[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]


Respectfully, as you are aware, on the fourth of Aban [26 October], while we, Baha’i business owners in Rafsanjan (owners of 23 commercial units), had closed our businesses to observe a religious holiday, our businesses were sealed without prior warning by the Amaken Public Places Supervision Office of Rafsanjan, under the allegation of “Breach of Trade Union Regulations” pursuant to Article 28 of the Trade Union Act.

In a similar act and in direct violation of Article 90 of the Civil Service Management Code, the Amaken Public Places Supervision Office, Finance Office and Municipal Council delayed the issuance of 2 letters for settlement of taxes and business and trade levies for 23 days until eventually, on 27 Aban [18 November], a few [Baha’i business owners] were summoned by the Amaken where they were told that upon submission of documents, their businesses will be unsealed. However, in the end, they were presented with an undertaking form, the last paragraph of which contained a sentence saying: “And I give an undertaking not to close my business on any days other than the official public holidays of the Islamic Republic without authorisation from the Amaken and the relevant trade union.” Such an undertaking clearly is in violation of Article 28 of the Trade Union Act, ratified by the Islamic Consultative Council.

Baha’is have an obligation to obey the laws and regulations of the state and as citizens of Iran, according to the Constitution and civil laws, enjoy the same rights as other citizens. Therefore, any exploitation on the basis of religious beliefs is in violation of the statutory laws. The facilitators of such actions intend to stop us from observing our few religious occasions or use that as a pretext to prevent us from earning a livelihood.

It should be noted that since 1387 [2008-2009] the Baha'i community of Rafsanjan has suffered numerous and unprecedented attacks such as: breaking car windows on more than 20 occasions in the span of 2 months in 1387 [2008-2009]; setting on fire of 2 cars; attempted arson on one home by setting its front door ablaze; arson of businesses on 12 occasions in the span of 2 months in 1389 [2010-2011], sealing of shops on several occasions under various pretexts, and …

Considering such accounts, and given that some religious authorities in the recent years have instigated the public through various mediums to put economic pressure on the Baha'is of Rafsanjan to force them out of the region, we ask that honourable authority, “Isn’t this recent action concerning the seal of our businesses, followed by the stipulation of the undertaking not meant to serve this plan?” “Wouldn’t signing of such undertaking not help those behind the plan to force Baha’is out and assist them in achieving their unethical and unlawful goals?” We therefore request your esteemed authority to take appropriate actions to remove the requirement of signing such an undertaking (as per article 28 of the Trade Union Act) and to remove the seals [on our businesses]. 

With gratitude