[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

2 Mehr 1358 [24 September 1979]

Dr. Sadegh Tabatabaie, the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and the Government Spokesperson

With utmost respect [we] would inform Your Honour that the Baha’i community of Iran has existed in this country for 136 years and is considered the largest religious minority. It testifies to the Oneness of God, believes in the truth of all the Messengers and Prophets, affirms the verity of the sacred scriptures of all religions, including the Quran, follows the path of unity and oneness with all of humankind, has always obeyed the government and the laws of the land, and is continuously engaged in serving the interests of our homeland. Yet, throughout the history of its existence, from the inception, its members have constantly been subjected to all kinds of harassment, persecutions, killings, and pogroms, and contrary to the principles of religion and law, numerous forms of discrimination and injustice have been imposed against them. Whenever there has been a political and social change in this country, a conspiracy has been devised against this community and their inalienable rights violated. Before the Revolution, numerous persecutions were imposed. Initially, a number of representatives of the National Consultative Assembly made baseless allegations and false accusations against this community and the newspapers added somewhat to those allegations without any reason and made that nonsense a source of income for themselves. These incidents caused the destruction of more than seven hundred houses in different parts of Iran, with looting of property, pillaging of homes, and setting houses on fire; substantial losses were sustained, and a number of Baha’is were killed. Since the announcement of the Islamic Revolutionary Government of Iran, the Baha’is have demonstrated their loyalty and service sincerely, by their words and action. Unfortunately, the past persecutions were repeated. Armed individuals in various places attacked the offices and institutions of this community and confiscated and took all of the deeds, papers, documents, books, and publications with them. Places belonging to this minority were later seized without question or answer and without trial, and recently, on 17, 18 and 19 Shahrivar [8, 9 and 10 September], a number of opportunistic elements, accompanied by some influential local officials, with the presence of law enforcement officers and the preparation of previous arrangements, destroyed the house of Hazrat-e Bab [His Holiness the Bab] located in Shiraz—which is sacred to His followers in more than one hundred and two thousand localities of the world, and is held sacred by the Baha’is—and brought anguish to the hearts of a multitude of people. All holy and historical places of the Baha’is in Iran were held in the name of the Omana (joint stock corporation). And in the name of protection and confiscation, the relevant authorities took them into their possession, including Misaghieh Hospital, and it is now observed that not only did they not protect, but they also remained silent during the incidents of the destruction of some of those properties and did not take any action to prosecute or punish the culprits. In addition to the above mentioned house, they intentionally and completely destroyed other [Baha’i] holy places, gathering centres of Baha’is, and even the cemeteries in Arak, Abadeh, Sangsar, Ajabshir, Kerman, Najafabad, Yazd and a few other localities; sadly, all pleas for justice to central and local authorities bore no result. Even though the members of this community have tolerated and endured these adversities, so far, in order to protect the interests of the country and to respect the prestige of the government with full patience and sobriety and with the hope of improving the situation—because the intensity of these actions  has increased day by day, and there has been no reason for these places to be seized—[we] do not consider it justifiable to remain silent anymore, and insistently ask you to convey the matters to the prime minister, so that at his convenience and as he deems it appropriate, he will take action to return all the mentioned places and this community may exert efforts to maintain and protect them with wisdom, and devoid of any pretense.

 

Respectfully,

From the Baha’i Community of Iran

Dr. Hosein Naji

Manouher Ghaem-Maghami