[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Minister of Health of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with respect, the person depicted in this photograph, who is disabled, appeals for justice.
I, the undersigned, Tofigh Mah- Zamani, have been an employee of the Ministry of Health in Urmia for the last 17 years. I have worked in various regions of Western Azerbaijan to eradicate malaria, with the utmost honesty and integrity. On an official mission in 1350 (1971), I became a paraplegic, owing to a car accident. Despite being wheelchair-bound, throughout all these years I discharged my duties thoroughly and befittingly with all my colleagues. My service records are clear, attesting to the truth of this statement. I financially support my wife and my two children. I have taken a loan on a very modest two-room apartment for which I pay 18,000 rial per month. At the age of 41, [I received a copy of] circular no. 7570, dated 10/10/59 [31 December 1980, issued by the Health Department of Urmia, by virtue of which I was discharged from the first day of Bahman this year [22 January1981] with no pay, on the basis of my belief in the Baha'i Faith.
Mr. Minister, is it not the case that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foundation is based on the Quranic verses, such as, “Thou canst not see in a creature of the Most Merciful any unfitness or [lack of] proportion”; “Ye have your religion and I have my religion”; “But act justly; this will approach nearer unto piety”; “God loveth those who act justly”; “Now is right direction manifestly distinguished from deceit”; and many other such verses?
Mr. Minister, is it not the case that the Constitution of the blessed country of Iran protects the rights of all the people in this country, particularly those of the weak and the disabled? Among those articles protecting the rights of the individual, Articles 22 and 23 clearly forbids investigation of individual’s beliefs and provides for the preservation of the integrity of life, the place of residence, and [an individual’s] profession, against any infringement.
Mr. Minister, please pay attention to my photograph included on the top of this page. Is not the order that you issued, resulting in the dismissal of this disabled employee on the grounds of his religious belief, in violation of the Sharia law, the Constitution and human rights? I do not believe that Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran will tolerate such cruelty inflicted on anyone—in particular, to such a disabled person as I. This is indeed a disgrace to humanity. I do not believe that Islam could treat people in my position so unkindly on the basis of their religious beliefs. On the contrary; Islam claims to protect the meek and dispense justice. I do hope that you and your like, who wish to exercise Islamic justice, will demonstrate to the people that you truthfully observe justice, and issue proper instructions to restore my rights and cancel the order for my discharge.
In the hope that justice prevails,
Address in Urmia [Azerbaijan, Iran]