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A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

The Central Revolutionary Court further formalized the takeover of the hospital by ordering its confiscation. The court order cited the influence of Bahá’ís in founding, funding and operating the hospital, its connection to the Universal House of Justice, accusations of anti-Islamic propaganda and Zionism as reason for the confiscation.268 Other charges included that “out of the 290 employees of the Hospital, the 123 Bahá’ís ‘most probably have been responsible for advancing the interests of imperialism.’”269

Through an emissary, Prof. Hakím appealed to Prime Minister Bazargan on behalf of the hospital. The Prime Minister responded that he had no authority and that “[t]his confiscation is done by the Revolutionary Committee, which is under direct supervision of the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini].”270 Prof. Hakím was murdered in Tehran by an unknown gunman on January 12, 1980.271

As with the targeting of the Bahá’í leadership, the IHRDC concludes that the systematic destruction of important historic, cultural and religious monuments was designed to expunge all traces of the origins of the Bahá’í faith in Iran and to intimidate the Bahá’í community into abandoning their beliefs. The deprivation of objects of great significance and the destruction of community institutions seem explicitly designed to destroy the community’s sense of identity and cohesiveness.

5.3. Economic and Social Repression

The post-revolutionary period was also a time of acute discrimination for ordinary members of the Bahá’í faithful. The authorities of the Islamic Republic imposed a number of hardships on members of the Bahá’í faith apparently designed to suffocate the economic life of the community. These included bars to employment and rules preventing Bahá’ís from entering educational institutions or owning property. This further resulted in a loss of livelihood, and economic stability for adults, and the deprivation of educational opportunities in public schools and higher education for their children. Bahá’í businessmen were denied permits, licenses, and government contracts. Because many of the individuals mentioned in this section of the report still reside in Iran, it has been necessary to conceal their identities behind pseudonymic initials. In each instance, specific documentation relating to these victims is held on file at the IHRDC.

Property

As late as 1982, the authorities made a regular practice of seizing the assets of executed Bahá’ís and their family members.272 In some cases, the houses of executed Bahá’ís were actually seized prior to a public acknowledgment of their execution.273 There are numerous reported incidents of looting, vandalizing, and setting fire to the private property of Bahá’ís, beginning in the months just prior to the Revolution and continuing after the Revolution.274 These events occurred across the country, ranging from villages, such as Kata, Khurmauj, and Sangsar, to large cities like Shiraz, Tehran, and particularly Yazd.275 In many other cases, the properties of Bahá’ís were confiscated on orders from government officials and well respected clerics. Some of these properties were seized while the Bahá’ís were still alive, others were prohibited from passing through intestacy.

[268]Ra'y-i Dadgah-i Inqilab Darbariyyih Mo'assisin-i Bimaristan-ih Mítháqíyyih [Excerpts from the verdict of the Central Revolutionary Court ordering the confiscation of the Bahá’í Hospital (Mítháqíyyih Hospital) in Tehran], reprinted in BIC REPORT ON THE PERSECUTION OF A RELIGIOUS MINORITY, supra note 81, at 80.
[269]Ra'y-i Dadgah-i Inqilab Darbariyyih Mo'assisin-i Bimaristan-ih Mítháqíyyih [Excerpts from the verdict of the Central Revolutionary Court ordering the confiscation of the Bahá’í Hospital (Mítháqíyyih Hospital) in Tehran] (on file with IHRDC), reprinted in BIC REPORT ON THE PERSECUTION OF A RELIGIOUS MINORITY, supra note 81, at 80.
[270]Namiyyih Ra'is Shubiyyih Yik-i Dadgah-i Babolsar bih Shahrdar-ih Babolsar Darbariyyih Ghabristan-i Bahá’í ha [Letter from the Ministry of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the mayor and district governor of Babolsar regarding arrangements for burying dead Bahá’ís in confiscated Bahá’í cemetery], dated December 26, 1983 (on file with the IHRDC).
[271]Letter from the Universal House of Justice to National Spiritual Assembly of U.S., January 14, 1981 (on file with IHRDC).
[272]Major Developments During December 1981/January 1982, supra note 239, at 2.
[273]Id.
[274]See generally Recent Attacks (1978), supra note 255.
[275]Id.

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Baha'i, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Conscience