[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

28 Khordad 1358 [18 June 1979]

 

Mr. Mehdi Bazargan, Prime Minister

Following our letter of Saturday 25 Farvardin 1358 [14 April 1979], we respectfully enclose a statement of the Baha’i community of Iran regarding the Constitutional Law, and we firmly request that instructions be issued for the due rights of this community to be regarded in the law.

Respectfully,

On behalf of the Baha’i Community of Iran

Dr. Hosein Naji

[Signature]

Manouher Ghaem-Maghami

 

 

3 Tir 1358 [24 June 1979]

 

The Statement of the Baha’i Community of Iran regarding the Constitutional Law:

Since it was announced by the esteemed authorities of the country in the month of Farvardin [March/April] of this year, that the generality of the nation should express its wishes regarding the future constitutional law, on Saturday 25 Farvardin 1358 [14 April 1979] this community wrote a letter addressed to Mr. Mehdi Bazargan, the prime minister of the provisional government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as a number of others among the nation’s authorities, and presented its rightful requests. Considering the fact that no mention has been made of the rights of the Baha’i community in the suggested text of the Constitutional Law that was published in the past few days, through this statement, we are appealing this case and firmly request that, in view of the following points, the relevant authorities review the situation and include the due rights of this minority:

The Baha’is of Iran comprise the largest religious minority of this country and have been residing in this land for the past 136 years. They believe in Tawhid [the oneness of God], in Nabovvat [Prophethood], in Maad [the Day of Resurrection], the validity of all the Messengers, and the truth of all the Holy Books. They regard obedience to the government and to the enacted laws of the land as a religious and spiritual duty; they strive to serve their country and nation; they take honour in wholeheartedly accepting any national and social post, and they endeavour to perform their best in carrying out those duties. Based on the principles of their faith, they are advocates of unity, harmony, concord and fellowship among all peoples, and reject any kind of prejudice, whether racial, economical or political, and regard it as detrimental to the best interest of humanity.

During the past 136 years, they have been subjected to various kinds of discrimination, such as being deprived of their personal and social rights, as well as the freedom of belief and expression; they have been required to pay exorbitant sums for taxes on the Baha’i holy places, properties and cemeteries; and, along with being inflicted with numerous kinds of hardship and tribulations, such as being beaten, wounded, injured and killed, or having their properties and belongings looted and burned down, they have constantly been exposed to and made victims of all kinds of accusations, allegations and unkindness. Those who fabricate lies and spread calumnies have made every effort to circulate their fabricated allegations in forms that are loathed by the public at any [other] time, and often [the Baha’is] as scapegoats.

Now that the government of the Islamic Republic is attempting to draft a new constitutional law, the Baha’i community strongly hopes that this minority will be counted and regarded as equal to the other religious minorities. Article 14 in the second chapter of the proposed Constitutional Law states:

“Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are considered the only recognized religious minorities.” We suggest that either the term “Baha’i” be added to the list, or, by removing all the specific names, all religious minorities be left free to exercise their beliefs and religious duties.

It would seem that by implementing either of these amendments, the perspicuous verses of the Holy Quran, “Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood”[1], and “You have your way, and I have my way”[2] will be observed, and at the same time the international treaties and conventions such as the [International Declaration of] Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations will be observed.

In closing, this community sincerely and wholeheartedly announces its readiness to serve the best interest and welfare of our beloved Iran.

Respectfully submitted,

The Baha’i Community of Iran

 

[1] [Quran, 2:256]

[2] [Quran, 109:6]