It was mentioned in Persepolis (2007) that people who were against the revolution were executed by the state.

It also mentions that women from this group were executed in a different manner.

Virgin ones were first forced to marry the revolution fighters, forced to consumate the marriage (rape) and then their execution would be performed in front of public.

Is this true, as in, is this a historical fact? Can anyone prove this happened in real life? Or this was just an exaggeration in movie-verse?

  • 2
    Not having seen the movie, but this is a significant plot point in the original graphic novel. In chapter "The Passport", an 18-year-old communist named Niloufar is introduced, hiding out in the passport forger's basement. A few chapters later, in "The Dowry", it is revealed by Marji's near-hysterical mother, and confirmed by her father, that this has happened to Niloufar, with the titular dowry (500 tumans) being paid to her family, serving as in-story evidence. This is the pivotal event that motivates Marji's family to send her out of the country (an so concludes Persepolis Part 1). Oct 14, 2018 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately the major inaccuracy one could interpret from the film's quote is that male prisoners were automatically exempt from sexual abuse, as this report from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center shows:

Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons

This report documents the ordeals of five former prisoners – two women and three men – who provide their first-hand accounts of being raped, witnessing rape or being threatened with rape during their detention in Iranian prisons.

Interviews with additional victims go into further detail about other sexual abuses witnessed while they were prisoners (1982-1990):

One of the most common finds is that female political prisoners, especially during the years when we were in prison, were mostly 17 or 18 years old—young and unmarried. [The torturers, guards, authorities] thought that girls must be raped before being executed so that they don’t go to paradise. This was systematic. They had religious justification behind [such belief].

Lahidji, who has been monitoring human rights in Iran for three decades, says that over the years he's received a number reports about political prisoners being raped by their interrogators.

"Unfortunately, in the 1980s we used to receive a lot of news about girls being raped in prison before being executed,"

Published reports are available about these types of torture committed against women political prisoners after the 1979 Revolution. The most systematic type of reported rape has been the rape of virgin girls who were sentenced to death by execution because of political reasons. They were raped on the night before execution. These reports have been substantiated by frequent statements from the relatives of women political prisoners. On the day after the execution, authorities returned their daughter’s dead body to them along with a sum considered to be the alimony. Reports state that in order to lose their virginity, girls were forced to enter into a temporary marriage with men who were in charge of their prison. Otherwise it was feared that the executed prisoner would go to heaven because she was a virgin!


It's always dubious to count on movie accuracy, and you have to ask yourself, how would our heroine (who is, what? 10-12 years old?) know about such things occurring? It's obviously not something that she could personally witness, and obviously not something where there'd be, y'know, someone to say, "Yes, this happened to me!"

Furthermore, the point of a Reign of Terror is, of course, the terror, and it might just be that this is the sort of rumor you'd want floating around. "Do what we say, or this will be your fate," whether or not it actually would be or not.

That said, there are plenty of documented atrocities of that time period, and more and more seem to be emerging in the past 15 years or so. I would not be particularly surprised if it were true, but this is not proof.

There's a long discussion and debate on Reddit on this topic which you might wish to read.

  • In the graphic novel, Marji is 14 when she is told by her patents that this was the fate of her acquaintance Niloufar (in chapter "The Dowry", that being the evidence and motivating event to send her out of the country). Oct 14, 2018 at 16:21

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