lunes, 24 de agosto de 2015

European Parliamentarians call for release of Iranian Baha'i prisoners

20 May 2015
BRUSSELS—Together with many voices from within Iran—including Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer there—and from outside, five members of the European Parliament are calling for the immediate release of the seven imprisoned former Iranian Baha'i leaders saying, among other things, that such religious persecution is "unjust" and "unacceptable".
The five MEPs—Cornelia Ernst of Germany, Ana Gomes of Portugal, Tunne Kelam of Estonia, and Andrew Lewer and Julie Ward of the United Kingdom—made individual video statements as part of a global campaign designed to call attention this month to the seventh anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of the seven Baha'is, collectively known as the Yaran—the friends.
"We join this appeal for their immediate, unconditional release," said Mr. Kelam, "because no country can claim that it has normal conditions for its citizens when a part of their citizens—some minority—is being persecuted systemically and so cruelly."
Ms. Gomes said: "It is really quite unacceptable that these Iranian citizens, who do not want more than to actually serve their country, their people, in service to the very peaceful teachings of the Baha'i Faith, be in prison and be charged with accusations that are totally baseless."
Ms. Ward said that it is "very difficult to understand why the Iranian regime would be so aggressive and so cruel" towards its Baha'i citizens, who represent a faith of "peace, humanity, gender equality and fairness".
Mr. Lewer said Iran should be held accountable for its human rights violations generally, and particularly for its persecution of Baha'is. "With so much attention on Iran at the moment because of the nuclear talks," he said, "I think it is important that these issues are not overlooked.
"Human rights and religious freedom should remain something that we stay concerned about even as we make progress, possibly, with Iran in other areas," said Mr. Lewer.

Ms. Ernst said: "We are strictly against the fact that individuals such as the Baha'is are being imprisoned because they speak in favour of the right for education or because they support the right to practice their religion.
"This is something that is absolutely unacceptable," she said.
Rachel Bayani, representative of the Baha'i International Community's Regional Office to the European Union, said the videos reflect the sincere concerns of European Parliament over Iran's treatment of Baha'is.
"These statements are a powerful expression of solidarity of the representatives of the people of Europe towards the people of Iran," said Ms. Bayani.
The video statements, which have also been posted to a campaign page on Facebook, can be viewed here.
Also available is a statement by Nasrin Sotoudeh addressing the seventh anniversary of the wrongful imprisonment of the former members of the Yaran. Ms. Sotoudeh was herself imprisoned in Iran with the Baha'i women who are among the seven now imprisoned. Her video statement is available here.
In 2010, the seven, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm, were tried and wrongfully convicted on charges of "espionage" and "spreading propaganda against the regime," among other false accusations. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest term of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.


The Iranian Islamic form of anti-Bahaism is reminiscent of the Nazi regime's persecution of the Jews in the 1930s


25 September 2013
NEW YORK - Having heard Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's address to the United Nations today, the world will be watching to see how he will, beyond his general call for hope and moderation around the world, address the essential question of human rights in Iran.

 The Baha'i International Community is eagerly waiting to see what practical steps President Rouhani and his government will now take to redress human rights violations faced by Iran's ethnic and religious minorities, including Baha'is, the country's largest non-Muslim religious minority, as well as other sectors of Iran's population.

"In particular, we are hoping that President Rouhani will take steps to accord to the Baha'is their full rights as Iranian citizens," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community.

 "A first step would be to revoke the provisions of the 1991 secret memorandum issued by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council and signed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. That document calls for the Baha'is to be treated in such a way that 'their progress and development are blocked' and it sets out policies aimed at eliminating the Baha'i community as a viable entity in Iran.

"For more than 30 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has systematically persecuted Baha'is, solely because of their religious beliefs, which promote peace, obedience to law and pose no threat to the government.

"A critical first test of his real intentions, then, is whether President Rouhani will begin to release the more than 115 Baha'is who are currently in prison in Iran, all wrongfully held on false or trumped up charges," said Ms. Dugal.

For more details about the persecution of Baha'is in Iran, go to:  To read the 1991 secret memorandum,
go to:

Source: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Translation and Source of letter: The English translation of the attached letter stamped by Khamenei's office (Religious & Supreme Leader of Iran): "In the name of God. All members of the Bahai cult are guilty as being infidels & are regarded as "Najes" (an islamic term for being inherently unclean/dirty), thus people are advised to avoid proximity in food & other things because of their contagious nature AND it is paramount that the believers combat the schemes & devious nature of this misled cult."

Source: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

...This Islamic form of anti-Bahaism is reminiscent of the Nazi regime's persecution of the Jews in the 1930s. The Nazis demonised the Jews just like the Iranian Islamists demonise the Bahais because they believe in the emancipation of men and women and reject militant Jihadism. Bahais believe that parliamentary democracy is the best way forward and call for human rights oriented ethics to be at the fore when working towards world peace. Clearly the Iranian state clerics consider the Bahai faith as dangerous since it conveys ideas which are seen as invalid by the totalitarian rulers of Iran...


Men have oppressed women for centuries


 by David Langness

Men have oppressed women for centuries.

Denied personal safety, independence, education, the vote, political power, property rights and even control over their own bodies, minds and destinies, women have suffered the consequences of inequality in most societies around the world since the beginning of recorded history.

The Baha'i teachings say the time has come for those terrible injustices to stop. The fundamental Baha'i principle of the equality of the sexes, from the beginnings of the Faith's earliest years, has led people everywhere toward the recognition of women's rights and the fair and equitable treatment of women:

In the world of humanity we find a great difference; the female sex is treated as though inferior, and is not allowed equal rights and privileges. This condition is due not to nature, but to education. In the Divine Creation there is no such distinction. Neither sex is superior to the other in the sight of God. Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other, withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His authority for such a course of action? If women received the same educational advantages as those of men, the result would demonstrate the equality of capacity of both for scholarship. …Divine Justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally respected since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven. Dignity before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and luminosity of heart. Human virtues belong equally to all! - Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 161-162.

The Baha'is have promoted the equality of the sexes since their Faith's inception in the middle of the 19th Century. In Persia, where the Baha'i Faith had its beginnings, the unequal treatment of women was historically well-documented and particularly oppressive - and when the Baha'i Faith began, this fundamental principle of gender equality generated enormous controversy and persecution. Even today, Baha'is are imprisoned in Iran for their advocacy of gender equality and other progressive Baha'i teachings. But the Baha'i approach to achieving gender equality in the world has a unique and unusual aspect. A century ago Abdu'l-Baha, the son of the Baha'i Faith's Founder Baha'u'llah, actively encouraged social movements for the equality of women - by asking men to take responsibility for the issue: Woman must endeavour then to attain greater perfection, to be man's equal in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality of capacity and attainment. God's Bounty is for all and gives power for all progress. When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights! One of the principles then of Baha'u'llah is the equality of sex. Women must make the greatest effort to acquire spiritual power and to increase in the virtue of wisdom and holiness until their enlightenment and striving succeeds in bringing about the unity of mankind. - Paris Talks, p. 163.

That phrase - "When men own the equality of women" - calls for a radical new take on the issue of equality. It asks men to become the advocates of women; to stand up for their rights; to help bring about a new era of gender equality around the world. Baha'is understand that the absolute equality of men and women advances daily in the world, and that male involvement will help bring it about more quickly, more efficiently and with more unity of purpose: Men, for their part, must learn to cooperate with women and encourage their efforts. When men actively promote the principle of equality, women will no longer have to struggle for their rights. Gradually, Baha'is believe, both women and men will discard long-held unhealthy attitudes and progressively incorporate into their lives the values conducive to true unity… - The Baha'i International Community, Statement on the Development of Women, Mar 11, 1992.

This clear and compelling vision of a world where sexual equality prevails characterizes the Baha'i understanding of what an equitable future will look like: The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced. - From a talk by Abdu'l-Baha, cited in Dr. J. E. Esselmont's Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 149.

Read the previous article in the series: Baha'i Principles - Universal Education The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or any institution of the Baha'i Faith.


By: David Langness David Langness writes and edits for and is a journalist and literary critic for Paste Magazine. He and his wife Teresa live in the Sierra foothills in Northern California.

Efforts to destroy the economic life of the Baha'i in Iran


Efforts to destroy the economic life of the Baha'i community has, in fact, been a facet of the government's persecution since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the government began dismissing Baha'i civil servants wholesale - and then moved to systematically revoke the business licenses of Baha'is in the private sector. In this manner, thousands of Baha'is have lost jobs or sources of livelihood over the last 30 years. Then, during the 1990s, there was a period of relative security, when government pressure eased. More recently, however, economic oppression has again risen - and the situation in Semnan offers a case study of how authorities are attempting to literally starve Baha'is out of existence. The most recent case shows the extremes to which authorities are willing to go to eliminate means of livelihood for Baha'is in Semnan. On 28 May 2012, Intelligence Ministry agents raided and sealed two factories, with full or partial Baha'i ownership. One of the factories - which manufactured drapery - employed 51 staff, 36 of whom were not Baha'is. The other, a lens grinding factory, had two Baha'I employees and six others. Such closures demonstrate that, in the ongoing effort to strangle the Baha'is economically, the authorities are willing to cause other workers - including Shia Muslims - to face economic hardship as well. The assault on the livelihood of the Baha'i community of Semnan began in early 2009 when the Chamber of Commerce of Semnan, along with 39 member trade unions, decided to stop issuing business licenses and managerial permits to the Baha'is - and to stop renewing current licenses. This led to the revocation and confiscation of existing business licenses and permits for Baha'is throughout the city. As well, authorities frequently put seals on the doors of Baha'i-owned shops in the city, indicating they have been officially closed. As of this writing, at least 27 Baha'i-run business enterprises, including factories, shops, workshops, and offices have been closed by the authorities, leaving more than 110 Baha'i families without a source of income. Among those whose shops were closed this way is Shamil Pirasteh. Her business license was revoked without explanation on 10 March 2009. When officials were asked about the revocation, they said the order came from "higher authorities." In another example, the flower shop of Peiman Rahmani was closed after his business license was revoked in 2009. His father had owned and successfully operated the shop for some 20 years. Reports indicate that these steps came as a result of pressure that the head of the Basij trade union had placed on these organizations. Banks have also begun to refuse to extend loans to Baha'is who are otherwise well qualified to receive such financial support. Mr. Behfar Khanjani - husband of Shamil Pirasteh - was repeatedly refused loans that would keep him and his wife solvent. At least five other Baha'is in Semnan have been refused loans. Mr. Khanjani's apparel store was closed and he was imprisoned in June 2011 for four years. Recently, some of the Baha'is of Semnan were barred from bringing merchandize from elsewhere to the province for trade and sale, gravely limiting or cutting off their ability to generate any income. Those who are still able to operate their businesses report that they are under surveillance and receive phone calls to report to the authorities from time to time. When they do so, they are told the call they received did not come from that office. In other cases they are accused of undermining the government by closing their stories on Baha'i holy days. They are told that by doing so they are creating public disturbance for which the authorities threaten to shut down their businesses. Authorities have also harassed Baha'i farmers in the region. For instance, orders were issued to destroy the acreage which the farmers had attained, with legal permission, for their own use. In one case, orders were given to destroy the animal stock on these farmlands, which had been purchased by the Baha'i farmer 17 years previously. On other occasions, authorities have closed and sealed water wells on Baha'i farms, even though permits for those wells had been legally issued. There have also been general efforts in Semnan to suppress Baha'i businesses by encouraging people not to patronize them. Other merchants, such as architects, have been warned against dealing with Baha'is in construction, including accepting bids or contracts from them. All of these measures are in line with the policy outlined in the Baha'i Question memorandum - and they have also been implemented in other towns and cities throughout Iran. That this effort at economic strangulation is official government policy was proved by the emergence of a secret letter, dated 9 April 2007, from the Public Places Supervision Office of the Public Intelligence and Security Force in the province of Tehran. Addressed to regional commanders of police and the heads of public intelligence and security forces, that letter instructs them to prevent members of the "perverse Bahaist sect" - along with members of other "anti-revolutionary political organizations" - from engaging in a wide range of businesses. These include "high-earning businesses," "sensitive-business" categories, such as the press, engraving, the tourist industry, car rentals, publishing, hostel and hotel management, photography and film, computer sales and Internet cafés, and food businesses which might offend Shi'a concepts of "cleanliness."


Irans persecution of the Bahai goes beyond the grave

The House of the Bab in Shiraz, one of the most holy sites in the Bahai world, was destroyed by Revolutionary Guardsmen in 1979 and later razed by the government.

By Sasha Eskandarian, National Post August 19, 2014

It's not difficult for me to remember the horrible days of hardship I experienced as a Baha'i teenager, living in Shiraz, Iran, in the early 1980s. As a member of the Baha'i faith, the largest religious minority community in Iran, life became harder and harder for us as we were being attacked and terrorized in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Baha'i families in my hometown of Shiraz, including my own, lost their livelihoods. We were scared for our lives, as well. In those years, many members of Baha'i institutions, both at the national and local levels, were arrested and killed. Some were tortured in an effort to force them to recant their faith. Others mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Baha'i homes were attacked by mobs, and some were burned. Even the dead were targeted: Baha'i cemeteries around the country were attacked and destroyed. I vividly remember the Baha'i cemetery in Shiraz. We called it the "Everlasting Garden," a place of peace and tranquillity. We visited our departed family and friends' graves, including those of my younger brother and my grandmother. We prayed and meditated there in a loving and spiritual atmosphere. I remember going there after it was attacked, along with a group of youth, to help restore what was left, to plant flowers, water the garden, dig graves in preparation of burials. At a time of crisis, it was a joy to render this service to my community. In 1983, 10 Baha'i women from Shiraz were hung because of their faith. I knew them all. The youngest, Mona Mahmudnizad, was a close friend of mine. We had such a good time together, including many sleepovers where we shared our youthful confidences. She was only 17 years old, and was buried in our "Everlasting Garden." Soon after, I left Iran to come to Canada. I was determined not to look back. I wanted to close this chapter of my life forever. I even changed my name, hoping that it would bring a new beginning. Thirty years later, I realize how childish it was to think that I could turn my back on such injustices. How could I forget my family and friends? After all that time, the situation hasn't changed much in Shiraz. Many more Baha'is were killed since I left; many others are in prison. The attacks continue, even if they are overshadowed in the media by other instances of bloodshed elsewhere in the Middle East. Now, the "Everlasting Garden" is being completely demolished to make way for a new sports and cultural complex. Iran's Revolutionary Guards are destroying whatever was left of the cemetery. As early as the 1980s, the main buildings were destroyed after the property was confiscated by the government. The Guards now are going further. They've started digging out bodies - including those of my brother, grandmother and dear friend Mona - from their resting graves, and placed them in an open canal. They even held a public celebration of the demolition's progress, to which the media was invited. The commander of the Guards gave a speech attacking Baha'is while standing on top of our loved one's graves, or what is left of them. How much longer do Baha'is in Iran need to suffer? Are we hearing the voices of the innocent? I share the suffering of those in Shiraz. They are my family and friends, whose only aim is to follow the precepts of their faith, and work for the betterment of mankind. I invite others to raise their voices to protest this outrageous wrongdoing and help stop this injustice. National Post Sasha Eskandarian is a Baha'i currently living in Mississauga, Ontario. She is a Research Manager in the department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at McMaster Universit

Robert Joustra: Educating the world about Iran's persecution of the Baha'i faith Irwin Cotler and James Bezan: Putting names to Iran's persecuted voices of dissent
Irwin Cotler: Criminalizing the Baha'i faith


domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

The Iranian Bahai Prisoners Speak Out

Teheran-2 Recently the head of the Human Rights Division of the Judicial Branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Ardeshir Larijani, publicly claimed that "No one is in prison for being a Baha'i and if Baha'is do not commit illegal acts their citizenship rights will be protected." in the following letter to Mr. Larijani, the seven imprisoned members of the former ad hoc committee of the Baha'i community of Iran-known as the Yaran-have recently challenged that assessment by reiterating some of the acts of oppression and discrimination, security force encounters and human rights violations imposed on this group of innocent citizens as a result of their Faith. Their open letter asks Iranian government officials to change their view toward citizens and minorities. As reported by JARAS, here is the text of this letter from members of the Yaran addressed to Mohammad Javad Larijani: In the Name of God His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, Chairman of the Human Rights Division of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic With Greetings and Respect Your provocative statements in the news dialogue program which was broadcast to millions from Channel 2 of Sima [Iranian National Television] on 26 Esfand [17 March], have impelled us, the seven formers members of the coordinating group of the Bahá'í Community of Iran, who are currently imprisoned, to respectfully bring to your attention certain points. We do so out of a sense of obligation, without any intention or motive to incite anyone and divorced from any political view or standpoint. It is indisputably clear that issues concerning Bahá'ís and the wrongs inflicted upon them are not new and that certain media, including above all, the Islamic Republic's national network, have systematically directed numerous malicious attacks and unfounded allegations against this group of their Iranian brothers and sisters. This has happened continuously, over many years, while not even one individual Bahá'í has been permitted to respond through that same media outlet to these unfair accusations and gross misrepresentations as is our right under our nation's Constitution. Your Excellency Mr. Larijani It is heartwarming that in your statements, your excellency has presented human rights as an important and multi-faceted global issue. Even more significantly, it is a source of joy to note that in an unprecedented initiative you have clearly stated that in the Islamic Republic the government is obligated to preserve the citizenship rights and maintain the security of the Bahá'ís. Welcoming your standpoint, we hereby declare that the Iranian Bahá'ís likewise expect their citizenship rights to be officially recognized and respected. It is gratifying to see that you regard Bahá'ís as citizens of this country, as this portends improved future collaboration with this wronged community. However, your statement that no one is imprisoned for being a Bahá'í and that if Bahá'ís do not commit illegal acts their citizenship rights are preserved-which implies that any confrontation with Bahá'ís must undoubtedly be attributed to their having broken the law-indicates that you are unaware of the facts of the matter. We therefore wish to pose certain questions to you so that, on the one hand, we may inform you of the facts so as to assist you in discharging the authority vested in you as the Chairman of the Human Rights Division of the Judiciary, and, on the other hand, we may provide evidence for the record and before the awakened conscience of our free-minded compatriots. We do this whilst continuing to observe, with utmost regret, that owing to religious intolerance and bias against freedom of belief, Iranian Bahá'ís continue to suffer appalling violations of their citizenship rights and severe repression by the security forces and the judiciary. Alongside a change in the stance of the regime's honourable authorities, may we, from this day forward, witness a real transformation in their safeguarding and upholding the rights of the members of the Bahá'í community. Teheran-1 1. Mr. Larijani, has the execution of the more than 220 Bahá'ís-ranging from a sixteen-year old girl to a ninety-five-year old man-been carried out in accordance with their citizenship rights, when virtually every one of them were told that if they recanted their beliefs and converted to Islam their lives would be spared and they would be freed from prison? If one commits a crime, how is it that the mere act of recantation of one's beliefs absolves him or her of culpability? 2. Does the dismissal of tens of thousands of Bahá'í workers and professionals from their workplaces and from government organizations-not to mention suspension of their pensions and obstruction of their employment in the private sector, when no crime had been committed by them and official documents cite the sole reason for their dismissal or suspension "membership in the misguided Bahá'í sect", constitute upholding their rights of citizenship? And now, Mr. Larijani, can your excellency name one Bahá'í who is employed in any government organization? The answer is clearly negative because at this time no government organization is permitted to hire Bahá'ís. 3. Has the collective confiscation of the properties of Bahá'ís in Yazd and the ban on their doing business with others been executed in accordance with their rights as citizens? Mr. Larijani, those who were suckling children when such verdicts were issued and who are now grown and have formed families continue to suffer numerous obstacles to earning a livelihood. Were these suckling children or [those whose graves are being destroyed now] all criminals? 4. Does the debarring of thousands of Bahá'í students following the Islamic revolution from access to university and the deprivation from higher education over the past thirty years of tens of thousands of youth eagerly interested in learning, solely on account of their beliefs, accord with their citizenship rights? Do these acts attest that the regime protects the rights of Bahá'ís, all of whom are blameless? Surely your excellency does not consider the numerous memoranda instructing universities throughout the country not to register Bahá'í students and to expel them on any grounds, as consistent with supporting and respecting the rights of the Bahá'ís as citizens of the country. These memoranda, which have regrettably been issued by the same authorities that you consider are respectful of the rights of the Bahá'ís, are available for all to see. 5. We invite you to reflect on the memorandum of Esfand, 1369 [February 1991] ratified by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council, which was issued with the approval of the highest authorities in the country, and ask that you compare it with the nation's Constitution and human rights laws. This memorandum clearly states that (a) Bahá'ís can be enrolled in schools provided they have not identified themselves as Bahá'ís; (b) they are to be denied employment if they identify themselves as Bahá'ís; (c) they must be expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Bahá'ís; (d) their progress and development should be blocked. For your information, in 1386 [2006/2007], when a group of Bahá'í students who had been expelled from university appealed to the court of justice against the university, the documents issued by the court clearly state that their dismissal was based on the aforementioned memorandum of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council. Our question is this: How is this memorandum consistent with supporting Bahá'ís and respecting their citizenship rights? And if we observe fairly, is not this very memorandum indicative of the way the regime regards and deals with the Bahá'ís? 6. Mr. Larijani, we appeal to you sincerely to consider this question before your conscience: What crimes were committed by those Bahá'ís who made arrangements for Bahá'í students who are deprived of access to higher education to continue their learning in their own private homes, through the internet, and without any use of government accommodations or funds? Is private education a crime under the penal laws of this country? Is it fair to sentence to long prison terms those individuals who give wholeheartedly of their time and their knowledge to facilitate the education of Bahá'í youth? Is the government's policy in this matter not an effort to retard the cultural progress of a community? How could anyone consider such wholesale violations as constituting government protection of the rights of Bahá'ís to higher education? 7. Mr. Larijani, does the dismissal of all Bahá'í government workers and professionals from public and even private businesses; confiscation of the private properties of Bahá'ís in the agricultural and industrial sectors-for which there is clear documentary evidence; the closure of hundreds of shops and businesses owned by Bahá'ís in various towns based on unfounded excuses; the expelling of many Bahá'í villagers from their homes and the confiscation of their farm animals and agricultural lands, which have belonged to their families for generations; and the numerous other ongoing obstacles to Bahá'ís to engage in business and employment, bear any resemblance whatever to your statement that Bahá'ís are able, under the protection of the regime, to be gainfully employed? Of course, it goes without saying that protection of its citizens is the inherent obligation of any government to its citizens and so the question is this: Is it not that all these obstacles and the countless ongoing hardships that are visited upon the Bahá'ís are aimed precisely at implementing one of the provisions of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council memorandum, namely, that the progress and development of the Bahá'ís must be blocked? 8. Mr. Larijani, how should one view the confiscation of Bahá'í holy places and endowments throughout the whole of Iran? Which singular crime of any Bahá'í has led to the confiscation of the centres for Bahá'í gatherings and prayers in various cities and villages? As you believe in collaboration with Bahá'ís based on their citizenship rights, do you readily accept that a Bahá'í has the right to be buried as written in his/her will, in accordance with Bahá'í requirements and in an appropriate location-which any government is obligated to provide? And yet it is astonishing that over the years, even this right has been taken away from dead Bahá'ís. Mr. Larijani, does the confiscation and destruction of Bahá'í cemeteries accord with respecting the citizenship rights of the Bahá'ís? Of what, in your opinion, is desecrating cemeteries and disinterring bodies from their graves-acts which are considered abhorrent in any religion-indicative? teheran Mr. Larijani What has been stated above affords but a brief glimpse of the multi-faceted deprivations and violations of the citizenship rights of the Bahá'ís. Such violations are, of course not limited to Bahá'ís and others seek equality of rights in the cultural, artistic, political, and social arenas, in accordance with clear principles enunciated in our nation's Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we stated, that which is necessary to guarantee the citizenship rights of the honourable Iranian citizens is, first, legislating laws which, with utmost clarity, protect such rights and, secondly, establishing structures which prevent their misapplication through arbitrary and capricious interpretation. We believe that oneness and equality and liberty for all are not merely civil or legal constructs but that these are, rather, spiritual principles whose origin and source is the one creator who created the entire human race from the same dust. Notwithstanding civil and legal requirements, belief in oneness and equality and respect for the rights of others are principles which must emanate from one's faith and conscience. Based on this, it would be highly appropriate for the honorable authorities of the Islamic Republic, using the provisions enshrined in law, to foster and promote an integrated and unified view of the Iranian nation and to allow the noble people of Iran to exercise their citizenship rights despite their beliefs or ethnicity. The Former Members of the Coordinating Group of the Bahá'í Community of Iran Part 1 of 3: The Iranian Baha'i Prisoners Speak Out - An Open Letter from The Yaran Part 2 of 3: 8 Questions for the Iranian Government from the Baha'i Prisoners Below you'll find some additional information on the deprivation of human rights, imprisonment, torture and execution of the beleaguered Baha'is in Iran. The Baha'i writings say this on the subject: "Baha'u'llah teaches that an equal standard of human rights must be recognized and adopted. In the estimation of God all men are equal; there is no distinction or preferment for any soul in the dominion of His justice and equity." - Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, pp. 240-241. For more information on The Yaran, or "Friends" of Iran - see For more information on the Islamic Republic of Iran's Human Rights head Mohammad-Javad Larijani, see For more information on the famous case of Mona Mahmudnizhad, the 16-year-old girl executed in 1983 for teaching children who had been expelled from school for their beliefs and for serving in an orphanage, see For more information on the Iranian government's Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council's edict against the Baha'is, you will find it printed in full at Source: