[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:] International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

[Date:] 27 Esfand 1392 [18 March 2014]

 

Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Diane Ala’i: 136 Baha’is Are In Iran’s Prisons and Mr. Larijani Is Unaware of the Situation of Baha’is

Geneva - Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, commented on the remarks made by Mohammad-Javad Larijani, secretary of the High Council for Human Rights, in an interview with IRIB channel 2, on 26 Esfand [17 March], to the effect that Baha’is are free in Iran and there are no Baha’is in Iran’s prisons for the reason of being Baha’is. She told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “There are currently 136 Baha’is in the prisons of the Islamic Republic who have been arrested just because they are Baha’is and they have committed no other crimes. Of course, in their files, charges of membership in illegal organizations or espionage for foreign countries, or similar charges, have been recorded, but there is no evidence to prove these charges in their files.”

Ms. Ala’i, protesting the recent remarks of Mohammad-Javad Larijani, said to the campaign, “Mr. Larijani is certainly not aware of the current situation in Iran, especially the Baha’is in Iranian society; otherwise he would have known that Baha’i youth could not go to university, or that the Baha’i cemeteries are destroyed by bulldozers―these are not things that cannot be seen―or that when Baha’is close their shops on their official holy days, the government seals their shops. These are things that can be seen. Mr. Larijani is probably unaware of the human rights violations against the Baha’i community in Iran.”

Diane Ala’i said, “When Larijani says that the Baha’is have no problems, but representatives of dozens of countries have talked to Ahmad Shaheed about the violation of the rights of Baha’is in Iran, it is obvious to the leaders of the Islamic Republic that no matter how much they say that Iran does not have a problem, unfortunately, human rights violations and violations of the rights of Baha’is in Iran keep on happening.”

Ms. Ala’i, who read a statement protesting the violation of Baha’i rights at the 25th United Nations Human Rights Summit, said, “Unfortunately, the Iranian government has not yet reached a point where it can admit that there are problems in Iran and accept it, and say, ‘We are ready to work together to resolve these issues.’” With regard to government pressure on Baha’is to leave the country, Ms. Ala’i also said, “Certainly government institutions are pressuring the Baha’is to leave the country; some Baha’is do leave Iran, but most of them do not do so, because Iran is their country, and, of course, it is also the sacred land of the Baha’i Faith.”

Regarding the letter written by hundreds of civil society activists to Hassan Rouhani asking him to pursue and respect the Baha’i civil rights situation in Iran, Diane Ala’i said, “This was a very positive and important step, and we see day by day that ordinary Iranians are defending the Baha’is; for example, we have seen places where students are reluctant to take an exam because their Baha’i classmates have been expelled from university; or neighbours, and civil and human rights activists in general, defend the rights of Baha’i citizens. “Of course, I have to say that such a process started with Ayatollah Montazeri, who said that Baha’is should have the right to citizenship.”