[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Kayhan

[Date:] 21 Ordibehesht 1334 [12 May 1955]

[Issue No.:] 3582

 

Demolition of the Dome of Haziratu’l-Quds [Baha’i Centre] Started Today

About 30 demolition workers, carpenters and steel workers started in the early morning. 

Colonel Hariri is the officer in charge of the destruction of the dome of the Haziratu’l-Quds [Baha’i Centre].

When “Ali”, the first demolition worker to reach the pinnacle of the dome, struck the first blow to the dome of the Haziratu’l-Quds, the glass, which had a Baha’i emblem on it, broke and fell to the ground.

The army chief of staff and Tehran’s military governor visited the operations of the demolition process of the Haziratu’l-Quds.

After announcing the unlawful nature of the Baha’i sect in the Majlis [Iranian parliament], the government decided to destroy the Haziratu’l-Quds, Tehran’s Baha’i centre of propagation. Yesterday, Tehran’s military governor instructed Colonel Hariri—an engineer who has done research in building demolition and is the commander of forces stationed at the Haziratu’l-Quds—to begin the preparation work for the demolition by employing demolition workers, carpenters, and steel workers.

At ten o’clock last night, Colonel Hariri contacted various experts to start the preparations. Since early this morning, thirty workers, comprising six carpenters, two masons, and one master mason plus other laborers, proceeded to the Haziratu’l-Quds.

Colonel Hariri reminded the workers of their eternal rewards for destroying the Haziratu’l-Quds.  Workers and supervisors, after praising the Prophet [Muhammad] and His Family, rushed with pickaxes, sledgehammers and crowbars towards the dome of the Haziratu'l-Quds.

The first to reach the pinnacle of the dome was Ali, who, with a cry of “O Mohammad!” struck his pickaxe at the dome and the part of the glass that held a Baha’i emblem broke and fell to the ground. 

Then other workers arrived on top of the dome and each began striking at a corner of it.

The Baha’i Haziratu’l-Quds, located on Shiraz Avenue in the north of Tehran, is built on an area of 27,000 square metres.  Its assembly hall, covered by a dome, has seating capacity for three thousand people.

Keys to the rooms, especially for the library and printing facilities, are still with the Baha’is’ custodian, and the military personnel view the rooms in his presence.

As declared by an informed individual, destruction of this dome will take at least a month to complete. First, they should remove the tiles and demolish the reinforced concrete in the middle of the girders, and then melt the iron girders by an electronic oxygen boiling process. Currently, a group of carpenters are busy constructing the wooden scaffolds in the middle of the hall of the building so that when the dome is demolished, further damage to the rest of the building will be prevented.

Yesterday, a group of clerics and the like entered the Haziratu’l-Quds with permission from responsible authorities to closely oversee what was happening at the site. It is said that one of the Baha’is took advantage of the situation and entered the property of the Haziratu’l-Quds. One guard knew him and reported to the responsible guard at the Haziratu’l-Quds that a Baha’i had entered with the clergy, at which point soldiers asked the individual to leave the Haziratu’l-Quds area immediately.

Also, a Baha’i woman arrived this morning at the Haziratu’l-Quds and said, “It is a pity to destroy such a majestic and beautiful dome.” The soldiers warned her to leave the place immediately.

At eleven o’clock in the morning, Mr. Falsafi, the famous preacher, and a group of clergy who were driving by the Haziratu’l-Quds, noticed a number of workers busy with the destruction of the dome of the Haziratu’l-Quds.

Mr. Falsafi and the clergy came out of the car and entered the Haziratu’l-Quds. Addressing the officers and soldiers guarding the site, Mr. Falsafi told them it was the “cause of absolute pride today to see the hopes of the Muslim nation of Iran being realized, as this ominous building is destroyed. Of course, we owe this felicity to the decisions of the shah, activities of the clergy, and the sacrifices of you, the soldiers.   

“Today is a great day for you because the army, which is the protector of the life, property and honour of the Iranian Muslims, takes action to uproot this house of idols.

“The command to destroy this foundation under the Baha’is, issued by his majesty the shah, is exactly the same as what [illegible] Khalil did to the temples of idols, and of course this honour is bestowed upon you, the soldiers following the orders of the shah to demolish this temple of idols. Before anything else, I congratulate the king of the country, the commander in chief, and you dear soldiers, who are the first to be involved in this effort.”

After Mr. Falsafi’s speech, the religious invocations arose from those present, and Mr. Falsafi stepped inside [the building] under the dome to inspect it further.

Mr. Falsafi took a pickaxe in his hand and pounded the ground where a scaffold was to be put in place, and delivered a speech for the workers as well.

After the visit came to an end, Mr. Falsafi and his entourage left the Haziratu’l-Quds.

At 12:30 today, the  silo worker, Mr. Reza Alizadeh (known as Moghadam), after securing permission from officers, brought a green banner with the [Arabic] inscription “God’s Hand is above their hands” and placed it over the entrance to the Haziratu’l-Quds.

Today at half past one in the afternoon, Lieutenant General Batmanghetich, the army chief of staff, Brigadier General Bakhtiar, the military governor of Tehran, and Colonel Vaseghi, the head of military headquarters, arrived at the Haziratu’l-Quds, and after receiving honour guards, they visited various parts of the building.

At first, they visited the library where the army chief of staff perused a book, and then checked under the dome, and commented that destruction of the dome would take one month to accomplish. Other measures must be taken. He said, “I think it is best to first cut the base iron of the dome and then remove the dome with the crane”.

Then the army chief of staff with Brigadier General Bakhtiar viewed the top of the dome. Mr. [Nader] Batmanaghelich took a pickaxe from one of the workers and pounded the [base of the] dome, saying, “Let me gain the blessings too.” 

Afterwards, they viewed the pictures of Baha’i leaders on the walls of various rooms and left the Haziratu’l-Quds.

[Caption of the photo on first page:] While the army chief of staff and the brigadier general inspected [the process of] destroying the dome of the Haziratu’l-Quds, the army chief of staff struck at the [base of the] dome with a pickaxe.