[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]
[Adapted from website:] Basij News Agency
[Date:] 5 Dey 1396 [26 December 2017]
Influence and Sedition: Baha’i Mission in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Baha’ism in Iran After the Revolution
After the revolution, the Baha’i organization in Iran changed; a three-member delegation called the “Board of Khademin” in Tehran [was formed], along with local khademin delegations in the provinces and cities who followed the work of leading and organizing the Baha’i sect. The [local khademin delegations] in the provinces and cities are connected by a liaison to the Baha’i headquarters in Tehran ... From several cities, everyone connects to one leader. The head of their province is one of the three members. He gives any report he has to the National Assembly and the information is collected by these representatives in the National Assembly and from there they are sent to the House of Justice (Israel).
Baha’ism’s efforts to pressure the Islamic regime through foreign countries and international forums, such as the World [Council] of Churches and the Human Rights Organization, continued until the public prosecutor general of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a statement in 1362 [1983/1984] announcing the arrest of several Baha’is on charges of spying for foreigners, banned any kind of organizational activity of the perverse sect in the country, and criminalized the membership of individuals in that organization.
The Baha’i [National] Assembly in Iran reacted immediately to the statement from the public prosecutor general, in a widely circulated statement in protection of the accused Baha’is, and strongly criticized the prosecutor’s statements. At the same time, it deceitfully announced the shutting down of the Baha’i administration in Iran. In the statement, the Baha’i National Assembly acquitted the Baha’i sect of its past crimes and made accusations against the Islamic Republic, reiterating:
“... In order to prove its good faith and in accordance with its doctrinal principles, the Baha’i community of Iran declares the closure of the Baha’i Administration throughout Iran in full obedience to the orders of the government and the regime, the principles of which were described earlier in this statement. From now on, until the time when misunderstandings are resolved and the facts are clarified, at least in the case of affairs, the National Assembly and all Local Spiritual Assemblies and their subordinate committees will be closed and no one will be recognized as a member of the Baha’i Administration.”
Initially, the U.S. government feared open support for this sect, but after capturing the spy nest, witnessing the Islamic Republic’s adamant dealing with this sect and sabotaging activities, including spying for foreigners, the U.S. government formally stepped in and gave them its support. President Reagan, the United States president at the time, explicitly and openly supported the arrested Baha’is and condemned the Islamic Revolutionary Courts for imprisoning and executing a number of the leading members of the sect for espionage.
In strong words, Imam Khomeini cited Reagan’s support for the arrested Baha’is as [an indication of] their political affiliation with U.S. imperialism, and likened it to Soviet social imperial support for the detained Tudeh leaders, which was, in fact, an aspect of the master’s support for his own servants:
If we did not have a reason, other than Reagan’s support, [to assume that they] are American spies and we did not have a reason [to declare] that the Tudeh Party is a spy, other than the Soviets’ support, it would be enough [to prove our claim]… Baha’ism is not a religion, it is a party―a party that was once supported by Britain and is now supported by the United States. These are spies, like them.
Since then, the United States has become the second stronghold of the Baha’i sect after the Zionist regime, and with its support, the Baha’i sect has become a member of UN-affiliated organizations and human rights organizations, thus continuing to put pressure on the Islamic Republic. Part of the anti-Iranian resolutions that have been published in recent years in the name of human rights protection are related to the Baha’is, and this shows their influence in these organizations.
Inside Iran, with the end of the war and the prioritization of Western development programmes and the adoption of a policy of tolerance by governments, a breathing space was created for Baha’is. During this period, the Baha’i organization was able to make investments in the cultural and economic fields and to consolidate its organizational activities. This trend intensified with the coming to power of the reform government and the promotion of secularism and pluralism and the slogan “Iran for all Iranians.”
Comparing the policies of the Khatami and Ahmadinejad governments towards Baha’ism, Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, writes:
“During Mr. Khatami’s tenure, government policies regarding Baha’i rights apparently changed on two occasions. One of these cases was related to citizenship rights, which the Expediency Council approved in 1377 [1998/1999] ... The only positive result of such a law is a change in the status of Baha’i marriage registration. Baha’i couples were able to exercise their legal right to register their marriage, which, due to the ban on registering their marriages and their cohabitation, had been deemed against the law, and their children had been considered illegitimate.”
In 1378 [1999/2001], Mr. Montazeri issued a fatwa defending the civil rights of Baha’is. The Baha’is welcomed the fatwa. Diane Ala’i told Radio Farda, “Ayatollah Montazeri’s fatwa that Baha’is, like any other Iranian, have the right to citizenship was a very important step in history.”