Admiral Doctor Bahram Afzali, Commander in chief of the Iranian navy, was born in Qom, the religious capital of Iran , in 1937. He left Qom with his family at the age of twelve and studied for his national diploma in Tehran at the Razi high school. He joined the Tudeh Party's youth organisation in the 1950s following Prime Minister Dr Mosaddeq's nationalisation of the Iranian oil industry. He was arrested by the authorities following the 1953 CIA Coup d'etat but was released without charge.
In 1957, he joined the Iranian navy as a cadet. In 1963, he married Nahid with whom he spent four years in Italy completing his military and naval studies, obtaining a Ph.D. in Naval Engineering from the university of Genoa, Italy. His thesis, designs for a new type of warships, was awarded the university's silver medal for his year and would go on to be constructed by the French fleet.
After returning to Iran, he worked at naval institutions in both the north and south of the country until the Iranian revolution in February 1979. A few months prior to the breakout of war between Iran and Iraq in 1980, he was selected as the commander in chief of the navy. During the war, together with the Iranian Air force, he was instrumental in the destruction of the Iraqi navy (“Morvarid Operation”), paralysing Iraqi naval activities in the Persian Golf for the remainder of the war.
In the early 1980s, for the first time in Iranian military history, he established the Iranian Naval University in Noushahr, a city in the north of the country. Prior to this, all naval officers in Iran had to study abroad for their naval education.
In 1983, Admiral Doctor Bahram Afzali was arrested along with 101 other members of the military wing of the Tudeh Party on charges of espionage and trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic(specifically “sowing corruption on earth”, “spying for a foreign power”, “stockpiling arms” and “violating edicts against political activities in the armed forces”).
Bahram Afzali was executed in March 1984.