[Newspaper:] Daily Mirror

[Date:] 1 October 1981


The nation that executes its kids

From Col Allan in London

Iran’s children, once part of the revolutionary army which overthrew the Shah, are now joining the ranks of those fighting the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic regime. And they are dying for it. Children as young as 12 are being gaoled, tortured and executed. Nearly 200 are believed to have been executed in the past few days. Teheran's Prosecutor-General, Mr Assadullah Lajavardi, has called for the execution of "even a 12-year old child if that child participates in an armed demonstration."

The planned liquidation of Iran's 300,000 strong Baha'i faith by the regime of Ayatolah Khomeini has already begun.

And if it is completed to the satisfaction of the fundamentalist Islamic Mullahs it will be without precedent since the Nazis' systematic extermination of Jews during the Second World War

Ground work for this purification has been laid by Khomeini himself and Iran's Parliament is soon expected to pass decrees which will ultimately offer the Baha'is two alternatives: Renounce their faith or be the subject of Islamic justice, albeit moonlight firing squads.

Hundreds of Baha'i leaders have already been spirited away from their homes never to be seen again and their followers, who make up Iran's largest religious minority, are living in fear of their lives.

Coupled with the now daily executions of dozens of members of the Mujaheddin Khalq left wing guerrilla organisation, battling to overthrow Khomeini and his religious zealots, Iran can boast an internal reign of terror with few equals in modern times.

Since ousted President Bani Sadr went into hiding in June, later to arrive in Paris after a daring escape from Teheran in an air force jet, almost 2000 opponents of the current regime have been executed, almost all without any genuine due process of law.

But it is the persecution of the Baha’is which give the new leaders of Iran a more sinister face and promises violence on a scale even the Shah could not have matched.



Already Baha'i children have been instructed by teachers to renounce their faith or not attend school.

More frightful still is the regime's decision to [not] recognize Baha'i marriages.

New legislation will deem all Baha'i marriages, even those of 50 years durations, null and void and those couples who remain married will be considered as "involved in prostitution," a crime punishable by death.

Christianity, Judaism and the pre-Islamic faith, Zoroastrianism, will be enforced and Baha'is will thus be barred from holding jobs, owning property, having bank accounts, running businesses, getting medical treatment or travelling.

Early next year all Iranians will have to register for new identity cards but Baha'is will not be eligible and will be thereby exposed in the daily running of their lives.

And yet the Baha'is pose no genuine threat to Khomeini's regime. They are happy to live under whoever has the power to rule and have historically taught non-participation in politics and affairs of state.

But still their cemeteries and holy places have been confiscated and desecrated or destroyed. Many of their businesses have been seized along with their collective assets.

Thousands of Baha'is have been purged from the civil service, the armed forces and the educational system, and deprived of all pension rights.

They have been dragged from [to] mosques for enforced mass conversions to Islam and some of those who have refused have been publicly lynched.

There have been reports of Baha'is doused in petrol and set afire. Their homes and crops have been torched.

Earlier this year it was announced that Khomeini had declared the Baha'is as "mahdour ad-damm" – those whose blood must be shed.

Since then local Mullahs in every corner of the country have denounced the Baha'is as heretics, unclean, immoral agents of foreign powers and enemies of the true faith.

There is no longer any pretense about Baha'is being under the protection of the law. They are pagans to be duly eliminated.

Given the angry rhetoric of the Khomeini zealots it is difficult to see any hope for the Baha'is, almost all of whom are ethnic Iranians and refuse to leave the country even if they were able to do so.















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