[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]
[Periodical Journal:] Maktab-e Eslam
[Date:] Azar 1358 [November 1979]
[Issue No:] 19
Interview “Netherlands [National] Television” with the foremost and honourable Great Ayatollah Shariatmadari
From 30 Mehr 1358 [22 October 1979] to the present time, this [interview] has not been published in any Persian language journal.
Question: While it is said that the minorities are free, what is the status of the Armenians, Baha’is and other minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Answer: Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and even other ethnicities who are in Iran are free to practise their religion and faith in their churches and in their religious gathering places, [I mean] those minorities are lawfully recognized in Iran. In this instance, they are being represented in the Assembly of Expertise as they have been before. They have the same rights as any other Iranian in Iran, and their lives are protected and respected.
The Baha’is, as individuals, have rights like any other Iranian; but on the matter of propagation and organisation, meetings, spreading their ideas and opinions, they are not permitted, because first of all, Baha’is are not a religious minority, and secondly, the general Iranian belief is that it is a political movement [originated] by the hands of foreign colonial governments in Iran; they have given them the possibility of growth and progress. There is also another historical, economic and political reason that their propagating actions are prohibited. If they wanted to remain as Baha’is in Iran, no one would protest; [in fact], no one [is permitted] to infringe upon their rights, their lives, possessions or families.
When I said there was another reason, [I meant] that some of their dispossessed individuals, in a short period of time, gathered capital of billions of tumans. For example, a person by the name of Hojabr Yazdani, who was a mere shepherd some 15 to 20 years ago, accumulated so much capital in a short time that he declared he was ready to buy all the factories of Iran. It is obvious that a mere shepherd with some livestock cannot get hold of such huge capital except with internal and external support.
The economy of Iran was uniquely in the hands of such people, and because of their wealth they were influential with the government and the authorities, effective in removing and installing [personnel]; they had their network. If the Islamic Revolution had not taken place, they probably would have brought about a Baha’i Revolution in Iran, as in the past they had promised to establish government in Iran.
From a Mojahed