Putting a Face to the Crime; Islamic Republic Figures Responsible for the Persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran

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 Introduction

The Persecution of Bahá’ís is not a new phenomenon. Bahá’ís have been persecuted throughout the history of their faith in Iran. As Eliz Sanasarian notes in her book, Religious Minorities in Iran: “The clergy and religious segments have always held a deep hostility against the Bahá’ís. They were the true “infidels,” in the strict application of the term, to be dealt with harshly and to be destroyed.” [1]

To read the report  on PDF, please click here.

In the mid-nineteenth Century, at least four thousand early Bahá’í followers, who are known as Bábís, were killed by those who considered the Bahá’í faith a deviation from Islam.

In May 1955, at the incitement of the clergy, religious and state elements destroyed and occupied, the National Bahá’í Centre (Hazirat ol Qods), one of the Bahá’í holy places in Tehran, and conducted daily anti- Bahá’í propaganda through Iranian national radio cultivating a culture of violence against the Bahá’ís. Furthermore, a section of the house of the Báb (one of the holiest sites of the Bahá’ís worldwide) was destroyed; Bahá’ís in villages around Shiraz were attacked; eight hundred Bahá’í followers were forced to change their faith in writing, and sign and submit their oath to local Islamic officials.

During this time, Bahá’í public and private property were attacked and destroyed, especially in Rasht, Abadeh, Isfahan, Hesar, Urmia, Shiraz, Karaj, and Mahfrouzak. Many offices, residential premises and religious centre were looted and set on fire. However, these are just a few examples of the persecution Bahá’ís faced during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Many of these and other acts were instigated by Shiite clerics, often in conjunction with government complicity or support. In some cases, in an extensive propagandist action against the Bahá’ís the clergy negotiated with secular official authorities to secure the state’s approval for its actions. [2]

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Shiite clerics who had tried to suppress the Bahá’ís, even through the secular Pahlavi state, came into power. Therefore, the situation of the Bahá’ís became significantly worse. From this point, the harassment and persecution of Bahá’ís were perpetrated on a larger and more systematic scale backed by the full support of the Islamic state.

In an interview with Professor James Cockroft published in Seven Days magazine on February 23, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini made clear his view about Bahá’ís:

“Cockroft: Will there be either religious or political freedom for the Bahá’ís under an Islamic government?

Khomeini: They are a political faction; they are harmful. They will not be accepted.

Cockroft: How about their freedom of religion – religious practice?

Khomeini: No.”

Clerics who are in power in Iran’s Shiite religious state, believe that the Bahá’í faith is not a religion or belief system, but a “cult” or a “political doctrine,” and use this argument to justify the denial of the fundamental rights of the Bahá’ís.

On the other hand, it has been officially claimed that the rights of Bahá’ís would be restored as soon as they convert to Islam. This in and of itself shows that the Bahá’ís are targeted solely because of their religious beliefs, not because of their political activities.

The repression of and violations of fundamental rights of the Bahá’ís have been more severe during certain periods of the Islamic Republic era. As an example, during the years immediately following the 1979 revolution the execution of Bahá’ís accused of ‘crimes’, such as “Corruption on earth”, “Cooperation with foreign governments”, and “Spying for Israel” was prevalent.

According to a report published by the Bahá’í International Community entitled “The Bahá’í Question: Cultural Cleansing in Iran,” between 1979 and 1992, at least 187 members of the Bahá’ís community were murdered or executed.[3] Furthermore, the persecution of the Bahá’ís has continued throughout the past three decades, and worsened since the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, especially after his second term in office beginning in 2009.

In recent years, a large number of Bahá’ís, including seven leading members of the Bahá’í community, known as Yaran, have been imprisoned and sentenced to long terms in prison. Bahá’í prisoners have been victims of extrajudicial arrests, unlawful proceedings, torture and denial of fair trials. In addition, the rights of Bahá’ís to access higher education, to work, or engage in productive employment, remain restricted on a large scale.

Certain state-owned or partly state-owned media have supported all these steps against the Bahá’í community. They have not only legitimized the human rights violations committed by the Islamic Republic authorities, but have further promoted anti-Bahá’í polemics at the grassroots level around Iran.

Lack of Due Process of Law (Violation of Legal Rights)

When Bahá’ís are prosecuted by the state, they are usually charged with “Spreading propaganda against the system”, “Espionage”, or “Acting against national security”. Judicial proceedings are plagued by inadequate documentation, unfair proceedings and lack of due process of law.

Testimonies of Bahá’í prisoners and their relatives demonstrate that they are victims of persecution, torture and unfair treatment by security and judicial institutions, simply because of their religious beliefs.  Undeniable evidence also points to illegal and extra-judicial measures taken by intelligence forces during the arrest, investigation, interrogation and proceedings of Bahá’í cases.

Homes searches without warrants, detention in security centres, interrogation by intelligence officers under the supervision of security forces rather than judicial institutions, and lack of access to legal representation during hearings are part of a significant and widespread violation of the human rights of Bahá’ís by the judicial system in Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies seriously violate the civil and legal rights of Bahá’ís mandated by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory, as well as article 23 of Iran’s constitution law on prohibiting the inquisition.

Violation of the Right to Education

On 25 February 1991, Seyyed Mohammad Reza Hashemi Golpayegani, secretary of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, released a confidential letter summarizing the findings and recommendations of the Council’s negotiations with the government on its policy toward “Bahá’ís” to inform the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei.

This letter says:

“- Preferably, [Bahá’í pupils] should be enrolled in schools that have a strong and imposing religious ideology.

– [Bahá’í students] 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’í. [4]

This letter essentially sets the standards of the continued and systematic policy to prevent Bahá’ís from their fundamental right to education and specifically higher education in Iran.

In 2006, the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology issued a confidential letter to all universities and higher educational centres, under the subject of “banning Bahá’ís from university education” specifically based on the above mentioned decision of Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.

After graduating from high school, many young Bahá’ís eager to attend university participate in the university entrance exam, but due to the policy of preventing Bahá’ís from having access to higher education, they are unable to go further and many are unable to attend altogether. In Iran, a university entrance exam is not the sole criterion for student selection. All applicants must pass the “selection process”, which is held by the Sanjesh Organisation.[5]

The applicants may be deprived from higher education on political, ideological and religious grounds, and this is exactly what is happening to young Bahá’ís who attempt to continue their higher education. The Ministry of Science designates the files of many Bahá’í students as “incomplete”.

The Sanjesh Organisation’s website, under the organisation activity states:

“…Conducting terms and conditions of “students’ acceptance” according to plans and educational policies,” …”

Evidence points to the fact that IRI authorities deprive Bahá’ís of their right to education– as enshrined in Iran’s constitution as well as the ICCPR (to which the Islamic Republic is a party)– solely on the basis of their belief and faith.

The Bahá’í International Community, in a joint statement with 16 other non-governmental organisations, published an urgent call upon the government of Iran to address the state of higher education in the country. This statement notes that:

“…More than 600 students, and some university lecturers, have been arrested since 2009 for peacefully expressing their opinions. Hundreds have been deprived of education for their political beliefs, while student gatherings, publications, and organisations have been shut down.” [6]

But this was not the end. Even when the Bahá’í community in Iran tried to establish an institution of higher education to respond to the academic needs of young Bahá’ís, the state banned their initiative. In September 1998, 36 members of the institution’s academic staff were arrested and about 500 homes were searched. However, the institute continued its work with over 900 students, 150 academic staff and offered 32 university-level programs; classes were held on private premises.

Once again, in May 2011, Iranian authorities raided homes of Bahá’ís associated with BIHE. [7] A number of Bahá’í educators were arrested and are currently serving four or five year prison terms.

Violation of Freedom of Occupation

Based on article 28 of Iran’s constitutional law:

“Everyone has the right to choose any occupation he wishes, if it does not have any contradiction to Islam and the public interest and does not infringe on rights of others. The Government has the duty with due consideration of the need of society for different kind of occupations to provide every citizen with opportunity to work and to create equal opportunities…” [8]

The right enshrined in the above article is not conditional on citizens’ religious beliefs. In addition, Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly recognizes this right without any condition:

“(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment….” [9]

Despite the above legal requirements, Bahá’ís have been deprived of their basic and fundamental right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen occupation. However, Islamic Republic officials have shut down their workshops and offices and revoked or suspended their licenses.

The Bahá’í International Community released a statement during the 19th session of the Human Rights Council, concerning the economic repression of Bahá’ís in Iran and the recent escalation of pressure on Bahá’í businesses and business owners: [10]

“…The government is so determined to suffocate the Bahá’í community economically that officials do not bat an eye when these measures also cause hardship for the majority Shi’i Muslim population. Licenses are revoked for Muslim business partners of Bahá’ís, as well, and in Semnan, one of the factories closed in May had 51 employees: 15 Bahá’ís and 36 non-Bahá’ís …”

However, in October 2005, the head of the Armed Forces General Command Headquarters sent a confidential letter to many of the country’s military and security agencies, including the Ministry of Intelligence, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and Basij militia forces.  Referring to Khamenei’s order, he stated:

“…. According to the instructions of the Exalted Rank of the Supreme Leader… the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces has been given the mission to acquire a comprehensive and complete report of all the activities of these sects (including political, economic, social and cultural) for the purpose of identifying all the individuals of these misguided sects. Therefore, we request that you convey to relevant authorities to, in a highly confidential manner, collect any and all information about the abovementioned activities of these individuals and report it to this Command Headquarters…” [11]

Further, the Ministry of Interior sent a letter to the Political-Security Deputies of Offices of the Governors-General on August 2006, stating:

“…We have received reports that some of the elements of the perverse sect of Bahá’ís are attempting to teach and spread the ideology of Bahá’ísm, under the cover of social and economic activities. In view of the fact that this sect is illegal and that it is exploited by international and Zionist organisations against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we therefore ask you to order the relevant offices to cautiously and carefully monitor and manage their [the Bahá’ís] social activities. In addition, complete the requested information on the enclosed form and forward it to this office for its use by 6th September 2006.”

Iranian police forces, which are in charge of overseeing public places under the supervision of the Office of Public Security and Intelligence Police, released an official letter entitled,  “Review of the eligibility of individuals belonging to small groups and the perverse Bahá’í sect.” The letter states that a goal is to:

“….identify Bahá’í individuals working in craft businesses and collect statistics broken down by (their distribution and type of occupation)…” [12]

It also introduces many restrictions on the rights of members of the Bahá’í community to engage in work and business freely and unconditionally. These measures indicate that the Bahá’í right to work freely and engage freely in economic activity has been extensively and systematically denied.

Anti-Bahá’í Propaganda in the Media

The Bahá’í International Community published a special report in October 2011, called “Inciting Hatred, Iran’s Media Campaign to Demonize Bahá’ís”, based on monitoring the Iranian press and its broadcast media over a period of 16 months from December 17, 2009 to May 16, 2011. The report includes many official and/or semi-official news agencies and hard-liner online platforms supported by Intelligence and military agencies as well as supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The report says:

“…One insidious element of this persecution however—which until now has been less well documented— has been the government’s extensive use of the mass media and other means to systematically denigrate and vilify Bahá’ís. Repeated time and again throughout history, the pattern of demonizing and dehumanizing a segment of society is always a matter of grave concern. Through such propaganda, the victims’ humanity is denied. Blame for the economic and social problems of the country—and often the wider world—rests firmly with the “other,” who may be reviled as an animal, a vermin, a pest, a disease or as practicing witchcraft… Bahá’ís are obsessively portrayed in official propaganda as the source ofevery conceivable evil. They are accused of being agents for various imperialist or colonialist factions; they face continuous but utterly unfounded allegations of immorality; they are branded as social pariahs to be shunned. The propaganda is shocking in its volume and vehemence, its scope and sophistication, cynically calculated to stir up antagonism against a peaceful religious community whose members are striving to contribute to the well-being of their society.” [13]

State-run media attack the Bahá’ís and publish false information about their history and teachings, accusing them of moral corruption, conducting espionage for foreign governments– such as Israel and the U.S.– without evidence.  They further use insulting language against the Bahá’ís, calling them a ‘sect’ or a ‘sinister/evil cult’. This is not only contrary to the principles and mission of professional and unbiased media, but instead it promotes anti-Bahá’í attitudes and culture and incites religious fanaticism.

This media campaign is run by state-owned or semi-state owned entities, backed by military/security agencies that try to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation against Bahá’ís by seeking to destroy the Bahá’í faith and demonize and dehumanize its followers.

Article 20 of the ICCPR explicitly declares:

“…Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law” [14]

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a signatory to the above Covenant.

Violators of the Human Rights of Bahá’ís

In consideration of the serious and systematic violation of the human rights of Bahá’ís in the judicial, educational, professional, and media sectors, Justice for Iran decided to research and identify state actors responsible for perpetrating these violations, with a focus on the time period following the 2009 election for presidency in Iran.

The first goal of this report is to cite the testimony of Bahá’ís who are the victims of human rights violations. The information that has been shared with JFI has greatly contributed to the preparation of this report. JFI has also drawn on previous reports, research, as well as valid and authentic legal documents published by the IRI authorities.

In this report, Justice for Iran identifies fifteen official and semi-official state authorities directly involved in the severe and extensive violations of human rights of the Bahá’í community.

The profiles of these perpetrators are included below, as well as accounts of their unambiguous involvement in violating human rights of the Bahá’ís in the judicial, educational, professional, and media sectors in Iran.

The violators of the judicial rights of Bahá’ís include:

  1. Hojat-al-Islam Mohammad Qasem Eynolkamali
  2. Abbas Alizadeh (Movahed)
  3. Seyed Reza Mousavi Tabar
  4. Masoud Velayati (Ma’azallahi)
  5. Hojat-al-Islam Asadollah Jafari

The violators of the educational rights of Bahá’ís include:

  1. Asghar Zarei
  2. Hakam Ali Najafi
  3. Seyed Jalaleddin Tabatabaei
  4. Seyed Morteza Nourbakhsh

The violators of the professional rights of Bahá’ís include:

  1. Major General Mohammad Ali Najafi (Commander of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution)
  2. Major General Seyed Hassan Firouzabadi (Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces)
  3. Seyed Mohammad Reza Mavalizadeh

The violators of the human rights of Bahá’ís in the media context include:

  1. Hossein Shariatmadari (Editor-in-Chief of Keyhan Newspaper)
  2. Hamid Reza Moghaddam Far
  3. Meysam Nili

 

Conclusion

JFI believes that all of the aforementioned individuals are involved in serious and systematic violations of the rights of Bahá’ís, as codified both in domestic and international laws; and should be held accountable for their decisions and actions.

First, JFI requests that the European Union (EU) and countries supporting human rights use political and diplomatic means to apply pressure on the IRI to end the persecution of Bahá’ís and include the names of these fifteen human rights violators in human rights sanctions, including instituting travel bans against them and freezing their assets  .  [15]

 

 Hujjat al-Islam Mohammad Ghasem Einolkamali

 First Name and Last Name:

Hujjat al-Islam Mohammad Ghasem Einolkamali (A.K.A. Mohammad Qasem Einolkamali)

Background:

No detail is available about the year and location of his birth as well as his educational background.

Titles and Positions Held:

His current posts:

Educational deputy at Justice Department of Semnan Province [16]

Supreme Leader’s representative in IRGC (in Aliabad Katoul)

Cultural Advisor to the head of Justice Department of Semnan Province [17]

Secretary in charge of the Committee for Legal Support of Lawful Investments in Semnan Province [18]

The Judge of Semnan’s Revolution Court.

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As the Judge of the Revolutionary court in Semnan, Eynolkamali is responsible for several violations of Bahá’í rights by sentencing members of the Bahá’í community in Semnan to long prison terms, without due process and solely due to practicing their faith. These include:

  • 6 years and 6 months of prison for Pouya Tebyanian
  • 6 years of prison for Adel Fanaeian
  • 4 years and 4 months of prison for Anisa Fanaeian
  • 5 years and 10 months of prison for Taraneh Torabi  (mother of a 20-day old baby)
  • 7 years of prison for Zohreh Nikaein (mother of 6-month old baby)
  • 1 year of prison for Sepehr Sobhani
  • 1 year of prison for Khadijeh Nabavi

(These sentences have not met any of the standard steps of a judgment, including the announcement of the time of judgment or sentence)

Supporting documents:

  • Article dated 9 Khordad 1391 (29 May 2012) regarding the six and half year sentence of Pouya Tabyanian:

http://hriran.com/1389-09-10-15-49-17/1389-09-08-16-34-18/1389-09-08-17-02-10/8346-1391-03-09-07-54-43.html

  • Article dated 22 Khordad 1391 (11 June 2012) regarding the trial and sentencing of Adel Fanaiyan:

http://hra-news.org/1389-01-27-05-24-07/12579-1.html

  • Article dated 31 Ordibehesht 1391 (20 May 2012) regarding the sentencing of Anisa Fanaiyan:

http://hra-news.org/1389-01-27-05-24-07/12345-1.html

  • Report dated 30 Mordad 1391 (20 August 2012) regarding the details pertaining to charges and sentences issued in cases of Taraneh Torabi and Zohreh Nikaien: http://www.edu-right.net/from-anywhere/human-rights/1036-ehzar-taraneh-a-zohreh
  • Report dated 6 Bahman 1390 (26 January 2011) regarding the prison sentence of Sepehr Sobhani and medical leave of Behfar Khanjani:

http://www.komitedefa.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4004:1390-11-06-07-53-54&catid=7:latest&Itemid=49

  • Article describing Judge Eynolkamali’s new methods in oppressing Bahá’ís in Semnan:

http://www.ettelaat.net/09-augusti/news.asp?id=40327

 Abbas Alizadeh (a.k.a. Movahed)

 :First Name and Last Name 

Abbas Alizadeh (a.k.a. Movahed)

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As a senior member of the Ministry of Intelligence, Abbas Alizadeh has been responsible for the violation of the rights of Bahá’ís in the city of Sari (the capital of the province of Mazandaran) over the past three decades.  He is in charge of Bahá’í cases filed with the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention centre in Sari.

Alizadeh is responsible for the extrajudicial arrests of several Bahá’ís and the interrogation and degrading treatment of Bahá’í community members– such as Foad Nai’mi, Sepideh and Soha Zamani, Jila Reza’i and Masoud Ataeian– who have been either detained or harassed because of their religion. According to the testimony of Jila Rezaei, who used to be a member of the group managing the Bahá’í community in Sari, Abbas Alizadeh is also responsible for the destruction of the Sari Bahá’í cemetery that occurred in 2009.

Supporting documents:

  • Witness testimonies of Soha and Sepideh Zamani and Jila Rezaei were provided to Justice For Iran
  • Voice of America report dated 18 February 2009 interviewing Kianoush Ighani, a relative of Bahá’í prisoner, Foad Naeimian:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNdWo4hc7Ho

  • An appeal published on 14 January 2009 regarding the cases of Massoud Ataeiyan and his wife, Taraneh Sanei, Sari Bahá’í residents and the role of Movahed: http://cheraghebidari.blogspot.co.uk/
  • The document below show pages of court documents regarding the Bahá’í cemetery in Mahforouzak

 Seyed Reza Mousavi-Tabar

First Name and Last Name:

Seyed Reza Mousavi-Tabar

Background:

Born: 1964 , Jahrom

Education:

B.A. in Judicial Studies from the School of Judicial Studies; Iran’s Judiciary System.

 Titles and Positions Held:

Current job/position: Deputy Prosecutor of Shiraz in Revolution Courts (security-related charges) and the caretaker of the Office of the Revolution Court’s Prosecutor of Shiraz since July/August 2007;

Former jobs/positions: Public and Revolution Court’s prosecutor in Jahrom. He resigned to take part in the parliament election but did not succeed.

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

He is the deputy prosecutor and the head of the Revolutionary Prosecution of Shiraz (the capital of Fars Province). He is directly responsible for the illegal arrests and ill treatment of civil and political activists; as well as journalists, bloggers, women’s rights defenders and Bahá’ís. He is also responsible for violating the rights of those who have converted from Islam to Christianity. These are the names of some prisoners of conscious in Shiraz who were harassed, tortured, and interrogated in the absence of access to legal representation and due process of law: Zeinab Bahraini (journalist), Masoud Sepehr (political activist), Payam Jahangir (political activist), Raha Sabet (Bahá’í), Haleh Rouhi (Bahá’í), Sassan Taghavi (Bahá’í), Gholamhossein Raeisi (human rights lawyer), and Mohammad Reza Abdollahi Nasab (journalist).

The judicial orders in the notorious No. 100 detention centre are issued or signed by Seyed Reza Mousavi Tabar. In one case, he ordered to keep Raha Sabet, a female Bahá’í prisoner for three and a half years in solitary confinement in the No. 100 detention centre, a male prison.

Supporting documents:

  • Witness testimony of Gholamhossein Raeisi, human rights lawyer and former head of the human rights commission of the Fars Bar Association [19]
  • Two summons issued for Shiraz journalist, Mohammadreza Nasab Abdeollahi:http://chrr.biz/spip.php?article7238
  • Article regarding the location of the Intelligence Detention Centre in Shiraz: http://www.rahesabz.net/story/43957
  • Report pointing to Musavi-Tabar’s role in the arrest of student activist, Mr. Tavousi:http://taazadi88.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/blog-post_16.html
  • Report dated 28 Bahman 1388 (17 February 2009) regarding the arrest of Shiraz journalist Mohammadreza Nasab Abdeollahi: http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10447/
  • Report dated 27 Shahrivar 1389 (18 September 2010) regarding the arrest and solitary confinement of Raha Sabet and 53 other Bahá’í youth involved in social and educational projects in and around Shiraz: http://www.madyariran.net/?p=5044
  • Reporting an appeal regarding the possibility of involving torture in the case of One Million Signature activist, Maryam Bahreman: http://hriran.com/1389-09-10-15-49-17/1389-09-08-16-35-25/1389-09-08-16-57-46/4218-1390-02-30-19-21-00.html
  • Report dated 31 Shahrivar 1390 (22 September 2011) regarding the case of student activist, Payam Jahangir and his return to prison: http://www.rahsanews.com/archives/28192
  • Blog entry dated 27 Shahrivar 1389 (18 September 2010) reporting the solitary confinement of Bahá’í activist, Raha Sabet:http://www.madyariran.net/?p=5044
  • Report indicating the release of Bahá’í activist, Raha Sabet, from prison: http://chrr.biz/spip.php?article16186

Masoud Velayati (Moazollahi)

First Name and Last Name:

Masoud Velayati (A.K.A. Moazollahi)

Background:

No detail is available about the year and location of his birth as well as his educational background.

  Titles and Positions Held:

The Investigator of the seventh branch of Public and Revolution Court’s Prosecutor Office in KermanProvince

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As the interrogator of branch 7 of Kerman Prosecution since 2010, Velayati has been in charge of security cases. He is one of the authorities responsible for illegal acts and violations of the rights of Bahá’ís in Kerman. He is responsible for ordering the arbitrary arrest of three members of a Bahá’í family– Bakhtiar Rasekhi, Farahnaz Naeimi and Farin Rasekhi– keeping them in custody for months and depriving them from family visitations and phone calls. They were arrested in March 2012 for organising Bahá’í Youth Day, and under Velayati’s supervision, these Bahá’í prisoners have been held in inhuman conditions.

Supporting documents:

  • Radio interview regarding the case of Roujin Rasekhi:

http: //www.radiopayam.ca/rasekhi.html

  • Dated 10 Farvardin 1391 reporting the cases of three Kerman Bahá’ís detained for more than eighty days without charge, the right to contact family or receive medical treatment:

http: //hra.news.org/1389-01-27-21/11736-1.html

  • Article dated 22 March 2012 pointing to the random arrest of Bahá’ís in Kerman:

http://www.shahrvand.com/archives/25536

  • Judge Moazollahi’s role in condemning thirteen prisoners:

http://www.kaviran.ir/fa/shownews.aspx?nid=2010820214647521

  • Judge Moazollahi’s role in collaboration with FATA and arrest of a Kerman couple:

http://kermanpishgiri.ir/news/394.ashx

Sources:

http://www.radiopayam.ca/rasekhi.html

http://hra-news.org/1389-01-27-05-27-21/11736-1.html

http://www.shahrvand.com/archives/25536

http://www.kaviran.ir/fa/shownews.aspx?nid=2010820214647521

http://kermanpishgiri.ir/news/394.ashx

http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2009/12/091223_he_sirjan_exeuction.shtml

 

Assadollah Jafari

  First Name and Last Name:

Assadollah Jafari

Background:

No detail is available about the year and location of his birth as well as his educational background.

Titles and Positions Held:

Prosecutor of Public and Revolution Courts of Mazandaran Province since 2008 (at least) [20]

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As the Prosecutor for Mazandaran, Asadollah Jafari is responsible for illegal arrests and violating the due process of Bahá’í detainees from the beginning to the end of the prosecution process (I.e. summoning them to the Intelligence Office, ordering their arrest, confiscating their belongings, and holding them in solitary confinement cells run by the Intelligence detention centre). These are summaries of such cases:

–      Faran Khan Yaghma: He was arrested without any legal authorisation or warrant, at the same time his computer and personal effects were confiscated by Intelligence agents. The agents also beat his father.

–      Enayatollah Sanaei: Intelligence agents entered the house of this Bahá’í poet and writer after breaking down his door. The agents insulted those present in the house and beat them while inspecting the house.

–      Vajihollah Mirza Golpour: This 71-year-old Bahá’í citizen has been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence without cause and only for being Bahá’í.

–      Sarah Mahboubi: This student, who has already been banned from university, has been arrested and transferred to the Intelligence section of Sari Prison while her house was inspected by Intelligence agents twice and her books, notes, CDs and computer were confiscated.

–      Masoud Ataeian: Intelligence agents arrested him at his house in Ghaemshahr on November 18, 2008. They inspected his house and confiscated religious books, documents related to his work, and his personal computer. He has not been authorized to meet his lawyer yet and has only called his family once briefly. –      Soheila Matlabi: She has been arrested and detained since November 23, 2008, when Intelligence agents entered her home and inspected it without presenting any warrant. She was not authorized to communicate with her family for more than 22 days.

 Supporting documents:

  • Kayhan article clearly describing the official position of Asadollah Jafari:

http://www.magiran.com/npview.asp?ID=1624977

  • Report indicating the illegal arrest of expelled Sari Bahá’í student, Faran Khan Yaghma:

http://rsmw.org/News/7b7d056a-15e2-40df-a3bc-f94b7f94b26a/

  • Report dated 27 January 2012 regarding Intelligence officers raiding the home of a Sari Bahá’í:

http://www.iranpresswatch.org/fa/post/4197

  • Report dated 8 Ordibehesht 1390 (28 April 2011) indicated the arrest of Sai Bahá’í Vajihe Mirza Golpour:

http://www.rahsanews.com/archives/12180

  • Blog entry dated 11 April 2012 reporting the arrest of Sara Mahboubi: http://khabarnavard.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/blog-post_5752.html

 

Asghar Zarei

First Name and Last Name:

Asghar Zarei

Background:

No detail is available about the year and location of his birth as well as his educational background.

Titles and Positions Held:

-Head of General Office of Security since July 2011

– General Director for Security of the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology Since from June 2005 to June 2011

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As the General Director for Security of the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Asghar Zarei has issued a confidential decree for all universities and higher education centres in the country to prohibit the entrance of Bahá’í students. The decree, signed by the General Director, mentions: “If belonging of a student to Bahá’í faith is recognized before entering to the university or during the studies, he/she shall be fired from the university.”

Supporting document:

  • The document below is a copy of the confidential memorandum regarding the deprivation of Bahá’í students from university education signed by Asghar Zarei[21]

 

Hakam Ali Najafi

First Name and Last Name:

Hakam Ali Najafi

Background:

No detail is available about the year and location of his birth as well as his educational background.

 Titles and Positions Held:

– Member of Shahriar City Council from June 2013

-Head of Education of Shahryar Province from 10/March/2011 to 13/Sep/2012

-Deputy of Physical Education of Shahryar Province

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

When he was the head of Education for Shahriar County (in the province of Tehran), Hokmali Najafi issued a “confidential letter” to the principals of all schools in the province asking them to gather, without notice, the personal information of all Bahá’í pupils and report back to his office.

These types of orders may be used as a means to put more pressure on and persecute the Bahá’í community. They also appear to be one source of the difficulties Bahá’í students face. Justice for Iran believes Hokmali Najafi bears responsibility for circumventing the right of education of Bahá’í students.

Supporting documents:

  • The following is a copy of the circular to school principals dated 14 Aban 1390 (5 November 2011)  and signed by Najafi:

 Sources:

http://www.shahriyar.gov.ir/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2128:2013-09-03-05-38-23&catid=10:2010-0913-08-54-12&Itemid=115

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:QBu8ZJ3RvQIJ:irna.ir/NewsShow.aspx%3FNID%3D30290930+&cd=13&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-a

http://emadnews.com/?p=34693

 

Seyed Jalaleddin Tabatabaei

First Name and Last Name:

Seyyed Jalal Tabatabae’i (a.k.a. Tabatabaei)

Background:

Seyyed Jalal Tabatabae’i got his bachelor’s degree from University of Tabriz, MS and Ph.D. from the University of Reading University, England, in Plant Physiology-Mineral Nutrition .

 Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

Seyed Morteza Nourbaksh is the director of the “Ideological Select section” of the Iranian Educational Evaluation Organisation and a member of its committee. He announced clearly in a press conference: “…students of fictional religions and non-recognized religious minorities do not have the right to study in the Iranian universities, and if they are following their studies in universities, they have to admit the central select section for the approval…” The section of which he is the director is responsible for banning civil rights and political activists as well as Bahá’í students.

Supporting documents:

The official site of Sanjesh describing the structure and mandate of the office of admission:

http://sanjesh.org/aboutus.aspx

Report dated 21 Khordad 1389 (11 June 2010) quoting Seyed Morteza Nourbakhsh in his official capacity stating students belonging to ‘made-up’ religions do not have the right to study at universities throughout the country:

http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8903210443

Copy of the admission form including a section to indicate the religion of the applicant:

http://www.guilan.ac.ir/files/news/formgozinesh.pdf

The report below describes the role and response of Islamic Republic officials, including Seyed Morteza Nourbackhsh, to the appeals of expelled Bahá’í students:

http://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1389/09/students_deny_accept/

Sources:

http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-127537.aspx

http://www.sbmu.ac.ir/?siteid=4&pageid=5229

http://sanjesh.org/aboutus.aspx

http://www.hra-news.org/1389-01-27-05-26-23/12863-1.html

 

Seyed Morteza Nourbakhsh

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

Seyed Morteza Nourbaksh is the director of the “Ideological Select section” of the Iranian Educational Evaluation Organisation and a member of its committee. He announced clearly in a press conference: “…students of fictional religions and non-recognized religious minorities do not have the right to study in the Iranian universities, and if they are following their studies in universities, they have to admit the central select section for the approval…” The section of which he is the director is responsible for banning civil rights and political activists as well as Bahá’í students.

Report dated 21 Khordad 1389 (11 June 2010) quoting Seyed Morteza Nourbakhsh in his official capacity stating students belonging to ‘made-up’ religions do not have the right to study at universities throughout the country:

http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8903210443

  • Copy of the admission form including a section to indicate the religion of the applicant:
  • http://www.guilan.ac.ir/files/news/formgozinesh.pdf
  • The report below describes the role and response of Islamic Republic officials, including Seyed Morteza Nourbackhsh, to the appeals of expelled Bahá’í students:

http://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1389/09/students_deny_accept/

Mohammad Ali Najafi

First Name and Last Name:

Sardar Mohammad Ali Najafi

Background:

No detail is available about the year and location of his birth as well as his educational background.

  Titles and Positions Held:

Head of the “Tehran Observatoire of Public Areas” a division of the “Iranian Police for Public Security and Intelligence,”(at least) from 2004 to May 2009

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

Mohammad Ali Najafi is the head of the “Tehran Observatory of Public Areas,” a division of the “Iranian Police for Public Security and Intelligence.” In an official decree on April 8, 2007, he not only prohibited the approval of work certificate for Bahá’í in several fields, but also asked to identify Bahá’í workers in their sectors of service. The decree is titled “Approval Procedure of the Members and Groups of Misguided Sect of Bahá’ísm” and is addressed to all “City Chiefs of the Intelligence and Public Security” in Tehran. These decrees have had a major adverse impact on the right of Bahá’ís to work.

Supporting documents:

The page at the link below introduces the Islamic Republic’s police force and its laws:http://www.takbook.com/Content/486/سرهنگ-میرایی-رییس-پلیس-نظارت-اماکن-عمومی-ناجا

 

[1] See page 6 on-line at: http://news.bahai.org/documentlibrary/TheBahaiQuestion.pdf

Sources:

http://www.takbook.com/Content/486/

http://news.bahai.org/documentlibrary/TheBahaiQuestion.pdf

 

Seyed Hassan Firouzabadi

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes 

As Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi has been involved in violating the civil and human rights of Bahá’ís. In 2005, he issued an order classified as ‘Top Secret’ to all military and security forces (I.e., the Ministry of Intelligence, the commander of the IRGC, the commander of the police force) ordering surveillance of Bahá’í community members, including– but not limited to– commercial, cultural, political, and social activities. Details of the surveillance were to be reported back to him.

Major Firouzabadi noted that the orders originated with Khamenei who asked for the identification and monitoring of adherents to the Bahá’í Faith, calling it a “misguided sect.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir issued a statement expressing her concerns about this order, stating:

“… such monitoring constitutes an impermissible and unacceptable interference with the rights of members of religious minorities. She also expresses concern that the information gained as a result of such monitoring will be used as a basis for the increased persecution of, and discrimination against, members of the Bahá’í Faith, in violation of international standards.”

Supporting documents:

  • Comment 40 of the Special Rapporteur’s statement indicates Asma Jahangir’s concern regarding the case of the Bahá’ís in Iran: Read on unhchr.ch website

His biography and background information:

Seyed Mohammad Reza Mavalizadeh

First Name and Last Name:

Seyed Mohammad Reza Mavalizadeh (a.k.a. Seyyed Mohammad-Reza Mawalizadeh/Siyyid Mohammad-Reza Mawalizadeh)

Background:

Born on 1960/1961 (?) in Khoramshahr.

Titles and Positions Held:

– Deputy of parliamentary affairs in Ministry of Cooperative, Labour & Social Welfare Since Oct 2008

– Head of political office in Ministry of Interior till March 2007

-Khuzestan representative in 5th Majlis from March 1996 to March 2000

– Permanent secretary of Parliament’s executive board in 3rd year of the fifth term of Majlis

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

When he was the director of the political office of the Ministry of Interior, Syed Mohammad Reza Mavalizadeh was involved in the violation of the civil and human rights of members of the Bahá’í community just because of their religious beliefs.

He issued a letter during his post asking all governors and province security offices to:

“…order the relevant offices to cautiously and carefully monitor and manage the Bahá’ís’] social activities and complete the requested information on the enclosed form and forward it to this office…”

He also stated:

“…Bahá’í followers are attempting to teach and spread the ideology of Bahá’ísm, under the cover of social and economic activities. In view of the fact that this sect is illegal and that it is exploited by international and Zionist organisations against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran….”

These types of surveillance orders have played a significant role in preventing and restricting the access of Bahá’í community members to their right to work and right to free choice of employment.

Supporting documents:

  • Link to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlining the Articles pertaining to social and human rights of all people, including that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance” (Article 18):

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a23

  • Document regarding the background of Mavalizadeh: http://www.mcls.gov.ir/fa/news/15028
  • News report indicating the appointment of Mavalizadeh to his position as the director of the political office of the Ministry of Interior: http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=460927
  • Official site of the Islamic Republic Parliament indicating his position: http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/parliament_member/show/761458
  • Official Islamic Republic site indicating Mavalizadeh’s previous positions within the administration:http://hvm.ir/print.asp?id=5341
  • The following is a copy of the letter dated 28 Mordad 1385 (19 August 2006) signed by Mavalizadeh[1]

[1] For an English translation of the letter, please see: http://www.iranrights.org/english/document-271.php

 

Sources:

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a23

http://www.iranrights.org/english/document-271.php

http://www.mcls.gov.ir/newsdetail-15586-fa.html

http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=460927

http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/parliament_member/show/761458

http://hvm.ir/print.asp?id=5341

http://news.bahai.org/documentlibrary/TheBahaiQuestion.pdf

 

Hossein Shariatmadari

Name: Hossein Shariatmadari

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As editor in chief of Kayhan (Keyhan) Newspaper, a position to which he was appointed by Iran’s leader, Khamenei, Hossein Shariatmadari is responsible for advocating for and inciting hatred against the Bahá’í faith and its followers by publishing anti-Bahá’í content.

    Once again, we refer to the October 2011 report published by the Bahá’í International Community.

This report states:

“During a three-year period, from 2005 to 2008 for example, the semi-official Kayhan newspaper published more than 200 specious and misleading articles about Bahá’í teachings, history, and activities.

“This effort was echoed on television and radio. The Kayhan articles, in particular, deliberately engaged in a distortion of history, painting Bahá’ís as tools of colonial powers or Israel, and portraying them as morally corrupt.”

Kayhan has repeatedly accused Bahá’ís of spying for Israel and western countries, being agents of Zionism, being morally corrupt, and engaging in highly offensive practices. The Bahá’í faith is called a ‘misguided sect’ or ‘deviant’ and ‘cult-like’ in Kayhan articles. No evidence or proof has ever been provided to back these claims and accusations.

Bahá’ís are not the only targets of Kayhan‘s attacks. Kayhan acts as a propaganda arm of the regime, consistently supporting and advocating hardliner policies and denouncing any dissenting voices, including those of opposition groups, movements, intellectuals, human and civil rights defenders, women’s rights activists, student rights activists, and minority rights defenders.

It is believed that propaganda in the media could lead to increased discrimination against the Bahá’í community, promoting a social context of violence and hatred against them solely based on their religious beliefs.

Supporting documents:

  • Article dated 22 Mehr 1391 (13 October 2012) regarding the family background of Shariatmadari:

http://isna.ir/fa/news/91072213976/%D8%AE%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D9%86-%D9%88-%D8%B4%D9%88%D9%87%D8%B1%DB%8C

  • A special report by the Bahá’í International Community regarding the role of the Islamic Republic media, in particular Kayhan under Shariatmadari, in the incitement of hatred against the Bahá’ís:

http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/inciting-hatred-appendix-ii.pdf

http://kayhannews.ir/881224/2.htm#other201

http://kayhannews.ir/890215/2.htm#other212

http://bit.ly/1tpdqVD

http://bit.ly/1tpdqVD

  • The following interview refers to the role of Shariatmadari in the imprisonment and torture of Ezzatollah Sahabi:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2011/05/110531_l39_ezzatollah_sahabi_death.shtml

  • The following two documents refer to the role of Shariatmadari in the case of Saeed Sirjani:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/013/1994/en/3ae24773-f8c0-11dd-b40d-7b25bb27e189/mde130131994en.pdf

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/003/1994/en/c7271aa6-f8c4-11dd-b40d-7b25bb27e189/mde130031994en.pdf

  • The following describes the role of Shariatmadari in the production of ‘Hoviat’ (Identity) documentary broadcast on Islamic Republic television about the forced confessions of Aliakbar Saiedi Sirjani, Ezzatollah Sahabi, and Gholamhossein known as Mirza Saleh:

http://radiokoocheh.com/article/103095

  • The following report entitled “Men of Violence” published on 1 June 2010 includes references to Shariatmadari:

http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/06/crackdown-perpetrators/

 

Hamid Reza Moghaddam-Far

First Name and Last Name:

Hamid Reza Moghaddam-Far

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

When he was the Managing Director of Fars News Agency and the Deputy Commander of Cultural Affairs for the IRGC, Hamid Reza Moghaddam-Far was responsible for deliberately provoking hatred and incitement to hatred against the Bahá’í faith through the content in Fars News.

  The Fars News Agency is close to the powerful IRGC and is said to receive financial support from them. The impartiality and independence of this news agency is in serious doubt.

In its October 2011 report titled “Inciting Hatred Iran’s Media Campaign to Demonize Bahá’ís”, the Bahá’í International Community described contents published by Fars News as:

“Some 64% of the articles surveyed by the Bahá’í community contain language branding the Bahá’í Faith as a ‘deviant, misguided sect’ and even as ‘Satanists’…. Other articles strive to make a more explicit connection, referring to the “satanic goals” of Bahá’ís, or calling Bahá’ís part of a ‘satanic system’… often uses graphic images that portray Bahá’ís as fiendish ghouls or agents of Israel…”

It is believed that propaganda in the media could lead to increased discrimination against the Bahá’í community and promote a social context of violence and hatred against them solely based on their religious beliefs.

Supporting documents:

http://www.fardanews.com/fa/news/155849/%D8%AE%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B8%DB%8C-%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AF%D9%85-%D9%81%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%B1%DA%AF%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B3

  • An article exploring the main reason for Moghaddam-Far’s departure after five years in his position at Fars News Agency:

http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/3814

http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/inciting-hatred-appendix-ii.pdf

http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/inciting-hatred-book.pdf

http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Inciting%20Hatred-P.pdf

http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8908010672

http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/semnan/incitement-hatred

http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8711130808

  • Wikipedia entry about the background of Mahnaz Raoufi:

http://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%85%D9%87%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B2_%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%88%D9%81%DB%8C

Meysam Nili
First Name and Last Name:

Meysam Nili

Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:

As the Editor-in-Chief of Raja News, Meysam Nili is responsible for deliberately provoking hatred and incitement to hatred against members of the Bahá’í faith by using false accusations, inflammatory terminology, and repugnant imagery in content published in Raja News.

Raja News is close to hardliners in Iran and a strong supporter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The impartiality and independence of this news agency is in serious doubt.In its October 2011 report, the Bahá’í International Community clearly shows that a central element of the escalating campaign of persecution of Bahá’ís in recent years has been the use of mass media and other means to systematically demonize and vilify them.Bahá’ís have been completely denied access to any form of media inside Iran that would allow them to explain or rebut the baseless accusations against them. Indeed, Iranian media is forbidden from publishing or airing anything in support of Bahá’ís.It is believed that propaganda in the media could lead to increased discrimination against the Bahá’í community, promoting a social context of violence and hatred against them solely based on their religious beliefs.

Supporting documents:

  • References to the role of Raja News and the incitement of hatred against the Bahá’ís:

http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/inciting-hatred-book.pdf

http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/inciting-hatred-appendix-ii.pdf

  • Published on 28 Ordibehesht 1389 (18 May 2010) this article describes Maysam Nili’s background:

http://alborznews.net/fa/pages/?cid=21803

  • Documents pointing to his appointment to the position of Editor-in-Chief at Raja News:

http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=48898

http://bit.ly/1p2xUy2

  • Article dated 24 Farvardin 1391 (12 April 2012) alleging Raha Etemadi was hired by London-based Manoto TV based on her adherence to the Bahá’í faith, opposition to the Islamic Republic and her willingness to appear in the nude: http://rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=122331

——————

[1]  Page 114 in http://www.great-iran.com/PDFs/History/Different-files/Religious-Minorities-in-Iran.pdf

[2]  Ibid (see chapter 13)

[3] http://news.bahai.org/documentlibrary/TheBahaiQuestion.pdf

[4] ibid

[5] The academic measurement bureau working under the authority of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology., see more at: http://sanjesh.org/aboutus.aspx

[6]  http://news.bahai.org/story/913

[7] http://bihe.org/

[8] http://www.matinfar.blogfa.com/post/1006

[9] http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a23

[10] http://www.bic.org/news/concerns-about-economic-strangulation-baha%E2%80%99-iran-expressed-bahai-international-community-human-rights-council

[11]  http://news.bahai.org/documentlibrary/TheBahaiQuestion.pdf

[12]  Ibid (page 86)

[13] http://www.bic.org/sites/default/files/pdf/inciting-hatred-book.pdf

[14] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm#art20

[15] Obviously, violators of the human rights of Bahá’ís are not limited to this list. Completing and extending this list remains a goal of JFI

[16]  http://www.maavanews.ir/tabid/38/ctl/Edit/mid/384/Code/8997/Default.aspx

[17] http://bit.ly/1uWZZKZ

[18] http://www.khorasannews.com/newssource/17437-880922/xml/9_17437_06_3295.XML

[19]http://chrr.biz/spip.php?article7238

http://www.rahesabz.net/story/43957

What is reflected here is separately verified and confirmed by Ghlamhossein Raeissi, former head of Human Rights Commission of the Bar Association of Fars Province

[20] http://www.magiran.com/npview.asp?ID=1624977

[21]  http://news.bahai.org/documentlibrary/575/1_LetterFromMinistriesToUniversities.pdf