[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[Publication:] Akhbar-e Amri [Baha’i News]
[Date:] Azar 1328 [November/December 1949]
[Issue No.:] 8
Text of the letter submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister and also submitted to all of the Ministers.
Date: 16 Qawl 106
Coinciding with 17 Azar 1328 [8 December 1949]
Esteemed Prime Minister
With utmost respect, we convey the following:
This Assembly has remained uninformed about the results of its previous letters of appeal regarding the assaults and deprivations inflicted upon the Baha’is of Iran, and it appears that no serious or effective actions have been taken by your respected group to prevent the violations of the malefactors and prejudiced people who are daily arising against the innocent Baha’is of this sacred country; yet, given the fact that pressures on the Baha’is of Iran continue, due to the urgency of the matter, we are forced, once again, to convey the following. Given that in our previous letters we had reported to Your Highness some of the deprivations of the Baha’is of Iran and the injuries inflicted upon them, here we will confine our report to mentioning a few examples of the new attacks that have been made against a large number of honest and loyal servants of the imperial government in the past few months:
- The Baha’i youth who complete their secondary and higher studies in the field of education, and wish to serve this country with utmost purity of motive and honesty, are being prevented from engaging in this honourable service solely because they are Baha’is.
- Individuals who have long spent their precious lives in the teaching profession and have expended twenty years of their physical and spiritual energies in this path are being laid off from service on the same basis. For example, recently in Sirjan, Mazandaran, Saveh, and other areas, based on official orders of the Ministry of Culture, a number of Baha’is were laid off from their normal service solely because of being Baha’i. Documentation and evidence in support of this claim is available.
- Some physician assistants have been laid off because they have openly stated their religious beliefs.
- In Amoreh, Khalajastan [district], Qom, a number of Baha’i peasants who, with utmost dignity and observance of humane principles, were engaged in agricultural work, were exiled to Yazd for two years at the order of the local Security Council, based on allegations of troublemaking, following agitation by prejudiced elements, and as a result of incitement by powerful individuals who are always using religion as an excuse to reap financial benefits. Certainly, even the consciences of those who have issued this order must have been ashamed by such strange slanders and false accusations. The appeals of these oppressed ones, and the sighs and cries of their beleaguered families, have had no effect. Most surprising and astonishing of all, the relevant agents forced these poor ones to walk on foot without any provisions for the journey and paid no attention whatsoever to their sighs and cries, and have cast all mercy and compassion to the side. Indeed, those oppressed individuals, in a letter written to their families, exposed this injustice and hatefulness in very simple and plain words:
“We had not yet had our tea when Lieutenant Darougar came to the office and shouted angrily at the agents, ‘Why didn’t you move these people last night?’ [This is] at a time when they had not given us a cent for the cost of our journey. We told them, ‘The two of us are old men and are unable to set out on foot, without provisions or money, on such a long trip.’ With great anger he replied, ‘I am not responsible for whether you are able or not able to go. I have been given orders that I must send you on foot to Yazd from one destination to the other at your own cost.’ He then shouted with utmost anger at the agents, saying ‘You must move them immediately, and don’t linger any more. I don’t care about these things. The Committee has given its orders that I must deliver you from one destination to the other at your own cost until your reach Yazd. It is not my responsibility whether you have the strength or not. Don’t talk anymore and move at once.’ We then began to walk, feeling insulted and miserable. We walked for a bit, but realized that we did not have the strength or energy to walk on foot with the agents ...”
Do not these unacceptable behaviours and unfortunate conditions remind your esteemed Committee of the injustices of the Middle Ages? And do they not reignite the memories of the same religious prejudices of the founders of the Inquisition? Is such treatment of the Baha’is of Iran truly in accordance with the statements of His Highness the Shah, or the contents of the Atlantic Charter or the Declaration on Human Rights, or―most important of all―with Articles 8, 9, 12, 14, and 17 of the Amendment to the Constitution? And, during this luminous century, when so much expectation and anticipation is focused on ancient Iran by civilized countries and governments of the world, is the government of the shah able to allow the continuation of these audacious actions and, as before, give free reign to the prejudiced and hateful individuals to persecute the Baha’is?
The trip by His Highness the Shah to the United States has, more than ever before, held up the sacred country of Iran in front of the eyes of the people of the world and has greatly increased the expectations and hopes of the advanced countries of the world with respect to the people and government of Iran. When the top leader of the United States unequivocally and clearly states that all minority groups in Iran live with utmost prosperity and security in Iran and none of their basic rights are violated, and that there is no racial or religious discrimination, and the foundation of the country’s administration is established upon democratic principles, it is obvious that the internal condition and situation of the country must also give credence to the shah’s statements, and the actions of the government reflect all of his sacred hopes like a clear and transparent mirror.
The executive branch must also carry out the clear and genuine statements of the just and equitable king and bring them from the realm of hopes into the field of action. Regrettably, when it comes to the Baha’is, the matter is turned completely on its head; namely, the largest and most populous Iranian religious minority, despite the wishes and statements of the shah, is besieged with injustice and aggression, and their rights are being violated under various pretexts and their safety and security is taken away, as in the example presented to Your Highness in this letter.
In conclusion, we beseech you—in order to realize the sacred wishes of His Highness the Shah, and in the name of humanity and being Iranian and preservation of the ancient codes of Iran—to issue strict orders to the relevant authorities and offices to prevent these attacks and consider the Baha’is of Iran as equal under the law like other servants of the imperial government, as stated by Article 8 of the supplement to the Constitution, and let go of these discriminatory actions and deprivations and stop the ill will and prejudices that are likely to cause severe harm to the reputation and status of our beloved Iran.
With expressions of respect,
Chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran
Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran