chapter  4
Rebellious action and “guerrilla poetry”: dialectics of art and life in 1970s Iran
Pages 20

The history of the Fadaiyan has been extensively studied in research monographs and papers, memoirs, documents of various Fadai splinter groups (in exile), and

published security files. The existing literature allows me to offer a brief history of the group that is tailored for the purpose of this article. Launching a number of armed guerrilla operations in Tehran and Tabriz, the People’s Fadai Guerrillas (later, the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadai Guerrillas, the PDF, or simply the Fadaiyan) was founded in April 1971 when two formerly independent militant groups merged. The older of the Fadaiyan’s formative groups goes back to the Tudeh Party of Iran, as a number of disillusioned young activists of the Tudeh Party in the 1950s broke ranks with it in the aftermath of the Tudeh Party’s failure to resist the 1953 CIA-and MI6-engineered coup that removed the democratically elected, popular premier Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq. Bizhan Jazani (1937-75), a University of Tehran social sciences graduate, and Hassan Zia Zarifi (1939-75), a lawyer, became active as students with the rise of the Second National Front in 1960-63, until the movement was brutally repressed in the spring of 1963. This is when Jazani started an underground cell to launch guerrilla warfare in Iran. Zarifi soon joined him, and a network of about twenty militants was formed by 1967, when Jazani, Zarifi, and the majority of the group’s recruits were arrested just days before their planned bank robbery to finance the group’s activities. The arrestees were tortured and tried and sentenced to prison terms of anywhere from three years to a life sentence.