[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

Dear Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani

 

Respectfully and deferentially, welcoming you to the Kermanshah Region, I thank God that I have the opportunity as a Baha’i citizen, [who was born in this land along with] my fathers and ancestors, and who has paid his dues to this land for many years, as it should be. At the same time, I expect that I, together with my children, will have equal rights as other Iranians do. I submit some matters to you.

It must be noted that these requests are nothing but [those] rights that are enshrined in the constitution for all citizens and ratified by laws related to social and economic rights. The holy religious law of Islam emphasizes their observance, and the international community, with a Declaration of Human Rights, has called on all the nations and peoples to uphold it. Unfortunately, over the years, my family and I have been regularly discriminated against and persecuted for our religious beliefs, and so far, none of the institutions and organizations have been held accountable to answer us.

  1. First of all, [I want] you to know that my child passed the university entrance exam last year, but unfortunately, the Sanjish[1] deprived him of the inalienable right to education, [unjustifiably], and because of his belief in the Baha’i Faith. Our continuous pursuit with the Sanjish and the person of Mr. Nourbakhsh had no results. I hope that with your guidance, leadership and prudence, and [the engagement of] the esteemed government, the inalienable right that was taken away from the Baha’i youth after the Cultural Revolution will be restored, and that this gross oppression of the Baha’i families will be removed.
  2. Secondly, my wife and child are interested in employment with our city government, but they face double discrimination that deprives them of employment opportunities for Baha’is, even recently for enrolment in the technical and vocational training classes (such as tailoring and hairdressing), and there also is a column for identifying one’s religion [in application forms]; in this way, the followers of the Baha’i Faith face obstacles. I hope that with your guidance, this indisputable and cruel discrimination will be abolished.
  1. Thirdly, in school textbooks, in some cases, false information has been included against our beliefs, which causes suffering and sorrow to my children and discrimination against them. In some cases, it has even led to insults and oppression by teachers. I hope that this unjust practice in the Ministry of Education, which is against the principles of research and education, will stop. Also, my children are barred from attending schools like Tizhoushan [talented] school. Even if they are accepted, they will not be able to attend, and this is obvious discrimination.
  2. For many years, the fanatical enemies of the Baha’i Faith have been spreading any slander in the media without hindrance, and we are not given the opportunity to respond. The Ministry of Islamic Guidance needs to ensure that the media under its control are held accountable for the false [information in] books, articles, and all of the news that it regularly publishes against the Baha’i community; or at least that they will publish in the same publications letters of response written by Baha’is to these defamations, in order to enable us, the Baha’is, to defend ourselves against these accusations.

It should be noted that the Baha’i community in Iran is subject to countless other injustices and cruelties. Currently, many Baha’is are imprisoned or being pursued, on unfounded and trumped-up charges without due process of law, including the members of the board who manage the personal status of the Baha’i community across Iran. They have been in prison for more than five years, and these continuous attacks have caused our family constant fear and anxiety. In addition, the Baha’i cemeteries have come under vindictive attacks from time to time, and local tombstones, flowers, bushes, and trees have been destroyed. In all these years, the perpetrators have not been dealt with legally. Also, the workplaces of Baha’is are attacked by law enforcement or intelligence agents, who, in some cases, force them to close or restrict their activities; for this reason, there is always concern for Baha’is about losing their jobs and livelihoods.

I hope that your guidance will pave the way for the authorities to resolve these injustices.

Live long,

Respectfully,

Behrouz Shadabi

 

[1] [Sanjish:  Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization]