[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]
[Adapted from website:] Tasnim News Agency
[Date:] 1 Azar 1399 [21 November 2020]
Influence of the Perverse Baha’i Sect Among Iranian Chess Players / Dollar Prizes for Seducing Iranian Youth
The presence of Iranian chess players in competitions run by a site managed by a Baha’i administrator has sounded a serious alarm for our country’s sports.
According to the sports reporter of Tasnim News Agency, chess is one of the fields that have made great progress in Iran in recent years, and because of this, our country’s chess players have been able to participate in major events, win many titles and make a name for themselves in the world of this game.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, more than before, there was an opportunity for Iranian chess players to participate in more online tournaments and sometimes to win great prizes. In recent months, one of these sites, which also happens to have good dollar prizes, is related to a club with a manager from the perverse Baha’i sect, which has been able to enter in our country via this field by infiltrating different provinces and attracting young chess players. It is an organization in the United States called Unity Chess Club, a club which is run by an Iranian Baha’i named Pedram Atoufi.
The issue of the presence of our country’s young chess players in the competitions of this club was raised by the head of the Chess Board of Alborz Province in the general and annual assembly of the federation. Mehdi Kianpour, the head of the Alborz provincial delegation, told Tasnim News Agency, “Years ago, a person named Pedram Atoufi, who was one of the heroes of Iran’s youth, was present in the country. He then publicly stated that he belonged to the Baha’i sect and was therefore barred from participating in international and official competitions by the federation. After immigrating to Turkey, he finally left for the United States. He founded the Unity Chess Club in the United States. Following investigation, it was found out that until recently, the club had been using the symbol of Baha’ism of the United States.
Kianpour pointed out that the coronavirus has spread to all countries and has hit their sports; under these circumstances, holding these competitions only costs the organizer and will not have any payoff. He told Tasnim, “The propaganda of the Baha’i sect is secret, and its membership is based on this. We felt this danger for our Iranian chess players, because most of our country’s chess masters had participated in this club’s competitions. Coincidentally, they were given the right by the host; in fact, this situation allows them to easily take over Iranian chess.
The head of the Alborz Chess Board said, “I discussed this issue with Nikoukhesal, the head of the federation; however, in the meeting where this issue was raised, another person came with me so that he could give a more detailed explanation, but he was respectfully expelled from the meeting and I was also told that I had no right to enter into this issue.” They spoke in a bad tone, saying, “You may become the cause of suspension of Iranian chess.” I told the federation officials that this site and the competitions are run under the supervision of a Baha’i, and according to the religious fatwas that have been issued, any interaction between Muslims and members of this sect is forbidden. Unfortunately, the organizers of these tournaments are infiltrating Iranian chess players with their headlights off.
The head of the Alborz Chess Board, in response to the question as to whether or not a specific result had been reached in his follow-up on this issue, said, “Nikoukhesal said that the Ministry of Sports Security had been notified, but I did not see anything happen and the chess community and athletes have not seen any reaction to prevent their presence.”
In the end, Kianpour said, “When you attend to a cancer in a late stage, it has taken root, and the time to remedy it has already expired.”