[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:] Center for Human Rights in Iran

[Date:] 14 Azar 1396 [5 December 2017]

 

Follow-up, Reform Regulations: Reaction of Sadeghi and Molaverdi to Educational Discrimination and the Rights of Religious Minorities

Following the deprivation of education for dozens of citizens due to their religious beliefs, [reported] widely in Persian-language media and social networks, two officials, Mahmoud Sadeghi, a member of parliament, and Shahindokht Molaverdi, a special assistant to Hassan Rouhani in the area of citizenship rights, reacted to educational discrimination, and spoke of the need for regulatory reform as well as redress for cases of discrimination.

Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist member of the Iranian Consultative Assembly, called for amendments to the law and the regulations of the country’s faculty members. …

On 11 Azar 1396 [2 December 2017], Shahindokht Molaverdi, the special assistant to the president for citizenship rights, addressed the issue of occupational discrimination against the Baha’i minority in Iran at a meeting entitled ‘Examining the Realization of Citizenship Rights, Its Obstacles and Solutions’ at the Shahid Abbaspour University. In response to a question about Baha’i Rights she said, “There have been inquiries from the vice president for legal affairs [in the administration] of the President regarding the sealing of commercial premises and the ban on Baha’i activities, and we are pursuing this issue through lawful means in order to find a solution for the issue.” Correspondence has been conducted through the vice president of legal affairs with the relevant authorities in order to obtain an answer, and I think it will be concluded soon.” …

Ms. Molaverdi also said that since taking office as special assistant to the President, there have been many references to minority rights in relation to their appointment to government positions which are being pursued.

“Committing illegal religious acts, not observing hijab, membership in one of the heretical sects, propaganda in favour of atheist parties and groups, instilling atheistic ideas and insulting Islamic sanctities” are among the cases that according to Article 7 of the law and the disciplinary regulations of Universities of Higher Education and Research Institutions in the country, are considered violations [of the law] and result in suspension, expulsion or permanent dismissal from service.

According to this law, followers of religious minorities such as the Baha’is and Dervishes, who are not mentioned in the Iranian constitution, are not allowed to teach in universities. …

Mahmoud Sadeghi also confirmed cases of deprivation of students who belong to religious minorities from studying in higher education, calling it illegal and citing Article 30 of the Constitution. “Nowadays, students are deprived of higher education because of religion, which is illegal. The right to education is a human right and all members of the nation have the right to education, and Article 30 of the Constitution recognizes this as being for the entire nation.”

This member of the reformist faction of the Islamic Consultative Assembly in the presence of students added that all Iranians, regardless of gender, race, religion and language, should have the right to education and no one should be deprived of education because of having another religion, including religions that are not one of the three official religions.

According to Article 30 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the government is obliged to provide free education facilities for the entire nation until the end of high school and to provide higher education facilities for free, to ensure self-sufficiency of the country.

However, Baha’i students will be expelled from higher education according to the third paragraph of the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution approved in Esfand 1369 [March 1990], which was also confirmed by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei: “At universities, Baha’is should be expelled from the university, either upon arrival or during their studies, if they are found to be Baha’is.” The ban on studying after the entrance exam or expulsion after entering the university, which occurs by the security office of the universities and the Sanjish[1] organization, is supported by this decree.

Deprivation of education in Iran is not the only discrimination against religious minorities, especially the Baha’is. Iranian Baha’i citizens also face restrictions on employment, with authorities closing their workplaces due to their religious holidays. Recently, government officials have been discussing this matter.

 

 

[1] [Sanjish:  Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization]