[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Dr. Abolhassan Banisadr, Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Islamic Republic of Iran
I hope this letter will reach your Honour through the relevant authorities. I also hope that you will have an opportunity to spend a few moments of your valuable time to study the following lines and be able to investigate and issue the appropriate orders in response to my appeal for justice. I am one who has, solely because of my belief in the Baha’i Faith, and in contradiction to all humane and Islamic principles, and against the verse in the Quran, which says clearly, ‘There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion ‘and ‘ For you is your religion, and for me is my religion ‘ as well as the principles of the Constitution, been expelled from the Military of the Islamic Republic.
- I believe in the oneness of God and the truth of all messengers and His Highness, Mohammad Mostafa (peace be upon him), the Seal of Prophets, and the truth of the Imams who are the progeny of the Great Messenger of God (peace be upon him).
- Because of amended Article [to Employment Law] which is prohibiting the employment of individuals who are not followers of one of the official religions [of Iran], a number of Baha’i Army personnel, myself included, since 1 Dey 1358 [22 December 1979],and after 14 years of honest service, been expelled from the Military. This has occurred without regard for the tenets of Islamic justice and the Employment Law and the Declaration of Human Rights and [other] international treaties, and without having committed any crime whatsoever.
- After numerous letters and telegrams to his highness, Imam Khomeini, may his blessings increase, and in the presence of his highness and the members of the Revolutionary Council and other authorities in this country, an amendment was approved to be added to the Law. It stated that, if on the assessment of the Ministry of National Defence, the aforementioned individuals had not done any teaching about their religion and had discharged their duties with trustworthiness, they would be allowed, either to retire, or be paid a severance for their past years of service provided they promising not to teach their religion. However, after this law was passed and announced the relevant organizations, sometimes with the excuse of not having clear executive instructions, or at [other] times with reference to changes in the previous instructions, refrained from carrying out the approved law. And, unfortunately, when the expelled Baha’i personnel completed the necessary actions to comply with the most recent instructions by filling out the forms, with the approval of the commanders and Islamic institutions in order to retire or get their severance payment, the committees of the Ministry of Defence, the Joint Military Forces, and the Tripartite Forces of the Military, without reviewing and referring to the personnel files of the Baha’i employees, upheld their expulsion owing [ it seems] to ill-will arising from religious prejudice, rather than following the law.
Therefore, given that I have carried out my duties with honesty during my service and have paid the necessary amounts to the government for my retirement, and that my expulsion is completely in contradiction to the current ordinances of the Military Forces of the Islamic Republic, I request that you issue strict orders to ensure that legal process is followed and action is taken to give me my severance pay for previous service, and relieve my family from anxiety.
With expressions of respect
Dismissed officer- Ataollah Zare-Najafabadi
9 Ordibehesht 1359 [29 April 1980]