[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

[Emblem]

[The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran]

 

Number: 3322

Date: 12 Kamal 103 [21 Mordad 1325 [12 August 1946]

 

Honourable Ashraf[1] Mr. Ghavamol-Slataneh, Prime Minister of the Imperial Government,

 

With utmost respect, further to the previous submissions, we hereby convey that the honourable Ashraf is well informed of the important current events of the beloved country of Iran, and has personally been observing, during different periods, and affirming how, presently, as before, the bold conduct of the fanatical people and the followers of animosity have been [behaving] towards the oppressed Baha’is.

 

His Honour knows well that from the very beginning of the Baha’i Faith in the beloved country of Iran, a group of prominent dignitaries and leaders of the people, contrary to the indisputable principle of freedom of conscience, which is well accepted in all the advanced countries of the world, have opposed it [in this country] with all their might and have not fallen short of [perpetrating] any attack against the followers of this religion [the Baha’i Faith], in order to mislead the minds and sow the seed of doubt in the hearts of the gullible. Sometimes they called them [the Baha’is] heretics and heathen, and other times supporters of autocracy; sometimes they [were viewed] as the followers of constitutionalists and other times as the agents of the north [Russia], or as functionaries of the south [United Kingdom][2]; at times they were called devoid of love for the motherland and nation. They [the leaders] have insisted so much on their opposition and animosity towards this group that outwardly, in the name of protection of religion, and inwardly, gratifying their own personal interests, they have shed the blood of twenty-thousand sincere adherents and peace lovers of this nation, because of their being Babi or Baha’i, and destroying over one hundred thousand households and families.

 

This took place especially during the tyrannical period of Naser-al-din Shah Qajar, who, with absolute rule and boundless authority, roused the people from every class of the society and the ill-intentioned clergy, together with their cruel followers, against this oppressed group, ordering mass killing. He issued royal orders to the rulers, leaders and governors of the nation.  [He] clearly commanded [them] to enforce and execute the [royal] orders and urged them to follow the religious decrees of the clergy regarding shedding the blood, pillaging and plundering the properties of the oppressed believers [of the Baha’i Faith], and executing young and old.  As a result, all over Iran, nothing short of hard-heartedness ruled. They beat and killed women, children, even suckling babies, who were supposed to be spared. They burned the lifeless bodies of the martyrs, preventing burial rites of those faithful venturesome who gave their lives. Nothing was saved, dyeing the fields and deserts of Iran with the blood of the afflicted, those who had stood firm for the establishment of the unity of mankind and hoisted the banner of peace among the nations, eliminating fanaticism, tearing away the veil of ignorance and superstition. Even up to now, the storm of tyranny and insolence against the Baha’is has not yet subsided. The ill-intentioned have not yet stopped killing and pillaging the oppressed. In this new age, where all the nations of the world express liberty of thought and conscience and pride themselves on [supporting] freedom of religion and belief, the forbearing and gentle Baha’is are yet at the hands of the seditious and corrupt; just as, in the dark ages and preceding periods, even in some capital newspapers, they have called [the Baha’is] Maḥdúru’d-Dam[3].

 

How similar are the painful conditions of the Baha’is of Iran in this period to the Christians of 18 centuries ago in the capital of the Roman Empire, where, according to the explicit history of the Church of those days, the Romans charged the Christians with kidnapping the young children and, during the evenings, roasting them and eating them with wine; thus, they [Christians] became the objects of harassment and persecution.  In our time, too, after the passing of nineteen centuries of the spirit of religions, [prejudice has returned and] the same accusations are repeated. Recently, in Zahedan, a group of innocent and defenceless Baha’is were accused and imprisoned for killing a [labourer]’s child and throwing his body into a borehole. They tried all forms of torture and torment, to get confession and declaration from the abused and oppressed ones. The residents of the place, competing in this race of cruelty, joined the authorities, attacking the homes of the distressed and distraught people, hurting the women and children and beating and injuring the men, plundering their possessions and insulting their Holy Figures.

 

Whenever the Baha’is have been subject to attack and violence, and having taken [to heart] the words of their belief, where it says: “And when ye are tormented, [seek] recourse from the controllers of affairs and the refuge of the people”, they turn to the law, pleading for justice from the authorities. In recent years they have only followed the same old method, and when unwarranted events and the swarming of the insurgents were at hand, without any confrontation, which would be against the laws of the country, they would only seek recourse from the authorities, beseeching justice by submitting their grievances to them.

 

At this juncture, when His Honour Ashraf has taken the reins of our beloved and ancient country in his mighty and powerful hands, and with his utmost endeavour is trying to bring peace and security for all Persians, regardless of their religious affiliation, and with dignity, and patiently, quenching the fire of sedition and corruption from every corner, and in this period of time when the people of Iran are coming out of obscurity and [Iran] has stood among the advanced countries, is resting under the banner of civilization, and has applied the principles of the Charter of [Human Rights of] the United Nations, which is based on the freedom of belief and conscience, this Assembly, on behalf of all the Baha’is of Iran, who have placed their hope on the honourable Ashraf, of excellent intention and impartial application of justice, approaches him and beseeches the following:

 

The Baha’is of Iran, whose numbers are considerably greater than those of other religious minorities, and in all conditions are obedient to the current rules of the country, are, according to their belief, striving for the honour and glory of Iran and Iranians and ready to sacrifice life and property, [and,] contrary to Article 8 of the Constitution of the country, [which affirms] that all the inhabitants of the country are equal before law, are deprived of all social rights, and are even deprived of the right to live, and have no guarantee of life and property under any circumstances, and every day in a different corner of the country, they become victims of some kind of transgression, attack, killing and pillaging. Any time the ill-intentioned troublemakers apply their dangerous plans of action and malicious thoughts, create disturbance, riot, plotting or a revolt, they incite the people against the Baha’is, for their own personal interests, causing these afflicted ones to compromise their lives.

 

Whenever the central authorities issue rightful orders to the relevant departments in order to prevent cruelty against Baha’is, the executive officers, regarding their own religious fanaticism and personal gains, do not strictly apply the orders and become neglectful in their enforcement. Most of the time, they take sides with the transgressors, and instead of punishing the wrongdoers, blame the plaintiffs, accuse them of wrongdoing, and find them guilty, and thus, cause their arrest.

 

Most of the time, the Justice Administration officers and the heads of judiciary of the country refuse to act for the protection of the legitimate rights of the Baha’is who have been attacked and oppressed, transgressed, killed, plundered, beaten and injured, and files that the police and law enforcement officers send to the courts for investigation are, with utter carelessness, left to sit idle. Not only do they themselves become partners with the instigators of the wrongdoing, but they conspire against the Baha’is. Indeed, the behaviour of the judiciary of the country regarding the Baha’is, is, in most cases, pathetic and disappointing. The court cases of some respectable and reputable Baha’is of Yazd, accused of murdering a brick maker, and the trial of the instigators of the Shahroud disaster, and repeated condemnation of the Baha’is, coupled with collusion against some Baha’is of Zahedan, the prosecution of innocent women whose children have been subjected to beating and injury by the transgressors, and many other such examples, are witnesses to these pretensions. Of course, when the judiciary and judicial officers, who are supposed to enforce law and justice, take sides in most cases with the transgressors and accuse and punish the oppressed, then what would be the case of a numerous group of faithful and honest citizens of this country, who are being treated unjustly by the authorities and have become subject to the enmity of the wicked?

 

Some of the writers and those whose goal is to inflame the religious feelings of the innocent and simple-minded, in order to give legitimacy to their sullied desires, have taken off the bridles, in newspapers, journals, and books and articles, and charged the Baha’is with all kinds of accusations and calumnies, using foul language and obscenity on their Holy Figures, and writing whatever they pleased against this gentle group. Without any hindrance, they publish them, and thus incite the vein of bigotry of the ignorant against Baha’is, encouraging and urging the vile and the wicked to rise against them.  Yet the Baha’is are not, under any circumstances, allowed to [defend and] express with respect and friendliness the truths of our Faith to our compatriots, and thus to prove to them our innocence of the accusations and allegations. All the civilized countries of the world have given the right of freedom of the press to the minorities. Baha’is of the world enjoy such a freedom, even in the Islamic countries such as Egypt.

 

About the employment of the Baha’is in the government offices, the sole declaration of being Baha’i and expression of belief, and being committed to honesty and sincerity, has many times become the reason for denying them employment. Time and again, the Baha’i students are dismissed from the national scientific institutions only for the “guilt” of being Baha’i.

 

The anti-Baha’i and anti-Islam books are freely published within Iran and their importation from abroad, according to the current laws, is easy; yet publication and distribution of Baha’i books and articles, which propagate the principles of divine religions, especially the righteous religion of Islam, are prohibited in Iran, and their importation from abroad is not permitted, either. Any time the Baha’i literature is carried by the travellers, the customs officers seize them at the Iranian borders, and often burn them.

 

In brief, the Baha’is of Iran are deprived of all social and civil rights and privileges, which, in the civilized countries [belong to all] their citizens, and are stripped from all the activities permissible for religious minorities in advanced countries. Although the Baha’is of Iran endure all the heavy burdens and deprivations with absolute patience and tolerance, and, except for submitting their pleas for justice to the esteemed authorities, have not taken any other action, the repercussions of the injustices heaped upon them and the misbehaviour and wrongdoings of the transgressors against the international Baha’i community, would not, of course, be constructive for the good reputation of the beloved Iran.

 

Having said all the above, this Assembly, on behalf of all the Baha’is of Iran, requests, with all respect to His Honour Ashraf, that his government issue a decree, together with the esteemed ministers, who are famous and well-known as the generous, just, freedom-seeking holders of ethics and lovers of humanity, that the rights of the Baha’is, like those of any other religious minority are also protected and under the might of the government, that Baha’is be [protected from] any transgression, and that the aggressors be prosecuted and punished, according to Article 8 of the Constitution, according to the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, which our government has also signed and promised to apply. This is in accordance with the recent declaration of the honourable Ashraf, [through] which the oppressed Baha’is, too, hope to enjoy the equality of rights and freedom of conscience, just like other religious minorities.

 

If only the administrative officers and individuals citizens would officially consider that the government, in the name of justice and protection of the rights of people of all classes, and the freedom of humanity, in punishing and penalising the perpetrators and culprits, in order to end extortion, transgression, injury and hurt, leaving behind their savage customs of attacking and encroachment on the lives and properties of Baha’is, has also considered that this wronged group should live in relief and comfort. Certainly such a petition is not beyond the limits of the potential and possibilities of the government, and is within the same category of rights and advantages other civilized countries give to their minorities. Its core meaning is, according to Articles 8 and 12 of the Constitution of the beloved nation, the prevention of aggression against beliefs and conscience and other relevant matters such as freedom of the press, equality of rights, lives and property, and that their honour be immune to the hostility of people.

 

The expectant eyes of thousands of Baha’is in Iran are anxious for the generosity and fairness of His Honour Ashraf and the honourable ministers, who, by the grace of God, are all adorned with the mantle of uprightness, fair-mindedness and liberalism, and they are hopeful for the magnanimity and the courage of those generous statesmen who have placed freedom and self-determination as the title-page of their actions and the pivot of their pride, so that the rightful privileges of the Baha’is are not trampled by transgression and aggression.

 

With utmost respect,

 

The Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, Ali-Akbar Furutan,

[Signature]

 

[Stamp] National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, Year 91 (1934)]

 

[Handwritten Note 1:] Certainly, to be archived among the letters of previous head of the Office, 30 Shahrivar 1325 [21 September 1946]

[Stamp: Registered at the Office of the Prime Minister, number 27939, date: 31 Shahrivar 1326 (22 September 1946)]

 

 

 

 

 

[1] [Ashraf means “The Most Noble”, it is the title of Prime Minister Ahmad Ghavam; it was given to him by the Iranian shah, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi].

[2] [At the time of this letter Iran was divided into two areas of influence between two major forces of Russia and United Kingdom]

[3] [Maḥdúru’d-Dam is a person who deserves to be killed and whose blood can be shed without any fear of punishment]