[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[Emblem of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran]
Dated: 5 Shahrul-Kalimat 91 - 26 Tir 1315 [17 July 1936]
Esteemed Mr. Jam – The Prime Minister,
With utmost respect, I convey the following. It is clear and certain to all people that these days, as a result of the full attention by His Majesty the King and national and military forces, the spread of security, peace, and order across the nation is at a level at which:
First – All areas and corners of our dear country are included, and all individuals and peasants partake of the blessings of security and peace, and
Second – The vigilance and seriousness by the relevant government authorities in keeping the best order and expending efforts to spread security and prevent unexpected incidents [arising from] ignorant prejudice is to such an extent that no one is any longer able to attempt committing the unseemly behaviours and actions of the past eras, such as inciting ignorant sentiments and attacking the life, possessions, and conscience of anyone based on religious or other motives. This, in itself, is a cause of heartfelt gratitude and prayers by the public on behalf of the king and the endurance of his glorious reign. However, when the police department or some other government authorities, occasionally and perhaps for political reasons, take certain actions in the capital and rural areas in the name of preventing demonstrations by the Baha’is (in reality, no demonstrations have been or will be made by the Baha’is), the prejudiced and corrupt elements who are waiting for an appropriate opportunity will find an excuse and, helped by the actions of some agents who indirectly encourage them, try to persecute and harass the Baha’is and attack their property and life based on past habits, as demonstrated in the case of the incident in Maragheh, a brief description of which is presented below:
On 24 Ordibehestht this year, in the villages of Khorma Zard and Ahaq in the suburbs of Maragheh, the information received indicates that, based on incitement by Agha Mohammad-Javad Shamsol-Ulama and his representatives Ghodrat Eskandari [and] Nader called Kalantar, a mob of about 600 individuals gathered and were excited and encouraged by such statements as, “Given that the government has expelled the Baha’is from offices in all parts of the country and has deprived them of citizenship rights, Godrat Eskandari, the owner of the village, has ordered that the Baha’is should be driven out of this place. Whoever does not agree to ransack their property will be beaten and punished.” In this manner, the aforementioned mob attacked the gardens, orchards, farms, and cattle ranches of the Baha’is, and pillaged and took everything. They have inflicted vast amounts of monetary loss, and even though four days have passed since the prosecutor general and the investigator went to this location, eighty more individuals are still engaged in looting and only six of them have been arrested and confessed to their looting.
These types of incidents and the emboldening of depraved individuals, which also show up in other areas in various shapes and forms, are the result of spreading the news about preventing gatherings of the Baha’is and, particularly, the actions of some police agents who do not even allow a few Baha’is to gather together, and at times also prohibit them from talking to each other on the streets and bazaars. Subsequently, some people assume that the government has issued an order for the persecution and harassment of the Baha’is. However, it is not unknown to Your Highness that, first of all, the Baha’is, based on the emphatic teachings of their religion, are spiritually obligated to obey the laws and ordinances of the government of their country, and never take any action except with obedience and honesty toward the government. In particular, they have been cognizant of the contingencies in recent times and do not hold any gatherings whatsoever that might be interpreted as any kind of demonstration in the eyes of the people, so as to avoid providing an excuse for violence or persecution to the trouble-seekers or some of the prejudiced agents.
Secondly, although the Baha’is are spiritually obligated to be patient, forbearing, and obedient to the government, the mere giving of an excuse for an uprising and incitement of the ignorant prejudices of some people would result in disturbing public security and peace, and is contrary to the great efforts of the government in promoting social development and human principles and against removing the unseemly habits of the past.
Therefore, we request your attention in, first, issuing strict orders to the departments related to Eastern Azerbaijan to compensate for the damages inflicted upon innocent Baha’i land owners, and second, based on the described incident, to issue, whenever you see fit, the necessary orders to the police department to the effect that preventing the demonstrations by the Baha’is, aside from having no basis—because the Baha’is have never done anything that could be called a “demonstration” —would result in giving a means to prejudiced individuals for disturbing the public order.
In closing, I wish continued success for Your Highness.
Secretary of the Assembly/ Ali-Akbar Foroutan
[Signature: and stamp of the National Spiritual Assembly]
[Stamp: Arrival at the Office of the Prime Minister]
Dated: 26 Farvardin 1315 [15 April 1936]