[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Dear Mr. Abolhassan Bani Sadr, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran
With expressions of respect, we convey the following.
In the nearly 22 months that have passed since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in the beloved country of Iran, despite the expectation of Islamic justice that the Baha’i community, which has endured years of oppression, had of the government, all kinds of oppression and persecution have been inflicted upon this defenceless community, which is the largest religious minority in the dear country of Iran, and strange new slanders have been added to the old ones. And despite the fact that during this period, the Baha’i community has verbally and practically demonstrated its obedience to the government of the Islamic Republic, the lives and property and dignity of the people of this community throughout the country have been subjected to the evil [actions] of those who harbour prejudice and fanaticism. [Those are]:
Expelling hundreds of honest and dutifully serving Baha’i employees from government offices and organizations affiliated with the government,
Neglecting to pay their earned wages,
Attacking and raiding Baha’i homes in some cities and villages,
Assaulting them and forcing them to recant their beliefs,
Burning their homes and businesses
Looting of the possessions of the Baha’is,
Preventing the burial of their dead,
Detaining some Baha’is in various cities without proof of guilt,
Executing several of them solely for their religious beliefs,
Abducting 14 well-known individuals from the Baha’i community last year and this year―among them, nine elected members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, who are elected for a term of one year to manage the internal affairs of the Baha’i community and address the problems faced by the members of the community―and [refusing to provide] information about the place of their detention and their fate, and whether they are dead or alive,
Impounding and confiscating all property and historical sites belonging to the Baha’i community,
[these] are some examples of the atrocities and oppressions inflicted on this oppressed community. Despite constant visits and grievances to the respected authorities, thus far the intensity of these persecutions and oppressions has not been reduced.
However, the primary purpose of writing this petition to you and other esteemed authorities and protectors of the people, is [to report] the occurrence of two heinous incidents, contrary to religious and ethical principles, that have recently happened around Birjand and caused the sorrow and affliction of the hearts of the Baha’i community throughout Iran. It is believed that the repetition of such fanatical acts by those who disregard the interests of the country will greatly damage the reputation and credibility of the government of the Islamic Republic.
What happened is as follows. At 11:30 in the evening, on Friday, 30 Aban 1359 [21 November 1980] in the Village of Khunik, Birjand, about fifteen people, who had covered their heads and faces, attacked the home of Mr. Rahmatollah Khuniki―who lived with his wife and two innocent children―with stones, sticks and pickaxes. They created a hole in the roof, entered the house and burned the house with kerosene and firewood. They severely beat and injured Mr. Rahmatollah Khuniki, who, despite his severe wounds and injuries, managed to reach the house of his Muslim relatives and seek help, but before they arrived, the attackers succeeded in escaping.
The episode was reported immediately to the local religious leaders, police, and the [Revolutionary] Committee; but, during the investigation, two nights later, a more tragic incident took place in the Village of Nuk near Birjand, where a Baha’i family resided, which led to the murder of Gholam-Reza Masoumi and the [fatal] injury and burning of his wife. According to the information, at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, 2 Azr 1359 [23 November 1980], an unknown group, who are thought to be the same attackers of Khunik Village, stormed the house of Mr. Masoumi with their heads and faces covered and set fire to the door of his home with kerosene and started beating and injuring Mr. Masoumi and his wife with shovels, pickaxes, wood and stones. Mr. Masoumi tried to reach the people of the village and seek help; however, the assailants arrested him in the alley and poured kerosene on the broken and injured body of this hardworking, innocent Baha’i from the village and burned him alive, killing him in the most gruesome and brutal manner. They then dragged his body on the ground to a pit, and once again they set him on fire. His innocent wife died in the hospital two days later because of the severity of her burns and injuries.
Although some investigations and preliminary measures have been taken by the honourable prosecutor general of Birjand and the gendarmerie headquarters, it is feared that justice will not be served and the attackers, assailants, and murderers will not receive the appropriate punishment for their brutal actions. This will cause the other shrewd, prejudiced Muslims, who are pretending to be Muslim, to repeat such inhumane acts in other areas [of the country].
Therefore, we are presenting you, who are one of esteemed authorities in charge, and the protector of the people, with this matter, so that you may come to the rescue of the oppressed people who are living under the protection of the Islamic government, according to your religious and moral duty, and vindicate their rights, and not allow, in the government of the Islamic Republic―which is the religion of mercy, counsel and wisdom, and all the chapters of its heavenly Book begin with “In the Name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate”, and its Holy Prophet is the Mercy to the worlds―such inhuman acts to be repeated by people who do not recognize God.
With utmost respect
On behalf of the Baha’i community of Iran
[Copies sent to:]
- Ayatollah Montazeri
- Hojjatol-Islam Seyyed Ahmad Khomeini
- Hojjatol-Islam Hashemi Rafsanjani, Head of Parliament
- Ayatollah Mousavi Ardabili
- Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani
- Supreme Judicial Council
- Committee 90 of the Parliament
- All of the Representatives of the Islamic Council
Address: P.O. Box 305, Tehran