[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:] Rooz Online
[Date:] 5 Mordad 1393 [27 July 2014]
With the Conviction of 15 Baha’is in Shiraz, the Commander Also Came to the Fore
The Fajr Corps and Treatment of Baha’is
[By:] Kaveh Ghoraishi
Less than a week after the sentencing of 15 Baha’is to prison by a court in Shiraz, the commander of the Sipah-i-Fajr Corps in Fars Province, in an official speech, announced the need to deal severely with the perverse sect.
According to the Tanvir website, the official website of the Sipah-i-Fajr in Fars Province, on Thursday night, Gholamhossein Gheybparvar, during a speech at the conference titled, “To Hold Fast to That Which is Good, and Shun All Evil”, emphasized the need to leave the religious issues to the religious jurisprudential authorities. He said, “We will deal severely with those who promote the perverse sect in this province.”
According to the commander, “All good deeds, even jihad in the path of God in relation to ‘To Hold Fast to That Which is Good, and Shun All Evil’, are like drops in a vast sea.”
Gheybparvar said that an important aspect in the revival of the duties is the responsibility of the government officials; it is they who must pave the way for spread of promotion of “To Hold Fast to That Which is Good, and Shun All Evil.”
The role and duty of the government in guiding the people with regard to good and bad deeds, which, in the Islamic literature, is called, “To Hold Fast to That Which is Good, and Shun All Evil”, and is emphasized in the Islamic Republic, has always been discussed since the first days after the revolution. But in the past few months, following the speeches of the supreme leader and the president of the Islamic Republic in this regard, it has become one of the main differences between the factions within the Iranian government.
Now the commander of the Sipah-i-Fajr Corps in Fars Province is claiming that, “They do not have a true religion; part of Munkarat [indecent acts] in society is related to the perverse sect and must be strictly prevented.”
In the literature of the Islamic Republic, the Baha’i Faith is referred to as the “perverse sect”.
It is estimated that there are currently about 300,000 Baha’is living in Iran, of whom at least 30 are in prison.
The Baha’is are not recognized as a religious minority in the constitution of the Islamic Republic, and its followers have been subjected to various kinds of political, social, economic, and cultural discrimination over the past 30 years.
Baha’is are scattered throughout Iran, but many live in Fars Province. According to human rights sources, last week 15 Baha’is were sentenced to prison in this province without legal evidence to prove their charges in court. Giti Pourfazel, a lawyer for 15 Baha’is living in Shiraz who have all been sentenced to one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years in prison by the Revolutionary Court, told the website of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that there is no legal evidence in their file to prove the allegations against these people. The lawyer also said that in response to her request to see documents acceptable to the court with regard to her clients’ charges, she was confronted with the reply, “The documents are confidential, and cannot be made available to you.” According to the International Campaign for Human Rights, all of the individuals who were arrested by security agents in Shiraz in Bahman 1389 [January/February 2011], were released on bail after completing their interrogation in the spring of 1390 .
These 15 people were charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion and assembly for the purpose of action against national security.” During several hearings they were tried in Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, presided over by Judge Rashidi.
Their last court hearing was held in Ordibehesht 1393 [April/May 2014].