[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

Saturday, 9 Jumada al-Awwal 1399 [7 April 1979] [18 Farvardin 1358]

 

To His Highness Grand Ayatollah Beheshti,

 

With expressions of praise and respect, we wish to inform you of the following. The members of the Baha’i community have existed in this country for the last one hundred and thirty-six years. They believe in the truth of the luminous religion of Islam and affirm the Prophethood of Messenger of God [Muhammad], may peace be upon Him. They praise the land of Iran as glorious and sacred. They have passed the test of obeying the laws and ordinances current in the country, avoid interfering in political affairs, and are completely free from any connection, whether direct or indirect, with foreign or non-national or anti-governmental political systems. A prime example of their lack of interference in politics is that, in the past, none of the believers in this community agreed, for example, to participate in or join the Iran Rastakhiz party, the membership in which at the time was mandatory and, as such, all encompassing. As a result, throughout that period, most of their civil rights and freedoms were taken away from them in their own country and their lives and livelihoods became threatened and frequently assailed.

In events prior to the [Islamic] Revolution, thousands of their families became homeless, and in various places in the provinces of Fars, Azarbayjan, Hamadan, Mazandaran, Gorgan, Khorasan, Yazd, and Kermanshah, and some other cities, more than 700 homes and places of business were destroyed or set on fire after the furnishings and belongings were pillaged, and several people were killed. And now, under this government, which is honoured with the lofty name of Islam and seeks to carry out the ordinances of the Sharia, in addition to bearing other threats and injuries, they have experienced vast new injustices. These unfounded slanders include [accusations of] collaboration of some of the members of this community with the previous regime and interference in government politics and Savak, and, God forbid, [engaging in] political relationships with foreign governments and taking sides with Zionism, all of which have, suddenly and without any reason, documentation, or indication, started to be propagated by some individuals in various publications. This has caused instigation of unfavourable sentiments toward this obedient and service-loving group, and is leading to unfortunate events in various corners and areas of the country. This has, in itself, surprised and shaken this supressed and defenceless community. And yet—as stated in clear terms in the Word of God, “Indeed, some assumption is sin[1]”— they [the authorities] commit the sin [mentioned in this Quranic verse] and owing to their suspicion and imagination, accuse the Baha’i community of torturing innocent people, which had taken place during the reign of the previous regime, and we hereby say truthfully and unequivocally that all of these allegations are strongly and seriously unfounded.  In reality, the members of this community are deeply saddened and affected by such barbaric behaviours and seek refuge in God, the Creator of humanity.

 

Regarding Zionism, the reason for these imaginary allegations is solely the fact that some of the holy places of the Baha’is are located there [Israel]. As witnessed by history, it has been over one century since the Founder of this Faith was exiled to that location under the orders of the Iranian and Ottoman governments, and spent [the last years of] His earthly life there. Just as Muslims send money to that land [Israel] for the purpose of making repairs to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they [Baha’is] too have taken an interest in building and repairing their holy places [in Israel]. Although the relevant files and archives have recently been stolen, and we fear, God forbid, potential falsification of documents, according to existing documentation and evidence the baselessness of these allegations and their sole intent to slander is clear. Given that the ability to defend [themselves] is taken away from them and no more obedient people are to be found, they have been subjected to a variety of false allegations. 

Despite the fact that there is no opportunity for this community to defend [itself] against these attacks, this beleaguered community has not allowed itself to respond in any way other than taking hold of the cord of divine justice and appealing to the great leaders of the government that they obey. All of them [Baha’is] have avoided taking any action, and with complete obedience to the authorities, they have relied on the hope that the leaders of the Republic believe fully in the holy verse (Be just; that is nearer to righteousness[2]). We, therefore, beseech you, as you have again and again expressed your support for the rights of minorities, to please take appropriate action in order to alleviate their [Baha’is] worries and establish the needed security for their future life in their beloved homeland, so that under the regime of justice and the right to freedom of thought, speaking, writing, and religion and maintaining national unity and oneness in this country, this community will not be faced with desecration and slanderous injury, and will not see itself continuously in fear of being attacked by the public due to constant instigation, or await the expansion of the encompassing turmoil into the three thousand cities and towns and villages in which they live. Of course, we are certain that careful investigation under the just rule of your highness will achieve their complete vindication from all of these cruel slanders, and the people of this community will be enabled to shoulder their share of service toward national development throughout their lives and carry out their spiritual and civil duties.

 

With expressions of respect,

 

From the Baha’i Community of Iran

 

Dr. Hosein Naji          Manouher Ghaem-Maghami

 

[1] [Quran: 49: 12]

[2] [Quran: 5:8]