[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]


13 Mordad 1313 [4 August 1934]


Your Excellency, the Prime Minister, may your grandeur last

With utmost respect, I convey the following. The letter regarding my employment was placed on the dust beneath the steps of [sent to] the king, may our souls be a sacrifice to him, and His Majesty’s orders were issued for Your Excellency to investigate and grant my rights.

Upon my contacting the respected cabinet of the prime minister, a member mentioned that His Excellency the prime minister had stated, “Your expression of your [religious] belief was against the law. If you write in the [employment application] form that you are a Muslim, you can be employed.” Although it seemed to me very unlikely that such an order would have been issued by a person such as Your Excellency—and on the other hand, I cannot imagine that the aforementioned member could have given this response of his own accord, and in any case, in a nation where, under the progressive attention of his majesty the Pahlavi king, the country is developing rapidly and the esteemed prime minister would consider such personal expressions of opinion as being against the law—this humble servant does not know of any such law, and would not order writing down anything that is against the principles of verity and honesty. Your Excellency, if the intention is to lie when answering the questions on the employment form, why is there a need to include this question and to force the people to state untrue facts at the onset of their employment?

Your Excellency, I do not believe that in this great era of the Pahlavi kingdom, listing the word “Baha’i,” which is a source of pride for Iranians and whose teachings are the guarantor of prosperity for all humanity, would incite such ignorant prejudice or give a pretext to those harbouring ill will. Now, if the esteemed government cabinet fears the effects of the previous tumults and the past killings, lootings, martyrdoms, and bloodsheds, would it not have been better, in the usual way of the ministries in the past, that such a change was not made in the employment forms; in the same way that the affairs related to the people of this country, such as payment of taxes and military service and other things, are freely partaken of by the followers of all beliefs and religions, and the Baha’is also consider themselves obligated to carry them out, and being a Baha’i has no bearing on those matters?!!!

I am sure you would agree that being a Baha’i should not affect an individual’s participation and employment in the ministries, and a trustworthy Iranian employee with two sisters and a mother should not be deprived of livelihood and security in this sacred homeland. Hence, I beseech you with utmost respect and humility to order that the question about religion be stricken, and to exempt me from writing anything contrary to the truth and reality in [answer to] it. Rather, I have utmost hope that having been informed, Your Highness will enable me to continue my honest service and provide a family with the bounty of liberty and well-being.


I eagerly await Your Excellency’s fair decision, with great hope and expectation.

Your servant, Shahriar Shahzadi


[Stamp:] Receipt by the Office of the Cabinet Minister, Date: 4 Shahrivar 1313 [26 August 1934], Number: 3546