[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Taraghi

[Date:] 25 Ordibehesht 1334 [16 May 1955]

[Issue No.:] 644

 

An Interview With Ayatollah Behbahani on the Subject of the Baha’is

In an interview with our correspondent, Ayatollah Behbahani stated that the Baha’i sect is not a religious group, but a disruptive political party that seems to have alliances with left-wing parties.

The leaders of the Baha’i sect in Iran are appalled by the recent events and their fate, and have sought the help of Shoghi Effendi.

The Baha’i Sect Organization Outside Iran

The Baha’is Have Obtained the Consent of the Soviet Government to Establish a Haziratu’l-Quds in Moscow!

Last Saturday night, a group of fanatical Muslims gathered at the Haziratu’l-Quds of the Baha’is in Yousefabad Street and tried to enter the Baha’i propaganda centre, but were prevented by the guards of the Haziratu’l-Quds. As a result of the conflict between the two sides, an intense collision was imminent when the law enforcement officers prevented the conflict from developing further, in a timely manner.

Last Saturday morning, the Tehran military governorate occupied the Haziratu’l-Quds, the Baha’i gathering and propaganda centre, with six trucks of armed soldiers, because more important events were to take place in the coming days.

It was announced in the official statement of the military governorate of Tehran, which was published for this occasion, that, “Because the protest and propaganda of the Baha’i sect have provoked public sentiment, in order to maintain public order and to prevent any possible incidents, the law enforcement forces have been ordered to occupy the sect’s propaganda centre, which is called the Haziratu’l-Quds.”

After the occupation of the Haziratu’l-Quds and the announcement of the military governorate, a flood of telegrams and letters of congratulations from the centre and the cities flowed to the [royal] court, the government, the clergy and the military governor’s office. Ayatollah Behbahani, and other religious authorities and personalities, by sending letters to the presence of His Majesty the King, thanked him for closing down the Baha’i propaganda centre.

The Grand Ayatollah Haj Agha Hosein Borujerdi, in a letter addressed to Mr. Falsafi, also endorsed the government’s actions in the fight against the Baha’is and the occupation of their propaganda centre, and by expressing concern over the Baha’is’ influence in government institutions, encouraged the government to discover seriously and rigorously their harmful networks.

In an interview in Qom, Ayatollah Borujerdi stated, “First, there must be calm and order throughout the country in the fight against the perverse Baha’i sect. Secondly, the Haziratu’l-Quds must be destroyed and a new building built under the control of a charity society. Thirdly, all Baha’is should be dismissed from government offices and national institutions as soon as possible, and a plan should be prepared and approved by the parliament for boycotting the Baha’i sect and expelling them from the country.

Comment of Ayatollah Behbahani

Because of the importance of the issue of struggle against the Baha’i sect and the attention of the public to this issue, we contacted Ayatollah Behbahani, who has played a major role in recent political developments in Iran, and asked his opinion on the issue of the struggle against the Baha’i sect.

Ayatollah Behbahani warmly accepted the magazine’s reporter and stated, “We had talked to the shah about the fight against the Baha’is in general in previous years and at appropriate times; we would mention this to the ministers and authorities in charge, but they always promised and no action was taken, until they took action this time.”

Ayatollah Behbahani then stated, “We did not know about the current situation before; Mr. Falsafi himself started the fight, and we immediately approved of his actions and helped him in all stages.”

In conclusion, on the nature of the Baha’i sect, Ayatollah Behbahani stated, “It does not appear that this sect is a religious group. Since the beginning it was introduced as a disruptive political party with the aim of creating discord and disunity among Muslims. The Baha’i sect in Iran has reportedly formed alliances with left-wing parties, and it has been reported that the military governor's office has obtained evidence of this.”

Following the deliberations against the Baha’i Faith in a private session of the Assembly last Tuesday, some members of parliament came up with a plan to outlaw the Baha’i Faith and to prosecute and punish its followers. According to one of these proposals, which was prepared by Mr. Ahmad Safaie, the general representative of Qazvin, and which was signed by a number of deputies first, the Baha’i community and its affiliates are declared to be against the security of the country, and illegal. Secondly, membership in this population and propaganda in its favour will be punishable by imprisonment for two to ten years and deprivation of civil rights. Thirdly, the immovable property that comprises the community centres and organizations affiliated with this population will be confiscated and transferred to the Ministry of Education, and will be allocated for the establishment of educational and religious organizations. Fourth, all Baha’is serving in government offices will be dismissed from government service as of this date and will not be subject to any employment law.

Last week, it was said in parliamentary circles that the above-mentioned plan would be raised in the first session of the parliament, after the end of the holy days of Ehya [revival] in Ramadan, with three -level urgency, and a vote would be taken on it. But it is said in the close circles of government that the government is also studying a plan to fight the Baha’i sect, which may precede the proposal by deputies of the parliament.