[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:] Iran Global
[Date:] 28 Farvardin 1388 [17 April 2009]
Tumultuous Account of a Baha’i Student Expelled from Tabriz University
[By:] Arman Rad
On one of the last days of Shahrivar 1387 [September 2008], at around 11 o’clock in the morning, my brother, who had been expelled from the university for being a Baha’i, called me and said that because of the choice of my field of study, I had been accepted to study biomedical engineering at the Sahand University of Technology in Tabriz. I was extremely excited and happy, because I could continue my education in a public university and be a useful person and serve my hometown.
I referred to the university website. In accordance with the relevant guidelines and regulations, and as requested, I arrived at the university on a specific day. On the registration form it had asked my religion, which I marked in the “Other Religions” section due to the form options.
Registration took place without any problems and I was registered as a first semester student. I had a good and positive feeling that I could study at university with people from all over Iran with different ideologies. Like other university students, I waited for my student card to be issued. After a while, I realized that all the students had received their student cards and I still had not received mine. I went to the officials and they said that they did not know the reason, but they promised to follow it up. They said that I would not have any problems and that I could take my exams without a student card. Despite all these challenges, I started my first semester’s exams and was grateful that I was able to finish the first semester.
The first semester had ended, and it was the time to select the courses for the second semester. Like other students, I went through the course selection process and entered the second semester. From the first day of the second semester, when I visited the university website, there was no information about my courses on the university website, and this meant that, unlike other students, I could not attend classes and could not go through the normal process of the second semester. Several times, I called the university officials and they expressed their ignorance of the situation and made me hopeful that, like other students, I would continue my studies.
Today, 13 Esfand 1387 [3 March 2009], even my profile on the [university] site had disappeared and when I tried to enter the site, I encountered the message, “This user account has been disabled.” On seeing this message, I contacted the university officials, and after several hours, [I reached] Mrs. Cheraghi, who was in charge of the office and management of the university. Finally, she answered the phone and told me that the Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization had removed my name from the website’s list and the only possible way for me to pursue the matter would be through this Organization. When I asked for a reason or justification for this action, she hung up the phone and did not answer me.
Is this really the end of my education story―a young Iranian Baha’i, like thousands of other Baha’i youth with no possibility to continue his education? I was expelled from the university—with many aspirations and with no valid reason—by an organization called [the Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization], which apparently should only assess the ability of people to enter the university and not close the site to the students already admitted to the university.
What is the answer of their and your consciences to me? Should I not enjoy the right to continue my education in my country, because my belief is different? How will the students studying at this university react when they hear this news? Will the second semester students face a big question mark instead of Sina Dana? Would the ending of a telephone call or simply putting down the phone make everything seem to be over? The inquisitive minds of the youth will try to find the answers to all these questions, even if they do not receive a response!
Sina Dana (one of three students expelled from Sahand University)