[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Donya

[Date:] 29 Shahrivar 1358 [20 September 1979]

[Issue No.:] 1412

 

Reference made by Imam Khomeini sixteen-and-a-half years ago to the credible, true, and anti-regime news revealed by Donya Newspaper…

   He mentioned the Donya Newspaper on a number of occasions and held up the contents and news of the Donya Newspaper as evidence. One of the topics was the trip taken to London by two thousand non-Muslim Iranians belonging to the perverse Baha’i sect in order to participate in a Baha’i Congress, with a major discount in the tickets given by a foreign airline called Middle East Airlines, as they went to the capital of [Great] Britain.

The Donya Newspaper published and exposed the truth at a time when severe censorship was imposed on the press in a suffocating atmosphere. This attracted the attention of the National Union of Airlines (YATA) to the violation by Middle East Airlines in providing this discounted ticket; they objected to it, and they also did not hide their astonishment at the actions of the government and the passport office of the police for giving passports to two thousand people within a few days. They also objected to permitting each of them, namely all two thousand individuals, to obtain $500 each at the government rate from the National [Melli] Bank.

Through the SAVAK, whose heads of public relations were officers who are no longer there, the regime stopped publication of the Donya Newspaper and prosecuted Abdol-Karim Tabatabaie, its managing editor, for having spread this confidential news about the trip by Iranian Baha’is to London and revealing the secrets regarding the airline tickets and the discount in the price of the tickets. The Donya Newspaper had clearly written that each person was given 1,200 tomans in discount. In those days, the round-trip ticket to London cost 22,500 rials.

Baha’is from across the world, particularly from Iran, were sent to London to participate in a congress after the death of Shoghi Effendi, the leader of the Baha’is, which had occurred in London and where he was buried, and to make decisions about the [Universal] House of Justice, because after the death of Shoghi Effendi, the Baha’is did not have a leader, and needed to elect its members.

Imam Khomeini-—who in those years was a regular reader of Donya Newspaper and had a special attachment to Donya Newspaper, because he knew that the contents of Donya Newspaper were credible, and that telling the truth, though in some cases briefly, concisely, and in a few lines or words, is the goal of this newspaper in order to expose actions that are against religion, humanity, national honour, and the regime—after reading in the Donya Newspaper the news about the trip by the Baha’is to London to attend the congress and also the unprecedented discount in the price of the tickets, decided to strongly object to the government and the regime about this issue in his first speech from the pulpit of the Feyziyeh School and Mosque, while referencing the news in the Donya Newspaper.

The Great Ayatollah Khomeini, at the first opportunity, gave this talk with his usual courage, and repeatedly referred to the audacious contents of the Donya Newspaper. The Donya Newspaper did not mention the word Baha’i or the Baha’is, and when introducing this group referred to them as being a part of a perverse religious sect. After this speech by Imam Khomeini, once again pressure began to mount on the Donya Newspaper and its managing editor, leading to his prosecution.

After the publication of the news in the Donya Newspaper about the discounted airline tickets, a committee visited Iran on behalf of the National Union of Airlines (YATA), investigated the matter and confirmed the news. The Lebanese airline company was subsequently sentenced to pay a fine of sixty thousand tomans…