[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Declaration of the Baha’i Community of Iran,
It is no secret to historians and social observers that from its inception 137 years ago, [the Baha’i community] has constantly been subjected to all kinds of danger, harmful treatment, oppression, false accusation, opposition, misunderstanding and religious prejudice by its adversaries through their words, publications and actions. Political allegation, however, is something that was conceived against this community from the time of the Constitutional Revolution, and particularly from 1313 A.H. [A.D. 1934]. Since that time, and after every upheaval, Baha’is have been labeled as collaborators with and associates of the opposition groups, and [depending on] the current issues, situations and concerns of the day, they were sometimes considered to be supporters of dictatorship, opposing the constitution, and sometimes promoters of the republicans opposing dictatorship; sometimes advocates of the revolutionaries and sometimes adherents of the moderate groups. Sometimes they were branded as agents of the British, promoting the colonial interests of that country, and another time, instruments founded and trained by Russia. And when the U.S. government’s hand reached Iran, Baha’is became the political agents of that country.
I do not wish to detail in this brief presentation the reasons for the absurdity of these accusations and the painful events that have befallen this oppressed community as a result of such nonsensical allegations. These unfounded claims and baseless accusations have especially been repudiated and rejected by the scholars and historians, and even by those who have published material against the Baha’i Faith, including “Amir Kabir and Iran” by Adamiat, the “Rahnam-ye Ketab” journal by Mojtaba Minovi, “The Sixth Year and Baha’ism” By Ahmad Kasravi, the book “Middle East Issues” compiled by Faezi, and others; and also by the Baha’i writers, including the book “Repudiating the Confessions of Prince Dolgorouki” and the booklets, “History Moans” and “Repudiating Accusations of Zionism”.
But let us begin our discussion from the moment when, from the tribune of the official sessions of the Consultative Assembly before the establishment of the recent revolution, [the speaker], openly and with no regard, leveled all kinds of false accusation and slanderous allegations against this community which his imagination could possibly invent, under the illusion that in doing so, he may find recognition or protection for his post, or use the oppressed Baha’i community as a scapegoat for his political gain and interest. They raised their arsenal of takfir [cursed for committing apostasy] against this community and issued a religious decree for the total eradication, elimination and bloodshed of these defenseless people.
Their sedition and provocation grew to the point where the lives and properties of thousands of people fell prey to the selfish desires and passions of those ungodly people. In the cities of Neyriz, Sarvestan, Marvdasht, Khormoj, Sahlabad, Dariun, and Saadi Town in Shiraz, hundreds of Baha’i homes were set on fire. Properties were looted and plundered, and the soil of Shiraz was dyed with the blood of innocent people. On that occasion, they initiated a commotion and ruthless riot under the pretext of protection of the religion [Islam], and managed to provoke the ignorant crowd with all the tools in their power. By shedding their deceitful tears, and in a show of solidarity with the religion [Islam] and the salvation of the people, they rose against the Baha’is, who, according to their false presumptions, had inflicted grave oppression upon the public. And yet we observed that they possessed nothing in their hearts but deceit, trickery and venomous vengeance, and thus, in the name of religion and freedom, sought no weapon but political craft―all in order to use the term Baha’i as an excuse to conceal their ominous desires and deeds. They claimed that Baha’is are spies who oppose Islam; however, Article 313 of the military criminal code and other existing law provide a concise definition of espionage as follows: “Obtaining information and documents for the benefit of the enemy and submission of the military; [providing] political secrets or cipher keys to foreign agents in a planned and premeditated manner.”
Such a definition by no means corresponds to the conduct and actions of the Baha’is, because they never engage in any political affairs, based on their religious obligation; they do not take membership in any political party and do not take part in any conspiracy, provocation or treachery. They do not distribute hidden flyers, do not engage in fraud or deceit, and they observe decency in their discourse. They take pride and dignity in fellowship and harmony towards all, in chastity, purity, honesty and obedience to the government. They don’t take sides, but are always loyal to their homeland. They gravely despise backbiting and follow their duties with utmost diligence. They spend their energies towards an ever-advancing development and prosperity. They confess and glorify the sacred religion of Islam as well as other holy religions, and praise the country of Iran, the cradle of their Faith. And finally, they measure one’s honour and sublime nature by his justice, trustworthiness, purity and deliverance. How can such people, nurtured and educated with these moral values and traits, be associated with a political party or group, or be considered to be against Islam or affiliated with a foreign country, or be spies?
They claimed that Baha’is are agents of Zionism, and they consider Zionism the ideology of the racial supremacy of the children of Israel (Jews), or the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. This supposition is based on the Baha’is’ spiritual link to the twin cities of Akka and Haifa, which hold the sacred remains of three central holy figures of the Baha’i Faith, who were buried there, many decades prior to the sovereignty of Israel over Palestine, (in 1948). Thus, these cities have become the spiritual focal point for this community, and because Baha’i pilgrims visit these holy places in Israel, they consider them to be agents of Zionism. Baha’is’ visits to Akka, however, (starting 110 years ago in 1285 Hijri [1868 A.D.] when Baha’u’llah was exiled to Akka) have a parallel in the rewards and values to Jews, Muslims and Christians when they visit Jerusalem.
Baha’is bear similar expenses for the upkeep of their holy places to what other religions spend for their own in that country. Visiting these places and bearing expenses for their upkeep can, by no means, be interpreted as evidence of a special [political] relationship with or support for Israel. And if such supposition is presumed valid, then followers of other religions can in no wise be exempted from similar judgment for their devotion to their point of adoration in Jerusalem. To consider this delusion a reality entails that the followers of those religions be counted as agents of Zionism, too. This is assuredly an absurd delusion; yet, strangely enough, if our Muslim brothers attain the honour of visiting the holy tomb of Imam Husayn (PBUH) in Karbala and pay a sum with pure intention for the repair and maintenance of that holy place, they will not consider this act to be a relationship with the government of Iraq, and they are not considered as agents of that country, but [their action] will be regarded as a pure thought and act praiseworthy and commendable in every sense. But should Baha’is visit their holy places and donate a sum of money for their repair and maintenance, such an act is considered as their tie with Israel and proof of a punishable crime. [They are called] agents of Zionism and, based on this illusion, are subject to all kinds of atrocities. Is this not the ultimate brutality caused by those who are devoid of justice?
Among other imperative Baha’i ordinances is non-involvement is political affairs, obedience to the government and loyalty to the state and the nation; to the point where the slightest involvement in political affairs and membership in any political party is considered to be the proof that one does not carry a Baha’i title; therefore, they are prohibited from accepting any political post―even positions in ministries, provincial governors’ offices, political representations or membership in parliament. In previous times, when membership in the single-party political system (Rastakhiz) became mandatory, Baha’is, for the sole reason of their adherence to the principle of non-involvement in politics and in spite of weighty pressures, also refused to take membership in this party. How can these people, with such conviction, be considered “political” or be labeled as Zionists based on their belief?
In addition, the Baha’is’ main objectives and goals are the establishment of the unity of mankind, attainment of justice and guarantee of equal rights for all humankind. In light of the Baha’i belief in the oneness of mankind and the oneness of religions, it becomes evident that it would be inconceivable for any Baha’i to consider the religion, belief or race of one group to be superior to the religion, belief or race of another. Love for the whole world does not dispossess them of their love for the homeland. Baha’is, therefore, cannot possibly be viewed as Zionists, since, as stated earlier, Zionism is based and defined on the perception and recognition of the superiority of one race, religion or territory, contradicting the Baha’i belief.
And finally, a further proof of this unfounded and false accusation is the viewpoint of Zionism itself towards the Baha’is, the details of which are beyond the limits of this brief presentation. For further information and research, “A Comprehensive History of the Jews”, volume three, by Dr. Habib Levy, can be studied.
It might be necessary to add the following point in this presentation: that the political allegation against the Baha’is not only aims to disgrace this community and distort the goals and aspirations of this religion in the public eye, but has the intention of discouraging the public from investigating and obtaining information about the principles and objectives of this community. A summary review of the type, variety and evolution of the allegations in each period will easily show that issues of high publicity, interest, importance, or subjects causing heightened public hostility, are the exact same issues devised against this community, presented as facts, and utilized in order to violate the rights, to hinder the promotion of ideology and to crush this group. Some people, when observing that the Baha’i Faith, in spite of its numerous obstacles, oppositions and lack of military, economic and other resources, is gaining a steady growth and fame, and on the other hand, and denying any divine intercession and will in the fate of this religion, come to the conclusion that such progress and growth is due to its ties to politics.
During the time when it had not yet been deprived of the right to verbal and written defence, this community voiced and demonstrated to the authorities the absurdity of these false accusations, and further stated that this people has no ambition in its heart for conquering the world, nor does it have any desire for supremacy, but considers it a duty to relieve and cleanse humankind from any impurity or hypocrisy and to demonstrate that its fate is intertwined with the fate of all mankind, and to promote the unity of all religions and raise the melodious tone of freedom, equality and justice ever louder to all ears. And yet, alas, once the mind is afflicted with the disease of self-interest, egocentrism or malice, it cannot easily be cured; it will resort to any shameful act, employ any fallacy or deceit, cling to any machination to disguise its own defect and shortcoming, and will not abstain from any slanderous accusation or calumny―an effective weapon used by feeble and heedless people to disgrace those who uphold the principles of good deed and good thought.
Nevertheless, Baha’is viewed these slanderous accusations and attacks mainly as misunderstanding, ignorance, mistake, the result of estrangement, alienation and failing to recognize the main goals and objectives of all the prophets of God among followers of religions. They [Baha’is] were certain that those with a firm conviction in Islam, or any other religion, would never use the weapon of false accusation and never allow themselves to violate and oppress other peoples’ beliefs. Yet it happened, and the waves of revolution soared high from every corner.
Baha’is, watchful and anxious for the outcome of the revolution and of its promise of Islamic freedom, independence and justice, were certain that, should the regime be governed by the Divine Will, then spirituality would transcend materialism, purpose [would transcend] words, and the principles of piety, equality, freedom and justice would be the cornerstone of any undertaking and the basis for assessing all values. The practices of narrow-mindedness, jealousy, selfishness, discrimination, hypocrisy and prejudice would be utterly condemned and put aside from this community.
It was for these reasons that the establishment of the Islamic Republic and its promises brought a ray of hope to the hearts of the oppressed and persecuted Baha’is of Iran. Yet alas, the dawning blooms of justice and equality withered and were trampled upon before eventide. The changes and chances of time, once again, contrary to expectations, turned against the Baha’is. The false accusation of political affiliation, which was especially deployed in the years 1313-1314 A.H. [1934-1935] and had become the warped cornerstone for an edifice of atrocities against the oppressed Baha’i community, rose higher, and the storm of baseless allegations became even fiercer than before. They kept on with their accusations, both verbally and in their publications, and continued to repeat [them] until it became a public belief, and the mere allegation accepted as the proof of their crime, thus causing the cold gusts of calamity to once again blow against body of this wronged group of Baha’is, the lovers of every creation of God, those who endured the highest degree of torture and degradation, a summary of which is listed below:
- Insult, humiliation, threat and intimidation, with the use of the press, secret pamphlets (Ahrar, Akhgar) as well as mass media, including radio and television, and all kinds of unfounded allegations and false accusations.
- Storming, mob attack, assault and battery, torture and beating of Baha’is in most localities in Iran.
- Forced recantation of belief through hundreds of tragic practices. Among other things, in Vadeghan of Kashan, after a plethora of persecution, torture and banishment, they forced the remaining Baha’is into a sheep pen on a mountain, shut the entrance and burned it with firewood. And once they were near death due to heavy smoke, they took them to a mosque in order to force them to recant their Faith.
- The burning and destruction of homes, business properties, agricultural goods, livestock and Baha’i cemeteries; the cutting down of trees; looting and confiscation of Baha’i properties; forceful eviction from homes; exhumation of graves and prevention of burial of the dead, including in Fathabade Vadeghan, Jowshaqan, Jasb, Yahyaabad of Kashan, Deh Bid, Hemmatabad, Kushkak and Abadeh in Fars, Hesar Nameq and Nuk, Khunik, Boshruyeh, a county of Mashhad, Birjand, Manshad, Rostaq, Banadak Sadat and Taft of Yazd, Aqchelu, Kushkabad, Sari Qamish, Amzajerd, Uch Tappeh, Chopoqlu, Jamshidabad, Sheykh Jan and Lalejin county of Hamadan, Piranshahr and Miandoab and Sangsar (Mehdishahr) and Shahsavar (Tonekabon), Bahnamir, Arab Kheyl, Babolsar, Mahforouzak of Gorgan, Garmdarreh, Khademabad, Haft Juy, Karaj of Tehran and tens of other places. In Kata, in Boyer Ahmad of Isfahan, over two thousand resident Baha’is of that village were forced out of their homes and scattered over mountains and valleys for months, and all of their properties, livestock and agricultural goods were looted.
- In some cities, including Tabriz, Yazd, Hamadan, Shiraz, Abadeh, Tehran, Gonbad-e Kavus, Kermanshah, Natanz, Dezful, Zahedan, Shahmirzad and Sangsar (Mehdishahr), innocent Baha’is were deprived of their freedom with no proof of any guilt and solely for being Baha’is, and on the basis of unfounded allegations, were arrested and imprisoned.
- Thousands of honest Baha’i employees and workers were illegally dismissed from their jobs in the armed forces, government and government-affiliated offices, as well as private establishments, having committed no fault and solely for being Baha’is. The Ministry of Health, for instance, by issuing Ministerial Circular number 7560 (dated 10 Dey 1359 [31 December 1980]) made it mandatory for all its personnel to fill in a written application indicating their religion, and ordered a collective dismissal of all Baha’is. A copy of the response to this illegal act, issued by the Baha’i community, is attached herewith for the benefit of supporters of justice and human rights.
- Holy places and historical Baha’i sites, all properties and endowments belonging to the Baha’i community, including Baha’i holy places, Baha’i centres (Haziratu’l-Quds), hospitals, and homes for the elderly and destitute, public baths and cemeteries, as well as companies, based on their area of expertise in managing these properties, were all seized, confiscated and expropriated with no religious authority or legal warrant. And these are properties that Baha’is had gradually purchased over a period of one hundred years and donated for the various needs of the Baha’i community with pure intentions and sincere motives.
- The House of the Bab, ranking as one of the most holy places for the worldwide Baha’i community, and visited by a great many Baha’is from all over the world every year, was destroyed and razed to the ground.
- The Nawnahalan Company, with shares belonging to thousands of people, founded and registered about 63 years ago, as well as the properties of hundreds of other Baha’is, were confiscated and expropriated. Regarding confiscation of Baha’i properties and the Nawnahalan Company, it is necessary to make the following clarification: These properties were initially confiscated, and then, as stated in the preamble section of the issued judgment, and as reported by the person apparently in charge of the Mostazafan Foundation, the expropriation order was issued by Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court on 16 Aban 1358 A.H. [7 November 1979]. The contents of this judgment certainly are a cause for astonishment and disbelief, not only for the Baha’is, but also for any impartial observer. For instance, this order was issued based on the report of a person who claims to have the right of ownership to all properties belonging to the community, while the Baha’is and the owners of these properties, both individuals and the community, had been denied [an opportunity] to take part in the investigations or given the slightest chance to defend their case. In another part of the judgment we read, “It is obvious that the said companies were established from the beginning with the purpose of providing support for the international Zionism bases in Iran.” Not only can the Baha’i Faith, as explained earlier, have no relationship with Zionism, but the slightest attention to the ownership documents would have revealed that a great majority of these properties were in the possession of the Baha’i community decades prior to the recognition of the government of Israel, and the purchase dates of many of the Baha’i holy places were recorded fifty to one hundred years ago. The Nawnahalan Company was established 63 years ago, while Israel was formed, based on the Balfour Declaration, around 32 years ago. Therefore, issuing such an order based on this unfounded allegation is a cause for utmost regret. In this connection, the Baha’i community is certain that the day will soon come when the authorities in this country will no longer tolerate the weight of such atrocities against the oppressed Baha’is, which lies on the shoulders of the judicial courts and the inherent Islamic Justice, and will issue an order for the return of these properties and assets, confiscated unfairly, with no legal authorization or proof of guilt, and are even in contradiction to the explicit orders of Imam Khomeini and the prime minister of the time.
- In many localities, the general public was warned against any communication or interaction with the Baha’is, so they were deprived of buying or selling the most basic necessities of life, the movement and transfer of their assets, and even entering the public bath or using public transport. Some Baha’i children were denied access to schools.
- In some localities, they have forbidden birth certificates to be issued for the newborn Baha’is, and based on a new circular, registration of Baha’i marriage and divorce has been declared illegal.
- Fourteen honest and well-wishing members of the Baha’i community, among them some elected members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, were kidnapped and secretly imprisoned in an unknown and inaccessible location, causing painful grief to their families and anguish and distress to the hearts of the Baha’is of Iran and of the world. With this action, they not only have shown total disregard for all human rights, but also have ignored the rule of the law as prescribed in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic regarding the freedom and rights of the people.
- In the cities of Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd, Miandoab, Mahabad, Shiraz, Urmia, Birjand and Rasht, a number of Baha’is faced the firing squad based on unfounded accusations. Some others were killed through assault, mob attack, or by assassination. In the Village of Nuk of Birjand, a Baha’i husband and wife were tied to their seats and burned alive. Just recently, Professor Manouchehr Hakim, whose distinguished life was laden with scientific and humanitarian services to this land, was assassinated; another defenceless lady was killed in her home in the most gruesome manner.
In this regard and for further clarification, it is necessary to briefly review a few documents and pieces of evidence used as facts for issuing summary sentences which caused innocent people to face the firing squad. And finally, this review will reveal the fraudulent nature of the supporting evidence used to justify these sentences, so that the authorities will become more cognizant of the truth of the claims made by the Baha’is and the groundless nature of accusations made against them, and so that the honourable judges of the religious courts can become more diligent in the fortification of fundamentals and the authenticity of the judicial process, and avoid issuing biased sentences, [all of] which uproots families and will ultimately bring with it no result except for the torment of conscience and divine retribution.
- Please refer to Ettelaat Newspaper, page 12, issued on 24 Tir 1359 [15 July 1980], regarding the execution of two prominent Baha’is in Tabriz, the exact text of which follows:
“The executed persons were guilty as explained herein:
Yadollah Astani and Dr. Samandari, both Baha’is, guilty of collaborating with SAVAK, espionage for Israel, repression of people, transfer of funds and transmission of information to Israel. (Explanation: Yadollah Astani was a merchant in Tabriz, well known for his honesty and integrity. Dr. Faramarz Samandari was a professor in the medical faculty with a distinguished and peerless personality; according to one of his Muslim colleagues, ‘Even with the passage of one hundred years, we shall not see anyone with this degree of knowledge and scientific approach.’)”
- Kayhan Newspaper, page 16, issue 2, Shahrivar 1359 [24 August 1980], under the title “An Espionage Network Discovered in Isfahan”, reported: “The Revolutionary Guard of Isfahan has further uncovered that the Iranian Episcopal ring, an affiliate of the Archepiscopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East, a direct agent of the British espionage apparatus, a liaison with the CIA of the United States, and one of the key elements in the recent coup d’etat in Iran ... its various affiliates extend to different countries in the region. Its members, after completing special training on espionage in England and Israel, disguised as bishops, priests, etc., work in Episcopal churches and their affiliate institutions and in coordination with the espionage networks of the CIA and Mossad ... start their spying activities for the benefit of global imperialism ... one of the hundreds of documents seized from the Episcopal ring, in relation to the recent coup d’etat conspiracy, confirms that the sum of US$500,000,000 was transferred from a CIA source to the Episcopal ring to be distributed among some of the Iranian army personnel, Baha’i leaders and the anti-revolutionaries ... Most of the domestic and foreign members of this mysterious network have been arrested and are currently waiting in detention for the coercive power of the revolution to determine their fate.”
- Please refer to Kayhan Newspaper, page 20, dated 18 Shahrivar 1359 [9 September 1980], quoting the Kayhan correspondent from Yazd, stating: “The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Yazd convicted seven male Baha’is of espionage and treason against the Muslim nation of Iran and sentenced them to death. This order was carried out in the early morning hours of 17 Shahrivar [8 September] by the firing squad. These seven people had been directly involved in espionage activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran and service to foreign countries. According to numerous records, the most notable being the reports by the Islamic Revolution Document Center, the Local Assembly of the Baha’is of Yazd has clearly been a centre of espionage.”
- Please refer to statements made by the Sharia judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of the Province of Yazd and the prosecutor general of the Islamic Revolutionary [Court] of Yazd regarding the orders for execution of the above mentioned seven Baha’is, reflected in Kayhan Newspaper, page 11, dated 21 Shahrivar 1359 [12 September 1980], in which he states, “The Baha’is in Yazd were executed for the crime of espionage, not for their belief...”. The Sharia judge, [who is] the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of the Province of Yazd continues, “In this connection, and according to the documents obtained, a sum of about US$500,000,000 from Israel and America was allocated for various activities of these Baha’is in Iran. These funds were distributed among the Assemblies by a Supreme Council ... In addition, there is evidence in the records of these people who were charged and executed, implicating them for their part in the recent inauspicious coup d’etat in Iran by America.”
- Please refer to the contents of page 9, Kayhan Newspaper, 5 Esfand 1359 [24 February 1981], regarding the fraudulent nature of the evidence used against the Episcopal ring and the release of three imprisoned members of this ring. In an interview with Hojatoleslam Ghoddosi, the public prosecutor general, we read: “The public prosecutor general was asked to shed some light on the arrest of these people.” Hojatoleslam Ali Ghoddosi explained, “We received a report to the Revolutionary Guard, the Central Revolutionary Committee and the Joint Chiefs of Staff about seven months ago, from a person called Shapour Pourpashang, who is himself a church preacher. The text of this report was prepared by Houshang Pourpashang and states that the Christian Episcopal ring in Isfahan and other Christian churches in various localities in Iran have close ties with the espionage network of the CIA. Some documents and evidence were attached to this report.”
Hojatoleslam continues, “Houshang Pourpashang confessed during his interrogation that he had forged and made a photocopy of these documents on Enghelab Street. He further stated that he suffers from a psychological imbalance and was hospitalized several times”. It was for these reasons that we concluded with certainty that this evidence is not valid.
Ayatollah Beheshti, chief justice of the Supreme Court, in his press conference with Kayhan Newspaper, dated 7 Esfand 1359 [26 February 1981], stated, “It is clear that these three British citizens were basically trapped in the hands of another Christian who forged documents, and, as you have heard, he himself had a working history with the SAVAK organization. It is therefore likely that this whole thing was part of a conspiracy. In our view, the attentive investigation of the documents by the revolutionary court and its impartial conclusion in this case is, in itself, a reflection of the authenticity of the justice system in the Islamic Republic.”
No doubt, verbatim quotation of five issues of the above-mentioned newspaper will prompt the reader to contemplate their contents and to clearly observe how they initially accused Baha’is of espionage and transferring funds to Israel, subsequently delivered them to the firing squad, and later, accused other Baha’is of espionage and receipt of funds from Israel and then executed them. Also, as indicated in section B above, quoting the Revolutionary Guard of Isfahan, the Episcopal ring was considered a key player in the coup d’etat. Then, as we saw in section D above, the Sharia judge of Yazd, in the execution order of the seven Baha’is, in addition to the charges of espionage and receipt of funds from Israel, and based on the documents of the Episcopal ring, accused them of taking part in the inauspicious coup d’etat by America. And finally, based on the conclusive declaration of the chief of the Supreme Court and the public prosecutor general of the Islamic Republic, we see that all these documents had been forged and fabricated and they had also considered the possibility of a conspiracy concealed in this forgery. In short, the oppressed body of this community experienced countless lashes of wrath and tasted unnumbered cups of venom and came under every possible calamity [perpetrated] by them.
Now that it has become abundantly clear that this evidence and these documents, the grounds for issuing these execution orders, were all fabrication, and those accusations categorically unfounded, then the question is who will take the responsibility for restoring the damaged reputation and provide compensation for these massacres? Who will compensate for the crushing psychological damage to the families of the slain and to the community? The essence of justice moans loud in pain, and the lamentations of the quintessence of righteousness soar high to the heavens for all these killings, atrocities and the deadly harassments. The pure blood of the innocent people has dyed every land, and the burning sighs from the grief-stricken hearts of their family members has set the souls of the world inhabitants on fire. The moaning and wailing of children, women and the elderly have brought sorrow and lamentation, not only to the hearts of the Baha’is, but to all members of human society, and the voices of objection are heard from every corner of the world.
International organizations and institutions in every corner of the world have raised their voices of protest in support of objections made by the non-Iranian Baha’is residing in 160,000 localities, asking for suspension, elimination and relief from these atrocities. The oppressed Baha’is of Iran, however, based on their religious obligations, and according to their own moral values, did not allow themselves to pursue any undertaking or cause any defamation to the government or to their own countrymen. Facing the thunderstorm of slander and calumny, and flooded with devastating tribulations and calamities, they chose the path of patience and forbearance and followed the way of the past Prophets, adopted perseverance and tolerated any hardship, endured any agonizing pain and carried their cross on their shoulders; because followers of this Faith do not set their sights on ephemeral glory and worldly splendor, but consider endurance under calamities in the path of God as a divine providence, which is outwardly as fire and vengeance, and inwardly as light and mercy.
Acquiring spiritual advancement and moral perfection, in their view, similar to academic education, requires endeavour, perseverance and hard work. They believe that only the fire of the furnace can test the pure gold for impurities and can bring out its integrity and robust qualities and manifest its shine and glow, while the latter [impurities] will dissolve, disintegrate and perish. If the ocean of calamities is not stirred high, the waves of true faith and the certitude of the believers will not surge and truth will not be distinguished from error. Thus, [Persian verse] and if they do not retaliate or resort to revenge in response to all the tortures, persecutions and oppressions, and return aggression with affection, [it should not be assumed] that their courage has given way to frailty, their valor to weakness or their determination to infirmity; nay, on the contrary, courage for them is forbearance under calamities and devotion to the love of God. They never wash blood with blood or extinguish fire with fire; this is yet another proof of their sincere and devoted commitment to peace and fellowship and their total shunning of any type of animosity, vengeance and strife.
At any rate, we are obliged to write in defence, and if we caused any vexation of conscience, the blame is on those who have attacked this community with so many false accusations and baseless allegations. And should we try to be brief, then we will have no other means to defend against these false accusations and will be unable to prove the extent of the absurdity of these allegations and unfounded accusations, and so the Baha’i community may not receive kind and deserving attention from the reader of this letter. And since we believe ignorance to be the cornerstone and source of all evil and all wicked doings, we unconditionally forgive and forget all the oppressions inflicted by the ignorant people, leave them to God and pray for them, that perchance, God in His own Mercy, will assist them to make of their atrocities a warning lesson, that they will cease their tyranny and aggression and will be guided so that others will be saved from their attacking words and deeds.
At this time, we wish to address the authorities, people of vision and discernment and judicial institutions, those who can be trusted and relied upon for their fair adjudication, those who are associated with the sacred name of Islam, those who lead and hold in their capable hands the administration of the country and its people, those who have established their reign of power and the Constitution on the basis of the power of conscience and justice, and those who have rooted the Constitutional Law on the firm foundation of human rights, dignity and righteousness; indeed, it would be reasonable and meaningful to expect from these people a high regard for justice, law, and support for human rights, for it is from these people and from this government that the call for religion and justice is heard louder than in any other country.
Are the respected authorities cognizant of the fact that among all existing world religions, only the Baha’i Faith testifies to the truth of Islam? And that the number of its followers exceeds the total number of all other religious minorities in this country?
[This is a] government that adorns itself with the name of Islam, a government that was formed by the struggles of those who shed their blood for the establishment of an ever-advancing freedom and justice. Should, in this government, the human rights and human dignity be humiliated and utterly ignored to the extent where the most shameful atrocities and the most severe brutalities, as described above, ever be allowed to fall upon a defenseless group? Is this not a blatant violation of God-given and natural human rights? What is the reason for all this flagrant cruelty and unfair discrimination? Is it necessary to recount for you the dangers facing those who have become utterly distraught, destitute and deprived of all the necessities of life as a result of these atrocities and excruciating hardships? Is it necessary to recall to mind the damage caused to the unity and identity of a nation caused by public dismay and pessimism, which is the ultimate result of disregard for human nobility and dignity? And finally, will not these flagrant cruelties be considered a violation of human dignity, law and Islam?
If the extent of all these is not yet fully grasped; if all these sufferings, miseries, aggressions, abuses and tyrannical acts have not moved you to investigate and alleviate these atrocities; if all these devastations, moaning, wailing and displacement of children, widowed women and the aged did not wake the sense of compassion in you; if all these attacks, lootings, arsons, imprisonments and execution of innocent people have not convinced the authorities of the importance of justice and finding a solution for security and the rights of the people, fully devoted to loyalty to this sacred land, then what more can be said?
Let us hope we have caused no offence, for this is a cry from the aching hearts of members of this community. Indeed, divine policy calls everyone to harmony and union, while human aspiration [calls them] to hostility and enmity. Over many long years, Baha’is have passed their test of compassion, loyalty, honesty and servitude to this blessed land. Should you relieve them from their weighty burden of sorrow and hardship, no doubt they will, in return, play their role with more dedication and will support you in the heavy burden of your services. This is more deserving for you, more worthy for all humanity and more pleasing in the eyes of God.
Those who rule in the name of God and religion should not be devoid of mercy, compassion and justice. The turn of events has provided you with a chance to bring about real justice and genuine freedom for the people, the timeless and yearning desire of all humanity. It would be a misfortune should this aspiration fall prey to the selfish desire and passion of the ungodly. All who pass their days in deprivation, nay, all members of the human family, look to the righteous and the charitable to remedy the ills of a severely troubled humanity, and to be a balm to the hearts of the oppressed, caused by lack of attention to spiritual and human values. Let us hope for the day when this dream will become a reality; when no human will be subjected to degradation and oppression; when nothing will govern humans except for the law; when the dark stains of inequity and discrimination will be wiped out from the pages of human history and the foundation of the law will be based on nothing but human dignity, righteousness, moral values and justice.
In conclusion, we ask of the All-Knowing God that the reader of this letter will ponder the atrocities and harassments inflicted on this community and will consider God’s pleasure, justice and the law, and not the baseless accusations brought against this community by the ill-wishers.
And now that the veils of misunderstanding and false accusation against this community have been lifted, and the Baha’i community, both before and after the revolution, has successfully passed its test of impartiality and benevolence, and has proven its full devotion and determination for the glory of this sacred land, we wish to ask you to order the damaged reputation of those who were executed under baseless charges and fabricated evidence to be restored, and the psychological damages be compensated; and in these days, with the arrival of spring, when nature has passed its winter drowsiness and freeze, and fields and meadows are adorned with luscious, tender green everywhere, to kindly order the release of the imprisoned and kidnapped Baha’is and bring happiness and joy to the hearts of their relatives and gain their well-wishing and prayers on your way to success.
Baha’i Community of Iran
 [The authorized translation of this text is not available in English. The original text is as follows:]
"محبان کوی محبوب و محرمان حریم مقصود از بلا پروا ندارند و از قضا احتراز نجویند ...و رضای دوست را بدو جهان ندهند و قضای محبوب را بفضای لامکان تبدیل ننمایند."