[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:] HRANA – Human Rights Activists News Agency

[Date:] 24 Khordad 1393 [14 June 2014]

 

A Heart-Felt Note from a Baha’i Youth from Tabriz, Iran

I am a Baha’i citizen residing in Tabriz (a city in the northwest of Iran) who loves and desires to serve his beloved country. Just like all citizens, I have served in the army and have paid all my taxes, but unfortunately, I am not enjoying any privileges and rights as a citizen.

This letter is written anonymously to protect me and my family from possible future persecution. After finishing high school, I took the University Entrance Exam, but later found out that as a Baha’i I was denied higher education under the false excuse of “Incomplete Documents”.

This deprivation not only exists for my generation in this decade, but also in my parents’ generation ̶   and it is still going on; we were denied higher education at that time and we still are.

Baha’is face discrimination ̶   both open and secret ̶   all over Iran, including in the city of Tabriz. But in the last three years it has reached its climax, since, unlike previously, in an unexpected action Mr. Farrokh Jalali, the undertaker of “Aramestan”, the Undertaker’s Office in the city of Tabriz, denied burial permission to Baha’is of that town. Soon after that, having maintained this position regarding undertaking, he accepted a promotion and was appointed to other positions, such as “The Highest Counsel to the office of the Mayor” and “Director General of the City”.

What happens is that after the corpse of a Baha’i is delivered to the “Wadi Rahmat”, a cemetery in Tabriz, it is kept in the morgue for three days. At this point, the family is informed that they will not be allowed to bury their deceased according to the Baha’i burial laws*; if they still insist on burying them there, Islamic burial laws should be observed.

This demand is obviously in conflict with our belief. In most cases, the authorities end up sending the Baha’i corpse to Miandoab, a smaller city outside Tabriz, and bury them there without informing the family members.

This issue still persists; although, it has been brought to the attention of the higher-ranking authorities, including writing many unanswered letters to the office of the President of Iran.

Another reason to write this letter is related to this. Not long ago, my grandmother passed away in a hospital, and, disregarding the wish of our family and with the interference of the security office and personnel of the hospital, not only she was not buried as a Baha’i, but she was sent to Wadi Rahmat, and subsequently to Miandoab, and buried there without our knowledge.

Next in line is a young Baha’i soldier who died while serving in the army; he is expected to be treated the same as my grandmother. (His corpse is in the morgue as I am writing this letter.) While pursuing this issue, the Baha’is of Tabriz only hear threats from the authorities.

But, as we all know (in Iran), burial is not the only issue. After serving my time in the army, I wanted to open a business. I applied for a work permit to sell eyeglasses from the Syndicate of the Optometrists of Tabriz and I submitted all the required and necessary documents.

Now, after working for a year and paying all the taxes, I have been informed by the Officials at the Office of Building and Safety that my work permit has been revoked, and that I will not be issued any other work permits as a result of being a Baha’i.

I pursued my complaints with the Ministry of Crafts and Industry and the Society of the Affairs of Trade, as a result of which I was threatened with a notice of foreclosure. After pursuing it for twenty more days, I was finally served with the verdict and my business was foreclosed.

Finally, as a conclusion, I would like to quote an officer serving in the Office of Building and Safety who in these exact words told me: “Do whatever you can  ̶  even file a complaint with the Supreme Leader (Ali Khamenei); I still won’t allow you to work.”