[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Date: 1 Shahrivar 1360 [23 August 1981]
To: The Honorable Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran
With much respect, and out of necessity, we take this opportunity to inform you of some of the hardships and afflictions that this community has had to endure from the outset of the revolution. We beseech God, before all else, that your impressions of this community will not be based on the insinuations and slanders that our opponents have, contrary to the truth, spread in the society.
Perhaps, despite tens of thousands of unanswered pleas and grievances of [this community], this time, in the administration of justice, His Excellency’s realization of the rights of the oppressed and the importance of securing the safety of the oppressed Baha’i individuals, will be effective and will reduce the galling weight of their suffering and persecutions, and will place balm on the wounded hearts and sorely tried and afflicted hearts of this wronged community, which, in the course of over 130 years, has been subject to every kind of injustice and tribulation [as listed below].
- Contempt for and profanity against the sacred tenets of the Baha’i Faith, even on the part of the authorities and through the mass media, etc.
- Attacks on the Baha’is, the plundering of their properties, and the infliction of bodily injury, beating and torture, a comprehensive list of which is available.
- Compelling Baha’is, young and old, collectively and individually, in various and frightful manners, to recant their belief and abandon their religion, especially in the villages, where a large number of Baha’is reside.
- Burning and destroying their homes, places of work, agricultural produce and livestock, and the destruction of Baha’i cemeteries, the cutting down of trees, the desecration of graves, and objecting to the burial of the dead in many places in Iran, a list of which is available.
- Expulsion of thousands of Baha’is from their places of residence, compelling them to become wanderers, preventing them from engaging in any productive activities, and hindering them from returning to their previous places of residence.
- Expulsion of thousands of sincere Baha’i employees and workers from the armed forces, government departments, institutions associated with the government, and even from private companies and institutions, without a legitimate excuse or legal justification.
- Confiscation and possession of Baha’i holy places and historic sites (revered by the Baha’is of the world), in addition to other properties and endowments belonging to the Baha’i community, such as a Haziratu’l-Quds, hospitals, homes for the elderly and the disabled, public baths, and all Baha’i cemeteries. Also, the confiscation and occupation of companies responsible for the management of these properties in all parts of Iran.
- Destruction of the House of the Bab, one of the foremost and holiest shrines for the Baha’is of the world.
- [Confiscation] of the Nawnahalan Company, the shares of which belonged to thousands of Baha’is, and which was established and registered some 63 years ago.
- Confiscation of the properties of the Baha’is in many regions, particularly in villages; the freezing of their bank accounts and prohibiting business transactions of many. Recently, in addition to the foregoing instances, an order was issued for confiscation of the properties and belongings of 117 Baha’is in Yazd, which, in most cases, consist of the dwelling places and household furniture of each family.
- Expulsion of Baha’i students and refusal to enroll them in the schools. Also, expulsion of the Baha’i students from the universities to the extent that some students have even been expelled in the last year of their medical studies, through written letters, in Esfahan and Shiraz. Recently, [with] new regulations for the transfer of currency for the students who study abroad, they have prevented Baha’i students [from receiving their funds].
- By the [interference] of a few people in some areas, residents have been prohibited from having any dealings or association with the Baha’is and [they] have been prevented from [obtaining] their daily needs. They have even been prevented from using the public bathhouses, riding on the buses, etc.
- In some areas, authorities have refused to issue the birth certificates or identity cards for newly born Baha’i infants. They have even gone as far as to issue letters announcing that the reason for the refusal is because they are Baha’is.
- Registration of Baha’i marriages and divorce have been refused, contrary to the law.
- Three under-aged Baha’i girls, in Kashan, Shahryar in Karaj, and Urmia, have been inhumanely and unlawfully abducted, and prevented from returning to their families; one of them, even though not yet of age, has been married off to a young man without the consent of her parents.
- Many Baha’is, contrary to the religious and civil laws and provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, have been deprived of their freedom and sentenced to prison solely because of being Baha’is and every day are faced with new arrests and troubles.
- Fourteen of the trusted and active members of the Baha’i communities—amongst them are the elected members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran—have been kidnapped and concealed in a hidden place, and their families have not been allowed to visit them for over a year.
- Many Baha’is in the cities of Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd, Shiraz, Miandoab, Mahabad, Birjand, Rasht, Hamadan and Kashmar have been executed [based on] false and inaccurate accusations, solely because of being Baha’is, and ostensibly, by the fabrication of false allegations, such as an espionage connection to Zionism or imperialism. Only during the past four months, over thirty well-known Baha’is, about ten of whom were specialist physicians, engineers, authors, researchers and learned individuals, despite their innocence, were executed unjustly, one of whom was the author of 27 books, among which is the “History of Semitic Religions and Islam”, in addition to many books in the field of philosophy, religion, history and social studies and refutation of materialistic schools of thought in Hamadan, Shiraz, Kashmar and Tabriz.
- Similarly, through attacks and acts of terrorism, a number of Baha’is, such as Professor Manouchehr Hakim, a lecturer in medicine at the University of Tehran, have been killed, and people such as a couple (husband and wife) in Nuk of Birjand have been set on fire and burnt to death.
- With regards to [the last] two items (18 and 19), without any explicit stipulation in the death sentence and without issuing a verdict, in the case of item 19, the Bonyad e-Mostazafan [the Foundation for the Oppressed, or the Martyr’s Foundation], has confiscated and seized all the properties and belongings of the victims.
- In the codified and approved provisions of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the human, legal and civil rights of the Baha’i religious minority, which numerically exceeds the total of all other religious minorities in Iran, are not recognized, which is against the rules and principles of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic to recognize the rights and freedoms of all the inhabitants of the country.
- It is more surprising that execution of the Baha’is and the injustices inflicted upon them, have been denied and negated by the official authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran in all the mass media.
Honorable Mr. Prime Minister, the above is a summary of tens of thousands of financial and physical persecutions and sufferings inflicted upon Baha’is. They have endured patiently and tolerated with forbearance all these hardships and tribulations and sustained the weight of these troubles on their shoulders. Since the beginning of the revolution, Baha’is have informed the Council of Experts, and the Islamic Consultative Assembly and official government authorities and those in charge of the affairs of the country, both in writing and verbally, of their position and their belief—that Baha’is, according to their religious principles, believe in the sacred religion of Islam and they consider their religion as the successor and promoter of the principles and truths of all heavenly religions. They consider the Prophet Muhammad, [PBUH] as the Seyyed-al Morsalin [Master of the Messengers] and consider the immaculate Imams as the Guides to the true path. Baha’is utterly avoid interference in politics and membership in political parties. They consider obedience to the government and the laws of the country as their principal obligation and pay homage to the sacred country of Iran as the Cradle of their Faith. They take no steps, except in the path of benevolence and service, manifesting trustworthiness, righteousness, and uprightness in serving their fellow human beings. They consider treachery to the nation and the government as unforgiveable sin.
Despite all this, every day, the Baha’is—merely because of their belief in their religious principles and teachings—are afflicted with a new persecution and are targets of strange accusations and calumnies. No one has mercy on their lives, their properties, their existence, or their plight. In the past, and in the course of the last two-and-a-half years, Baha’is have proven their righteousness, trustworthiness, benevolence and sincerity for their country. What is the need to resort to violence and coercion against such a society?
It is our hope that Your Honor’s insight and prudence will serve as an impediment to the use of the government’s power to satisfy the fanaticism and malevolent intentions of a few people, or attacking [the Baha’i] beliefs, and aggression against the belief and transgression against an oppressed and defenseless community, will not become the means to cover up the political greed of a few godless people.
And yet, as some religious leaders have pronounced, if torture, troubles, accusation, pressures, imprisonments, executions, exile and banishment, and homelessness of the Baha’is cause glory and honor and satisfy the responsible authorities, attract divine blessings and rewards and offer good reputation, manifest stability and security and cause glory and loftiness of the country, then here are our helpless chests and our bodies, defenseless against the sharp-edged swords of yours.
The Baha’i Community of Iran
The Baha’i Community of Iran