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Treatment of the Baha'is in Iran: Note by the Secretary-General

UN Doc. E/CN.4/1517

          A N D 4/1517
          — 1 December: 1981
          SO JAL COUNUL Original ENGLISH
          Thirty—eighth session
          Item 12 of the provisional agenda
          Treatment of the Daha 'Is in Iran
          The present note has been prepared pursuant t Sub--Commission resolution 8 (XXXIV)
          of 9 September 1981 by which the Secretary—General was requested “to submit all
          relevanìt information, about the treatment of the Baha'is in Iran to the
          Commission on Human Rights at its thirty—eighth session.”.
          l At its thirty—fourth session the Sub—Commission had. before it notes ver1 ales from
          the Permanent Mission of Canada (E/CN.4/1476 E/CN4/Sub.2/1472) requesting circulation
          of the text of a motion unanimously adopted on 9 June 1981. by the House of Commons of
          Canada. regarding the treatment of bhe Baha'i Community in Iran;. and from the
          Permanent Mission of Australia .(E/CN,4/l478. .E,/CN.4 1 /Suh .2/488) requesting circulation
          of the text of two motionsg one mcvei in the Senate of the Parliament of the
          Commonwealth of Australia by Senator Ruplik and adopted by the Senate on 26 March 1981,
          and the other on the question and answer in the Senate on 7 May 1981. both of which
          relate to the treatment of religious minorities, particularly the Eaha'.is in Iran.
          r , The Sub--Commission also considered at its t rty—fourth session a note verbale
          from the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office
          and other International organizations at. Geneva addressed to the Secretary—General
          dated 14 September 1981, circulated as document E/CN .4/Sub. '2/475--E/CN.4/1516. The
          Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran informed the Sub—Commission on
          instructions from its Government 9 as fc1 ..ows:
          “The human rights and fundamental freedoms of the individual are enshrined in
          the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. inc1udin , in particular,
          articles 13, 14 and 23.
          GE .82—10 295
          E/CN .4/1517
          page 2
          Article 13 provides that ‘Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian Iranians shall be
          the sole recognized religious minorities which shall be free, within the limits of
          the law, to perform their religious rites and. to act, as far as their personal status.
          and religious teachings are concerned, according to their liturgy'.
          ccording to article 14, ‘In conforming to the holy verse of the Koran, “the
          Almighty never forbids you to act kindly and fairly towards those who do not war
          against you on account of your religion, and do not expel you from your homeland.
          God. loves the just.'. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Muslims
          shall act with Islamic morality, justice and equity towards non—Muslims end respect
          their human rights. This principle shall be valid for those who do not engage in
          any activities or plot against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran .'.
          Under article 23, ‘The control of opinions shall be prohibited and no one may
          be attacked or censured for his opinions',
          The Permanent lvlission of the Islamic Republic of Iran is authorized. to quote
          statements made by two of the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic.
          According to Ayatollah Noussavi Ardebili, President of the Supreme Court of
          the Islamic Republic of Iran, ‘The courts of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the
          procedure.s which they a ply are governed by Islamic standards and laws, as well as
          the Constitution and the country' s. official laws and regalations. Under those
          same laws, no one is to he molested, prosecuted or persecuted on account of his
          religious beliefs. Anyone who is brought to trial is to be judged by the lawful
          judicial bodies regardless of his faith and shall be entitled to all the facilities
          he needs for his defence. Ip no circumstances may he be denied those rights'.
          According to Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of
          Iran, ‘The rights of non—Muslim Iranians are protected in the same way as those of
          Muslim Iranians and the law does not tolerate any d.iscriirthiation towards them. If
          non—Muslim Iranians are br ought to trial before the judicial bodies, it is in no way
          because of their faith, but solely on account of the acts of which they are accused.
          It goes without saying that an I anian Baha'I who has been the subject of a judicial
          measure may not be absolved from responsibility for an indictable offence merely
          by virtue of belonging to the Eaha'i sect. It should be noted that there are
          numerous Iranian. Baha'is living incomplete securit in Iran, with nothing whatsoever
          to fear. The only ones who are prosecuted and sentenced are those who have been
          involved, in acts of es poinage and other activities contrary tO the higher interesta
          of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mention may also be made of the propaganda
          campaign mounted by the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran to discredit the
          Islamic Revolution. But all that in no way tallies with: the t± ue facts and is
          therefore totally unfounded'.”
          3. The Sub—Commission discussed the situation concerning the Baha 'I community
          in Iran during the following session: 912th meeting on 28 August 1981
          (E/CN.4/Suh .2/SR .9l2); 913th meeting on 28 August 1981 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/SR.9l3); and
          914th meeting (E/CN.4/Sub.2/SR.914) on 31 August 1981. At its 929th meeting, on
          9 September 1981, the Sub—Commission adopted resolution 8 (xxxiv) 19 votes to none,
          with 5 abstentions, that reads as follows:
          E/CN. 4/1517
          page 3
          “ The Sub—Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,
          Welcoming the adoption by the Commission on Human Rights at its
          thirty—seventh session and by the Economic and Social Council at its
          first regular session of 1981 of a Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms
          of Intolerance and of Disdrimination Based on Religion or Belief,
          Recalling its resolution 10 (xxxiii) in which it expressed its profound concern
          for the safety of the members of the Baha 'i Community in Iran and requested the
          Secretary—General to invite the Government of Iran to grant full protection of
          fundamental rights and freedoms to this religious minority,
          Having now heard statements clearly demonstrating the systematic persecution of
          the Baha'is in Iran, including summary arrests, torture, beatings, executions,
          murders, kidnappings, disappearances, abductions, and. many other forms of
          Convinced that the treatment of the Baha'Is is motivated by religious
          intolerance and a desire to eliminate the Baha'i Faith from the land of its birth,
          Concerned that the Government of Iran appears to have ignored all previous
          approaches made on behalf of this Community,
          1. Expresses its profound concern for the perilous situation facing this
          religious Community;
          2. Appreciates the efforts already made by the Secretary—General on behalf
          of this Community;
          3. Urges the Secretary—General to continue his efforts to persuade the
          Government of Iran to prevent further attacks on the Baha 'I Community and to grant
          them religious freedom;
          4. Draws the attention of the Commission on Human Rights to the perilous
          situation faced by the Baha'i Community of Iran and. requests the Secretary—General
          to submit all relevant information about the treatment of the Baha'Is in Iran to
          the Commission on Human Rights at its thirty—eighth session 0 .”
          4. On 3 November 1981 the Secretary—General transmitted to the Minister of
          Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran a note verbale that reads as
          “The Secretary—General of the United Nations presents his compliments to the
          Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and has the honour to
          refer to resolution 8 (xxxiv) adopted 5 y the Sub—Commission on Prevention of
          Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights on
          9 September 1981. A copy of' the resolution is attached to this note verbale. By
          paragraph 4 of' the resolution the Sub—Commission,
          ‘ Draws the attention of the Commission on Human Rights to the perilous situation
          faced by the Baha'I community of Iran and requests the Secretary—General to
          submit all relevant information about the treatment of the Baha'is in Iran to
          The Commission on Human Rights at its thirty—eighth session.'
          The Secretary—General would be grateful to receive any information that
          His Excellency's Government may wish to make available, relevant to this request of
          the Sub—Commission.”
          F/cR. 4/1 517
          page 4
          4A. The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran submitted on
          25 January 198.2 hnobe verbala that readso
          “The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Office of the
          United. Nations and. other Internationdi Organizatioiis in Geneva presents its
          compliments to the Secretariat of the United Nations — Division of Human Rights —
          and. with reference to the latter's note No, s/so 234(25) dated 3 November 9 1981
          addressed. to the Minister of Foreign Affairs concerning the resolution No 8 (xxxiv)
          d ted 9 Decethber 1981 and upon in trubtions of the G-overnment of the Islamic Republic
          of Iran has the honour to state the following
          Measures taken by Revolutionary courts with regard to Baha'Is, concerns only
          those of them whose close contact with intelligence circles of zionism and.
          imperieii sm, has been proved, and the service they render to them against the
          politicaland. economic interakts of Iran is clear. Such treatment is given not
          only to Baha'is, but to ai y Iranidn citizen in general who undertakes acts of
          treason in the interest of foreigners.”
          5. Pursuanf to operative paragraph 4 of resolution (xxxiv) notes r queating
          info mation about the treatment of the Baha'is in Iran were sent on 3 No iembei 1981
          to the Council of Europe, Amnesty International, World Council of Churchp ,.
          Internatioaal Federation of Reman Rignt International League for Human Rights,
          International Commission of Jurists, Fax Romana, World Moslem Cdngress,
          Islamic Cor fepence and. to the Baha' is International Community.
          6. A number of replies were reo ived . by the Secretariat in response to the
          request sent on 3 November 1981 to the organizations mentioned- above in paragraph 5.
          The International Federation of Human Rights informed that it had. intended. o
          carry out a mission by experts, but the Iranian authorities had prePented them from
          entering Iran and that
          !Our organization has received, numerous reliable reports that the leaders pf
          the Baha'is were the object of repression and. particular discrimination in Irai ”.
          Amnest r Inteniiatjonal stated that it did not dispose of specific informatiou other
          than tha+ rrade available by tl e Baha'fs therrsel es The Council of Europe -provided
          on January 1982 ‘a reply froir the Sommittee of Ministers of the Conical of Europe
          to Written Question by members of the Parliamentary Assembly on prosecution of the
          members of the. Baha i Faith in Ir n' , which states .
          “The Committee of Ministers and. the Governments of member States are deeply
          concerned by reports about persecution of members of the Baha'i community in Iran
          for their religious beliefs. They deplore the fact that the fundamental rights of
          that odmmunity and of its members are not. safeguarded in Iran.
          The Coimittee supports the ey deavours of the United. Nations to improve the.
          ]ot of t Baha'i cov.wunity era cal]s for an intensification of those endeavours
          as an expression of the internati 3 nal community' s concern at the violation of the
          physical integrity and freedom of persods by reason of their membership of a
          religious community.
          P/oN. 4/1517
          page 5
          Withi this in mind, the Committee 0 Ministers and. the Governments, of the
          member States support the Secretary—General of the United. iations in the execution
          of' the misbion entrusted. to him on 10 September 1981 by the Sub—Commission on
          Prevention of Discrimination ahd Protection of Minorities of the Commission on
          Human Rights to continue his efforts to persuade the Governmeit of Iran to prevent
          further attacks on the Baha'i community and to grant them religious freedom.'.
          The Committee of JM.niaiers uifl follow the development of eirenbo closely and
          attentively.: It would ‘be a matter of deer concern if at the next se sion of the
          United NatIons Commission on Human Rights, in February 1982, it was not possible to
          report a. considerable imp -rovement in the position of the Baha'I community in Iran.
          The Committee requested the Secretary—General of the Council of Europe to
          communicate the foregoing -to the Secretary—General of the United Nations.”
          7. The Baha'i International Community submitted on 15 December 1981 a report on.
          -the background and nature of the persecutions of the Baha'is, the systematic
          elimination of the Baha'is' leaders, the confiscation and destruction of Baha'I
          Community assets and. other aspects of the treatment of the Baha'is in Iran, On
          12 January 1981 the Baha t i International Community provided, a summary of the report
          which is reproduced below. The full report, and the supporting documents referred
          to in this summary, are available for reference with the Secretariat.
          The ‘Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. recognizes and protp etc the
          Jewish, Christian arid. Zoroastrian minorities in that country, but denies becognition
          to Iran's largest religious minority, the 300,000 followers of the Baha'I Faith.
          The Bai.a'Is are not a foreign element within Iran they are indigenous Iranians
          who love their count:ey and revere it as ‘the birthplace of their faith. They are, a
          gentle, peace—loving community who, in accordance with the tenets of their faith,
          uphold the divine origin of all the major world religions, abstain from partisan
          politics, shun involvement in any form ci subversive activity and demonstrate the
          utmost loyalty and obedience to their Government. They thus pose no ‘threat to any
          person or institution in Iran.
          Despite this, they have become •the victims of a post—revolutionary camDaign
          of religious persecution of such malevolence and intensity that it presagee the
          eradication of the Baha'I community, as a religioun minority in Iran.
          T1 -e currcnt arc of pnc ccutions against Uhe Baha' s in Iran cannot be viened as
          a recent development . arising from ‘the Islaric..Revolution. Since the inception of
          their faith in the middle of the last century, the Baha .Is have suffered constant
          The' pe secution of the Baha'is has its rbçte in religious irejudIce. From its
          earliest days, the Baha'I Faith has been mis:ce'presented in Iran as a he:retical sect
          of Islam, actively engaged in designs to overthrow Iela.m in i ' s existing form In
          E/CN .4/1517
          page 6
          the last century, over 20,000 early believers were branded as heretics and. put to
          death in circumstances of appalling cruelty. Under subsequent regimes (including
          those of the Pahiavis) the persecution continued, often accompanied. by bloodshed.
          Now, in post—revolutionary Iran, differences in religious ideology are once again
          being used by fanatical elements to justify violent attacks on Baha 'Is,
          Religious prejudice against the Beha'I community has become institutionalized
          in Iran. At no stage in its history has the Baha 'i Faith been granted recognition
          as an independent religion by the Iranian Government or under the Iranian
          Constitution. The lack of constitutional recognition and protection for the
          Baha'is has enabled. their enemies to attack them with almost complete assurance of
          impunity; has permitted successive Governments to enact discriminatory legislation
          curtailing their fundamental rights and. freedoms; and. has rendered them a readily—
          identifiable minority to be used by the Government as scapegoats to divert popular
          attention from other issues and provide a focus for public grievances during times
          of constitutional unrest. The omission of the Baha 1 minority from the new
          Constitution has served to perpetuate and intensify the scale of these injustices.
          Soon after the onset of revolution in Iran, it became apparent that the numerous
          attacks on Baha 'fs and their property in all parts of the country were not the
          random acts of fanatical mobs but formed. part of a systematic and co—ordinated
          campaign by the revolutionary authorities against the entire Baha 'I community. The
          aim of this campaign was, and is, nothing less than the eradication of the Iranian
          Baha'i community and. the obliteration of all traces of the Baha 'I Faith from the
          land. of its birth.
          Responsible Government officials in Iran have inadvertently confirmed in private
          conversations that such a plan exists and that the eradication of the Baha 'I
          community isto be accomplished. by the following means:
          — the arrest and execution of prominent Baha'is
          — the confiscation of the assets of the Baha'I community
          — the financial strangulation and intimidation of individual Baha'Is to
          forte them to recant their faith.
          The Baha 'i Faith has no ecclesiastical hierarchy of priests or mullahs. The
          administration of the affairs of' the Baha 'i community is conducted., at both national
          and. local levels, by a council of nine adult believers, male or female, elected
          annually by secret ballot. Membership in these institutions, and in committees
          appointed. by them, is regarded as a service and religious duty and does not imply
          or confer any form of power or privilege. A relatively small number of Baha '.fs
          who have distinguished themselves by service to their faith are periodically
          appointed. as complementary agencies to act as advisers to the national and local
          administrative institutions.
          E/CN. 4/1517
          page 7
          There are currently 500 local administrative institutions of the Bah&1 Faith
          (called Local Spiritual Assemblies) in the cities, towns and. villages of Iran. The
          members of the National Spiritual Assembly and of the Local Spiritual .f ssemblies,
          together with the appointed officers of the faith, may be said to constitute the
          leadership of the Iranian. Baha I community. These are the tprominent Baha'Is
          whose elimination is a major goal of the campaign of persecution.
          Since the start of the revolution, a large number of prominent Batha Is have
          been kidnapped, murdered, assassinated or summarily arrested and. held in prison
          for long periods without formal oharge . Of those imprisoned, many have been
          executed by order of the tuvolutionary courts. Many still remain in prison.
          On 21st August 1980, all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of
          the Baha'is of Iran, together with two appointed officers of the faith, were
          summarily arrested by revolutionary guardsmen while meeting in a private home. The
          Government—controlled. media accused them of complicity in the recently—attempted.
          coup, but the authorities later denied all knowledge of their arrest or of their
          whereabouts, which remain unknown.
          In those cases where formal charges were brought against Baha 1s, their
          execution was invariably justified by the revolutionary courts on the grounds that
          they were agents of Zionism, collaborators with the Pablavi dgime , opponents of
          Islam, enemies of the Government and. people of Iran, and moral degenerates. The
          falsity of these charges is explained below. Their spurious nature is compellingly
          demonstrated by the fact that, in every case, the BaJaa I concerned was offered his
          life and. freedom if only he would recant his faith.
          Jn August 1981, following a storm of international protest about the treatment
          of the Baha'Is , the Iranian. Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a catagorical denial
          that any Baha 1 f had. been executed in Iran because of his religion. Thereafter,
          although the executions continued., attempts were made by the authorities to conceal
          them. The families of the condemned men received. no warning of their imminent
          deaths, and no official announcements were made concerning the executions..
          The total number of Baha'Is killed for their religious beliefs since the start
          of the Islamic revolution now stands at 81. (Schedules detailing summary executions,
          kidnappings, assassinations, murders and. summary detentions of Baha is are available
          for examination,)
          The Iranian Baha'i community has never been allowed. to hold community property
          in its own name. Accordingly, at the time of the revolution, all Baha'i community
          properties in Iran were held by a non-profit company, the Uman . Company, specially
          created to hold them in trust. One of the first acts of the revolutionary Government
          was to confiscate the Umand Company and all its holdings.
          In ail parts of Iran, Baha'I holy places and. religious sites were attacked by
          mobs, desecrated. and, in some oases, totally destroyed.. Baha'I óetheteries were
          bulldozed and graves broken open. Ba.ha'f welfare institutions, serving all races
          and, religions,were appropriated and. all rights in them denied to IBaha'fs. r.phe major
          Baha 'I bankin company, Nawnahalan, was taken over by the Government, and the
          freezing of its assets swept away the life savings of its 150,000 Baha'I shareholders
          and. investors. Local Baha 'f centres were looted, and burned. The National tha'I
          Centre in Teheran was turned, over to fanatics and designated. a ‘Free Muslim
          E/C lT 4JI5l7
          page 8
          The House of the Bd in Shirdz, the Baha'i community 's holiest shrine in Iran
          and. a place of pilgrimhge for P aha'is the world over, was razed. to the ground. The
          authorities, who had given written assurances to the Baha 'is that it had been
          confiscated solely foi its protection, subsequently initiated roadworks designed
          to obliterate the site.
          ysicaiantimidatior! to induce recantation. Deprived, simply by virtue of
          being Baha'is, of any form of protection under the law (including protection of their
          civil rights and liberties), the members of this religious minority have been the
          helpless victims of violent attacks. Countless Baha'is have been terrorized both
          in the streets and. in their own homes Elderly men and. women, and very young
          children, have suffered vicious beatings at the hands of mobs, Infants have been
          cast into prison with their parents. Barbaric tortures have been inflicted upon
          Baha'Is in th.e rural areas other Bahals have suffered torture in prison. Baha 'is
          have been shot by assassins 2 lynched, stoned to death, beaten to death, and burned
          alive. In virtually every case, the Bahal concerned could have saved himself or
          herself from death or injury simply by recanting.
          Ab&uction of young girls . Religious extremists in Iran have demonstrated their
          willingness to go to any lengths in order to ‘convert' Baha 'Is to Islam. Early
          in 1981, a young Bahal girl was abducted in Kashan and, despite being under age,
          was forced into marriage with a Muslim. In two separate, later incidents, two
          Baha'i girls, aged 13 and 14 respectively, were abducted from school by their
          Islamic religious instructors. Their parents were later informed in writing that
          they had converted to Islam and. wanted nothing more to do with their families, The
          parents have not been allowed to see or communicate with their daughters and their
          appeals to the civil and. religious authorities have gone unheeded.. In August 1981,
          the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was qvoted. by Reuters press agency as flatly
          denying that any abd.uciione had. taken place at all.
          Denial of education and vocational training. All Baha'i primary and secondary
          schools in Iran were closed by the Government in 1934 and the Bahals have never
          since been allowed to operate their own educational establishments. Baha 'Is are
          admitted, to education under the public education system but are frequently
          discriminated. against under that system. Since the revolution, Baha'i schoolchildren
          have been put under constant pressure to recant their faith, Many educational
          institutions have introduced registration forms which specify that those seeking
          admission must belong to one of the recognized. religions of the country. Large
          numbers of Baha'I students at all educational levels (including some in their final
          year of professional training) have been expelled from their places of learning solely
          on the grounds of their religion. Baha 'I nurses, after completing their training
          have been denied their diplomas. Baha!I students who received scholarships have
          been forced. to repay the money to the Government. The Ministry of Education has
          prohibited the sendin of funds to Ba.ha!is studying outside Iran.
          Deprivation of means of livelihood. . Incited. by the mullahs, riotous mobs in
          numerous towns and cities have looted Ba,ha'i businesses of all kinds and, in many
          cases, wantonly destroyed them. Others have been confiscated by the Government,
          which has also frozen the business and personal hank accounts of Baha'is, In one
          E/CN.4/1 517
          page 9
          province, the business licences of all Baha 'i traders have beenwithd.rawn and their
          shops closed down. In the rural areas, the livestock and crops of Baha 'I farmers
          have been stolen or destroyed, and. the Baha 'is themselves have been driven from
          their villages. A growing trend during 1981 has been the confiscation by the
          authorities of the movable and. immovable properties of Cxecutéd .Baha'is, whose
          widows and children have thus been left homeless and without resources, Ever since
          the start of the revolution, a campaign has been under way to drive Baha'is from both
          public and private employment. Countless Baha!i civil servants have been arbitrarily
          dismissed and denied. back pay and peahioah P essure has been put upon. non—Baha 'I
          employers to dismiss their Ba.ha'i employees, and. the majority have concurred. Unable
          to support themselves or their families, thousands of Baha'is have been forced to
          leave Iran and settle in other countries. Their status and future has been rendered
          doubly precarious by a recent directive of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, which has
          ordered its consular representatives in foreign countries not to renew the passports
          of Baha 'is. residing within their jurisdiction. Of the Baha'Is remaining in Iran,
          thousands have been deprived of their homes and means of livelihood and are now
          existing under conditions of increasing hardship and degradation.
          Non—recognition of Baha'i marriages . There is no provision for civil marriage
          in Iran and the Baha'i marriage cerèmbny is not recognized as legal. Marriages
          between Baha'is can be registered only if the parties concerned are willing to
          recant their faith and marry according to the laws of one of the recognized religions.
          Many Baha 'Is have been denied. birth certificates and passports because of the
          non—registration of their parents' marriage. On 20th October 1981, Voi e of America
          reported in its Persian language programme that Iran's Central Revolutionary. Committee
          was planning a campaign to arrest Baha'is on the grounds that their marriages were
          illegal and their children illegitimate.
          Denial of freedom of religious practice . Public meetings, free expression of
          faith, places of worship, access to the press, free circulation of Baha 'i literature
          and other materials are all proscribed to the Baha'i community.
          [ The following documents, published by the Baha'i International Community,
          are available for further reference:
          Chronological summary of indiviftual acts of persecution against Baha is in Iran
          (from August 1978) — published November 1981
          Official documentation testifying to discrimination against the Baha'f community
          since the creation, of the Islamic Republic of Iran — a compilation,
          published Decem ber l9811
          Baha'Is are accused of being supporters of the late Shah, of having co—operated
          with and benefited. from the_former régime, and of being a political organization
          This allegation is based upon the fact
          that the Baha'Is did not actively oppose the Pahlavi régime and that some Baha 'Is
          held important positions in the civil service of that régime. . In accordance with
          the teachings of their faith, Baha'Is must show loyalty and obedience to the
          Government of th.e country in which they live, whatever its form or policies.
          Accordingly, they do not engage in subversive activities. In addition, Baha 'is are
          forbidden by the laws of their faith from becoming involved in partisan politics or
          from holding any political post. These principles are fundamental and do not change
          page 10
          with changing governments. The conduct of the Baha t i community during the Pahiavi
          régime— and under the present régime — was 9 and is, entirely in accordance with
          these principles. Although a small number of Baha is, because of their ability and
          integ 'ity, were appointed by the former Government to important posts in such fields
          as medicin and administration, the Baha'I community as a whole suffered severe
          repression throughout the Pahiavi régime.
          Baha'Is are accused of collaboration with SAVAK . It can categorically be
          stated that the Baha 1 community of Iran was never associated with the operations
          of SAVAK. Such activities and. organizations are contrary to the most fundamental
          principles of the Baha'i Faith. No evidence exists of any collaboration between
          SAVAK and the Baha'fs. SAVAK officials such as Parviz Sabeti, who have been
          described as Baha'fs, were not Baha'Is. The alleged membership of such individuals
          in the Baha'I Faith stems from the fact that their fathers or faAiilies had once been
          Baha 'Is, It is, however, a basic principle of the Baha'I religion that the gift
          of faith springs from the free choice of the individual and. cannot be automatically
          and blindly inherited from an earlier generation.
          Baha'Is are accused. of being enemies of Islam . This charge sphing from
          ignorance, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Baha'I Faith, which is
          portrayed in Iran as a heretical sec-b of Islam and, as such, is presumed to be
          dedicated to overthrowing Islam in its existing form. In fact, the Baha 1 Faith is
          an independent world. religion which, although having its roots in Islam and. its
          birthplace in an Islamic country, is as distinct from Islam as Christianity is from
          Judai€ -.- Whereas Muslims believe that divine revelation ended with Muhammad.,
          Baha s believe that religious revelation is continuous md. progressive and. that
          Baha'u 1lah, the Founder of their faith, is the latest — but not the last — of the
          Divine Educators sent by God. to guide mankind. Accordingly, Baha 'Is believe in the
          essential oneness of all the major religions of the i orld and honour and revere their
          Founders as divinely—inspired prophets. For a Baha'I to oppose, belittle or seek
          to destroy Islam, or any other religion, would thus be a denial of one of the most
          fundamental Baha'i principles.
          Baha'is are accused of being a&ents of Zionism . This accusation is based on
          the fact that the Baha'f World. Centre is located. in Israel, and that many Baha'IC
          visit Israel and send. money there The Bana'.f World Centre was, in fact, established
          in the Holy Land ii the ia t eitury, lông before the State of Israel came into
          existence, and has nothing to do with Zionism. The Founder of the Baha'I Faith was
          exiled from Iran to the Holy Land, where He died in 1892. His Shrinewas raised.
          there, and the Holy Land thus became the woLld. spiritual centre of the Baha 1 Faith —
          and also (in compliance with the explicit requirements of Baha'i teachings) its
          world. administrative centre as well. Baha'Is from all parts of the world regularly
          travel to Israel to visit the Shrine of Baha'u'llah and. other sites closely associated
          with their faith, and thousands of Iranian Baha t is made this pilgrimage when they
          were permitted. by law to visit Israel. Contributions sent, by Baha 'Is to the
          Baha ' World Centr are solely and. exclusively for the upkeep of their holy places
          and. for the admini tratIon of their faith. Almost all Bah.a 1s in Iran hive made
          such contributions, and. this f ac-b is often used to support charges against them of
          collusion with Israel.
          E/ CN.4/15 17
          page 11
          B.aha is are accused of prostitution, immorality and adultery . Since the
          Baha'I marriage ceremony is not recognized in Iran, and no civil marriage exists,
          the Baha t ls have been faced with the choice either of denying their faith in order
          to ‘be married according to the rites of one of the recognized religions, or of
          remaining true to their beliefs and marr:jing according to Baha I rites. They
          have consistently chosen the latter alternative — a course of action which the
          rresent régime regards as prostitution, Charges of immorality also arise from
          misunderst nding arid mialnierpreiation. of the basic Baha f principle of the
          equality of men and women and rest upon the fact that, in accordance with this
          principle, there is no segregation of men and women during Dahati gatherings, and
          that women serve alongside men on Baha'I administrative institutions. The Baha'i
          laws relating to chastity and marital fidelity in fact demand the highest standards
          of moral conduct on the part of all Eaha'is.
          A considerable volume of documentary and other evidence from Iran cl arly
          indicates that, despite official denials, it is the policy of the Iranian Government
          to harass the Baha ms. If the Iranian Government continues to deny any form of
          protection to the Baha I community, the outcome may well be the complete obliteration
          of this religious minority in Iran.
          d On 20 January 1982, the Baha i Interriational Community submitted additional
          information regarding developments affecting the Baha i Community in Iran during
          December/January 1982, which is presented below
          Eight of the nine members of the national administrative council (National
          ipiritual Assembly) of the Baha t i Faith in Iran were secretly executed in Teheran
          on 27th December 1981. Ii was only by chance that the Baha!is learned of the
          executions and were able to locate the burial sites and. see the burial certificates
          ci' the eight victims.
          On. 3rd January 1982, the Presid ,e 'n ' of the Supreme Court of Iran,
          Tatollah Ivlusavi Ardibili, denied. that these executions had taken place — a statement
          which he implicitly retracted. on. 5th J uary, when he announced th.e execution of
          eight Baha 1s on charges of ‘spying for foreign ‘powers'
          On 7th January, the Baha 'is learned (again quite fortuitously) of the
          execution on 4th January of seven more Baha is — six members of the Local S'prirtual
          Assemb1 y of the B rha'is of Teheran, arid the woman believer in whose home they were
          arrested on 2nd November 1981.
          The 27th December executions were particularly significant since they represented
          the second occasion on which, the authorities had eliminated the membership of the
          National Spiritual Assembly. The nine previous members of this body, and two senior
          officers of the Eaha 'i Faith!, were arrested on ?lst August 1980 and subsequently
          disappeared, with the authorities denying all knowledge of their arrest or wheredmou'ts.
          It is now believed. that' - hese eleven Baha '1s 9 together with three other prominent
          ‘believers who were kidnapped. earlier, have almost certainly been the victims of
          secret executions.
          E/CN. 4/1517
          ‘page 12
          Another secret execution c e to light, at the end pf 1981 when a Baha t i family
          discovered from the records of a local cemetery that their kinsman had been executed
          in Teheran on 23rd October 1981. As far as can be ascertained, no trials were held
          and no charges brought against any of the secretly—executed Baha'is.
          The ‘total number of Baia 1s killed for their religious beliefs since the start
          of the Is1 nic Revolution now stands at 97, with a further 14 presumed dead.
          The Baia t I Cemetery in Teheran was seized on 5th December 1981 by order of
          the Central Revolutionary ‘Court, Thirt en workers were arrested and the cemetery
          was closed, giving rise to fears that — as had ‘happened in other places the
          existing graves would be desecrated. The Baiaa I cemetery in the nearby village
          of Baba—Salman was closed on 14th January 1982. The tens of thousands of Baha'Is
          in the Teheran area are now forced to bury their dead in a barren stretch of land
          kno rn locally as La nat—Abad. ( ity of the accursed'), which is reserved ‘by the
          authorities for those who are termed ‘infidels'
          The bodies of Baha'is recently executed. in Teheran have been t cen to this
          so—called cemetery, where no facilities exist, and have been buried in their clothes
          in the bare earth, with none of their fellow—believers notified or present. The
          Baha'Is have thus been prevented ‘both from giving the victims a decent burial and.
          from carrying out the religious practices prescribed by their Faith for the burial
          of the dead.
          The House of Bahá'u'l1 h in Takur, where the founder of the Baha'I Faith spent
          his childhood, was totally demolished in December 1981, and the site of this holy
          place, with its land and gardens, was offered for sale ‘by the authorities to the
          public. The roadworks initiated by the authorities ‘to obliterate the site of the
          holiest Baha 'I shrine in Iran, ‘the Rouse of the BAb in Shiraz, were reported to be
          fast approaching the precincts of the holy rlace.
          Summary arrests of Baha'is continued throughout December and January. It is
          conservatively estimated that at least 150 Baha'Is are currently in detention without
          charges. Mob attacks were commóh, particularly in the rural areas, whe e Baha is
          were robbed of their possessions and frequently forced ‘to flee for their lives.
          The let December 1981 issue of the Teheran newspaper Kayhan reported that a
          Baha'f had recanted his faith in Evin, Prison in the presence of the religious judge
          Ayatollah Nuhemmad,i Cilani. This' ccnfirrned. earlier reports ‘that Baha'Is were being
          put under pressure in p± ison ‘to recant their ‘faith in order ‘to save themselves.
          The authorities continued their practice' of confiscating the assets of executed
          Baha 1s and their near relatives. The houses of some of the Baha'is executed in
          E/CN. 4/1517
          page 13
          Teheran were confiscated even before the authorities were willing to admit that the
          executions had, in fact, taken place. Confiscation by the Revolutionary authorities
          of the homes of Bahatis was common in many parts of Iran,
          Dismissals ofBaha is from public and private employment continued and many
          Baha'f business undertakings were forcibly closed. The 8th December issue of
          the newspaper Kayhan carried a directive from the Ministry of Labour that no one
          should entertain complaints or appeals from Baha 1s who had been dismissed from
          their jobs or deprived of their pensions because of their religion, since dismissal
          for life from any form of government service had been approved by the Islamic
          Parliament as ‘the punishment for anyone who is a member of the misguided
          Baha'i group'.”