[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

Date: Saturday, 25 Farvardin 1358 [14 April 1979]

 

Mr. Ahmad Sadr Haji Seyyed Javadi, the Esteemed Minister of Interior,

The following is respectfully conveyed. Now that, according to God’s wishes, the government of the Islamic Republic has been proclaimed, and as stated by the supreme leader of the Iranian Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini, “The time has come for the fruits of the Revolution to be enjoyed”, we offer our heartfelt wishes for success in service, as well as greetings, respect and expression of heartfelt obedience and sincere subjugation to all the issued orders, laws and regulations.

As you had previously stated that the masses should convey their requests regarding the future Constitution, [the following is conveyed from] the Baha’i Community of Iran, which is the largest religious minority in this country, and believes in the oneness of God, monotheism, prophethood, resurrection, the righteousness of all the prophets and messengers, all the sacred scriptures, particularly the Quran, and believes in the prophethood of the Seal of the Prophets, His Holiness Muhammad, about whose glory and majesty the Founder of this Faith states:

Blessing and peace be upon Himthrough Whose advent Baṭḥa is wreathed in smiles, and the sweet savors of Whose raiment have shed fragrance upon all mankind—He Who came to protect men from that which would harm them in the world below. Exalted, immensely exalted, is His station above the glorification of all beings and sanctified from the praise of the entire creation. Through His advent the tabernacle of stability and order was raised throughout the world and the ensign of knowledge hoisted among the nations. May blessings rest also upon His kindred and His companions through whom the standard of the unity of God and of His singleness was uplifted and the banners of celestial triumph were unfurled. Through them the religion of God was firmly established among His creatures and His Name magnified amidst His servants[1]

Owing to the fact that this minority has so far been deprived of its individual and social rights in many instances, has often been used as an instrument for compromise, or has been subjected to unfounded accusations and various slanders, it seizes the opportunity now, despite the past injustices, and thus conveys its rightful requests with due attention to that esteemed government’s wishes for justice and fairness:

It is certain that the constitution of a civilized and progressive country that believes in the oneness of God, should be based on the standards of social justice, in such way that all its citizens and residents are safe from aggression in terms of life, property, housing, honour and religious beliefs, have equal rights, and the mentioned aspects should be binding in the laws that will be enacted on the basis of such a constitution, so as not to harm the rights and freedoms that God has prescribed for His servants. It is quite clear that the purpose of God in sending the prophets and messengers is to educate mankind with godly rites and to establish social justice in the world for all humanity so that human beings are educated to be truthful and wise and to be a cause of service to the world and comfort for themselves and [His] servants, and since the greatest destroyer of the principle of justice and social order in any country is discrimination or implementation of prejudices, and the history of human civilization confirms this matter, therefore God Almighty, according to the firm verses in the Quran, “Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood”[2] and “You have your way, and I have my Way”[3], has given freedom to all human beings to choose religious beliefs, has not allowed any restrictions or prescribed acts of malice or discrimination. Citing this emphatic command of God, the esteemed, supreme clerics have, in their explicit fatwas, warned the people of the country against attacking the religious beliefs of each other, and have required that the principle of equality of rights of the majority and all religious minorities be observed, so that all religious minorities in the country can be free without restriction or exception, in performing their religious rules and standards, personal status and its official registration and freedom of thought and expression, in the same manner that the religious majority is free to perform its religious standards and laws and registration of its personal status, so that the divine commandments mentioned above are observed, and that moreover, no harm would be caused in the implementation of international treaties and conventions such as human rights laws and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the provisions of the UN Charter, etc., contents of which that high authority is fully aware of and Iran has accepted and committed to the implementation of all their criteria.

Article 8 of the amendment to the former Constitution of Iran had stated that “The people of Iran will have equal rights before the State law”, and Article 9 of the amendment to the Constitution had stated that “The people of the country are protected and safe from any kind of aggression in terms of life, property, housing and honour, and no one can be subjected to violence except in accordance with the laws of the country.” It was however observed later that over time, in practice these principles  were abolished either by enacting disturbing laws which were contrary to [the constitutional amendment], or by disregarding and violating the law, to the extent that in one way or another, neither the rights of the majority nor the minority were respected.

Other than practical discriminations, the discriminations that existed for the Baha’i Community in the previous laws of the country, included lack of personal and social freedoms, lack of freedom of thought, belief, speech and pen, as well as collection of heavy, unbearable and oppressive taxes on [properties] related to this community, to the extent that according to the available evidence, they repeatedly and under different contexts demanded taxes for a specific matter, the remnants of which are still available in the Ministry of Finance, while other minorities were completely exempt from paying any taxes. It also included the prohibition and impermissibility of their employment in government and private offices and organizations, as well as [their] not being permitted to have [publications] and establish gatherings, associations and the like.

We must accept the indisputable fact that having principles and laws that expound the unity, solidarity, brotherhood and equality of the entire population of a country guarantees and secures the sustainability and strength of the government of that country, and that is the observance of natural rights of individuals, which generally include freedom of thought, expression and pen, freedom of religious, philosophical and social beliefs and equality before the law, such as the right to own property and the right to life of the citizens of a country, as well as the immunity of the entire population from aggression.

At this point in time, when, owing to the dawn of justice and freedom, and inspired by the humanitarian principles and truths stipulated in the Holy Quran, the government of the Islamic Republic has exerted efforts to draft a new constitution for the land and the nation, the Baha’i Community of Iran is confident that this minority will be recognized as equal to other religious minorities in the drafting of the country’s constitution; that their personal status will be observed by the law; their freedom of belief, pen and expression will be accepted; their institutions, Holy Days, schools and colleges will be officially recognized; their equal rights before the law will be accepted like others; that consideration will be given to their freedom in employment and removing employment challenges, as well as protection from the aggression of others and [freedom of] worship; and finally, that approval will be granted for the exemption of the properties related to this community from paying taxes like other minorities.

In conclusion, this community, with utmost honesty, humility and sincerity as well as meekness and righteousness, announces its readiness for the national development services and construction of dear Iran.

Respectfully,

From the Baha’i Community of Iran

Dr. Hosein Naji

Manouher Ghaem-Maghami

 

 

[1] [From the authorized translation, Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the [Kitab-i Aghdas], section Lowh-e Maghsood]

[2] [Quran 2:256]

[3] [Quran 109:6]