[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Radio Zamaneh

[Date:] 19 Shahrivar 1393 [10 September 2014]

 

Not a single Baha’i student has been allowed to return to university

Three hundred sixty Baha’i students excluded from attending university wrote an open letter to Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, saying that contrary to promises made by the eleventh government, exclusion of Baha’is from [higher] education is continuing as before.  

[Photo caption:] Baha’is deprived of further studies have requested Hassan Rouhani, as head of the [Supreme] Council of the Cultural Revolution, to revoke the decisions of the Council. 

In this letter, it is mentioned that during last year’s presidential campaign Hassan Rouhani spoke of respecting citizenship rights of Iranians, and especially emphasised the return of university students who had been expelled or any who had been denied attendance.  But according to the signatories of this letter, over the last year not a single Baha’i student has been readmitted to university, and Baha’i applicants’ files for the national university entrance exam have this year been marked “incomplete” by the eleventh government, the same as was done by previous administrations.    

Shadan Shirazi and Ruhiyyeh Safajoo, who passed the national entrance exam, are only two examples of Baha’is denied admission to university studies this year, as was announced in social media.

In the letter addressed to Hassan Rouhani, it notes, “For the large number of Baha’i participants in the 1393 [2014] national university entrance exam, the lack of any announcements over the past month regarding preliminary and final results indicates your lack of concern for the admission of Baha’i youth to university.” 

In their letter, Baha’is who have been deprived of studies have said that on various occasions many high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Science and the Sanjesh Organization have said that the main reason for Hassan Rouhani’s government, and previous ones, continuing the Deprivation Project aimed at Baha’is is the “secret approvals at the [Supreme] Council of the Cultural Revolution”.

The co-signers told Hassan Rouhani that, as the head of the [Supreme] Council of the Cultural Revolution, he has the power to revoke such decisions.

The [Supreme] Council of the Cultural Revolution denies Baha’is the right to study in universities and also deprives them of employment in government entities based on its decision of 6 Esfand 1369 [25 February 1991]. 

[Photo caption:] Shadan Shirazi, a Baha’i who ranked 113 in the math and technical sciences exam, was denied university admittance.

According to the third paragraph of the law of the [Supreme] Council of the Cultural Revolution, if the identity of a Baha’i becomes known, even after registration at university or while studying, such individual is to be denied the right to study.

Signatories of the letter express great dismay at the presence of a large number of officials in the present government [who had served in] previous administrations wherein they played special roles in denying Baha’is their rights to [higher] studies and expelled many Baha’is from various universities. The presence of such officials is contradictory to statements in the president’s [campaign] speeches about wanting to end discrimination at various levels in the country’s educational system.  

These Baha’is who have been deprived of higher education ask for reforms in the country’s educational system through transparent, clear and immediate disclosure of preliminary and final results of all Baha’i participants in the 1393 [1984] national entrance exams; the admittance of all [qualified] students who were denied the right to university studies after the Cultural Revolution, including [so-called] “starred” students, whether Baha’i, expelled, gender-segregated, or otherwise; dissolving the Central Selection Committee of the Education Evaluation Board of the Ministry of Science [which operates] at the Sanjesh Organization; repeal and reform of all approvals of the [Supreme] Council of the Cultural Revolution and related circulars which directly or indirectly promote any sort of discrimination related to university admissions. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran not only has denied the Baha’is their right to university studies, it also has not allowed them to establish educational institutions to study independently. Many Baha’i citizens connected with the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) were arrested, and the Institution is considered unlawful.  BIHE was established by Baha’i professors who were expelled from teaching at universities, and is attended by Baha’i youth who were denied access to university studies.

In the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Baha’is are not recognized as an official minority religion; since the Iranian revolution, they have been constantly discriminated against in political, social, economic and cultural ways. It is said that from the beginning of the Islamic Revolution at least 200 Baha’is have been executed to date. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran refers to the Baha’i Faith, which began in the 19th century and has more than seven million followers [worldwide], as the “perverse sect”, and for that reason denies the followers of this faith citizenship rights.