[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:] Iran Va Jahan

[Date:] From Monday 27 Esfand 1363 [18 March 1985] to Monday 12 Farvardin 1364 [1 April 1985]

[Issue No.:] 233 - 234


Baha’i Faith: A Safeguard

By: Chris Powell

London: …Despite numerous requests from the international organizations, including the United Nations Commission on human rights, the Iranian government is accelerating the execution of the followers of Baha’i Faith, whose number reaches some 300,000 Baha’is.

Last December, after Rajaee Khorasani, Iran’s representative to the United Nations, confirmed that his government was unwilling to comply with the UN Declaration of human rights, ... the world’s attention was quickly drawn to the plight of the Baha’i community in Iran.

…Late last month, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who is known for his extremism, ordered the dismissal of all Baha’is who had previously been employed by the government, or whose pensions had been cut off because they belonged to the Baha’i community, or to pay back all of their salaries including those received at the time of the Shah, to government, otherwise they would be imprisoned.

... All government offices were thoroughly inspected so that ... none of the Baha’is served in the government. The private sector’s executives have also received new orders to “cleanse” the unwanted elements [meaning Baha’is].

The country’s school principals were also instructed to be careful that Baha’i children no longer attend school under any other cover.

Of the 707 Baha’is currently in prison, at least 100 have been arrested recently. According to sources close to the Baha’i community in Iran, 191 Baha’is have been killed so far by execution, assassination, stoning, and arson by a fanatical community, or simply disappeared without a trace [kidnapped]. This includes prominent figures and leaders of the Baha’i community.

More than thousands of Baha’is have lost their jobs, homes and property or had their bank accounts closed.

Many Baha’i Sacred spots and the properties of Baha’i community have been confiscated. The house of the Founder of the Baha’i Faith in Shiraz, which for the Baha’is is like a cathedral for the Christians, the Veiling Wall for the Jews and Kaaba for the Muslims, has been demolished by bulldozer and turned into a car park.

... Many Baha’is have been executed by firing squad and accused of “spying for the Zionism”. These accusations are baseless and only a receipt for the money sent by Baha’is to the Holy Shrine of their holy place in Haifa, Israel is enough [for the authorities] to convict them.

Fear and anxiety about those in prison have increased and according to unconfirmed reports, they continue to be executed and tortured to torment their relatives and families. The delays in announcing the deaths of Baha’i prisoners, appears to be due to the fact that prison authorities are willing to show no signs of torture on the bodies of the deceased.

The precondition for their release from the prison is “denial of Baha’i Faith” and the acceptance of Islam. Apparently, a small number have agreed to this, and a large number of Baha’is with Muslim relatives, often seek their refuge ...

The Islamic courts release the Baha’i prisoners on condition, that they sign a letter acknowledging that they are members of the “spying agency” and write that they will no longer propagate their religion and will not keep any literature, books or photographs related to the Baha’i Faith in their homes. Of course, [having] such signs [books and literature of the Baha’i Faith] are evidence of them being “Mohareb with God” [fighting against God].… Most Baha’i prisoners refuse to sign these documents, because not only will they denigrate their religion, but government officials will be able to frame them by placing large amounts of confiscated Baha’i publications in their homes.

Baha’is, in accordance to their religion, are peace-loving people and believe that violence leads to violence ... Despite seeking peace, many Baha’is have been forced to wage war against Iraq and there are indications that a significant number of them are in the Iranian Navy.

What lies behind most executions of Baha’is in Iran is unclear… This is part of a new wave of extremist struggle that ... once in a while appears.

Others believe that this is the last attempt by the government to get rid of Baha’ism and send it underground. However, hundreds of Baha’is have fled their homeland… They leave through the neighboring countries, especially Pakistan, where they have to wait for months for a visa to travel to Western countries to receive [their] Iranian refugees.

Middle East Times

9 March 1985