[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:] Defenders of Human Rights Center

[Date:] 26 Shahrivar 1393 [17 September 2014]

 

 Letter from the Defenders of Human Rights Center to [President] Rouhani, “Mr. Rouhani! Do not Let the Students Be Deprived of Continuing Education”

The Defenders of Human Rights Center, in a letter to President, Hassan Rouhani, requested that he lift the ban against the education of some students and stop the violation of their citizenship rights that prevents talented Iranian students from continuing their education.

The Defenders of Human Rights Centre, according to one of their three responsibilities—that of the “Regular and continuous reporting on the human rights situation in Iran”—had previously sent letters to Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran and Sadeq Larijani, the Head of the Judiciary System.

This non-governmental organization, two members of whose Supreme Supervisory Board, Abdolfattah Soltani and Seyyed Mohammad Seifzadeh are currently in prison, opposes the immigration of the Iranian elites, the result of discriminating against students based on political and religious beliefs.

The organization’s letter to Hassan Rouhani, has been signed by Shirin Ebadi, the Head of the organization. According to the website of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, the letter to Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, was sent to him on 26 Shahrivar 1392 [17 September 2013] and reads as follows:

Mr. Rouhani, The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,

During the election campaign, you considered the “political enthusiasm of students” as critical to the survival of the Islamic Republic and emphasized the independence of universities and criticized the deprivation of any students from education.

You are aware that according to the Articles 19 and 20 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, the government has the duty to promote higher education for all, without exception. Also, according to Article 113 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the execution of the Constitution rests on the president and you have sworn to perform correctly your assigned tasks. Based on this, I bring to your attention that a number of our best Iranian youth and students have been barred from their university education due to political or religious beliefs. Continuing to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, in addition to passing the entrance exams, requires “political competence”. The security organizations are the authorities for recognizing such competence. Also, as one of the conditions for entering university demands students to believe in the religion of Islam or one of the religions recognized in the constitution, a number of those who were successful in the national university entrance exam this year could not register at the university.

Mr. President,

As a result of such conditions, many Iranian intelligent students have been barred forever from continuing their education or have moved to Western countries. In this way, according to UNESCO, Iran has the highest brain drain among the least developed countries. Of course, you are well aware of the long-term consequences of this situation. One of the results has been the decline in Iranian universities academic rank, that we are currently witnessing.

Dear Mr. President,

Considering the continuing deprivation of education for a number of students which has resulted from the inefficient and anti-human rights policies of the past and the refusal to enroll a number of students at the universities, due to implementing new conditions, the Defenders of Human Rights Center reinforces, that the right to education is one of the most important rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Center for Human Rights Defenders calls on you to lift the ban, for those students who have been deprived of education, stop the violation of their citizenship rights and prevent talented Iranian students from missing out on education. Also, to avoid any action with the intention of disabling the government in this regard, share these new conditions with the public, particularly the youth.

Shirin Ebadi

The Center for Human Rights Defenders