[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

25 Bahman 1361 [14 February 1983]

 

Four years have passed since the supreme spiritual authorities of the Islamic government started ruling the country and serving the religion and the nation. It was expected that, based on divine justice, and contrary to the past, justice and equity would be restored to a group of honest and God-fearing people who were constantly oppressed by party leaders, government officials and politicians; that research and examination would be carried out regarding the slanders and false accusations made against the oppressed Baha’is of Iran, that through research and contemplation of the principles of their beliefs, teachings and laws, the authenticity or falsity of the matter would be realized, and that a decision would be made in accordance with God’s will and toward humanitarian justice. The indisputable truth is that the Baha’i community exists in Iran, and the number of Baha’is in Iran is more than the sum of all other religious minorities.

Unfortunately, contrary to expectations, the verses of the Holy Quran on bounty and grace, and moral and humanitarian principles, as well as the principles of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, which presented a ray of hope, were ignored. Not only did the injustices of the past governments not decrease, but their intensity, sadly, increased. The employees of government organizations and private institutions were dismissed from their jobs and were denied their earned wages. Continuing education and the admission of students into universities were officially prevented, problems were created for education of Baha’i children and junior youth, and many educational establishments expelled Baha’i students from schools. Baha’i tradesmen and farmers were prohibited from working and were subjected to persecution and insult. Persecutions and hardships became more intense every day; the movable and immovable properties of many were confiscated and sometimes looted; a number of innocent Baha’i scholars who were recognized by everyone for their rectitude of conduct were either executed by firing squads or hanged with baseless charges because they did not submit to recanting their belief and faith, and the horrendous act of [assassination] was added in adherence to the official actions. In this case, it affected [people] all the way from a world-famous scholarly physician to a helpless, innocent, elderly rural woman.

As the atrocities and mistreatments continue to become more intense, many members of the community are arrested and imprisoned by fanatical agents whose hearts are filled with hatred and resentment, and a group of Baha’is―men, women, youth and even young children―are held in prisons and subjected to all sorts of pressures because of participating in spiritual and religious Baha’i administration, to the point where they can no longer endure the harassment and persecution and are forced to abandon their beliefs and renounce their faith, or, as some perpetrators say, leave them in prison until they rot. Oddly enough, the official authorities announce in different international circles that “the Baha’is of Iran are not executed because of their beliefs.” And this torrential flood of oppression, the comprehensive description of which causes words to fade and the pen to be ashamed of writing about so much injustice levelled at innocent human beings, still continues in different parts of the country.

It is noteworthy that the application of religious commands and laws which are performed by the leaders of all [other] religions, are carried out in the Baha’i Faith by institutions elected by members of the Baha’i community. These institutions are purely spiritual and have nothing to do with politics and state affairs. Their purpose is to educate and refine the morals of the community and to expand religious knowledge among the followers of this religion. They do not have any conflict with or contradiction to the government, the regime, the supreme leader or the holy religion of Islam; they have never resorted to opposition and they even consider it a sin to imagine violating it.

Based on religious beliefs, the Baha’i community and its institutions are loyal to the country and the nation, obedient and helpful to the government. Since they observe the rules and regulations, they naturally have not created and will not create problems for the officials in charge. The statistics on criminals, dissidents and lawbreakers in the courts are evidence of this claim. Owing to their love and affection for this land and their dear compatriots, the Baha’is have exerted the utmost effort to achieve the goals for the prosperity and progress of the country and government programmes, and they continue to do so.

These spiritual institutions are by no means separate from the Baha’i community; they are inseparable. Their goals are divine; their aspiration is the unity of mankind and the advancement of humanity to the lofty peak of evolution and transcendence in the shelter of the divine banner. They do not have any hidden or secret affairs. Even though the archive of all the records of this community is in the possession of the esteemed authorities, whenever information is required by the country’s official authorities, it is provided with utmost honesty and trustworthiness after the first notification to the community.

This community has proven its good intentions during the four years of Islamic government. It has not taken any step against the interests of the country or contradictory to government regulations; it has not participated in any event or incident; it has not been sympathetic or collaborative with any group or sect, and has not forged relations with any domestic or foreign political group. Owing to its faith in God, it has endured all the oppressions and hardships that have been inflicted by the officials; it has presented its grievances and complaints only to the competent authorities and the officials in charge of the state affairs. Since it has not seen results, [while the] problems have increased, it has inevitably deferred the matters to God Almighty and has patiently asked God for the removal of these persecutions, as “[Baha’i writings]”[1].

In all the countries of the world, with[their] different political systems, Baha’is elect individuals by secret and free ballot, for one year, solely for the management of spiritual affairs, according to Baha’i principles and regulations. These individuals, without having any position or station, or being considered as superior or receiving any wages, carry out the following duties which are given to them as servants of the community:

“[The duty of the Assembly] is moral refinement and expansion of knowledge, elimination of ignorance, removal of prejudices and the strengthening the foundation of true religion in the hearts of the people. It is self-confidence and avoiding imitation; proper order, organization of affairs and adherence to purity and cleanliness in all conditions. It is honesty and trustworthiness, promoting industry and agriculture, and emphasis on the pillars of collaboration and cooperation. It is the liberation and progress of women and compulsory education of children, including both boys and girls. It is strengthening the principles of consultation among all classes, and care in honest transactions; emphasis on trustworthiness and religion, truthful intentions, purity of essence and freedom from the constraints of the world of nature. It is sanctification and purification from the evils and the strong corruption dominating Western countries, and adherence to moderation in all matters and times. It is attention to, and reflection on, modern science and technology and focusing on the promotion of the interests of all; non-interference in the confusing partisan affairs; and non-aggression against political conflicts, religious wars and the current fallacious social foundations. It is honesty and inward and outward obedience to the legitimate laws of the state and government, and avoiding the delusional methodologies, thoughts and opinions of imitators and modernists. It is respect, praise and following the masters of arts and crafts, and honouring people of science and knowledge. It is freedom of conscience, and not criticizing or attacking the beliefs, traditions and habits of individuals, ethnicities and nations”[2]

They are also responsible for matters of personal status, such as [preparation of the body] and the funeral and burial of the departed, as well as planning and organizing Baha’i marriage ceremonies and other spiritual matters. These spiritual institutions, which serve the community free of charge and are made up of community members, have sadly caused misunderstandings and interpretations among the authorities and some of the agents. Some people have maliciously misrepresented the duties of Baha’i institutions [untruthfully and inaccurately] and have infused unjust slanders against these institutions into the heads of responsible authorities and fanatical believers. They have made unsubstantiated accusations of Zionist and colonial political espionage against the Baha’is and have not considered calumny to be a sin, while all these titles are absolute lies, devoid of truth and any documented evidence, and the confiscated documents and archives of the Baha’i institutions, as well as the opinions of fair-minded and insightful officials of the country, prove the opposite. And for the same reason that we prefer being killed to recanting and concealment of belief, we consider lying and not presenting facts blameworthy and an unforgiveable sin.

The negligence and injustice of some officials who assume that the oppression of the Baha’i community will elevate the government and benefit the holy religion of Islam, and the increase in the wave of persecutions and hardships against a helpless group that is in a position of utter meekness, and whose only reliance is on God Almighty, has generally caused the world to be sympathetic about these injustices, to be saddened and show compassion and empathy toward them. Owing to the respect and love of these oppressed ones for the holy religion of Islam and their country, and the desire for the Iranian government to be, according to glad-tidings, one of the most respected governments on earth, we naturally do not want the Islamic Government of Iran not to be respected and revered by the people of the world. For this reason, and based on the above-mentioned matters, we ask the high officials of the country and the supreme spiritual leaders to consider the principles of the Baha’i Faith regarding the belief in the unknowable essence of God; the foundational unity of all religions; the righteousness of all the Messengers of God, from Adam to the Seal of the Prophets and the Imams, thousands of greetings and praise to them; sanctifying and honouring those Holy Manifestations; accepting the truths of the divine Holy Books; belief in the life of the soul in the next world and reward and punishment in the hereafter; complete adherence to purity, sanctity, morality and human ethics; honesty, inward and outward obedience to the legitimate laws of the government and the regime, and non-interference in political affairs and partisanship; and to decide on the fate of this community [with attention to] God’s pleasure and based on Quranic justice and Articles, 3, 14, 20, 23, etc., of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and to issue an official order so that the oppression and tyranny will end, the withheld rights of this community are returned, and their lives and properties are safeguarded.

With respect

Recipients:

  1. Ayatollah Yousef Saanei, Prosecutor General
  2. The Supreme Judicial Council

 

[1] [The authorized translation of this text is not available in English. The original text is as follows:]

 "... اهل بها آئین خود را بخون خود خریده و شهد فدا در سبیل حبش چشیده بامیدش زنده‌ایم و از مادونش رسته"

[2] [The authorized translation of this text is not available in English. The original text is as follows:]

 "تحسین اخلاق است، و تعمیم معارف، ازاله جهل و نادانی، و دفع تعصبات است، و تحکیم اساس دین حقیقی در قلوب و نفوس، اعتماد بر نفس است، و اجتناب از تقلید، حسن ترتیب و نظم در امور است، و تمسک به لطافت و نظافت در جمیع احوال و شئون، راستی و صداقت است، ترویج صنعت و زراعت است، و تشیید ارکان تعاون و تعاضد، حریت و ترقی عالم نساء است، و تعلیم اجباری اطفال از بنین و بنات، استحکام اصول مشورت در بین تمام طبقات است، و دقت در حسن معاملات، تأکید در امانت و دیانت است، و صدق نیت و طیب طینت و نجات از قیود عالم طبیعت، تقدیس و تنزیه از شرور و مفاسد قویه مستولیه بر بلاد غرب است، و تمسک باعتدال در جمیع شئون و اوقات، تفنن و تدقیق در علوم و فنون عصریه است، و حصر نظر در ترویج مصالح جمهور، و عدم مداخله در امور مشوشه احزاب است، و عدم تعرض به مخاصمات سیاسیه و منازعات مذهبیه و مبادی سقیمه اجتماعیه حالیه است، صداقت و اطاعت قلباً و لساناً باحکام مشروعه دولت و حکومت است، و احتراز از مسلک و افکار و آراء واهیه مقلدین و متجددین، احترام و توقیر و تمجید و پیروی ارباب هنر و صنعت است، و تکریم و تعزیز صاحبان علوم و معارف حریت وجدان است، و عدم تنقید و تعرض به عقائد و رسوم و عادات افراد و اقوام و ملل"