[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami
Greetings and respect, as you are aware, from the beginning of the revolution until now, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Baha’i community has been constantly under pressure and immense persecution by this government. After the arrest of the administrators of the Baha’i community in 1387 , the pressure reached its highest level, especially in the City of Semnan, where, due to pressure and the uncertainty of physical and material safety, the mental and spiritual conditions of the citizens have fallen to a dangerously low level.
In this letter, only a fraction of these restrictions and pressures will be mentioned, which will show the breaking of human rights to its grossly high level. Considering your awareness, and the intelligence which you have shown during your presidency in the last few years, it is hoped that you will take appropriate legal actions to restore the rights of Baha’i citizens in Iran, especially for the Baha’i citizens of Semnan.
- Nearly 30% of Baha’i families in Semnan are embattled with imprisonment, interrogation, enforcement of charges, etc.
- Nearly 50% of Baha’i families in Semnan are out of work, have been dismissed from jobs or their trading licences have been cancelled and their competence denied. They are under tremendous economic pressure.
- The number of Baha’i prisoners in Semnan is: 10 men (Pouya Tebyanian, sentenced to seven years; Adel Fanaiyan, sentenced to six years; Behfar Khanjani, sentenced to four years; Afshin Ighani, sentenced to four years; Siamak Ighani, sentenced to three years; Taher Eskandarian, sentenced to three years; Akbar Pour-Hosseini, sentenced to 18 months; Afrasiab Sobhani, sentenced to one year; Faramarz Firouzian, sentenced to one year; Nader Kasaian, sentenced to one year).
Women: Zohreh Nikaein, sentenced to 23 months with her 15-year [month]-old child; Taraneh Torabi, sentenced to 30 months with her 12-month-old child; Elahe Rouzbehi, sentenced to three years with her 18-month-old child; Anisa Fanaiyan, sentenced to 24 months. This is a total of 17 prisoners in the City of Semnan.
- Closure of two production factories in a small industrial city in Semnan, the directors of which were Baha’is (Pouya Nava and Farzan Lenz factories) and the unemployment of nearly 80 innocent workers during the economic conditions of last year.
- Closure of more than 15 shops and trading places, and their competence denied.
- Setting fire to few houses and shops belonging to the Baha’is in this city.
- Holding a few seminars in different parts of the city with false propaganda, destroying people’s perception about Baha’is.
- Destruction of an agricultural dam and closure of farmers’ and stock-men’s well in this city.
- Destruction of Baha’i cemetery in this city several times, cutting trees and pulling down the mortuary.
- Looting shops and punishing shop owners with hefty fines.
- Refusing bank loans to the Baha’i citizens of this city, despite their having the necessary requirements to receive loans.
- Refusing enrolment of Baha’i students in non-government schools at pre high-school and high school levels, despite their high academic results.
Therefore, I request you to take decisions and appropriate actions in the new government to remove these restrictions and pressures on the Baha’i citizens in the country of Iran generally, and on the Baha’i citizens of Semnan, especially.
With thanks and respect
One of the Baha’i citizens of Semnan