[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]


[Adapted from website:] Saham News

[Date:] 25 Mehr 1394 [17 October 2015]


Meeting with Families of the Baha’i Prisoners

Heshmatollah Tabarzadi

Last night, together with family members, we were guests of the families of the Baha’i prisoners known as “Yaran-e Iran.” Khanjani, Naimi, Rezaie, Tavakkoli, Tizfahm, Kamalabadi and Shahriari are seven Baha’i compatriots, who, along with hundreds of other Baha’is, have been in prison for more than seven years for being Baha’is and propagating their beliefs. Each of them was sentenced to 20 years in prison. These patriotic and honourable prisoners and respectable people were severely tortured during the interrogation, including physical torture, and Mr. Khanjani, Mr. Naimi and Mr. Tavakkoli were beaten with a cable to [force them to] make a false confession for crimes they did not commit, that is, espionage, to which they did not confess.

In Iran, Baha’is do not have the right to study, the right to work in government, or the right to propagate their beliefs. They are under intense pressure to leave their country, but the government falsely claims that they have citizenship rights. The Baha’is have become an isolated movement, sometimes based on religious issues that [they] have always been reprimanded [for] in prison or out of prison, and I have called for them to reconsider such relations. They have, historically, always been oppressed; so much so that (Ayatollah) Khamenei called them a perversely misguided sect and increased the pressure on them a hundred times.

At last night’s dinner, I reminded them―because I have always been a member of the Islamic community and at the beginning of the revolution defended the Islamic Republic, and [Baha’is] were oppressed from both of these areas―that “They have looted your properties and many of you have been imprisoned, tortured and executed. I apologize for my part, and at the same time invite you to consider the suffering of the Iranian people as your sufferings, regardless of religious relations, and deal with all people on the basis of human relations and compatriotism.”