[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Bamdad

[Date:] Monday, 18 Tir 1358 [9 July 1979]

[Photo]The facade of the building and the spaces of the Haziratolghods [Baha’i Centre] of Baha’is in Tehran’s Hafez Street

 

The Haziratolghods (gathering place of Baha’is) was turned Into a Centre for Islamic Teaching.

The Largest Operations Headquarters of “Baha’ism” in Tehran was occupied by the Mojahedin-eRahe-Hagh Guards.

 

  • In the back of the building, a special oven has been set up for burning documents.
  • The international network of propaganda about Baha’ism has been found in this Centre.
  • A number of documents have been found at this Centre that relate to the establishment of the Azadi Building (previously Shahyad).
  • The representatives from Baha’ism all over the world held a meeting at this Centre four times per year.
  • Under this building, there are rare devices and equipment for publishing, dissemination, photography, and typesetting.
  • During the last days of the fall of the last regime, many of the papers and documents were burned.
  • The network of propaganda throughout the country was discovered at this Centre.

 

Last night, the speaker for Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh announced that the officers of this organisation, after obtaining permits from the Office of the Prime Minister, and discovery and infiltration of the Haziratolghods (gathering place of Baha’is) of the Baha’is of Tehran, discovered in this place the largest network for exchanging intercommunity-related matters of the Baha’is of world.

As a result of the entry of the guards of Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh to this Centre, in addition to access to the largest and best-equipped publishing hub of the Baha’is of the Centre [Tehran], a number of lists of production, distribution and delivery centres of [pamphlets] for the propagation of Baha’ism and their internal and international networks were discovered.

After being informed, the reporter for Bamdad, along with the agents of Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh, in their initial investigations of this place, which is located on Hafez Street, across from the Polytechnic, with a large garden full of trees, discovered that the directors in charge of this large centre of propaganda for Baha’ism used a special oven, built in the backyard of the building, and burned many of the papers and documents that could have potentially played an important role in identifying the names and places of residence of Baha’is.  This occurred to such an extent that the identity of many of the well-known individuals from this sect who were in close contact with the powerful people in the previous regime remains unknown.  However, by discovery of many of the papers and records that still exist in this Centre, the relationship of the directors of the networks of Baha’ism in Tehran with other [Baha’is] throughout the world has been revealed.

From an architectural point of view, in building this Centre, the first stone of which was laid nearly 70 years ago, state-of-the art equipment and the resources of the time were utilized.  The actions of the Baha’is in the Haziratolghods were once revealed, for the first time, by Hojattol-Islam Haj Mohammad Taghi Falsafi in 1334 [1955-56], just at the beginning of the national struggle, during the 28 Mordad coup d’etat.

Speaker Hojattol-Islam Falsafi, in his series of speeches during Ramadan, spoke about the role of the Baha’is in Iran, their penetration into certain centres, the group’s treasonous activities under the guise of a fake religion, the presence of the people of this sect at the royal court of the previous regime and their influence in economic centres, banks, and much of the production.  His continued talks led a group of people to attack this place and destroy part of the main dome of the building; however, they were prevented from fully destroying it.  After that, the agents of the military commander, under the leadership of Taymour Bakhtiar—who had a major role in the muzzling and silencing of people and the killing of young people at that time, and who was finally [punished] by that same regime for all of his killings—occupied the building and used it for a long time as the central office of the military command.

Of course, this situation did not last more than four years, and in 1338 [1959-60], after the fortification of the power of the fallen Shah and the establishment of the pillars of the regime’s power, this building was once again given to the Baha’is. Following this event, Hojattol-Islam Falsafi was prohibited from preaching.

Interestingly, the people involved in running this Centre, based on their influence on the centres of power in the previous regime, closed the Centre on 15 Sharivar [1357] [6 September 1978] of last year, during the days when the Iranian Revolution was on the rise, after they had removed a large amount of the papers and documents and burned a part of the lists of names.

After the victory of the Revolution, this Centre was taken over by the Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh guards, and under the supervision of Ayatollah Allameh Nouri, they continued to expend efforts to protect and keep the papers and documents, the library, publishing house, and the photography Centre, and everything that had still remained.

His Highness Ayatollah Allameh Nuri, after visiting this place and the underground sections designed beneath the main building, announced, “We see the Israeli embassy and the Hazideghods [Haziratolghods] in the same way.”

This building has more than two large halls and a large woodworking shop, an amphitheatre (for the Baha’i gatherings), and two basements, each of which measures 400 square metres.  In one of these basements, a recording studio has been built, which was used as a means of attracting young people to meetings.

 

In part of this building, there is a well-equipped publishing house with state-of-the-art phototypesetting and engraving equipment for use in worldwide propaganda designs.  In the storage room of this publishing house there are hundreds of different types of paper, typesetting and book-cover making equipment, the means of producing special Baha’i calendars, printing and production of children’s stories for the children of Baha’is, publishing of books, research done by Baha’is, a collection of various Baha’i books—which, from the point of view of the quality of paper, printing, and book covers are made from the best materials, and there are many packages of them ready to be sent to the centres of Baha’ism in all cities of Iran and other European countries, America, and Africa.  These documents are being kept under the care and vigilance of the Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh.  In addition, the files related to the worldwide network are located on the first floor of the building.

In addition to special books of the Baha’is, the most religious research books of various religions in different languages are kept in the library of this Centre.

When the Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh took over this Centre, a few Baha’i families were living as custodians and gardeners in a building adjacent to the garden.  During the first days, they would vigilantly report the meetings and comings and goings of the guards to the Baha’is residing in Tehran, by phone.  But the duration of this reporting was short, as the guards quickly prevented the continuation of their activity.

In another part of the basement of this building, which is under the main building, there is a special recording studio with different equipment and sound-proof walls.  In another part of the room, there is one large piano and some musical instruments for the celebrations of Baha’is, and probably party-like gatherings were held at night for Baha’i youth.

In every corner of the halls and rooms in this Centre, there are half-burned papers, which shows that this was done in a hurry and at short notice, and reveals the fact that the leaders of this Centre, by making use of a brief time when it was not possible to take them out of Iran, burned the papers in every room where the traces of well-known Iranian Baha’is residing in Iran existed.  Based on the observations of the Bamdad reporters, there is a large safe in this building, which they have not yet been able to open.  It is possible that significant documents and papers could be obtained from this safe.  The fund and contribution boxes of Baha’is, in the form of small coin-boxes, and large notebooks and copies of receipts for the contributions, with hundreds of names, can be seen in the accounting office of this Centre.

In addition, the names and lists of a large number of Baha’is residing in the capital, who had established large and small pharmaceutical companies and were making monthly financial contributions from these companies to the centres of Baha’is, are among the documents that have been obtained by the agents.

The names of the Baha’i units that participated in the observance of days respected by Baha’is, and the receiving and discharging of the financial commitments of the directors of the companies belonging to Baha’is, are also contained in the files.

Careful study of these lists shows that a large number of well-known Baha’is residing in Tehran, during the last days of the struggle between the people and the regime and before the complete victory of the people’s Revolution, gathered the cash and left Tehran for other countries.  Among the actions of the Baha’is in Iran at this Centre was the annual gathering of the Baha’is from around the world in Tehran, which would take place at least four times per year.  Each time, representatives from the Baha’is from all over the world would come to Tehran and discuss and review the issues and difficulties of this sect in other countries.

In the brief visit to this Centre, many visible contradictions could be seen in the manner of their work and activities.

In one corner of a room, a large amount of bread, a room for packing books and pamphlets for the whole country and the world, and addresses for the centres of Baha’ism in African and American countries, can be seen.  Behind this room, there is a well-equipped publishing house with printing machines with the latest state-of-the-art publishing techniques, and printing and photography of the best kind; in another room, there are instruments for jazz and a piano. There is a very well-equipped printing studio with a library with the latest books in different languages; a centre for publishing and distributing the books of Baha’is in Tehran; special calendars of the Baha’is; a records room with different archives of the activities of the active Baha’is; [a list of] companies being traded with in Tehran and all over the world; centres for exchanging publications; financial accounts of those receiving these publications; bank accounts; accounting offices of the board of directors and the board of trustees, which have been sealed, and possibly contain significant documents; and finally, two small buildings in the corner of the garden for the custodian and the gardener, one of whom has been working for more than 30 years. Since the victory of the Revolution, their wages have not been paid for two months, and even now they don’t know whom they should get their wages from for the housekeeping work of the last two months.  Finally, at one corner of this large garden, there are a sports area, a ping pong table and a tennis court.

From the first day of takeover of this Centre, threatening phone calls have been made to the guards.  Also, on one occasion, a Molotov cocktail was thrown inside this park to weaken the spirit of the Mojahedin-e Rahe-Hagh guards, but it did not affect their work.

Documents have been obtained, which, in view of the special emblem of the Baha’is (nine-pointed star), which is apparently one of the sacred numbers of the Baha’is, show a relationship between this emblem and the thought behind the design of the Azadi Building (previously, Shahyad Aryamehr).  This means that the structure of this building (being nine-sided) has a great similarity to the sacred number of the Baha’is, especially since the names of the architect of the Azadi Centre (Shahyad Square) and his close relatives are still on the papers related to this structure.  In the last moments of visiting this Centre, it was announced that this building had, for years, been the Centre of activity for Baha’is, and in reality was functioning like a dangerous network in taking over the satanic powers [sic], financial, national, and social resources of our country.  From now on, this will be turned into a Centre for Islamic teaching and, based on a design currently being studied, will be turned into a large Islamic Studies Centre.