[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Newspaper:] Rouh-e Azadi

[Date:] 31 Ordibehesht 1334 [22 May 1955]

[Issue No.:] 121

 

What Happened In Parliament Last Week?

... Last week, the issue of the fight against Baha’is again overshadowed all the parliamentary issues. Parliament and representatives spent all their time engaged in discussing the Baha’is and the danger posed by this dangerous political group with its harmful propaganda in the country.

In general, the members believed that the government, using the existing laws, especially by referring to the Constitution and Article 21, which prohibits the formation of anti-religious associations and sects born of corruption, could prevent the propaganda and activities of this seemingly perverse religious group that acts against our national security, ethnicity, national unity and our religion.

The debate continued among the members, and perhaps this was the reason why the members were not ready to sign the plan proposed by Seyyed Ahmad Safaie until Tuesday. The proposal of [Seyyed Safaie], the clerical member of Qazvin, to the parliament was to outlaw the Baha’i sect, decide on the fate of their properties and dismiss them from the government offices. Of course, the action of Commander Fakher Hekmat, the speaker of the national parliament, was very effective in this regard.

The Private Session [of the Parliament]

On Tuesday, when the members arrived in parliament, they still did not know what to do with the Baha’i sect, but they all agreed on one issue―that the government should be assisted to maintain order, act in any way it sees fit for the country and inform the [parliament of the] outcome. But Seyyed Ahmad Safaie, the clerical member of Qazvin, still… remained firm in his opinion that the national parliament should pass a three-tier emergency plan to outlaw the Baha’i sect and expel them from [government] offices, and in order to promote his views, he arrived early in the morning at the Baharestan…

Seyyed Jafar Behbahani, the member for Tehran, had previously taken Dr. Shahkar’s time and, with his permission, wanted to talk to him about the Baha’is. A number of members had gathered in the lower lobby [of the parliament] to discuss the decision taken by the maraj’-i-taqlid[1], especially Ayatollah Borujerdi, to fight and expel the Baha’is.

Seyyed Jafar Behbahani, the member for Tehran and the son of Ayatollah Behbahani, told his colleagues that Ayatollah Borujerdi had sent him a message, which said that [Ayatollah Borujerdi] had special expectations from him in the fight against the Baha’is. [He said], “Since I am aware of the intentions of His Majesty the King and know that His Majesty always respects the religious sentiments and inclinations of the people, today, in my speech, I intend to briefly reveal the causes of the emergence of this fake sect, which was created by the Tsarist Russians to advance their evil intentions, and ask the people to help the government to maintain peace, expel this perverse sect and realize this national religious aspiration, and I also ask His Majesty the King to issue emphatic orders to the government to make an immediate decision.”…

Seyyed Ahmad Safaie said that Ayatollah Borujerdi had sent a message to the members to declare the Baha’i sect illegal, but Dr. Shahkar and Mahmoud Rezaie believed that the constitution had [already] forbidden the Baha’i sect, which was born of corruption and was an anti-religious community, and there was no need for the law.

It was at this time that Commander Fakher Hekmat came to the meeting …and announced that the Cabinet had informed him that before the public session, the government had requested that a private session be convened to hear the government’s reports  and actions in the fight against Baha’ism, and that every decision made by the parliament is prudent and in accordance with the best interests of the country and the welfare of the people.

The government’s action in transmitting the circular to the governors general and the governors, and especially the keeping of order and peace, was approved and appreciated by all the members. It was only decided to add a few sentences to the circular, which was to be read in a public session [of the parliament]. Unfortunately, following this decision, Mr. Alam, the minister of interior, Mr. Seyyed Jafar Behbahani, Dr. Shahkar, Jalal Shadman and Jalili, went to the room of the board of directors and, in the presence of the speaker [of the parliament], with the consent of the minister of interior, added a few sentences.  It was decided to mention the word Baha’i and freedom within the limits of the law of religious minorities―Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism―as supplementary orders to the governors general and the governors. In this way, the topic of struggle against the Baha’is was concluded, which was one of the most important subjects of the day…

… The Baha’i Officers

The question is what will happen to the Baha’i sect’s officers in the army. In a call to an informed official about the situation of Baha’i officers in the army, he said, “The fate of Baha’i [army] officers is the same as that of any other government official. Any decision made about them publicly applies to the [army] officers as well… Some of them may be dismissed from the army, but the members of this perverse sect [Baha’is] in the army are very few and negligible. Their actual number is not more than what [is obvious].”…

 

[1] [Marja‘-i-Taqlid: Religious Jurisprudence Authority]