[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:] Kayhan-e Havai
[Date:] Wednesday, 24 Shahrivar 1372 [15 September 1993]
[Issue No:] 1048
Responses of Executive Director of Behesht-e- Zahra Organization Regarding Conversion of the Baha’i Cemetery to a Cultural Centre
Tehran, News Service of the Kayhan-e Havaei, 20 Shahrivar 1372 [11 September 1993]
The plan to change the use of the former cemetery of the Baha’i sect, called Javid, to a cultural centre and green space is due to the fact that it was located in the densely populated residential areas, and out of concern for public health.
In the wake of the hustle and intense propaganda of the followers of this sect outside Iran regarding the seizure and demolition of this cemetery by the municipality of Tehran, Mr. Hosein Afshar, the executive director of the Behesht-e-Zahra Organization, in response to questions of the Kayhan-e Havai, asking for an explanation of the actions taken in this case, reiterated the above reasons for the conversion, and stated that it is natural, when a cemetery is located in the densely populated areas of the city and poses a public health hazard, [for] the mayor of the region to submit a plan to a committee, referred to as Article 5 Commission of Roads and Urban Development, and ask for conversion of the cemetery to a green space, or [to present] any other plan that is useful for the region. After approval of the Commission, and the designation of an alternative location for replacement [of the cemetery], appropriate action will be taken.
He further referred to past instances of similar replacements done in Tehran, and added that conversion of such locations to cultural, health and recreational centres has been undertaken in many cases in Tehran; among them are Shaheed Akbari's Maternity Hospital at Molavi Square; the fire station at Hassanabad Square; Shohadaye Tajrish Hospital; Girls’ Asadabad High School at Park Tarsht; Park Zargandeh; the fire station at Bazar; and Basij Park at Mesgarabad. Several training centres and green spaces that were previously Muslim cemeteries, and the former cemetery of the Armenians and the Jews, [have been converted to a] vocational school, an educational institute, places for the elderly, and the Javid Cemetery of the sect without a divine book (Baha’is) which is being replaced by a cultural centre.
He pointed out that since such locations are psychologically and socially not suitable for residence, considering the growth in Tehran’s population and the growing need for cultural and educational places, such locations are generally used to build suitable places for public use.
In conclusion, the executive director of the Behesht-e- Zahra Organization emphasised that in all the above instances involving change of use, a replacement has also been made, and even in this case, a parcel of land of 25,000 square meters with green space, mortuary, [surrounding] wall, and entrance and exit gates on the Khavaran Road (Khatoonabad) next to the Armenian cemetery has been assigned to this sect. So far, they have used 1/3 of the area to bury the bodies of the dead.