[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Your Highness …
What is expressed below is an agonizing event and an earnest petition and not a lawful bill supported by the verdicts of four authorized attorneys – though this entreaty has been repeatedly perused by attorneys – as preparing the supplications of this nature would be beyond the capacity of a farmer whose educational background does not exceed that of elementary school. And the very fact that none of my documented reasoning has been sanctioned by high class lawyers of the Ministry of Justice, it has rendered all of them null and void.
- The Personality and the Resume of the One Seeking Help
I was born in Shahmirzad, a dependency of Semnan province. I am sixty-six years old. And my wife has often been forced to share my sufferings rather than take pleasure in my joy and jollity of life, though her compassionate attitude has played a most important role in the praiseworthy development of my achievements.
I have two children, one of them is an expert in dairy cattle with an expertise in artificial insemination, and the other one – disappointed and dismayed due to what had befallen to his father in agriculture, animal husbandry and working as a cattle-man – has adopted a profession as a third –class trainer in gymnastics for children.
One who is tracing these pathetic events – though deprived of advanced levels of education as a result of self-imposed inevitable incidents of life – is usually acting as a consultant regarding the most advanced and up-to-date know-how in the field of agriculture. Even experts in animal husbandry find my years of experience in such fields an invaluable asset they cannot dispense with. My first occupation was pastoral and the last one – before being imposed to be in isolation – was a member of the Board of Directors and the managing director of Mion-Lubar Co., since 1995.
- What I Have Done and What Goals and Successes I Have Achieved Since Childhood
I was five years old when I was given the responsibility of taking care of a flock of sheep. And for many years on end I was either in charge of flocks of sheep or busy farming in Shahmirzad, Torkaman-Sahra and Mazandaran.
Actually, for 21 years I roamed the meadows and the mountains in Semnan, gaining a variety of experiences of an agricultural nature. Years of hand on experience in meadows, mountains, etc. provided me with much more practical knowledge of husbandry than what a college or university could have offered me. But, alas, these years – spent on grasslands and pastures – did not entitle me to any degrees or certificates, although I had attained a world of experience and enlightenment.
In 1994, because of my wife’s illness, I had no alternative but go back to Semnan, and right upon my return I joined a company established in 1982. And before I joined this establishment, it managed all its activities such as raising cattle, storing fodder, etc. in a traditional style, and the reason was attributed to not taking advantage of modern technology so, they kept suffering losses, and were on the verge of bankruptcy.
As a member of Board of Directors and the managing director of this establishment, I kept innovating new operating systems so that the company that was about to go bankrupt turned into one of the distinguished corporations in agricultural industry and production and animal husbandry. Some of these innovative ideas recently developed in Semnan follows.
2-1. Removing 70 hectares of sandy area and then replacing it with the most fertile soil for the purpose of turning the area into the most suitable land to grow orchards and pastures for cultivation.
2-2. Mechanization of animal husbandry and agriculture.
All these changes laboriously undertaken have had one sublime objective and it was aimed at helping my dear compatriots and other living creatures in my country. It is worthy of note that to achieve these goals I had to pay Rials 800,000,000. - to the relevant organization to turn these arid lands into fertile soil.
2-3. Constructing the first polymerized pool with the capacity of 23 cubic meters in the province.
2-4. Designing the first drip irrigation system in the province.
2-5. Designing and operating the first sprinkle irrigation system in the province confirmed by the relevant authorities of Iran in the province. (The CD is attached.)
2-6. Producing the first plantation of fodder and garden of pistachio in the province, a project presented on TV, Chanel One, under the title of “Innovative Designers”. (The CD is attached)
2-7. Planting saffron for the first time in the province, covering an area of one and a half hectares.
2-8. Planting olive trees in the province for the first time, covering an area of two hectares – an unexpected and unbelievable amount of olive in the area, a fact which convinced and persuaded other farmers to follow my example and be assured that olive trees yield bountiful harvests in that area. This assurance was so well supported that now over 300 hectares of olive trees are under the cultivation of this precious fruit.
2-9. Producing a new generation of sheep through artificial insemination, combining four different breeds: Merinos of Australia; Zel from Mazandaran, Iran; Bilqis from Afghanistan; and sheep from Sangesar, Iran, the resulting breed is very resistant to a variety of diseases while this sheep has little fat and its wool possesses the best quality, a peerless breed indeed.
2-10. Distribution of a breed of inseminated milking cows whose amount of produced milk is unparalleled.
2-11. Taking advantage of advanced technology (biologically) to fight off agricultural pests of all kinds instead of using chemical pesticide – a creative measure which both results in more products organically and acts environmentally as a protective measure.
It is noteworthy that all the above-mentioned initiatives have been repeatedly been observed by the professors and university students in the relevant fields. And it is a source of pride for me that the outcome of years of sufferings and agonies of an individual whose background education does not go beyond elementary school should – on numerous occasions – been praised by experts. The sincere admiration [of the academics] is just apart from the confirmation and commendation bestowed on me (including the governor-general, the chairman of the organization of natural resources, the chairperson of agricultural organization, the first representative of the first Islamic Consultative Assembly etc.) I should also take pride in being offered a tablet for tourism and a statuette for agricultural endeavors and successes; I was the one chosen from among the fifty candidates who had managed to rank as the most qualified producer in the country. I was honored to receive a statuette as a prize for my agricultural undertakings. (The photos are attached)
2-12. Receiving the top ranking producer prize as an award for generating hygienic milk (Tetra Pak) for four consecutive years.
- What Has Befallen Me?
The reward of over two decades of non-stop labor and perseverance of my colleagues and me in the above-mentioned Corporation was transforming 70 hectares of sandy land into the most productive orchards and pastures for the purpose of industrial cultivation and animal husbandry.
Nevertheless, at the dawn of the ninth government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and while the tenth government was in progress, we witnessed a turn of events and unfortunately, no change whatsoever has occurred to improve our miserable and lamentable conditions so far.
The detrimental and destructive illegal acts briefly narrated below are just some of them, the photographs and official records of which amount to 500 pages. These pressures, constraints and restrictions mainly fall into three categories.
- Struggling to dispossess me of 70 hectares of orchards and land under cultivation.
- Striving hard to stop all the operations leading to producing milk, keeping cows and sheep in addition to stopping the greenhouses from functioning.
- Putting me and my family under constant pressure to run away from our residential area covering 3,552 square meters where we had built all kinds of establishment for our own comfort and business, for all of which we possessed documented deeds.
- Making a non-stop attempt to dispossess me of all the orchards and lands under cultivation, the consequence of which was that all the above establishments were forcibly transferred to an organization owned by the usurpers.
- Unofficial comments and confirmed evidence convince me that all that has happened to me is definitely part of a preplanned conspiracy. The following examples are part of the evidence that supports my assumption:
Unwarranted and untechnical objections to the functioning of the water wells in addition to accusing me of ignoring technical defects in the implementation of the overall plan, all of which were rejected by independent experts; also, proper functioning of every part of the establishment proved them absolutely wrong. Cutting off our water supply and electricity, creating difficulties of all kinds, the source of which could easily be traced to the relevant organizations and to top it all, my uninterrupted interrogation at the Ministry of Information, initiating lawsuits of all kinds against me, the details of which are beyond your patience.
(A small case should be mentioned here, the case which resulted in my being sentenced to three months and one-day imprisonment. This conviction was because of accusing me of breaking the seals on the locks of the different sections, but after the experts had inspected the seals they confirmed that the breaking of the seals had occurred because they had been worn out by themselves, and this made the authorities change their verdict; therefore, my sentence was suspended for three years.) During all this time, the innocent employees and workers were constantly summoned to the Information Office for interrogation. One of my convictions was that my son had an affair with a girl! (Later on, it was revealed that this accusation had been fabricated to test me!! However, they never let me know the nature of the test I was supposed to go through!)
Not only was I repeatedly summoned, but my shareholders and workers were also ordered to be present at the Information Office for being questioned. Of course, one undeniable request, nay order – which was in the back of the mind of the interrogators – was to change my religion! As far as they were concerned, a positive response to this request could have solved all my problems and the hassle I had gotten into!
3-2 The suspension of all the activities in producing milk and in the cattle raising complex and other industrial establishments up to the time when the licenses for cattle raising, keeping the sheep and the greenhouses are all made null and void.
Ordering Semnan’s cooperative of cattle owners from buying our milk, amounting to 5 tons daily in spite of the fact that we had received the necessary license for producing milk, so we had to transfer – out of desperation – the produced milk to Pegah’s center for pasteurized milk.
3-3 While such constraints were in progress, our company managed to rank first as the outstanding producer of hygienic milk, and this was a great achievement that our antagonists could no longer tolerate. Therefore, three saboteurs – while incognito – and under the pretext that our victory in producing the best hygienic milk was due to injecting a substance that is imported from Israel; therefore, to prove their claim, they started sampling at night. After a few weeks the officials of Semnan’s Office of Hygiene by contacting our experts announced that the place where our milk had won the first prize for hygienic milk is not hygienic at all!! However, this protest was disproved by the Office for Hygienic Milk, as a result our company continued producing milk until the time when one of the individuals who had taken samples from our cows came to our factory at night, announcing “the produced milk should be religiously tested!” Therefore, after all the equipment was found to be imported from Sweden and not Israel, and that all such equipment has been imported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, it was made clear that all the workers are Muslims; Now the authorities were check-mated when I defended myself by saying that cows cannot be converted to Baha’is! Everything went well. Nevertheless, since their ulterior motive was to close down our business, gradually, the production of milk in our company came to an end. Consequently, 5 tons of the country’s dairy, hygienic milk was cut off, so that the cows that produced large amount of milk daily had to face a similar fate, too!
3-4 Following the discontinuation of producing milk, we had no alternative but sell all our dairy cattle at a much lower price than their actual price. And, hoping that our cattle-raising business would continue operating, we decided to buy calves, but even this time we encountered another problem. It was revealed that transferring calves from even one part of the same province to another part required a permit. However, if one gets a license through the cooperative of cattle owners (made up of 42 members) such a transference of calves within the same province, one need not obtain a permit. After some time, through my perseverance, I managed to receive the necessary license. Apparently, as things were, rays of hope began to shine, and we were hopeful that our cattle raising business would continue its operation. But we were later informed that our calves were affected by tuberculosis; consequently, all of them had to be killed. Fortunately, after slaughtering a few cows, the laboratory announced that our cows were not affected by this disease at all.
Now, everything seemed to indicate that the storm was about to die down and the stormy waves would gradually recede. Nevertheless, as the Captain had traced a different policy, upon the expiration of the license we had so laboratory obtained (3 years), first it was opposed that the license could not be renewed, and ensuing this illogical attitude, they declared that the license would be called null and void! To make matters worse, we were warned that all the cattle of the establishment would be confiscated if within 15 days the establishment were not evacuated. This most unfair verdict left us with no alternative: This meant not only did we have to sell all our cattle at the lowest price possible but also we had to evacuate the establishment.
3-5 In part 2, I referred to the combination of the breeds of different sheep. Nonetheless, as the reader has witnessed, instead of being praised and appreciated for such an innovative endeavor, we had to watch the closing down of the sheep-raising establishment, an excruciating act which we soon observed it happen. In spite of taking all the legal actions for the purpose of keeping this section active, they refused to confirm and renew the official licenses of our sheep-raising establishment. The authorized officials also refused to insure the workers. All these impediments and obstacles caused 24 of our28 workers to resign, and the center for producing the highest quality sheep is on the verge of being closed down. Most probably, by the time this petition has reached you, there will be no trace of this establishment on the earth.
3-6 Perhaps establishing a greenhouse would be my only remaining zeal for life that could keep me alive to hold on to fruitful life and the desire to keep on working productively. That is why after making the necessary preparations and providing olive saplings and encouraged to possess the license for developing the needed saplings, I resolved to establish this greenhouse. My logical assumption was that since plants are living creatures, but being silent, they are not subject to being hurt, unaware of the fact that Ziaollah Motearefi is actually the target of arrows and not his products. That is why the relevant authorities – in spite of their previous agreement – by cancelling the license of the greenhouse dispersed my gathering of plants and flowers.
The Final Endeavors.
3-7 So far, they had dispossessed of the 70 hectares of sandy land which I had laboriously turned into pastures and modern mechanized establishment; the factory which produced hygienic milk was closed down. And the cattle and sheep raising establishments suffered the same fate. However, there is still an incentive that could help this zealous farmer not give up and keep trying despite all the odds against him: 3552 sq. meters of land in common, all of which had been constructed under my supervision and totally paid for by me. The area consisted of the establishment for animal husbandry… the documents for their ownership had been issued in six volumes (the photos of one of the volumes are attached as an example), and according to the official laws of Iran they can be called null and void only by proving them to the forged; now to create utmost pressure, I was forced to leave my residence by constantly summoning me to the Information Office and interrogating me again and again, a nerve-racking condition that could paralyze even the strongest mammoth. When all these heinous crimes did not help them achieve their objectives – which was to spread a reign of terror all over the area – and when none of the above tricks worked, they accused me of forgery, claiming that I had forged a few official documents. Fortunately, thanks to the compassion of God, the Almighty, and the good will of some independent experts, connoisseurs and judges, I was totally exonerated and all my documents were announced to be genuine. Therefore, because of the mercy of the Almighty, the arrow aimed at me missed me. Once again the same sequence of subversive events was included as part of their agenda in their everyday activities, so, one day electricity was cut off, another day the flow of water, each time with a different excuse. And they went on causing non-stop troubles to attain their final goal!
4- After Sixty Years of Struggle, What Have I Left Behind for my Country and for Myself?
- I have offered my country:
a.1- 70 hectares of cultivated land, the land used to be useless sandy land until decades ago and now it has been turned into orchards, pastures, olive gardens, saffron cultivation, and hay.
a.2- Producing new breeds of cattle and sheep.
a.3- Making technological biology quite common in all the areas of the province to fight off pests rather than use chemical pesticide.
a.4- Applying drip and sprinkler irrigation in the province.
- What has been Left for me?
b.1- A deep incurable wound resulting from wrong accusations, constant interrogation, trials, agonizingly having to rush to and from the Information Office. Of course, there are some times flickering of good memories, creativities, encouragements, appreciations and admirations!
b.2- Three-thousand and five hundred and fifty-two meters of land commonly owned with others with a few buildings here and there; they are actually the reminders of the animal husbandry that so far they have been my and my wife’s only residence and refuge. And what might happen to me tomorrow, is what I’m not aware of!
Briefly, I should say my refrigerator has been turned into my wardrobe and my house into a refrigerator in such freezing cold weather.
5- So Much Pain and Suffering as a Recompense for What Fault?
5.1- Has my behavior been contrary to the rules of ethics in my country or have I committed any misconduct against good manners?
With regard to the judgment and unofficial arbitration of independent authorities who are actually involved in agricultural responsibilities and animal husbandry and related activities and with reference to the quotations made by independent experts (including the expert of Registration Office whose verdict regarding the forgery of documents for the common grounds endorsed my innocence; Also the courts of justice that had issued some of the verdicts regarding the claims between me and Jahad Keshavarzi Organization and, in doing so, they had taken my side, for which they had consequently been reprimanded). In addition, the commendation letters I had been offered from the high ranked officials of Iran – the photos and CDs of which are attached – proves the fact that I have neither broken any laws, nor have I violated any moral rules. You know better than I do that nowhere in the world will a wrong-doer be given trophies or awards. And there are no countries in the world that honor an individual for being guilty!
5.2- Are My Tribulations Because of My Religion?
Any time I review the controversies and negotiations between me and the experts, in the Information Office, while I was encouraged to forsake my religion and was forced to continue my business activities provided that I would be converted to Islam. When I remember being accused of working as an agent for Israel (As if Iran’s enemies are all keen on observing this country in using modern technological improvements in agriculture and animal husbandry!) Also, when I see that other agricultural establishments, animal husbandry, owners of orchards, artisans or even small businesses are taking advantage of similar projects and plans just because they believe in different religions from me, shouldn’t I be tempted to believe that the key factor of all such hard and inhumane treatment of the authorities is nothing but my religion?
6. Have You Presented Petitions to the Relevant Authorities of Your Country?
Undoubtedly, under such circumstances, a citizen complains against injustice to the authorized people. And I have been no exception. For about a decade I have rushed to and from judicial and competent authorities in my country. And I have done it so many times that I must have worn out many a steel shoe! I even presented a petition to the Supreme Court. Other organizations I wrote petitions to include the Ministry of Jahad Sazandegi, and Ministry of Water and Power. Unfortunately, not even once was I welcomed! As I have already stated, the number of letters, petitions, notices, invitations, etc. had amounted to over 500.
Of course, the responses to every one of them and the relevant verdicts are also presented. I have also complained against all these injustices to the Presidents. But, alas! No favorable responses have I received!!
7. What Is To Be Done?
7.1- Should I leave behind my hometown where my ancestors have been living for ages and simply watch all the years of endeavor, hard work and acquiring experience? Maybe, such an action occurs to some people. It is quite possible for people with other religions, thinking differently when it comes to the principles of their religions. It might be the reason why one of my relations who has emigrated to Australia – upon his visit to Iran and having listened to me and the report of years of hard work in this country, offered me such a generous proposal to the effect that if I rehabilitated a small island in a foreign land, I would be offered two islands instead, and for this reason he suggested that I emigrate to Australia. The response was a definite “No”. Since a great portion of one’s life is made up of his interests; moreover, in old age, we are accustomed to watching the outcome of our years of endeavor, and as I really cherish my country and would like my dead body to rest in my beloved hometown. How can I possibly leave Iran? The point is that any time I visit a friend, I offer my host or hostess some of the products whose seeds I planted in the sandy lands with my own hands about two decades ago. The question is “Will I live two more decades to present another host or hostess with such a priceless gift?
Not at all! Leaving my country for good is by no means in my capacity. Haven’t you heard that the fish used to living in the lagoon can’t live in the spring, the same is true with the fish used to living in the spring.
7.2- Should I Pretend to have Renounced my Religion?
If I ever do so, then what will be left of Ziaollah Motearefi? More important than that, how can I deal with my true self? Since renouncing one’s faith demands that one be truly convinced to give up one’s first religion and then whole-heartedly welcome the new faith, this is a process always associated with threat, intimidation and mental pressure; that is why under such menacing conditions excruciating transformation of faith cannot – in essence – be realized. However, there is only one solution left, the strategy used by almost all the Baha’is who are forced to give up their faith, and that is resorting to hypocrisy. But should a tormenting mosquito of hypocrisy and lies nestle on the tree of my life, could I ever reap such a large amount of beneficial harvest?
8. My Ernest and Desperate Plea for Help
Those familiar with the principles of law and order firmly believe that what has happened to me is not only contrary to the basic principles of Islamic Republic of Iran but also at variance with Civil laws and the laws governing the ownership of waste land. Also, what has befallen me violates all the religious laws advocated by the Imams in Islam.
The Manifesto of International Civil Rights and the laws supporting the rights of laborers and other international treaties, according to which in the Civil Rights of Iran No. 9; also what the Iranian official authorities have done are against all the international laws. In addition, the violations perpetrated are in stark contrast with the late Imam’s verdicts, the Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, my earnest request is that somehow you will sincerely contact the authorized officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran and ask them compassionately to heed the following:
- Let me have the opportunity to live in my own country (Iran) by returning all the rights lawfully belonging to me, and thus all the lands improved by me to be returned to me.
- In case the first request is rejected let me and my wife live on the common lands, the lands whose documents belong to me until the time comes when we have to pass away. We would like to live peacefully here without having electricity and water cut off on and off by the authorities.
- Let me help the new usurpers free of charge by offering them free advice and act as a consultant to help them better run the affairs. In this way, at least years of experience I have gained can be fruitfully utilized. Just watching the children of the new residents will be satisfying enough for me and the best reward is just observing these children grow while taking advantage of the opportunity I have provided for them.