactionaries gleefully reported that Saeed Hanai’s house was bombarded with flowers by "neighbours" where he became overnight a "popular hero". Resalat, compared him favourably with Saeed Asghar who shot and seriously wounded the reformist journalist Hajjarian, as two "who wanted to clean society, one of those with impure thoughts and the other of impure people.

No misunderstanding

So laid bare is the core of this regime. These are not misunderstandings. These are not mistakes. These are not aberrations of a few deranged serial killers. What is deranged is the entire system that rules Iran. Ritual mass killing is central to its ideology. This may be difficult to understand by those outside the regime. And too many apologists obfuscate this very fact and muddied the water.

But the facts speak more clearly: this regime mass executes its prisoners out of ideological conviction. This regime strives to turn those it did not execute into zombies [2]. This regime humiliates, flogs, imprisons, and stones to death women (and men) for "immoral" behaviour. This regime send killer squads to murder those intellectuals who dare to think differently. Why be surprised if it hails as a hero a pathetic creature who boasts that he would "have killed 150 [prostitutes] if he had not been arrested".

The Islamic regime is being true to form. The spider sits astride of the whole of Iran. It has to be crushed. It is unreformable.


1. "Are you a Muslim or not?" "Do you believe in the Islamic Republic or not?" and for some "do you pray or not?" See interview with Nasser Mohajer – this issue.

2. Tavvab meaning repentant ibid

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