A Narrative of the Incident of 17th Shahrivar (8th September)

Compiled by: Islamic Revolution Website
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


I came out of the house. I found the comrades at the appointments and then we came to Shahbaz Street (current 17 Shahrivar). The presence of regime agents on this street was very remarkable and they surrounded paths leading to the square. There was nothing left until eight o'clock in the morning - the time of the ceremony - but it was almost impossible to reach the square.

That day, I tried to check three sides of the square in half an hour: north of the square towards Imam Hussein Street; there were a group of people. They were few, but gradually they were increased.

The third route leading to the square was from Farahabad St. (current Victory St.). It was not possible to go there, and the streets’ contentions were cut. I managed to get there with a lot of insistence. I begged a lot. I remember that I told the officers, "I am the breadwinner of the house; I must go; I have patient; I did not come for the demonstrations and ..."

There was a larger crowd on Farahabad St. I started to say slogans against the regime in this street and asked people to repeat. Popular slogans and protests created panic among regime officials. They announced through hand-held speakers that if the people repeat slogans more, they would shoot; they then called on the people to return to their homes and abide by the rules of martial law. These warnings were heard many times through loudspeakers, but people did not pay attention.

Regime mercenaries blocked the street, pointing their guns at the people; it was as if they are standing in line for the execution of criminals. After repeated warnings, ‌ fired in the air and warned the protesting crowd that they would shoot if the people did not disperse. Following this warning, people were shot and some were wounded and martyred. As a result, the people dispersed.

I came to the south of the square. A large crowd was moving towards Khorasan Square. I saw it as the best place to chant. They responded well to the slogans. The roaring flood of people who played death frightened the enemy. The enemy was lurking like an injured snake, looking for an opportunity to use its venomous sting.

The people were standing near the line of fire formed by the regime agents.  It seemed to me that I would find a way to penetrate this line of fire and plunder the soldiers by disarming them. I shared this plan with some of the young people who were there. They agreed to cooperate. To do this, we had to calm the people first, and then slowly, with the crime, we approached the line of fire and carried out our plan.

We asked the people to calm down and sit on the ground. There were people from all walks of life, young and old, men and women, and students. Of course, most of them were young people.

After calming people down, I said a few words to them. I also invited people standing on the sidewalks to join us. I said, "Calm down, the army brothers won’t shoot us ... we want to express our words ... we are going to talk with them..." After these words, we slowly moved the crowd forward to reduce the distance.

He repeated it several times and asked the people to disperse. I was able to reach the soldiers from a distance and disarm them with a few others, but we had to prepare the crowd for this because I knew that a mass action causes success and terrorizes the regime agents.

The commander of the forces who were stationed there said, "I will order to shoot if you come close!" Meanwhile, he ordered his forces to shoot. At first, I thought they were shooting in the air, but when I looked around and saw the bloody bodies of defenseless people, I realized that they were firing at people. Helicopters that flew during the march controlled regime forces from above.

People fell to the ground like autumn leaves and died. Homeless people were fleeing, and shoes, tents, and clothes were left on the bloody cobblestones of the street. The young people who were along with me fell to the ground. I took refuge behind a tree. One of the young men who was helping with me had fallen to the ground and was bleeding from his mouth. I decided to help him anyway. As I came out from behind the tree, a barrage of bullets forced me to the first place. All the bullets had hit the tree. Once again, I was determined to go to his aid when I saw that he had been martyred.

Blood had blocked people's eyes. They decided to engage the armed forces. I asked them to help the wounded and collect the bodies of the martyrs from the ground. We helped the wounded as much as we could and removed the holy bodies of the martyrs from the scene of the conflict. My insistence on collecting the bodies of the martyrs was because it was said that the Shah's regime had taken the bodies to the desert in the city of Qom by truck and buried them in a mass grave. That's why I wanted to at least save their bodies so that they could reach their families.

As there was no vacancy in the hospitals, a number of the injured were taken to people's homes and treated there. I no longer had much opportunity to be among the people involved with the regime, and all I tried to do was help the wounded. A friend later told me that some soldiers were sitting on the wall of a power station, shooting at fleeing people. Others were kneeling on the ground, shooting at people. The south side of the square was heavily shelled.

After the crowd fled, regime forces pursued the people in trucks carrying soldiers. It was as if they had decided that a person would survive the battle.

I arrived at Farahabad Street at about ten o'clock in the morning. People were protesting and everyone was ready to testify. The crowd, who had seen blood with their eyes and martyred, chanted strong slogans such as "Death to the Shah", "Death to the infamous Pahlavi regime" and so on. We moved with the people to Coca-Cola Company. In the meantime, army rifles came out of the side streets and opened fire on the people. The route of the demonstration was of particular importance due to its proximity to the Air Force barracks and its hospital; that is why there was more intense conflict in this area.

On that day, ‌ people set fire to Cyrus's shop. It all burned down and its building collapsed.

It was a few hours past noon. I was colored by the blood of the martyrs. We were looking for a place to rest with a tired and sweaty body so that we could try again.

Together with some friends, we went to my older brother's house nearby. We fried a few eggs. We, comrades, did not see our appearance, but our wives and children were upset to see our bloody appearance. We rested for a few minutes and took to the streets again to help people.

Several people chanted slogans at the Street, one side of which connects other squares. One of them, with his hands up and chanting, was shot in the arm and a piece of his flesh flew into the air. There were no other forces around except for helicopters flying in the sky. That's why I think the bullets were fired from a helicopter.

While I was with the people and chanting with them, because I was familiar with wound dressing, I also bandaged the wounded. For example, a girl was shot in the finger during a demonstration, although her injury was not serious. I took her to a nearby pharmacy, bandaged her hand wound. I asked the girl, "Where is your house?" she pointed to the west of Tehran; but this had happened in Vosough Square.

Sources: Memoirs of Akbar Barati, ‌ Tehran, Arts center, ‌ Office of the Islamic Revolution Literature, 1996, ‌ pp. 85-81.

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