Archive for February, 2009

Channel Four interview with Shirin Ebadi on Iran, Women’s Rights and the Bahá’is

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Senior Analyst reports on Irans Systematic Plan to Eradicate The Bahá’i Community in Iran

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

This article is from

Iran moving to “eradicate” Baha’i faith – senior analyst

Updated: Thursday, February 19, 2009


Washington, 19 February (IranVNC)—Iran is engaging in a “systematic” effort to “eradicate” the banned Baha’i faith in that country, a senior analyst at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom [USCIRF] told IranVNC yesterday.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Judiciary spokesperson, Alireza Jamshidi, said that seven Iranian members of the national Baha’i coordinating committee, charged with espionage, could be indicted by next week. The seven individuals have been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, since their arrests in March and May 2008.

“There’s now a systematic, clear effort to eradicate and destroy the Baha’i community at large,” said Dwight Bashir, a senior policy analyst at the USCIRF.

Bashir told IranVNC that the seven Baha’is who were charged with espionage were part of a coordinating group for educational and other social activities.

“So these kinds of activities and so clearly the charges that are being leveled by the regime here, I think add to the growing concern that there could be some ominous results in the days and weeks ahead,” he said.

Bashir also urged the administration of US President Barack Obama to press Iran on its human rights record, in any future dialogue with Tehran.

“We have said very clearly that… in terms of potentially wanting to open the hand if Iran unclenches its fist, as President Obama has said, that there needs to be clearly an agenda item, right at the top there on human rights issues,” he told IranVNC.

On 13 February, the USCIRF expressed concern over the imminent trial of the seven Baha’is, saying the charges were “baseless” and that the case lacked due process.

“It is disappointing that the Iranian government is demonstrating that it will use any pretext, however baseless, to harass and detain those whose religious beliefs differ from those enforced by the state,” said commission chair, Felice Gaer.

The Baha’i faith, which was founded in Iran in 1863, is not recognized by the Iranian government.

According to the Baha’i World News Service, nearly 30 other members of that faith are imprisoned in Iran “solely on account of their religion.” They too have been “falsely charged” and are awaiting trial, the group said.

Sources: IranVNC correspondent in Washington, USCIRF website, Baha’i World News Service website

Established in 1998, the USCIRF monitors the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief outside the United States. The commission provides independent policy recommendations to the US president, secretary of state, and lawmakers.

More Branding of Bahá’is as “Enemies of Islam”

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Another official in Tabriz calls Baha’is the enemies of Islam and asks that the authorities deal with them quickly and seriously.

This is an article in Farsi from

Semnan’s Supreme Leader wants to Rid Iran of it’s Bahá’i Population

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Another Iranian official, the representative of the Supreme Leader in Semnan, Seyyed Mohammad Shahgheraghi, refers to uprooting Baha’is from Iran and states that it is binding on every Muslim to avoid any ties or deal with the Baha’is:

امام جمعه سمنان
بر هر مسلماني واجب است از معامله‌ و وصلت با پيروان بهاييت خودداري كند
زمان مخابره خبر :2/12/1387 16:28:0

به گزارش خبرنگار خبرگزاري رسا در سمنان، حجت‌الاسلام و‌المسلمين سيدمحمد شاهچراغي نماينده ولي‌فقيه در استان سمنان خطبه‌هاي نماز جمعه اين هفته سمنان، گفت: بهائيت متولد شده در دامان صهيونيسم بوده و براي مبارزه با اسلام پديد آمده است.

وي افزود: دادستان كل كشور نامه‌اي را به دفتر امام جمعه سمنان ارسال كرده است تا درباره اين فرقه ضاله به مردم تذكر داده و با آن مبارزه شود.

امام جمعه سمنان تصريح كرد: هدف اين فرقه در حقيقت ضديت با اسلام بوده و به همين خاطر بر هر مسلماني واجب است تا هيچ گونه معامله‌اي با پيروان اين فرقه نداشته باشند و از وصلت با اين افراد به صورت غيرقانوني و غيررسمي بپرهيزند.

حجت‌الاسلام و‌المسلمين شاهچراغي گفت: اگر مردم ايران اراده كنند، همان گونه كه رژيم پهلوي را سرنگون كردند مي‌توانند ريشه بهائيت را نيز در كشور بخشكانند.

نماينده مردم استان سمنان در مجلس خبرگان رهبري از مردم هميشه در صحنه و انقلابي سمنان خواست تا با اين فرقه گمراه كننده و غيرديني به طور جدي مقابله كنند.

وي تصريح كرد: همان گونه كه در 30 سال گذشته عمر انقلاب پربركت ملت ايران شاهد افتخارات بزرگي در تمام عرصه‌هاي سياسي، اجتماعي، فرهنگي و اقتصادي بوده‌ايم، مي‌توانيم با وحدت و مقابله دشمن را تسليم خود كرده و پيروز نهايي باشيم.

List of Dervishes to be Transfered to Evin Prison

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

The many dervishes who have been imprisoned after their recent demonstrations are now in the process of getting transferred by the authorities to the notorious Evin prison. 118 of their names are included here but this list does not include the names of all inmates in custody at the moment.

To view the list (more…)

APA: Activist of movement for the rights of Azerbaijanis living in Iran goes on hunger strike

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Article from Iranian Minorities Human Right Organisation

Baku. Ramil Mammadli – Azeri-Press Agency

Preliminary investigation of the accusations brought against the activist of the movement for the rights of the Azerbaijanis living in Iran, journalist Shahnaz Gulami continues, said the journalist’s lawyer Nagi Mahmudi, Committee for Protection of Gulami’s Rights told APA. Mahmudi said that his client had been going on hunger strike in Tabrz jail since December 19. The lawyer said Shahnaz Gulami was allowed to meet with her daughter Husna.

Mahmudi said Shahnaz Gulami was frequently called to Tabriz Department of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (ETTELAAT).Shahnaz Gulami was in prison for her activity in Iran People’s Patriots Movement in 1989-1994. In May, 2007, she was imprisoned for a month for her participation in the anniversary of the pickets in connection with the caricatures published in the “Iran” newspaper insulting the Azerbaijanis.

Gulami was detained for her national activity on November 9 this year and transferred from detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security to Tabriz jail on November 22. Shahnaz Gulami is the member of Iranian Women Journalists Association.

IMHRO Condemning Trial of 7 Bahá’í Leaders in Iran for Spying

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Statement from Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)



The Iranian government has announced that they will put on trial 7 Bahá’í leaders: Fariba Kamalabadi Taefi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Vahid Tizfahm, and Mahvash Sabet. All seven were arrested in 2008 and stand accused of spying for Israel. The Iranian prosecutor has, however, written an open letter that has been published by papers in which he asks the security service to persecute Bahá’í believers in Iran .

IMHRO finds this request from the prosecutor to be extremely alarming. We fear that it will result in greater widespread persecution of Baha’i’s. We are very concerned about these 7 Bahá’í leaders, sources in Iran have told us that the government is planning a large scale crackdown and arrest of the Bahá’í in Iran.

Reza Washahi a researcher on minorities in Iran told IMHRO the following:

“The Bahá’í have always been persecuted in Iran, but after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, Bahá’í faced a new era of terror and persecution. The Iranian government has never recognised Bahá’í as a religion. The government has guided mobs and religious extremists have destroyed their worship and historical places. Many have been murdered in daylight and their cases have never been followed by courts. Bahá’í are banned from employment and higher education and face all sort of social and cultural discrimination.” “It is clear that this is show trial and they persecuted for their faith and nothing else”

IMHRO is appealing to the international community and asks supporters to do the following:

To put a pressure on Iranian government to stop the inhuman treatment of Bahá’í in Iran

To ask the Iranian government to immediately release all the Bahá’í in prison, including the 7 Bahá’í leaders and to so without condition

To request the Iranian government to lift the social and cultural restrictions on Bahá’í in Iran

Please write to one of the following and express your concern regarding the treatment of Bahá’í in Iran. Ask them to release the Bahá’í prisoners. Remind the Iranian government that they are a signatory party of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Also, please remind them that all of these covenants clearly support the freedom of social life and the freedom of religion

Secretary General United Nations
The Honourable Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Headquarters,
Room S-3800,
New York, NY 10017,

Supreme Leader of Iran
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via web site

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Navanethem (Navi) Pillay
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10,

Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via web site

European Parliament Human Rights Committee
Bureau d’Hélène Flautre au Parlement Européen,
8G130, rue Wierz,
B-1049, Bruxelles,

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,
Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran

Germany and EU Call for Release of Bahá’i Prisoners in Iran

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Germany and the European Union have added their voices to the mounting international concerns regarding the forthcoming trial of the Bahá’i prisoners in Iran. The following article was published in Tabnak Professional News

صدر اعظم آلمان و اتحاديه اروپايى در بيانيه هاى جداگانه از اتهام مقام هاى جمهورى اسلامى علیه هفت عضو رهبر جامعه بهائى ايران ابزار نگرانى عميق كردند.

در ارديبهشت ماه سال جارى هفت نفر از رهبران جامعه بهايى در ايران بازداشت شدند.

اين افراد به جاسوسى براى اسرائيل، توهين به مقدسات دينى و تبليغ عليه جمهورى اسلامى متهم شده اند كه در صورت محكوميت مى تواند مجازات سنگین را براى آنها به دنبال داشته باشد.

اولريش ويلهلم، سخنگوى آنگلا مركل، صدر اعظم آلمان در بيانيه اى پيرامون بازداشت رهبران بهائى گفت: « تداوم وضعيت موجود يا ادامه اقدامات، در شرايطى كه با استانداردهاى بين المللى سازگارى ندارد، به روابط (ايران) با جامعه جهانى صدمه خواهد زد.»

وى گفت: برخى نشانه ها حاكى از آن است كه بهائيان بازداشت شده در بهار سال ۲۰۰۸ پس از يك محاكمه سريع محكوم خواهند شد.

به گفته اولريش، كاردار ايران در برلين براى مذاكره پيرامون اين موضوع با يك مقام رسمى آلمان، احضار شده است.

وى افزود: «صدراعظم عميقا از وضعيت بازداشتى ها، محاكمه پیش رو و عدم حضور وكيل در دادگاه نگران است.»

به گفته قاضى حسن حداد، معاون امنيت دادسراى تهران، پرونده اين افراد قرار است در دادگاه انقلاب رسيدگى شود.

در همين حال، اتحاديه اروپا نيز در بيانيه اى با ابراز نگرانى عميق از اتهام هاى وارده به اين افراد گفته است: مقام هاى ايرانى اين افراد را هشت ماه بدون تفهيم اتهام در زندان نگهداشته اند و آنها در اين دوره به وكيل دسترسى نداشته اند.

اتحاديه اروپا مى گويد كه نگران است رهبران جامعه بهائى ايران به صورت عادلانه محاكمه نشوند و در اقدامی مداخلخ جویانه از مقام هاى جمهورى اسلامى خواسته است كه به ناظران مستقل اجازه دهد تا بر روند قضايى نظارت داشته باشند و اتهام هاى مطرح شده را مطالعه كنند.

پيشتر، آمريكا و بريتانيا نيز در واكنش هاى جداگانه اى از بازداشت رهبران بهائى ابراز نگرانى كرده و خواستار آزادى آنها شده بودند.

عليرضا جمشيدى، سخنگوى قوه قضاييه ايران، روز سه شنبه در كنفرانس خبرى خود با اشاره به اينكه بهائيان دستگير شده تا هفته ديگر محاكمه مى شوند گفت كه آنها به وكيل دسترسى خواهند داشت.

Destruction of Bahá’i Cemetery in Semnan

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The following is an article from Human Rights Activists In Iran about the latest destruction of another Bahá’i cemetery in the city of Semnan

در ادامه ی حملات و یورش های گسترده ی ماه های اخیر بر علیه بهائیان و گسترش روز افزون آن در ایران، بار دیگر شاهد اتفاق ناگوار دیگری بر علیه این جامعه ی مذهبی در شهر سمنان بودیم . روز یکشنبه مورخ 27 /11 / 1387 شاهد حمله ی گسترده ای به قبرستان بهائیان در شهر سمنان واقع در سنگسر بودیم که منجر به تخریب گسترده ی قبرستان این جامعه درشهرسمنان شد. تصاویر این تخریب در ذیل قابل مشاهده است.

در این یورش ساختمان محل شستشوی اموات کاملا تخریب شده و این ساختمان به همراه وسایل داخل آن را به آتش کشیده شد ،همین طور سنگ قبرها نیز مورد هجوم واقع گشته که در حدود 45 سنگ قبر تخریب شده است. مهاجمان در این یورش اقدام به نوشتن شعارهایی همچون “مرگ بر اسرائیل”،”همتون را می کشیم”، “مرگ بر بهایی کافر”، “از ایران برید گمشید بیرون”و… به روی دیوار و منابع آب واقع در محل، نمودند.

شهر سمنان در طی برخوردهای سیستماتیک ماههای اخیر با بهائیان صحنه برخوردهای فراقانونی بسیاری با اعضای این جامعه مذهبی بوده است که میتوان به موارد ذیل اشاره نمود:

در تاریخ 25/9/1387 مامورین اطلاعات یورش گسترده ای به منازل تعداد زیادی از بهائیان داشتند و بسیاری از وسایل این خانواده ها جمع و ضبط شد که در این حمله خانم صهبا رضوانی ( فنائیان ) از مسئولین جامعه ی بهایی در سمنان بازداشت شد که پس از 2 ماه حبس انفرادی در زندان سمنان در تاریخ 15 بهمن ماه در دادگاه غیر علنی و بدون حضور وکیل محاکمه شده و در تاریخ 19 بهمن ماه حکم 3 سال و 8 ماه حبس تعزیری به وی اعلام گردیده است .

در تاریخ 15/10/1387 آقایان عادل فنائیان ، عباس نورانی ( مسئولین فعلی در سمنان ) ، طاهر اسکندریان ( مسئول سابق در سمنان ) بازداشت شدند . وهمچنین دربامداد 13 /11 / 1387 گروهی ناشناس به وسیله ی نارنجک های دست ساز ( کوکتل مولوتوف ) به منزل خانواده ای بهایی به نام خانجانی در سمنان حمله کرده و این ساختمان را مورد هدف قرار می دهند لازم به ذکر است منزل این خانوادهء بهایی طی ماه های اخیر 2 مرتبه مورد بازرسی مامورین اطلاعات قرار گرفته بوده و بسیاری از وسایل این منزل توسط مامورین اطلاعات جمع و ضبط شده است .

حال با توجه به برخورد های گسترده ی اخیر با بهائیان درشهرهای مختلف ایران و همین طور برخورد های اخیر با بهائیان درشهر سمنان وضعیت این جامعه بسیاربه شدت نگران کننده می باشد .

Iranian Authorities Destroy Sufi Holy Site In Isfahan

Friday, February 20th, 2009

This article was originally published in Radio Free Europe

February 18, 2009
By Golnaz Esfandiari
A house of worship of the Gonabadi dervishes in Isfahan has
reportedly been destroyed by the Iranian authorities.

The reason for the destruction — which reportedly took place
shortly after midnight on February 18 — is not clear, but it comes
amid growing pressure on dervishes, who practice the Sufi tradition
of Islam, and other religious minorities in Iran.

The dervish house of worship, or hosseinieh, was located next to the
tomb of the great poet and dervish Naser Ali at the historical
Takht-e Foulad cemetery, where a number of respected Iranian figures
are buried.

Dervishes gathered there to pray, meditate, read Sufi poetry, and
perform religious ceremonies. In recent months, following the
demolition of several dervish sites throughout Iran, dervishes in
Isfahan had expressed concern that their hosseinieh could meet a
similar fate.

To prevent that from happening, several of the local dervishes were
spending nights at the hosseinieh to keep watch.

But there was little they could do when, in the early hours of
February 18, some 200 members of the security forces, police, and
plainclothes agents arrived.

The dervishes’ mobile phones were taken away to prevent them from
informing others of the raid, and they were detained and transferred
to a police station.

Abdol Saleh Loghmani, one of the Isfahan dervishes, told RFE/RL that
the security forces cut off water and electricity to the area, and
destroyed the walls around the poet’s tomb with a bulldozer.


Courageous Statement from Kurdish Writers and Journalists in Support of the Bahá’i Community in Iran

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

[Published in Persian on 16 February 2009 at:]

The Universal House of Justice
Human-rights Activist Groups in Iran
Human-rights Observer Groups across the Globe
Secretary General of the United Nations

With boundless greetings,

Reports from the Islamic Republic’s news agencies and other non-official sources indicate that that the Leadership Council of the Islamic Republic has issued a defamatory circular letter to Intelligence, Security, Military and Disciplinary forces throughout the country in which it has reintroduced such old clichés as referring to the Baha’i Faith as “the wayward sect of Baha’ism”, “being associated with Zionism” and the “necessity of reacting harshly against the followers of Baha” – demonstrating its firm intent to gird up its tyrannical resolve to design and execute a systematic crime against humanity and against the followers of the Baha’i Faith in Iran. This is also evidenced by the letter of the nation’s Prosecutor-General to the Ministry of Intelligence.

Fundamentally, reference to any religious group in the world with a particular following as a “wayward sect” is not only unbefitting of our humanity, but the expression is now so undermined and outdated that any reference to it in any context quickly brings to mind the dark ages, the medieval period, the inquisition, the rule of religious deceit and taking advantage of the effects of religion on humans through misinterpretation and misrepresentation of lofty religious truths by a number of deceitful individuals clothed in the garment of leadership and spirituality.

Our first question is: Who has granted permission to the lords of bloodshed, murder and crime to attribute from the hogwash of their petrified, backward minds to any other religious, national, ethnical or political group such phrases as “wayward sect”, “satanic faction”, “arms of despotisms”, “allies”, “mercenaries”, “agents of espionage”, etc., and to hurl accusations against other schools of thought, against followers of such heterodoxies, against supporters of peace, freedom and democracy, and against those who resist following a grotesque and dead ideology by the name of the Islamic Republic.

Having accepted diversity and pluralism, the present-day mind undoubtedly accepts and values all dimensions of thought – national, religious, linguistic, political, cultural and social backgrounds – only within the overarching concept of humanity and as human beings.

Having accepted this reality, it will then recognize all other related details and hold itself responsible for observing and safeguarding the material and spiritual rights of groups with diverse belief, national, religious, linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds.

The world of today is a world that challenges any sort of oppression against any group of people belonging to any school of thought, nation, religion, language, culture or society. It accepts thinking differently – along with diversity – as an obvious and fundamental principle; and while defining its parameters, guides the efforts of human rights foundations, activists, writers, intellectuals, journalists and even governmental disciplines to respect others even in light of differences of thought and opinion.


Statement On The Trial Of Members Of The Iranian Bahá’i Community

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell today expressed concern at the imminent trial of seven leading members of the Iranian Bahá’í community.

He said, “I am very concerned at news that seven leading members of the Iranian Bahá’í community, detained since March and May 2008, have been charged with spying for Israel, “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” – charges which could attract the death penalty. The Iranian government appears to be increasingly using vaguely worded charges of this nature to target human rights defenders and religious minorities. It is hard not to conclude that these people are being held solely on account of their religious beliefs or their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association.

The seven Bahá’ís had to wait over eight months to be notified of the charges against them. They have not been given any access to their lawyer: and their lawyer has not been given access to their case files. This makes it very hard to believe that they will receive a fair trial.

We have also received disturbing reports of systematic discrimination against and harassment of Bahá’ís on the grounds of their religion.

This takes place in the context of a serious deterioration in the human rights environment in Iran over the last few years, including a worsening crackdown on human rights defenders and minority activists, and a sharp increase in the use of the death penalty (there were over 300 executions in 2008, including 8 juvenile executions).

The EU has called several times for the Iranian government to immediately release the seven detainees. Now that they have been charged, the Iranian government must at the very least ensure that the trial is fair, transparent and open to independent observers.

Iran should also uphold fully the right to adopt and practise a religion of choice, and end discrimination against the Bahá’í community.”

A Trial Without Evidence for the Seven Imprisoned Baha’is.

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Tehran’s deputy prosecutor-general, Hassan Haddad, is to refer the case of the seven Bahai’s who have been detained since last May, to the revolutionary court next week. In a shocking announcement, Mr Haddad claims that the Bahai’s are being tried on charges of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic”.

No evidence so far has been produced to justify these outlandish accusations and at no time since their arrest have they had access to their legal counsel, Mrs Shirin Ebadi, who has also been subjected to relentless intimidations and harassment. For the last 30 years the government of Iran have systematically been trying to eliminate the Baha’i Community, yet this last minute trial may be a reflection of the magnitude of danger waiting at the door of this persecuted community.

As well as an estimated 30 Baha’is imprisoned solely on their religious beliefs, countless others are denied jobs and education. A further eighty have been forced to post deeds of property and business licenses as collateral for bail.

Mourning Their Children:The Mothers of Khavaran

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

The following two videos show the mourning and the stories of the thousands who where executed and
buried at Khavaran. Their bodies where dumped and covered. None of the families, who turn up every year in their memory ever knew the exact site of their loved ones, as they where all left unmarked. The Government has recently attempted to demolish this site and cover up the evidence. Many are campaigning bring this demolition to a halt and preserve the testimony of this most heinous

please click to view the first video Khavarans Mothers from The Iranian Womens Studies Foundation

Watch more YouTube videos on AOL Video

Khavaran: silencing the dead

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Khavaran is a burial site for the mass executions of political prisoners, ethnic minorities, religious minorities and anyone else that the Islamic Regime consciously wanted to get rid of. The following is an extract from an article in about the governments recent attempts at bulldozing and destroying the evidence of the mass graves.

Of all the crimes the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed, the mass executions of 1988 continue to be the most revealing of the regime’s contempt and fear of political dissidents in Iran. Many of the thousands of people who were nightly executed during those short few months in Tehran have been buried in an old non-Muslim cemetery, named Khavaran.

Horrific eyewitness details of the discovery of mass graves at the site brought attention to Khavaran. Victims’ families gather there regularly to remember their lives and savage executions and burials in mass graves. The Iranian government has regularly disrupted gatherings at the site and has attempted to destroy evidence of the mass graves under pretenses of building a park in its place several times, each time unsuccessfully. International human rights organizations have repeatedly asked the Iranian government to allow forensic investigation of the graveyard to determine the number of people buried there. Though of the 5,000 to 10,000 prisoners believed to have been murdered during what is referred to as “Prison Massacre of 1988” as many as 5,000 are believed to have been buried at Khavaran, a former Ministry of Information top official, Reza Malek, has recently provided testimony to the much higher number of 33,700 executions, many of whom are buried in 170 to 190 mass graves at Khavaran.

The recent demolition of any signs and markings left by victims’ families about their loved one’s burial at the site, and its replacement with fresh dirt and planted trees has intensified general concern that IRI is working hard to move and destroy evidence of the graves.
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We Are Ashamed

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

The following is an article written and signed by a group of Iranians consisting of artists, writers, professors, poets, journalists, human rights activists and many other conscientious voices. The letter entitled “we are ashamed” is an emotional and sensitive apology for the wrongs committed against the Baha’is in Iran. The original article can be read
on the cnn website or in farsi at

Century and a half of silence towards oppression against Bahai’s is enough
by Open Letter

In the name of goodness and beauty, and in the name of humanity and liberty!

As Iranian human beings, we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Baha’is in the last century and a half in Iran.

We firmly believe that every Iranian, “without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions,” and also without regard to ethnic background, “social origin, property, birth or other status,” is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Baha’i Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.

According to historical documents and evidence, from the commencement of the Babi Movement followed by the appearance of the Baha’i Faith, thousands of our countrymen have been slain by the sword of bigotry and superstition only for their religious beliefs. Just in the first decades of its establishment, some twenty thousand of those who stood identified with this faith community were savagely killed throughout various regions of Iran.

We are ashamed that during that period, no voice of protest against these barbaric murders was registered;

We are ashamed that until today the voice of protest against this heinous crime has been infrequent and muted;

We are ashamed that in addition to the intense suppression of Baha’is during its formative decades, the last century also witnessed periodic episodes of persecution of this group of our countrymen, in which their homes and businesses were set on fire, and their lives, property and families were subjected to brutal persecution – but all the while, the intellectual community of Iran remained silent;

3 Year Sentence for Defending Women

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Alieh Eghdam Doust, another brave and determined individual advocating the rights of women in Iran has been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment by the Islamic courts of Iran. Ironically her surname Eghdam Doust, means one who likes to investigate. A lover of truth? She represents millions of women who daily battle for a rightful and noble place within the existing society shaped by a repressive regime.

Sadly not only has she been sentenced to 3 years and four months, but will be subjected to the further humiliation and pain of 20 lashes.

Read from original article