[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]
[Date:] Sunday, 10 Bahman 2535 [30 January 1977]
[Issue No.:] 531
The Respected Rastakhiz Newspaper
Indeed, freedom of opinion is honourable, but ...
With regard to the letter that was published on the “Letters to Editor” page of that newspaper, (issue number 22-10-2535) [11 January 1977] [in which] the author, based on his imaginations, tried to show self-righteousness, I would like to briefly offer the following statement for printing, particularly because the author had raised an issue, confusing it with some claims that might mislead [the readers].
In summary, he complains, “Why do state authorities, when placing job advertisements in the press, only invite [the candidates from] the official religions for employment in government departments? They deprive others from receiving social benefits due to having a particular religious belief.” Then he adds, “This practice is contrary to the principle of freedom of opinion. No wise and noble man, no matter how badly in hardship, would violate his religious belief.”
It turns out that Mr. Abbas Radmehr, the author of that letter, wants to say, “Why is [no one] other than [a follower of] Islam - the state religion - and [followers of the] three recognized religions of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism, considered for employment?” This expectation of his is totally unreasonable, because we [should] note that our country, Iran, has recognised just three religious minorities. Based on this just logic, that “belief” has its own foundation and has its own particular meaning, the human heart and conscience only follows the everlasting logical, correct and useful belief system, and one’s heart becomes attracted only to these types of principles and defends its freedom, particularly because Iran is not a country that would destroy religious freedom, let alone cause hardship to the wise and noble people such as yours.
Of course, I do not intend to proselytise and do not want to compare the noble religion of Islam with other religions. I just want to invite you, if you wish, without any prejudice and self-interest, to contact each other and have a conversation. At the end, to prove the freedom of religious belief in Iran, I remind you that during the survey before the recent one, it became apparent and was documented that 98% of the Iranian population are Muslims, and only about four hundred and twenty thousand were the followers of the official religious minorities of our country. Nevertheless, to all these minorities the freedom of opinion has been granted.
Ahmad Rahsepar, Post Office Box 468 - Tehran