[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Subject: Deprivation of the right to engage in the medical profession and higher education based solely on religious beliefs, contrary to the sacred principles of Islam and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
With respect, we convey the following. Upon the passage of more than three years since the victory of the Revolution and two-and-a-half years after the ratification of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we, the undersigned, Dr. Sholeh Misaghi Dehghani (Hakiman) and Dr. Sina Hakiman, have been subjected to injustice and discrimination by some of the esteemed authorities who consider themselves to be the standard-bearers and harbingers of justice and true Islam.
Given that, based on the dictates of our conscience and our religious teachings, we are obedient to the government and the law, oppose lawlessness, praise Socrates’ act of drinking poison as a sign of his respect for the rule of law, love the sacred country of Iran and its dear people, and wish for the success, honour, and happiness of this homeland, we would like to inform you of the lack of conformity with the lofty teachings of Islam and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic as described below. It is our hope that this brief presentation will lead to the alleviation of this unjust discrimination and the advancement of justice and compassion and betterment of various social affairs. May we not rely solely on beautiful words and slogans and strive to achieve them in practice, because those who lay claim to pure deeds are many, but those who are adorned with the ornaments of good manners and actions are rare as an elixir.
As Your Highness is aware, justice has such a great importance that the order of the universe rests on the foundations of reward and punishment. It is, indeed, appropriate that so many divine verses have been revealed regarding the wrath and punishment of God on those who defile their hands with acts of injustice and cruelty. For instance, the Seal of the Prophets, the Great Messenger (peace be upon Him) says in the Sura of Al-Kahf, Verse 86, “Whoever does wrong will be punished by Us, then will be returned to their Lord, Who will punish them with a horrible torment.”
In view of the above verse, and based on Article 37 of the Constitution regarding innocence, as no violation has been proven to have been committed by us—and Section J, Item 6, Article 2, and Item 14, Article 3, and Articles 14, 56, 156, 169 of the Constitution, all of the people of Iran are under the protection of the law, and the Muslim government and the people are proponents of justice. Also, according to the statement of the prosecutor general of the country, Ayatollah Rabbani Amlashi, Baha’i individuals are under the protection of the law and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran; yet, we the undersigned have been subjected to injustice and cruelty because of our belief in the Baha’i religion and have been deprived of engaging in the medical profession and higher education. In other words, contrary to Articles 22, 28, 29, and Items 2 and 4 of Article 43, our jobs as a Baha’i physicians have been attacked by the respected minister of health. Not only have we not been given the necessary opportunities to engage in our work, but the possibility of doing it has been taken away from us despite the community’s urgent needs and the engagement of non-Iranian physicians—who deny the religion of Islam—in this work. We are Iranian; we believe in the sacred religion of Islam, and have taken continuous action [to appeal for justice] for a long time.
Also, Your Highness is well aware of the extent to which those who “know” have been praised in the sacred Quran, as well as “those who use their minds” and “those who discern.” His Highness Imam Ali (PBUH), the centre of the deputyship and the shining star of the heavens of knowledge and wisdom, has stated, with regard to the station and importance of promoting and expanding science and knowledge: (Translation) “Seek knowledge everywhere and circle around the light of knowledge like a butterfly. Do not consider whether the light is shining out from the palace of a king or the hut of a beggar.”
He also says, “Do not care whether the source of illuminating wisdom is a wicked murderer. To the extent possible educate others and do not lock up the treasury of knowledge like unto a snake, and do not deprive the seekers of this abundant treasure.”
In order to avoid wasting our time, we submitted applications to continue our higher education and obtain a specialization. But, contrary to Article 23 of the Constitution, which forbids investigation into beliefs, the application form for higher education has violated this Article. It has also been disregarded by the respected authorities. For this reason, based solely on our belief in the Baha’i religion, we have been deprived of pursuing higher education. Under the pretext of Cultural Revolution and in disregard of the saying of Imam Ali (PBUH), which was stated above and is contained in Article 4 of the Constitution, and based on exclusivity, contrary to Item 6, Article 3 of the Constitution, and discrimination and injustice, contrary to Article 14, along with situations such as preferential treatment and abuse of power, we faced heinous and indecent abuses—witnessed by three reliable sources—from the agents of dictatorial regimes, contrary to Item 9, Article 3, and Article 14 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not only have opportunities for higher education not been provided to us, as required by the Constitution, but we have even been deprived of [the opportunity to pursue] our education outside the country. As such, the right to expansion of higher education, as required by Section B, Item 6, Article 2, and Item 3, Article 3, and Articles 19 and 20, and Sections 1 and 7 of Article 43, has been disregarded, and any effort whatsoever to provide free education for all under Article 30 of the Constitution has been [thwarted].
In conclusion, with great humility, we ask the Exalted Lord to bestow upon you and other respected authorities of the government true happiness and success. It is clear that we are obedient to the law in a condition of absolute surrender and acquiescence. Our intention in sharing these points is to affectionately enable our friends to succeed in carrying out the ordinances of God in service to humanity. Otherwise, Your Highness is aware that the invisible Hand of God does not leave His servants alone and showers His provisions and bounties upon them like a pouring rain. For those who love knowledge and wisdom, it has always been possible to gain a portion from the ocean of science and understanding. It is our hope that all of us will be able to face the verdict of our conscience, the judgement of history, and the justice of God with honour and pride.
I pray to God for your success and happiness,
Sholeh Misaghi Dehaghani (Hakiman)
Reminder: The referenced Articles of the Constitution of Iran are enclosed.
Article 2: The Islamic Republic of Iran is a regime founded on the belief in -----
6- the exalted dignity and value of man and his freedom, coupled with responsibility before God; in which -----
B: sciences and arts and the most advanced results of human experience, together with the effort to advance them further.
H: negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and the submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and its acceptance, equity, justice, political, economic, social, and cultural independence, and national solidarity are secured by recourse.
Article 3: In order to attain the objectives specified in Article 2, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of directing all its resources to the following goals: ------
3- free education and physical training for everyone at all levels, and the facilitation and expansion of higher education; -----
6- the elimination of all forms of despotism and autocracy and all attempts to monopolize power; -----
9- the abolition of all forms of undesirable discrimination and the provision of equitable opportunities for all, in both the material and the intellectual spheres; -----
14- securing the multifarious rights of all citizens, both women and men, and providing legal protection for all, as well as the equality of all before the law;
Article 4: All civil, penal, financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria. This principle applies absolutely and generally to all articles of the Constitution as well as to all other laws and regulations, and the wise persons of the Guardian Council are judges in this matter. -----
Article 14: In accordance with the sacred verse, “God does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with those who have not fought against you because of your religion and who have not expelled you from your homes” [60:8], the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and all Muslims are duty-bound to treat non-Muslims in conformity with ethical norms and the principles of Islamic justice and equity, and to respect their human rights. This principle applies to all who refrain from engaging in conspiracy or activity against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Article 19: All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege.
Article 20: All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria.
Article 22: The dignity, life, property, rights, residence, and occupation of the individual are inviolate, except in cases sanctioned by law.
Article 23: The investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief------
Article 28: Everyone has the right to choose any occupation he wishes, if it is not contrary to Islam and the public interests, and does not infringe upon the rights of others.
The government has the duty, with due consideration of the need of society for different kinds of work, to provide every citizen with the opportunity to work, and to create equal conditions for obtaining it.
Article 29: To benefit from social security with respect to retirement, unemployment, old age, disability.
Article 30: The government must provide all citizens with free education up to secondary school, and must expand free higher education to the extent required by the country for attaining self-sufficiency -----.
Article 37: This Article involves [the presumption of] innocence, and no one is to be held guilty of a charge unless his or her guilt has been established by a competent court. -----
Article 43: The economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its objectives of achieving the economic independence of the society, uprooting poverty and deprivation, and fulfilling human needs in the process of development while preserving human liberty, is based on the following criteria:
1- the provision of basic necessities for all citizens: housing, food, clothing, hygiene, medical treatment, education, and the necessary facilities for the establishment of a family;
2- ensuring conditions and opportunities for employment for everyone, with a view to attaining full employment; placing the means of work at the disposal of everyone who is able to work but lacks the means, in the form of cooperatives, through granting interest-free loans or recourse to any other legitimate means that neither results in the concentration or circulation of wealth in the hands of a few individuals or groups, nor turns the government into a major absolute employer. These steps must be taken with due regard for the requirements governing the general economic planning of the country at each stage of its growth; -----
4- Respect for the right to freely choose an occupation; refraining from compelling anyone to engage in a particular job; and preventing the exploitation of another’s labour; -----
7- the utilization and the training of skilled personnel in accordance with the developmental needs of the country’s economy; -----
Article 56: Absolute sovereignty over the world and man belongs to God, and it is He Who has made man master of his own social destiny. No one can deprive man of this divine right, nor subordinate it to the vested interests of a particular individual or group. The people are to exercise this divine right in the manner specified in the following articles.
Article 156: Restoring public rights and promoting justice and legitimate freedoms.
Article 169: No act or omission may be regarded as a crime with retroactive effect on the basis of a law framed subsequently.