[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:] Radio Zamaneh

[Date:] 19 Khordad 1388 [9 June 2009]

 

A Report From the Press Conference of Ataollah Mohajerani in Berlin

Mohajerani: “Let Us Choose a Number From Zero to One Hundred”

[By:] Shirin Famili

On Sunday, 17 Khordad [7 June], Ataollah Mohajerani, an advisor to Mehdi Karroubi, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance in the government of Mohammad Khatami, attended a press conference in Berlin. The conference was organized by Ahmad Pourmandi, a journalist and political activist, on behalf of the EU’s Cultural Network―Iranians EUCN―and was attended by a number of Iranian journalists…

Referring to religious minorities in Iran, a journalist asked Ataollah Mohajerani, “In the Iranian constitution, the Baha’is are not recognized as a religious minority, and you also talk about their relationship with Israel, but it should be noted that some of our compatriots follow this religion and believe in the Baha’i Faith. How do you think this problem can be solved? Is it possible to change the constitution in this regard?”

In response to this question, Ataollah Mohajerani said, “I believe that the Baha’is are not a religious minority, because it is enough to see the Book of Iqan by Mirza Husayn Ali Baha’u’llah and the statement of Mirza [sic] Ali Muhammad, the Bab from Shiraz. By looking at the main books of Baha’ism, which are from the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, and shape a religious framework, we can say that Baha’ism is, in fact, a quasi-religion or a fabricated religion [and the like] that we have seen throughout history. Given the history of the Baha’is in the country, from the Bab to Baha’ism, it is difficult to describe it as a religion with the infallible [connotation] that we have now.”

Stressing that it would not be possible to change the Iranian constitution one day and accept the Baha’i Faith as an official religious minority, Ataollah Mohajerani added, “By the way, I did not say that this minority is in the service of Israel at all, but I said that the people who are detained in our country are accused of having ties to Israel, and not of being Baha’is. If they wanted to arrest someone for being a Baha’i, they would have to arrest all Baha’is, but many Baha’is live in different places and have never been arrested. There are cases where people create organizations for some cause and are accused, which is another matter”.

He pointed out, “There are people who were influenced unknowingly and naively by some amount [of money], with good behaviour, who went to a village and educated their children and a number of village families became Baha’is.” He added, “These issues should be investigated separately...”