[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:] Committee for the Defence of the Rights of Followers of Religions

[Date:] 20 Shahrivar 1394 [11 September 2015]


The Text of an Open Letter From Ghavamoddin Sabetian, a Baha’i Citizen Living in Sari:


In the Name of God

With respect, I, Ghavamoddin Sabetian, seventy-three years old; occupation: carpenter; place of work: Sari, Pasdaran Boulevard, after the forest guard, before Shahid Ghorbani alley; Title: Wood and Art of Modern Industry; Business Licence Number 2805, valid until 15 Bahman 1398 [4 February 2020], [convey the following:]

On 6 Ordibehesht 1394 [26 April 2015], on behalf of the esteemed Department of Places of Sari City, my workplace was sealed and my work permit was confiscated. After repeated visits and wasting time in the Department of Places, finally, in response to the enquiry of the Department of Places from the Chamber of Trade, the order to unseal was issued on 21 Ordibehesht 1394 [11 May 2015]. By my pursing the issue every day, on 27 Khordad 13941 [17 June 1994], that is, fifty-two days after the imposition of the seal, the officers of the Department of Places came to unseal [my workplace].

First, they showed me a letter of undertaking, and below the typed section, they wrote in their own handwriting and added a few things that were really insulting and humiliating to my religious beliefs, as well as depriving me of the right to open and close my shop. The undertaking stated that in case of emergency, one week before closing the shop, I would have to inform the Department of Places, which is neither legal nor possible.

Paragraph 2 of the Trade Unions Regulations stipulates that the shop can be closed for fifteen days, as an inalienable right, and makes it possible to close the shop for more than [fifteen days] by notifying the Union. What is certain is that they discriminated against me simply because of my belief in the Baha’i Faith, so the issued order to unseal was not signed and the shop remained sealed.

The constitution of the country gives equal rights to individuals of all faiths and religions. All are the servants of the One God, all are compatriots, all are the citizens of this sacred land and the dignity of life, property and rights is inviolable. Inquisition of ideas is forbidden, we are all the flowers of different colours of the garden of the same fatherland. Consultation, compassion and honest cooperation are the way to the betterment and development of our society. Prejudice and hatred are the foundation of the annihilation of humanity. We are all fruits and results of this same beloved land.

For sixty years, as a committed craftsman, I was committed to my valued customers and did their jobs properly and honestly. Now, at the age of seventy-three, with heart failure, I have to work part-time to meet the necessities of life. Is this the reward for hard work and honesty? My wife has been suffering from diabetes, and hypothyroidism and its complications, for 35 years. My 46-year-old daughter has been kept away and deprived of all the gifts of life.

The countless sufferings of the two families of me and my wife, which we endured in the Village of Ivel, located 100 km from Sari, and the Village of Daza, on the outskirts of Sari, are too much to count.

From 1357 [1978] to 1362 [1983], whatever they worked hard for, to prepare for their lives, was inevitably left to the cruel and hostile people. The houses were destroyed, the furniture was looted, and they themselves were displaced. Our residential house, a two-storey building, constructed with the best wood, and with its unique and delicate workmanship, along with the houses of other loved ones in the Village of Ivel, was destroyed by a bulldozer and a grader, and no trace of it was left. My children were banned from entering my country’s university. I will not recount what I endured during my imprisonment, only because I was convicted for being a Baha’i; yet, today’s talk is about the daily sustenance that was obtained through low-income carpentry work, which was also cut off.

My expectation of that esteemed official is that the legal rights, guild rights, citizenship rights and the rights of the elderly be restored, of which my family and I have been deprived for many years.

I hope that you will pay attention to my pleas and take the appropriate measures to remove the obstacles and unseal my workplace.

With thanks and appreciation,

Ghavamoddin Sabetian.

Sent to:

- Mazandaran Governor General’s Office,

- Department of Places of the City of Sari,

- Chief Justice of Mazandaran Province,

- Governorate of Sari,

- The Speaker of Parliament,

- Legislative Department,

- Article 90 Committee,

- Office of the President [of the Islamic Republic],

- Prosecutor General,

- Ministry of Interior,

- The Office of the [Supreme] Leader.