[Newspaper:] Suburban Trib

[Date]: Friday, 22 January 1982


Death in Iran brings grief to Highland Park

By Elizabeth Sadd

Samira Samimi Moore, who lives in Highland Park, has watched the troubles unfold in Iran with the keen awareness of an insider. Last month the troubles struck hard, very close to home.

She knew that her father, an Iranian of the Bahai faith, had been arrested. He was detained for two weeks, then executed on Dec. 27 by the Islamic fundamentalist government because of his religious activity.

"My father had prepared us all for this to happen. He wrote us letters for months, telling us he would probably be executed. And he assured us all that it would make him happy," she says with the calmness she says her father felt at his death.

Her parents decided to stay in Iran despite the persecution of the Bahais because they wanted to speak out for their beliefs. By staying in Iran, Samimi Moore's parents made a strong statement for their religion.

"We don't seek out martyrdom because we must bring out joy and goodness of mankind first," she says. "I believe my father accepted his arrest with joy because it was the ultimate sacrifice to his religion."

Her father, 56-year-old Kamran Samimi, was serving on the executive board of the Bahai national assembly in Tehran when he was arrested. Seven others were arrested with him, and they also were executed. Since the Iranian revolution, 112 Iranians of the Bahai faith have been executed by the government, according to her husband, Doug Samimi-Moore.

Her mother, 52-year-old Farideh Samimi, was arrested with her husband, but released. Although Samira does not know why her mother was released, she speculates:

"My father had a way with words; and I think he persuaded them to let her go."

All Samira knows is that her mother is hiding; she has had no word from her.

"At first I cried, and we still feel the pain and loss. I think if I was not a Bahai, his execution would have killed me. But my faith has held, and I know he is very happy," Samira says. She is not bitter about her father's death, and speaks softly, earnestly.

She and her parents are originally Iranians, but Samira grew up in Indonesia, where her parents were missionaries. She lived in Iran for four years until she left for the University of Hawaii. She last saw her father in 1978 at her wedding in Hawaii. Her husband is a public affairs official for the Bahai temple in Wilmette.

"We hope the United Nations and other international groups can keep this from happening more," she says. "But no one is putting a stop to it. No one is batting an eye.

"I've learned that time is so short, and his execution made me realize that there is no time to waste, and that I must get on to doing all the things I want to do. To think that my father gave up his life for the faith makes me want to be the best person I can be. And I'm very conscious of that now."











































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