[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]
[Weekly Newspaper]: Iran va Jahan
[Date:] Monday, 22 Bahman 1363 - 11 February 1985
[Issue No.]: 228
The Islamic Republic of Iran Does Not Accept the Declaration of Human Rights.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, which is under investigation by the United Nations for its regular use of torture, illegal executions, and the lack of a judiciary in the true sense, is the first country in the world to denounce the 1948 Human Rights Declaration.
…According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, 300,000 Iranian Baha’is are not recognized, and all members of this religious community are at risk of execution.
Muslims regard the Baha’i Faith, which originated in Iran in the nineteenth century, as a kind of heresy, because in this religion God is considered the origin of all religions and these religions are considered as part of the gradual inspiration process. Followers of the Baha’i Faith, with reverence and respect for Baha’u’llah as their Prophet [founder], actually oppose the Muslims’ belief regarding Muhammad [that He is] the last Prophet. Throughout the history, there has always been discrimination [by Muslims] against the Baha’is in Iran, but Khomeini’s regime is the first regime that is determined to annihilate them all.
Before the complete banning of the religious activities of the Baha’i Faith last year, [there were] kidnappings and frequent arrest of the Baha’i individuals; in [fact], nine members of their National Spiritual Assembly (the supreme council) were [elected] three [different] times, and of the 27 members who were [elected to] this position since 1979, 25 of them have been killed.
The followers of the Baha’i Faith, like the Jews of Germany during [the time of] Hitler, have lost their jobs and have been deprived of their retirement pensions. In some cases, all of their salary has been forcibly taken back for the years of their service. Their property and assets are confiscated and they are prevented from studying and performing [their] religious practices. According to the new rules, since 1982, if they notify others about the oppressions against them, it is a crime punishable by death.
As well, the right to form a special council that governs their affairs has been taken away from them. The punishment of those who teach the Baha’i Faith to their children is also death. Now the campaign to break the leadership of the Baha’is, 700 of whose members are in jail and 193 have been killed, has entered a new phase. All Baha’i prisoners have been forced to sign a letter, which [states that] followers of the Baha’ Faith are members of a Zionist spy group. Any Baha’i publication with religious Baha’i signs is interpreted as “war against God” and its punishment is death.
The Iranian government, which has continuously denied the executions of the Baha’is for [their] religious beliefs, has resumed its tortures after six months of trying to get confessions from the Baha’is about their cooperation with the Israeli spy agency. The human rights experts believe that after obtaining such confessions, the Iranian regime will feel comfortable in resorting to using these confessions as a final solution to annihilate the Baha’is.
To justify its [refusal to recognize] the Baha’is, Iran claims that they are members of a political sect; whereas the followers of the Baha’i Faith, based on their religious laws, are forbidden to participate in politics and should be obedient to the ruling government of whatever country they reside in.
The charge that the Baha’is, with their three million followers, are “Zionist agents” is also derived from the historical event in which Baha'u'llah, the Founder of this religion, was exiled to Akka in the nineteenth century, and the Baha’i World Centre is on Mount Carmel, [in the state] that is currently called Israel.
Following the international protest against the execution of ten women and young teenage girls in Iran, for teaching the Baha’i students who had been expelled from schools, the number of executions of Baha’is temporarily decreased in 1983. But cases of torture and killing of Baha’is have increased again, since June of last year.
Last month, six senior Baha’i leaders were executed, and another 19 are expected to be executed soon. A number of others have died while being tortured in order to obtain a confession from them; the [video] recording of these confessions is to be televised on the Iranian television station.
The Baha’is outside the prison are also treated peculiarly. Last June, a Baha’i man who was recuperating in hospital after his surgery was taken to a prison and on the way, the guards opened his surgical sutures. In other cases, large crowds of people surround the Baha’is and burn them or their homes. The relatives of those who are executed are driven away from their homes.
So far, some 40,000 Baha’is have been able to flee Iran, but those who have remained in Iran are at risk of death, and Khomeini has not changed his statement that, “If anyone is a heretic and does not repent, shedding his blood is allowed.”
Sunday Times, 20 January 1985