[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

[Publication:] Akhbar-e Amri

[Date:] Mordad 1328 [July/August 1949]

[Issue No:] 4

[Page:] 16-18

 

Copy of letter number 3415 of this Assembly, which was written on 4 Shahrul-Kamal 106 [B.E.] 13 Mordad 1328 [4 August 1949] to the Office of the Prime Minister with copies being submitted to all ministers.

The Honourable Prime Minister,

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran respectfully states:

According to Article 8 of the constitutional amendment, “People of Iran will have equal rights before the state law”, and based on the explicit text of Article 9 of the said law, “… the rights of no one can be violated, except in the manner and order specified by the laws of the country.” Nevertheless, some of the government authorities, such as officers of the National Pension Directorate, who must indeed abide by the Constitution and set an example for others by following the rules of the country, have discriminated unjustly against a group of Baha’i civil servants—who are citizens of this country and have a complete interest in and allegiance to their homeland and according to their religious beliefs, respect Iran and consider this land sanctified, and, as testified by the honourable authorities, serve their beloved country with honesty and good will—and have violated their rights without any legal justification.

For example, within the past two years, a number of Baha’i civil servants, including some physicians who had been serving their fellow citizens in the cities and villages, and whose respective ministries, administrative supervisors and local residents have been absolutely satisfied with their function, dedication and moral conduct, have been dismissed from the civil service on the instructions of the National Pension Directorate, due only to their being Baha’is. Also, a group of Baha’i teachers were dismissed in the middle of the school year, following the completion of their preliminary college courses. For brevity, we refrain from mentioning their names.

There is absolutely no hint regarding the prohibition of Baha’is from entering the civil service in the State Employment Act or in any other law; even believing in the religion of Islam or the Jafari sect is not a condition of employment. In reality, there are numerous Christians, Zoroastrians, Jews and even citizens of foreign countries who were and still are employed in government services.

The National Pension Directorate cites the fourth section of the Second Article of the National Employment Act, and the respective authorities interpret the phrase “corruption of belief” to justify their action against the Baha’is; whereas, according to the explicit text of Article 27 of the Constitution, the explanation and interpretation of the laws are duties exclusive to the National Consultative Assembly. Otherwise, any officer could use their personal animosity to accuse anyone they may wish as having “corrupt belief”. The directors of human resources of some offices are fully aware of this fact, and in response to the Baha’i civil servants of those offices, have stated that having the Baha’i religion is [not contrary to] the National Employment Act. They have even written about this matter to the National Pension Directorate. Besides, the corruption of the belief of a civil servant must be proved and established in competent courts of law, and explicit orders against them be issued by the courts. This matter is stipulated in both the Constitution and the National Employment Act. It is explicitly stated in Article 12 of the Constitutional Amendment that “No punishment is ordered or executed unless according to the law”.

Therefore, the actions of the National Pension Directorate and other authorities who deal with violation and transgression towards Baha’i civil servants, are in conflict with the explicit text of the Articles of the Constitution. Legally, those who obstinately violate the laws should be punished. It is surprising that Baha’is in Iran have long been offering various civil services, and in past periods when people were not yet familiar with democratic principles, and were strongly dominated by religious prejudice, the Baha’is were not dismissed from civil service for such reasons. But now that the government and people of Iran have been placed among the liberal nations that have ratified the Atlantic Charter and the Human Rights Bill [International Declaration of Human Right], authorities of the National Pension Directorate have started such animosity against the Baha’is.

Therefore, with utmost respect, we request that esteemed body to issue explicit orders to the respective authorities to: first, seriously refrain from interpreting the law, which is among the special duties of the National Consultative Assembly; second, [refrain from discriminating] against the Baha’is, who have legal rights equal to others, and whose number is greater than all other religious minorities in Iran; and finally, government officers should not allow their personal sentiments and religious prejudices to supersede the indisputable national laws, and, in practice, not breach the principles and articles of the Constitution—the respect and observance of which are essential for everyone—so that ultimately there will not be a decline in the number of pious and honest civil servants.

Offering utmost respect,

Chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran

Noureddin Fatheazam

Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran

Ali-Akbar Foroutan