- Iran’s Enduring Legacy of Violence and Denial
- October 6th, 2013
- BAHA’IS AND THE EIGHT-YEAR WAR: Sharing the suffering, denied the celebration
- September 27th, 2013
3 Mehr 1392 (25 September 2013)
31 Shahrivar 1359 (22 September 1980) was the beginning of a bitter chapter in Iran’s history; a chapter that lasted eight years. The suffering and loss caused by the eight-year Iran-Iraq war continues to be felt, 20 years after the end of the war, and for some, may continue for years to come.
In all these years, there have been wide-ranging accounts of the victims, the martyrs, and the leaders and commanders. But amid the clamor of the Islamic Republic’s official media, always sanctifying the war and its martyrs, we notice the inexplicable absence of any mention of the members of religious minorities ̶ who also fought and were killed or taken prisoner ̶ in any documentary, TV series, movie or book.
As one example, since the Revolution Baha’is in Iran have been constantly subjected to discrimination and persecution on a daily basis. Observing the events of the last 34 years, it is clear that whenever the regime found itself facing internal or external crises the pressure on Baha’is increased considerably.
Status of Baha’is during the war
During the initial years of the revolution, before conflicts among the various revolutionary factions emerged, Baha’is were persecuted under various pretexts. For instance, on 30 Mordad 1359 (21 August 1980), one month before the outbreak of war, members of the administrative body of the Baha’i community were kidnapped, and then disappeared without a trace. Read Full Story
- Sanandaj Court issued the order for destruction of Baha’i cemetery
- September 26th, 2013
The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Iran issued the order for the destruction of the Baha’i cemetery in the city of Sanandaj, which is located near the medical school in the city. According to Mohabbat News, per Kordestan News Agency, Jamal Haeri, one of the Baha’is of Sanandaj, reported by telephone to Kord-Pa News: “Sanandaj cemetery is the resting place of over 40 Baha’is, including my mother, who was buried there four years ago.”
According to Jamal Haeri, who currently resides in Australia, the Islamic Revolutionary Court in the city of Sanandaj confirmed the order for destruction of the Baha’i cemetery issued by the appeal court’s sixth branch on August 3, 2013.
“Unknown individuals had shown disrespect to Baha’i residents by breaking and writing anti-Baha’i and offensive graffiti on the gravestone memorials during Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presidency”, Haeri added. He also stated that the land of the Baha’i cemetery has been sold to an individual named “A.G”, and that it is expected to be completely destroyed soon.
Over 40 families of Baha’is reside in the city of Sanandaj. Several of them have been arrested by the police of the Islamic Republic of Iran each year. Samim Zarei, on July 6, 2013, was the most recent Baha’i of Sanandaj to have been arrested.
Translation by Iran Press Watch
- Islamic Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj issued order for the destruction of Baha’i cemetery of Sanandaj
- September 26th, 2013
The Islamic Revolutionary Court of the city of Sanandaj confirmed an order issued by its sixth branch regarding the destruction of the Baha’i cemetery on August 3, 2013. More than 40 Baha’i families currently reside in the city of Sanandaj. Several religious activists have been arrested due to the violation of human rights and religious minorities this year. Recently, on July 6, 2013, one of the Baha’is of Sanandaj, Samim Zarei, was arrested by the security police.
Translation by Iran Press Watch
- For Iran’s Rouhani, the human rights of Baha’is are the ultimate test of reform
- September 26th, 2013
Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the United Nations on Tuesday signaled the possibility of a thaw in relations between Iran and the United States. Indeed, President Rouhani has been diligently trying to improve Iran’s image abroad by, for instance, reaching out to the Jewish community over social media and to Americans through an NBC interview and a Washington Post op-ed. At the same time, he has fostered hope for reform at home by freeing political prisoners and promising greater freedoms for Iran’s young and restive population.
- Beating and injury of a 75 year-old Baha’i at the Tehran Governor’s Office
- September 25th, 2013
Harana News – Behzad Shokuhi, a 75 year-old Baha’i citizen, who had initiated a court action in connection with his claim for unpaid funds against the Ministry of Agriculture, was summoned to the office of the Governor of Tehran*, and subjected to beating and injury, as well as verbal abuse.
As stated by Harana reporters, the news organ of Human Rights Activists in Iran, Behzad Shokuhi, a 75-year-old Baha’i old man, who had held the position of Deputy Minister of Agriculture before the revolutionary regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran gained power, like other Baha’i citizens who had government posts, was permanently dismissed (by the new regime), after a record of many years of service .
- President Rouhani’s UN speech and the question of human rights in Iran
- September 25th, 2013
- Apology of Dr. Mohammad Maleki* to Taraneh, who has been deprived of her right to higher education
- September 25th, 2013
It was last night that Dr. Maleki invited me to go to house of Taraneh Taefi, a 17 year old girl that our Islamic Government, using the excuse of “incomplete records” [on her university application], sent home from the doorstep of the University of Tehran. As soon as we sat down and drank tea, Dr. Maleki asked Taraneh: “Where is your mom?” Taraneh, who thought we probably already knew the story, hesitated at first but then quickly looked into Dr. Maleki’s eyes and said: “She has been in prison for the past five and one half years. Because of what crime? The crime of teaching for the [Baha’i Institute of Higher Education**]. What did she teach? Psychology. Has she been allowed to come home for a visit for the past five and half years? Never”. Dr. Maleki took a deep breath and got up and asked Taraneh to go to him. He kissed her forehead and with tearful eyes told her, “My dear daughter, I apologize on behalf of all those ignorant people who due to their ignorance have oppressed all of you Baha’is. I used to think that your only problem was a cowardly and unjustified denial of access to education, but now I can see that you are also suffering from greater pain.” He then continued, “When you go see your mother next time, tell her that the 81 year old Dr. Mohammad Maleki came to our house and humbly acknowledged our oppression, and that of our fellow Baha’is.” Dr. Maleki said this and bowed to Taraneh; we wept together in silence for a long time. Read Full Story
- Mohammad Nourizad’s Great and Popular Summons to Sweeping Away the Idea of “Untouchable”
- September 23rd, 2013
I invite all the people of Iran and the world, in particular the Shi’ites, to accompany me in sweeping away the ideology of the ritual “untouchable” [i.e. Najis نجس *]. This ideology has gone too far with its indirect comments regarding certain groups of human beings, with the consequence that Iran’s reputation is harmed, and such actions are attributed to Iran’s immaturity and unwisdom. These days, the problem we Iranians face is not that we are governed by a group of the ultimate self-interested people, who do not follow any regulations and laws; rather Iranians’ real problem is their incorrect and unwise understanding of Source of Imitation [i.e. Maraji'**], the supreme Shi’ite legal authorities, and Islamic officials’ distribution and promotion of such misunderstandings in governmental fiats.
In this summons, I directly consider the ignobility of the Sources of Immitation**, who with their misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Qur’an and and Islam via the religious authorities label pagans, communists, Baha’is, and atheists “untouchable” [i.e. Najis نجس]. With this feeble-minded and cowardly fatwa, they take away established citizenship rights from a group of our fellow-countrymen. Read Full Story
- Nasrin Sotoudeh demands the restitution of the rights of citizenship for religious minorities and Baha’is
- September 21st, 2013
Harana news – Nasrin Sotoudeh*, human rights lawyer and political prisoner, in a letter addressed to the President, has connected the murder of a Baha’i in Bandar Abbas to the “chain of murders“ , and has asked Mr Rouhani to respond to the question of
“what punishment is to be expected for the murderer of this Baha’i fellow-citizen, once he is identified?”
She continued further, asking: “You know the bitter answer to this question much better than I”.
In another part of her letter to the President, this member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center says: “Apart from the fact that no peace-loving Iranian would want to
pursue vengeance and fan the flames of mass anger, the creation of legal pathways and a change in political discourse and the public declaration of the rights of religious minorities is a public demand.”
The full text of the letter, arrived at Jaras News is as follows:
Dearly respected President Rouhani
- At least 30 Baha’i students taking the University Entrance Exam, faced with the claim of “Incomplete Files”
- September 18th, 2013
After assuming his new position as the Minister of Higher Education in Iran, Mr. Jafar Toufighi, in repeated statements has declared that no student would be blacklisted for political or religious beliefs or affiliations in the new academic year. However, reports on the site of the Bureau of Evaluation1 show that under the section of “Admission”, the phrase “Incomplete Files” has been recorded by the names of many Baha’i applicants when the final results of the nationwide Exam for 2013 were announced.
In a short essay on his personal website on Friday September 13th, Mohammad Nourizad, a known journalist and avid critic of the regime in Iran, confirmed the news of the Minister’s statement after talking to an official source in the Ministry of Higher Education. Quoting the source, he declared that “the claim of incomplete files is an unreasonable excuse” to deprive Baha’i students of higher education. Read Full Story
- “Incomplete File”
- September 18th, 2013
[nurizad.info. 17 Sep. 2013]
One of the officials of the ministry of Higher Education approached me at a gathering, and in a shivering voice which was an indication of his deep worry, fear and sadness, said: Mr. Nourizad, in addition to denying higher education to Green Movement supporters, a few days ago the Ministry of Information denied higher education to approximately 30 young people who had passed the university entrance exam with the excuse of an “Incomplete File”. While he was looking around, he continued: In the sphere of universities, wherever you see the term “Incomplete File”, you should know for sure that those files belong to the Baha’is. The story of the “Incomplete File” is an unreasonable excuse that has been used for excluding them from education, because if the applicants have incomplete files they can never reach the stage of selecting their majors.
- Brazil Condemns Murder of Mr. Rezvani
- September 17th, 2013
[camara.leg.br, 28 Aug, 2013]
Mr President, Members of Congress,
The world is going through a turbulent moment in which disputes for power overthrow love for our neighbors. Wars -announced or undeclared; terrorist attacks; hired killings. Are we living our lives or are we simply passing through? We must cultivate the sense and the deeds of a culture of peace.
I bring this to your attention because of the latest developments in Iran. We cannot be complicit with attacks perpetrated because of religious intolerance. This time, Mr. Ataollah Rezvani – a member of the Iranian Bahá’í community – was the victim. He was killed last Saturday in the city of Bandar Abbas, in the south of Iran. Mr. Rezvani had been threatened by fanatical individuals among the city officials. Read Full Story
- Assassination of Baha’is following Khamenei’s Fatwa / Murder of a Baha’i citizen in Bandar Abbas
- September 16th, 2013
One of Khamenei’s latest religious judicial decrees (fatwas) expresses his view about Baha’is. The leader of the Islamic Republic has said [in his fatwa] that interaction with Baha’is is unlawful, and any interaction with “the deviant cult” (i.e., the Baha’i community) must be avoided.
Harana News: Ataollah Rezvani, a Baha’i citizen and a resident of Bandar Abbas, was murdered by a gunshot.
According to Harana News, the news organization of human rights activists in Iran, the life of this Baha’i citizen, a resident of Bandar Abbas, had been repeatedly threatened by agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the office of the Imam Jomeh, the top clergyman in the town. Last night, Saturday, Shahriver 2nd (Aug 24), he was murdered, but none of his Read Full Story
- Killing a Baha’i in Bandar Abbas
- September 16th, 2013
[iranwire.com, 3 Shahrivar, 1392] By Reza Haghigi
The news is short: “Ataollah Rezvani, a Baha’i from Bandar Abbas was kidnapped on Saturday night and murdered by a shot to the back of his head”. This short news has a long history; this is not the first time that the Baha’i community of Iran and Bandar Abbas has faced such a tragedy. Before this event Iraj Mehdi Nejad, a Baha’i from the same city, was murdered by means of a knife. Ataollah Rezvani was a small business owner.
Mr. Rezvani had been a mechanical engineering student at university, but was expelled [for being a Baha'i]; he was in a partnership with a Muslim from Bandar Abbas — they established a small business to sell water pumps. Mr. Rezvani was expelled from university during the Iranian Revolution, when Mr. Ahmadinejad and many of his friends were studying. In March of 2012 the media reported that the water and sewage department of the city of Bandar Abbas refused to accept Mr. Rezvani in their bidding process for any governmental contract; it stopped all of its business with him as a result of a request from the Ministry of Intelligence. Mr. Rezvani was a civil activist, and participated in philanthropic activities. He formed a three member committee called the [Baha’i] servants (Khadimin), and via this committee he organized civil activities. According to one of his close associates, his appearance in social activities brought him fame and respect. Read Full Story
- The systematic persecution of the Baha’i in Iran
- September 15th, 2013
The recent murder of Ataollah Rezvani demonstrates the widespread persecution against Baha’is in the Islamic Republic. Any hope in the newly elected Iranian president to solve the crisis has so far been overshadowed by a series of fatwas from Khamenei, writes Zackery M. Heern.
- Killing a Bahai in Bandar Abbas
- September 15th, 2013
The news is short: “Attaollah Rezvani a Bahai from Bandarabbas was kidnapped on Saturday night and shot in back of his head to death”. This short news has a long story; this is not the first time that Baha’i community of Iran and Bandarabbas faces such tragedy. Before this event Iraj Mehdi Nejad a Bahai from the same city was murdered by knife. Attaolllah Rezvani was a small business owner. Mr. Rezvani was an expelled student from university where he was studying Mechanical Engineering; he in a partnership with a Muslim from Bandarabbas found a small business to sell water pump. Mr. Rezvani expelled from the same university during the Cultural Revolution that Mr. Ahmadinejad and lots of his friends were studying. In March of 2012 the media reported that water and swear department of city of Bandarabbas refused to accept Mr. Rezvani in bidding process for any governmental contract, and stopped all of its business with him as a result of Ministry of Intelligent request. Mr. Rezvani was a civil activist and participated in Philanthropy activities. He formed a three members committee named Baha’i servants and via this committee he organized his civil activities. According to one of his close associate, his appearance on social activities brought him fame and respect. This was not a happy news for the province officials especially clerics who try to destroyed image of Baha’is. In the same line some of the associates of top cleric of the city who is Imam for Friday prayer in the city treated Mr. Rezvani and other Baha’is and asked them to leave the town. Mr. Rezavani families are among the families who have been involved in many adventures in recent years. Anisa Rezvani his nice is in prison in city of Semnan, Siamak Ighani Anaisa’s husband just recently released from jail after spending 3 years.
- Continuing the Silent Treatment Regarding Killing of Mr Ataollah Rezvani, an Iranian Baha’i, by Government Officials
- September 14th, 2013
The Green Movement
Reported Shahriver 8 (Aug. 30th 2013)
Published Shahriver 15 (Sep. 6th 2013)
Jaras: Since the recent murder of Ataollah Rezvani, an active member of the Baha’i community of Bandar Abbas by an unknown gunman, State and Federal officials have said and done nothing about it .
Mr. Rezvani had worked diligently on many community improvement projects, and started a company with a non-Baha’i colleague selling water pumps. Regarding the very suspicious killing of Mr. Rezvani, many things have been said, but until now government officials have remained in total silence.
- Ataollah Rezvani, a Baha’i who was murdered because of his popularity
- September 14th, 2013
The cousin of Ataollah Rezvani, a Baha’i citizen who was murdered, has spoken with Deutsche Welle*, saying:
“He was very much loved; the people of Bandar Abbas, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, had excellent relations with him.” According to his cousin, this situation made the Ministry of Information very touchy about this man.
Ataollah Rezvani, a 54 year old Baha’i, was the father of two children aged 15 and 20. He owned a private water pump company, and was murdered on Saturday night Shahrivar the 2nd (August 24), in the city of Bandar Abbas.
As was his habit, Mr. Rezvani went to the house of one of his friends who lives abroad, and spoke with an employee of the friend. While there, someone contacted Mr. Rezvani on his mobile phone and carried on a prolonged conversation with him. After this phone call, Ataollah Rezvani left that location and was murdered.
At the onset of the Iranian Revolution (in 1979) he was a mechanical engineering student at the Iran University of Science and Technology. After the revolution, he was expelled from the university because of his adherence to the Baha’i Faith, and was never allowed to continue his education.
His cousin, Navid Aghdassi, told Deutsche Welle about Mr. Rezvani’s personality: “Without a doubt, his nobility, his popularity both among Baha’is and non-Baha’is (whether Muslim Sunni or Shi’i) of Bandar Abbas was well known. He carried on a very friendly and loving relationship with all, and was very well-known. Many Baha’is in Bandar Abbas referred their problems to him, whether financial or family problems, and he would assist them.”
Continuation of pressure on Baha’is
From the beginning of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran until now more than 200 Baha’is have been killed. Based on unconfirmed reports approximately 300 Baha’is are currently in prison. The entire previous leadership of the Baha’i community in Iran (the “Yaran”, or “Friends” of Iran) have each been condemned to imprisonment for 20 years. They have been in prison for several years now, and internal as well as external objections have not resulted in their release. The substitude Baha’i university has been closed and their faculty and staff have been imprisoned.
- Assassination was pre-planned and based on religious belief
- September 8th, 2013
Interview with Mr. Ataullah Rezvani’s family:
The body of 54-year-old Ataullah Rezvani, a Baha’i resident of Bandar Abbas, was discovered on an abandoned road outside of town. In an interview with Rooz, his family stated that he went out at 9 PM on Saturday evening, and they were notified of his murder the following day by the Criminal Police Department. “He was shot in the head from behind. No personal items or car parts were stolen. They only took his mobile phone.”
Koorosh Rezvani, Ataullah Rezvani’s son, and Navid Aghdassi, his cousin, told Rooz there was no personal reason for the killing. Their family and friends believe it was ideologically motivated. According to his family, Mr. Rezvani, who was well known in Bandar Abbas, had been under constant pressure by the Intelligence and Security Department. Read Full Story
- The Baha’is in Iran: A Recommendation from Imam `Ali and a story from Karubi
- September 7th, 2013
The humanitarian effort of Mohammad Nourizad in comforting an innocent child named Artin was followed by numerous discussions. As much as Nourizad’s effort made his fellow Muslims proud, the heartbreaking incident of the murder of a Baha’i citizen in Bandar-Abas depressed all real Iranian Muslims, specifically because none of the media, even those associated with the Reformists, covered his murder. Of course, Artin’s story differs from the death of Ataollah Rezvani, the Baha’i citizen murdered in Bandar Abbas.
In contrast to Mohammad Nourizad, and all those who have written articles or had things to say about Artin’s story, I insist on calling Artin just an oppressed kid who has suffered, and let his choice of religion take place when he reaches his legal age of majority, when he will choose his own religion. What put Artin at the center of attention is his excessive oppression and the extreme pressure of Islamic Government of Iran on this innocent Iranian young child. Artin, as we all of us was born in an Iranian family, and like most of the Iranians follows his parent’s religion. Maybe , such a bitter experience, make him to investigate about religions, including his family religion and the religion claimed by the cruel rulers of Iran, and unlike majority of Iranians choose his own religion. Also it is possible that he follows his family religion without any investigation, in respect to his parents, like most of his Iranian citizens. But no matter what the future hold for him, he has been a victim of his parent’s religion. This should have been Mohammad Nourizad’s perspective to Artin’s story that made him apologize to this oppressed Iranian child. I have the same point of view to the recent discussions.
- Iran: ‘First religiously motivated murder of an Iranian Baha’i in 15 years
- September 6th, 2013
By: Christian Solidarity WorldwideThursday, 5 September 2013, 10:47 (EST
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is concerned to learn of the murder on 24 August of Ataollah Rezvani, a prominent member of Iran’s Baha’i community, in what the Baha’i Community of the United Kingdom (UK) is stating may be the first religiously motivated murder of an Iranian Baha’i in 15 years.
Mr Rezvani’s body was found in his car in his hometown, the southern city of Bandar Abbas. Reports indicate he was shot in the back of the head after being forced to drive to a remote area by his assailants.
According to the Baha’i Community of the UK, the murder was preceded by a campaign of intimidation and harassment by Iranian authorities against Mr Rezvani and his family designed to force them to leave the city.
Prior to his murder, Mr Rezvani had come under pressure from the Ministry of Intelligence, which later colluded in his dismissal from his job in water purification. Mr Rezvani had also received several threatening telephone calls from unknown persons.
Read Full Story
- Ayatollah Abdolhamid Masoumi Tehrani meets a group of Iranian Baha’is
- September 6th, 2013
[Ayatollah Masoumi' website: www.amasumi.net, sources: http://www.amasumi.net/index.html]
[news.gooya.com, 13 Shahrivar, 1392]
Report of the meeting between Ayatollah Abdolhamid Masoumi Tehrani and a group of Iranian Baha’i activists
In this meeting that was held in Ayatollah Masoumi Tehrani’s office, His Eminence expressed his personal opinion, while listening to the difficulties and constant violation of human rights experienced by the Baha’i community of Iran.
At the beginning of the meeting, one of the participants referred to the heinous murder of a Baha’i citizen in the city of Bandar Abbas, and the lack of strong will on the part of law enforcement agencies to investigate this crime.
In response, Ayatollah Masoumi made the following remarks:
The heart-wrenching and unfair murder of the late Mr. Ataollah Rezvani is a cause for grief and sadness, and I offer my condolences to his family and friends, and particularly those of you who have troubled yourselves to come and meet with me. My ardent hope is that with the spread of rationalism and avoidance of blind religious fanaticism in Iranian society we will not witness such horrifying crimes any more. I also hope that the authorities identify and punish those responsible for these crimes. If such crimes are not stopped, not only will the image of the Iranian authorities be hurt in the world, but also those responsible for these murders will be encouraged to repeat their crimes.
- Murder of A Baha’i Citizen in Bandar Abbas, Iran.
- September 6th, 2013
Ataollah Rezvani, an active member of the Baha’i community of Bandar Abbas in the south of Iran, has been gunned down by the bullet of an unknown assassin.
Mr. Rezvani apparently was murdered on Saturday night, but his family were not informed of his death by authorities until Sunday noon. No one, no group or organization has so far claimed responsibility for the death of this Baha’i citizen.
Mr. Navid Aghdasi, a cousin of Mr. Rezvani, in an interview with BBC Persian on Monday, said that detectives in charge of this case have spoken to Koroush Rezvani, the son of the victim. He said that detectives have acted swiftly on this case, but they are only on the preliminary stages of their investigation. He said, “We have not yet received the body, but we are pursuing this matter. We still don’t know much about the perpetrators of this act”.
Read Full Story
- Murderers of Iranian Baha’i must be brought to justice, says Baha’i International Community
- September 5th, 2013
29 August 2013
The murder of a well-known Baha’i on Saturday in the southern Iranian city of Bandar Abbas should be treated as a hate crime and must be investigated immediately, said the Baha’i International Community today.
“There is little doubt that the killing of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani was motivated by religious prejudice,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. “Therefore, it is essential that the government at the highest levels investigate this without delay under its international obligations.
“In recent years, clerics and the authorities in Iran have sought to create an atmosphere of anti-Baha’i hatred, using the pulpit and state-sponsored media.
“The newly instituted government of President Hassan Rouhani now has a clear choice. It can continue as his predecessors have, allowing such incidents to take place with impunity, indicating to the world that nothing has changed. Or it can show the world that it is committed to upholding justice and human rights for all Iranians.” Read Full Story
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