[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

1 Aban 1359 [23 October 1980]

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran

The following is respectfully conveyed:

An article was written in Sobh-e Azadegan Newspaper on 23 Mehr 1359 [15 October 1980], titled “The Response of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Delhi to the Perverse Baha’i Sect”, which was published based on the letter from the press affiliate of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Delhi to India’s STATESMAN newspaper, the content of which that ministry is undoubtedly aware .

During its short, 137-year history, the Baha’i community has been subjected to all kinds of insults, and all sorts of attacks, harassment, restrictions, pressure, murder, looting, burning of homes, exile and strange and unimaginable types of torture and killing in its cradle, meaning the Sacred Land of Iran, the nature of which is described in the Qajar history and in the documents and papers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Iranian government. Non-Iranian historians who were in Iran at the time of these incidents have described them as dreadful events, the likes of which the history of the world has rarely seen, and reports of which are available in credible libraries both in Persian and the original language, and the scary, astonishing news of which has been published in European newspapers.

Among the types of attacks on this oppressed community, which have occurred continuously during the 137 years, have been the introduction of false accusations and the spiteful attribution of all sorts of indecent acts, in order to make Iranian compatriots think negatively about the Baha’is and to deter them from association and friendship with them.

Unfortunately, during the last two years before the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, and since then, all the above-mentioned types of atrocities [were inflicted on] this oppressed community like torrential rain, in villages, in small towns and in large cities. Among them, the flood of false and unjust accusations has been spread by the adversaries of the Baha’i Faith. It is not surprising for the Baha’is, who have patiently endured hardships, unjust attacks and slanders, to read such an article in a newspaper, but what saddens the oppressed and obedient community that worships this land is that these false accusations are being made this time by the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dear Foreign Minister, the Baha’i community of Iran is obedient to the government of the time and considers the sacred country of Iran as the cradle of its religion and [birthplace of] its Prophet, worships it and is proud that the writings of Baha’u’llah, the founder of this religion, Abdu’l-Baha, His successor and interpreter and Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, are mostly in the sweet Persian language, which, in addition to containing divine revelation and describing the principles of this Faith, [are the foundation of] a new civilization and culture and is undoubtedly one of the honours of Iranian literature.

Despite all the oppressions that have been received from their fanatical and ignorant compatriots, Baha’is consider service to this land and its people to be part of their religious conscience and beliefs. All the Baha’is around the world nurture this desire for service in their hearts, including those who have come to believe in this Faith, in Eskimo tribes near the North Pole, or black Baha’is with white hearts from African tribes around the equator and the tropics, or the farthest islands of the Great Ocean, and various races of the world, which have proclaimed their faith in Baha’u’llah. And all of these believers in Baha’u’llah wish to be able to offer a worthy service to Iran, the homeland of their beloved Lord, and all the representatives of that ministry around the world know or can know about this humility, respect and worship.

With such circumstances for the Baha’i community of Iran, which has endured the increasing oppressions of the last two years with utmost patience and stillness, and has not done anything but endure all the persecution and pleading for justice to the officials in charge, it is a pity that the press representative of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Delhi has made an attempt to make such accusations, which are strange and false in nature.

Dear Foreign Minister, the Baha’is of Iran are part of the Iranian nation, and all of them have family and ethnic ties with the Muslims or religious minorities living in this country. This community does not belong to a specific race or tribe, such that our compatriots have not known and have not seen or heard of their behaviour, speech or deeds; for this reason, of course, you will see the Baha’is as partners in the commercial, cultural and service affairs of this country. However, the claim that has been published in the letter from the press representative of the Iranian embassy in India in the aforementioned newspaper, that the Baha’is (had complete control of managing the country from the armed forces and SAVAK to other economic and commercial posts, and were clinging to it with all their might…) or that (Baha’is controlled the press, politics and commerce in all of Iran…) is an exaggerated, bizarre and undoubtedly unacceptable claim, even for the most ignorant Iranian, and certainly, the scholars of the Islamic Republic are also convinced of its invalidity.

Baha’is vehemently deny these allegations. They recall the 137-year experience of their history in this sacred country, and how, throughout this time, the enemies of the Baha’i Faith have tried to [banish] the members of the Baha’i community from their homeland society with lies and slander; have ignored the stillness, peace, patience, morals and good behaviour of the members of the Baha’i community, which have been evident throughout the years mentioned above; and how, using strange slanders and unacceptable lies, they call anyone they oppose a Baha’i; or wherever they have observed ugly or disgusting behaviour from their compatriots and members of their own religion, they have connected them to the Baha’is. This situation has been recorded in history and is undeniable.

However, you are certainly informed that the statistics of the Baha’is were stolen by some of these unkind compatriots before and after the revolution, and numerous copies of them are now available to all government entities so that they are able to identify the Baha’is and dismiss them from work. It is sufficient for you to order an investigation as to which one of the owners of the press in the past and present, or which one of the country’s politicians, were Baha’i. In addition, the personnel statistics of the armed forces and security forces of the country, which are undoubtedly in the possession of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and based on which the Baha’i employees of the military have been dismissed without regard to their rights, indicate whether the claim that the Baha’is have been in charge of the country’s armed and security forces is a fact or defamation due to hatred and resentment towards the Baha’i community, whose members, conscientiously and because of their religious beliefs, consider work as worship, have provided their services with veracity and sincerity wherever that have been employed, and, despite this attitude, have been subjected to unkindness, insult and dismissals. Of course, lying and slander are the simplest and most cowardly methods of attack, particularly making accusations against a community that has absolutely no means of self-defence.

As the representative of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the press affiliate of the Iranian embassy in Delhi has claimed that his government is fully acquainted with the writings of Baha’u’llah. Notwithstanding the fact that this claim is doubtful because these writings are many and not all of them have been published yet if he had only studied some of them, and if he had paid attention to the principles of the Baha’i Faith, which—since the revolution—have been described repeatedly, even to plead for justice in numerous letters to the officials in the sacred land of Iran in order to alleviate the innumerable injustices inflicted on this community, he would never have stated that the Baha’is of Iran, unlike their non-Iranian counterparts, identify themselves as the only followers of true Islam.

The Baha’i attitude, both in Iran and abroad, is transparent and unified, and there is never a difference between Iranian and non-Iranian Baha’is on this issue. While the Baha’is believe that the holy religion of Islam is one of the successive divine religions, and His Holiness, the Seal of Prophets, is one of the Prophets with a Holy Book, and He is revered and believed in like other Manifestations of God, Baha’is consider themselves Baha’i, are followers of Baha’u’llah and recognize their religion as an independent religion which has been founded for the continuation of divine grace in the succession of religions through divine revelation.

In the letter, the press affiliate uses vile and obscene words that are undoubtedly not appropriate for an official and the press representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He makes absurd and repulsive accusations, such as that the Baha’is engage in mass murder or encouraging young people to engage in moral corruption, the mention of which by themselves are an indication of the author’s extreme prejudice. Sadly, these accusations have been mixed with his government duties and have severely violated his honour as an official. This community does not intend to respond to such false slanders, because the biggest reason for rejecting these false accusations is [observation of] the endurance, patience and behaviour of the Baha’is in the past 137 years. We are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not recommend the continuation of this unscrupulous practice to its officials.

Dear Foreign Minister, as has been repeatedly stated by this community, members of the Baha’i community never intend to seize power or participate in conducting political affairs, as evidenced by the books, writings and commands of Baha’u’llah to His followers. These, thank God, are abundantly available to the Islamic Republic of Iran; however, if some members of this community interfere in such matters contrary to the principles of their beliefs, the Baha’is will release them from association, and follow the explicit command, which states: [Persian verse][1].

Of course, Your Honour or any other official should not expect that all members of a community, and in particular a community whose members are deprived of educational opportunities and have to live in the heart of another community, to be innocent, pure and free from error; as, in the 1,400-year history of Islam in Iran, all the errors, mistakes and catastrophes that have been committed by the followers of Islam will not cause the slightest trace of doubt or suspicion about Holy Islam and diminish its glory and sanctity.

The Baha’i community of Iran expects that its books and writings will be studied by the Islamic Republic with fairness, and that the general attitude of the members of this community will be analyzed, and a sincere judgment will be made free from any trace of prejudice, propaganda and  accusations which are made about this religion by its enemies without any reason. It also expects the Baha’is to be allowed to defend their beliefs and practices in this regard, and expects the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey to its press affiliates that the Baha’is desire to preserve the honour and dignity of the sacred land of Iran and its rulers, lest this respect and praise be harmed by the spread of false slanders, similar to what has happened in India, and that the Baha’is of India are also being judged by the people of India.

From the Baha’i Community of Iran

[2 signatures]

[Stamp from the Baha’i Community of Iran]

 

 

[1] [The authorized translation of this text is not available in English. The original text is as follows:]

"میزان بهائی بودن و نبودن اینست که هر کسی در امور سیاسیه مداخله کند و خارج از وظیفه خویش حرفی زند و یا حرکتی نماید همین برهان کافی است که بهائی نیست دلیل دیگر نمی‌خواهد"