[TRANSCRIPT OF ORIGINAL NEWS ARTICLE IN ENGLISH]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[TRANSLATION FROM FRENCH – MTL – 2 August 1993]
[LETTERHEAD OF THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’IS OF SWITZERLAND]
[Date:] 6 July 1993
Mr. Jean-Daniel Vigny
Chief of Human Rights Section
[Federal Department of Foreign Affairs]
We were indignant to hear yesterday that the municipality of Teheran is opening and destroying Bahá’í graves in the Bahá’í cemetery of Tehran and that mortal remains are shamefully loaded in trucks and removed to a location unknown to the Bahá’ís .
The destruction of graves started in a section of the cemetery where excavation work is now in progress to prepare land for the construction of a building which is to become the cultural centre of Khavaran.
Already, at the beginning of the Iranian revolution, the Bahá’í cemeteries had been confiscated throughout the country. Arid land was allocated to the Bahá’ís to bury their dead, but the Bahà’ís are not allowed to name their graves nor build funeral premises. The very beautiful Bahà’í cemetery of Teheran had also been confiscated, its funeral parlour and other buildings as well as tombstones were pulled down, all indications of location of graves removed.
Although Bahá’í cemeteries in Iran had already been plundered, this is the first time that bodies are exhumed. The Bahá’í cemetery of Teheran, the last resting place of thousands of our co-religionists and of many eminent personalities of our Faith, is of historical importance for the Bahà’í community of Iran but also for the whole Bahá’í world. Given the circumstances, we fear that all traces of the mortal remains which are removed from the Bahá’í cemetery of Teheran will now be lost forever.
This destruction of graves and the outrage to the memory of our defunct coreligionists constitute one more step towards the goal stated by the Iranian authorities to destroy the cultural roots of the Bahà’í Faith. This action is also a proof that the government of Iran, in spite of affirmations to the contrary, is continuing to persecute the Bahá’ís by reason of their religion.
We wanted to inform you of these facts, and would be most grateful for any step you would deem appropriate to take with the Iranian government in order to put an end to this infamy.
National Spiritual Assembly
of the Bahá’ís of Switzerland
John Paul Vader, General Secretary
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