[TRANSCRIPT OF ORIGINAL NEWS ARTICLE IN ENGLISH]
[Newspaper:] Trinidad Express
[Date:] Saturday, 10 July 1993
Bahai's dead getting raw deal in Iran
The National Baha'i office at Petra Street, Woodbrook has recently learned that the local municipality of Teheran, Iran is excavating the Titran Baha'i Cemetery in order to construct a building to be known as the Cultural Centre of Khavaran.
A release issued by the local office said during the early years of the Iranian Revolution, the beautifully landscaped Baha'i Cemetery of Tihran was confiscated. Mortuary facilities and a memorial hall situated on the site were reportedly razed. Marble coverings of the graves were removed and all iondications marking the grave sites were obliterated. The headstones, many of which were of high quality, were subsequently sold in public auctions, the release said.
The local office said the current action of digging up and removing the bodies of the Baha'i buried in the cemetery is a further step in implementing the objective of destroying the cultural roots of the Baha'is, which is stated in the secret document issued in February 1991 by Iran's Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council. A copy of this document was previously reported in the press.
The Teheran Baha'i Cemetery, which contains thousands of graves, is of historic significance to the Baha'i community of Iran and to the whole Baha'i world.
While Baha'i cemeteries have been pillaged before, the National Office noted that this is the first time that bodies have actually been exhumed from such a cemetery in Iran. It said since the Iranian Revolution, Baha'i cemeteries have been confiscated throughout the country and Baha'is have been assigned barren pieces of land in which to bury their dead. They have been refused permission to mark individual graves or to construct proper mortuary facilities.
"In view of these circumstances, it can only be feared that all traces of the bodies now being removed from the Teheran Baha'i cemetery will be lost. This most recent episode belies the repeated assertions by the Iranian Government that they are nor persecuting the Baha'is because of their religion," it said.
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