[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Association Against Education Discrimination
[Date:] 9 Tir 1390 [30 June 2011]
A Letter to the Editor of Hamshahri Newspaper in Response to News That “All Who Attend the University Entrance Examination Will Be Admitted”
[By:] Kousha Jafari
In this regard, one of the Baha’i students deprived of education, considering the fact that Baha’is have been deprived of accessing higher education for 30 years, wrote a reply to the editor of Hamshahri Newspaper, which is as follows:
Dear editor of Hamshahri newspaper, Hello
Today, when I bought [a copy of] Hamshahri Newspaper to search for advertisements and flip through the pages as on many other days, my eyes fixed on the big headline on the front page of your newspaper. This headline caught my attention so much that I forgot for what purpose I had bought the newspaper:
“All Who Attend the University Entrance Exam Will Be Admitted!”
This was a title that made it clear what great honour and pride it must have brought, but it only revived a great pain in my heart. It did not cause any honour and pride for me, but caused me a great deal of pain.
I have decided to write you this letter so that you will know that the claims of the esteemed head of the Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization are not true. Yes! Not all those who participate in the University Entrance Examination can enter the university. Although some might enter the university, later on they will be expelled.
Two years ago, when I took my university entrance examination, the same conversation and feelings of pride took place, knowing that the capacity of universities was much higher than the number of the applicants and that everyone would become a student.
But I, along with many other Baha’i applicants, after we were allowed to choose our study majors at the university, in response to our selection we were faced with the notice, “Incomplete File”. Some people were faced with the response “Incomplete File”, even before choosing their field of study, while waiting to receive the result of their years of efforts. Since we knew that we did not have an incomplete file in our educational record, and if there was any, we could resolve it by referring to the Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization, we approached the organization. We wrote letters. We called them. We went there and came back. Interestingly, their last response was this: “Do you not know what the defect is in your file?! What defect is greater than being a Baha’i?!” This is a routine that has been happening for years.
Every year, large numbers of Baha’i youth are barred from attending the country’s universities, simply because of their belief in the Baha’i Faith, and with a clever trick―incomplete file. Of course, in the eyes of the authorities, it may be that Baha’is are not part of this “all”. But you must know that anyone with an Iranian identity card is considered a citizen of this country. Otherwise Baha’is would not have been able to register for the university entrance examination.
When they are allowed to take part in the exam, it means that they should be considered as part of the students who took the university entrance [examination]. Do you notice? This headline is basically a lie. No! Not all those who attend the university entrance examination will become enrolled! You must separate the Baha’is from this “all”, since, if this heading was true, I should have been a university student today like any other youth in my country.
Let me also say this: I know that you will not be able to publish my protest in your newspaper. I know very well that the word “Baha’i” is a filtered word, except when it is condemned or slandered. But since it is not permissible to remain silent in the face of oppression and lies, I have written this article for you. It is not far off tomorrow that our Iran is free, and everyone can write and read freely.
I wrote this letter for you to read it―if justice is alive in you―that [one] day, you may remember [this letter] and will write about Baha’is, who, despite their innumerable talents, have been deprived of studying at the universities for more than 30 years, simply because of their belief in a religion that aims for peace and the unity of human society.
Friday, 3 Tir 1390 [24 June 2011]