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The Persecution of Iran's Baha'is - An Update, A Congressional Hearing (World Order - Winter 1983-84)

          • .VOLUME' 18,. NUMBER 2• PUBLISHEL
          The Full Force of Hatred
          RAN'S MULLAHS are relentless in suppressing everything they dislike or do
          not understand. Since that covers a great deal of what many people love,
          admire, and respect—including science, music, women's rights, and freedom
          of thought—the mullahs must conduct a perpetual struggle against millions
          of their subjects.
          However, the clerical rulers of a state that calls itself an Islamic Republic,
          though it is neither, reserve their strongest emotions for those who dare to
          differ with them in matters of religion.
          The Christians, the Jews, and the Zoroastrians are looked upon with un-
          concealed disdain, but formally they are tolerated. It is the Bah Yfs that bear
          the full force of hatred unleashed by men who presume to have an exclusive
          knowledge of the will of God and to speak in His name. They find the Bah 'I
          Faith intolerable because it has no mullahs, discriminates against no religion,
          accords equal rights to women and men, teaches love of all humanity, and ab-
          hors violence. In the eyes of Iranian authorities the adherents of such a faith
          arc heretics worthy of extermination.
          The hearing on the persecution of the Bahá'Is in Iran held before the Sub-
          committee on Human Rights and International Organizations of the House
          Foreign Affairs Committee on May 2, 1984, once again demonstrated to the
          American public the lengths to which the mullahs will go to eradicate Iran's
          Bahá'I community. The testimony of Said Eshraghi, a young man whose par-
          ents and a sister were hanged in Shiraz, for a moment lifted the curtain and
          revealed a corner of hell where humiliation, torture, and death would reign
          supreme were it not for faith, devotion, and heroism. His moving story
          brought tears to the eyes of an audience well acquainted with tragedy and
          The story must be told often and in full. Silence would serve only to en-
          courage the wicked and to prolong the horror.
          4. WORLD ORDER: /V NTER 1983—84
          “Religious Persecution of the Baha'is in Iran”
          HE EYES of the world focused on Iran in February of 1979 as a new era in Iran-
          ian history paraded boldly before us. We saw a ruthless Shah deposed and the
          emergence of Ayatollah Khomeini. Many looked to find a new religious and politi-
          cal tolerance but instead discovered a primitive religious fanaticism.
          For those who have been forced to look at what has happened in Iran during the
          I past years, the sight for them has been an ugly one. Executions of political or reli-
          gious victims is an almost daily occurrence. Since 1979, according to Amnesty In-
          ternational, approximately 5,500 people have been summarily executed by the
          Iranian government. However, this figure reflects only othcially announced execu-
          tions, and excludes those secret executions not announced by the authorities.
          Those citizens who have not lost their lives encounter restrictions of their basic
          freedoms—freedom of speech, political freedom, and freedom of religion. Count-
          less numbers of Iranians sought shelter frOm this tyranny in other countries.
          /Ve are here today to examine the problems of the largest religious minority in
          Iran—the Baha'is. The other religious minorities in Iran include Zoroastrians,
          Jews, and Christians.
          The Baha'i Faith is not recognized in Iran, and Baha'is are deprived of their ba-
          sic huiiian rights. Members of this peace-loving community are the principal tar-
          gets of the current regime. Over 150 prominent Baha'is have been executed since
          Khomeini came into power. Their places of worship have been destroyed, their
          possessions have been confiscated, and their religion has been banned.
          The Baha'is have no one in the government who hears their appeal, and they
          have no place to go to escape from persecution. Instead of the clergy, courts, and
          authorities providing protection for the Baha'is, they provide propaganda and
          prosecution for the Iranian government.
          The Baha'is in Iran have long suffered tremendous pressure and persecution,
          but they are now being slaughtered by the Khomeini regime for adherence to their
          faith, it is time once again to look intently at the gruesome picture that Khomeini
          is painting for the world in Iran. But we must not only watch—we must denounce
          and condemn this savagery.
          Shining a Light in Darkness
          lIONS, MAY 2, 1984
          CHAIRMAN, thank yOU for the oppor-
          IV! unitv to testify today.
          All Americans have been shocked by reports
          from Iran describing the violent persecution of
          Baha'is. Initially I was concerned that public
          exposure and discussion of this situation by
          members of Congress might jeopardize Baha'is
          in Iran. However, after several discussions with
          Firuz Kazemzadeh, Secretary of the National
          Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is, I believe that
          calling attention to their plight will not further
          endanger those in Iran, but might help to im-
          prove the atmosphere and reduce the excesses,
          Firuz put it well recently when he said, “It is
          more difhcult to kill, more dif cult to torture
          in broad daylight.”
          The Baha'i faith was established in Persia—
          now Iran—over 140 years ago. Its followers be-
          lieve in the unity of mankind, world peace and
          world order. The religion teaches the essential
          tenets of all organized religions, social equality,
          pacihsm, and tolerance.
          It is a horribly ironic crime against all hu-
          manitv that these gentle people have been per-
          secuted in their homeland throughout their
          14 O-vear history, but especially since the rise to
          power of the murderous Khomeni regime.
          Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, 170 Ba-
          ha'is have been executed. Among these victims
          were three teenage girls who were hanged last
          summer despite a plea from President Reagan,
          and a woman who was slain shortly after the
          delivery of her child, who was then taken away
          by Moslem fanatics. Just this week I learned of
          reports of the execution of three more Baha'js
          including a college professot
          Less dramatic, but tragic nonetheless, Baha'i
          children are being expelled from schools and
          their parents fired from their jobs. Baha'i prop-
          erty, livestock, bank accounts, farms and busi-
          nesses are confiscated, their shrines have b e eii
          destroyed, and they are arrested for imaginary
          And most recently there has been an even
          more ominous development. ‘I'hc Prosecutor
          General of Iran has issued an edict banning all
          Baha'i religious activity as a “criminal act.”
          Like the Nurern burg laws, this edict establishes
          the so-called “legal” grounds for mass arrests
          and genocide.
          In response to this decree, the elected leaders
          of the Baha'is in Iran dissolved all Baha'j
          instructions in Iran, citing their obedience to
          the civil law of the land.
          Despite their declared adherence to this
          edict, according to reports, some 700 Baha'is
          are now languishing in prison, subjected to ha-
          rassment and tortured by prison guards to re-
          cant their faith. In fact, several Baha'is have
          died while in prison, apparently as a result of
          In response to this pogrom and in an at-
          tempt to call attention to this tragic situation,
          last November 1 introduced H. Con. Res. 226,
          with the support of the Chairman of this Sub-
          committee, Gus Yatron, the ranking minority
          member of this subcommittee, Jim Leach, and
          Tom Lantos. I am pleased to report that over
          150 members of the House have joined us as co-
          sponsors of this resolution.
          In addition, the resolution was introduced
          in the Senate by Senator Heinz, and has been
          co-sponsored by more than half of the mem-
          bers of the Senate.
          The purpose of our resolution is threefold:
          1) it holds the Government of Iran responsible
          for upholding the rights of all of its citizens, in-
          cluding the Baha'is, 2) condemns the Prosecu-
          tor General's edict which banned the Baha'is,
          and 3) calls upon the President of the United
          States to work in the United Nations and other
          forums with the leaders of other countries to
          form a broad-based appeal to the Iranian gov-
          I would hope that the Subcommittee will
          proceed to mark-up my resolution as quickly
          as possible. Let mc commend the subcommit-
          tee Chairman, Mr. Yatron, and your outstand-
          ing staff for the interest and commitment to
          the cause of human rights which we all share.
          We in Congress must raise our voices in pro-
          test loudly and clearly so that the cause of hu-
          man freedom is echoed throughout the world.
          We can only hope that one day soon the mur-
          derous regime in Iran will finally hear our out-
          rage and will cease their unforgivable persecu-
          tion of the Baha'is.
          Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are allowed
          token representation in the Majlis and may or-
          ganize certain community institutions.
          Despite this degree of official sanction for
          continued existence in the Islamic Republic,
          members of all three faiths arc subjected to dis-
          crimination in several areas. Proper Muslim
          credentials are a pre-requisite for many govern-
          ment positions, thus denying opportunities to
          both nominal Muslims and members of reli-
          gious minorities. While skilled professionals
          and technicians in areas such as the oil industry
          have retained their jobs, their opportunities
          for advancement arc limited. Public servkes,
          which are frequently obtained through the in-
          tervention of revolutionary institutions, are less
          readily obtained by members of religious mi-
          norities. Furthermore, disputes continue be-
          tween minority community institutions and
          the Khomeini regime as the government at-
          tempts to interfere and to impose Muslim so-
          cial practices such as the ban on alcoholic bev-
          erages, complete segregation of the sexes, and
          all-covering dress for women and girls.
          In addition, the Baha'i, the Christians, and
          the Jews are, for differing reasons, vjewed as
          having ties and loyalties to the West and to Isra-
          c i, and their loyalty to the regime is suspect.
          Ti—JE REGIME'S v ' ust treatment is extended to
          Iran's other non-islamic minority, the Baha'i in
          what is perhaps the most egregious human rights
          problem of all in iran and one of the worst in the
          world, the Khomeini regime has virtuallY en-
          minalized a particular religious faith, that üf the
          Baha'i, which arose in iran during the nineteenth
          century as an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
          Viewing the Baha'i as heretics and asa poten-
          tial fifth column for the U nited States or Israel,
          the Khomeini regime has robbed the Baha'is of
          their rights as citizens in a way sickeningly remi-
          niscent of Nazi Germany's treatment of German
          Jews before the Holocaust. Baha'i marriages ne —
          er were ofhcially recognized in Iran, but the rev-
          olutionary regime has branded B:iha i married
          women as “prostitutes. Baha'i shrines and ceme-
          teries have been desecrated and destroyed. Ba-
          ha'is have been fired from jobs and denied pen-
          sions and social services. Baha' i-owned businesses
          10 WORLI.) ORDER. WINIER 1983—84
          have been confiscated. Although there have been
          a few instances of mob action against Baha'is,
          most pet-secution has been government directed.
          Prominent Baha'is have been arrested, charged
          with such vague offenses as “crimes against
          God.” “corruption on Earth,” and “Zionism.”
          An estimated 154 Baha'is have been executed by
          the regime or have died under torture while in
          prison; others have simply disappeai-ed and are
          presumed dead.
          In August 1983, Iran's Prosecutor General
          publicly declared that “activities of Baha'is are
          banned in Iran.” In response to the Prosecutor
          General's pionouncement and following a Ba-
          ha'i tradition of submission to government au-
          thority, the National Spiritual Assembly of the
          Baha'is in Iran dissolved all Baha'i administra-
          tive institutions. Simultaneously, these elected
          representatives of Iran's Baha'i community ap-
          pealed to the Iranian Government to restore all
          rights denied to individual Baha'is on account
          of their religion. The Baha'i leadership's appeal
          was both courageous and poignant in that all
          members of the two preceding Baha'i national
          assemblies either have been executed by the re-
          gime or have disappeai-ed without a trace.
          Regrettably, following the official ban on all
          Baha'i religious and institutional activities, the
          Khomeini regime has intensified its persecu-
          tion of the Baha'i. Today, more than 550 Ba-
          ha'is, many of them women, are imprisoned in
          Iran. Denied the fundamental human right of
          religions freedom, Iran's 300,000 Baha'is are de-
          fenseless before the cruel fanaticism of the
          Khomeini regime.
          Therefore, remembering earlier examples of
          religious persecution which found the world si-
          lent, it is incumbent upon us to speak out
          against the Iranian government's persecution
          of a vulnerable minority. As President Reagan
          declared last year, “America and the world are
          increasingly alarmed and dismayed at the per-
          secution and severe repression of the Baha'is in
          Iran.” Such public notice and public pressure
          constitute one of the few tools at hand which
          may serve to help protect the Baha'is.
          [ Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams
          also submitted testimony on Christians, Jews,
          Zoroastrians, and Sunni Muslims in Iran, but
          he confined himself in the open session to re-
          marks on the Baha'is in Iran.—ED.]
          IN VIEW of the Khomeini regime's human rights
          record, which is one of the worst in the world,
          we have given special consideration in both our
          refugee and asylum programs to the vulnerabili-
          ties of Baha'is, Christians, and Jews. In July 1983,
          the decision was made to extend refugee process-
          ing priorities 5 and 6 to Iranians. The decision
          was based on humanitarian concerns for those
          who have fled Iran because of a very real threat
          of persecution and who are in urgent need of re-
          settlement. (The six refugee processing priorities
          are: alternative to resettlement in the U.S. and
          refugees of compelling interest to the U.S., e.g.,
          former or present political prisoners and dissi-
          —former U.S. government employees;
          —family reunification of refugees who arc
          spouses, children, parents, grandparents, unmar-
          ried siblings, or unmarried minor grandchildren
          of persons in the U.S.;
          —other ties to the U.S., e.g., refugees em-
          ployed by U.S. firms or voluntary agencies;
          —additional family reunification of refugees
          who are married siblings, unmarried grandchil-
          dren who have reached their maturity, or mar-
          ried grandchildren of persons in the U.S., or
          more distant relatives who are part of the family
          group; and
          —other refugees whose admission is in the na-
          tional interest).
          In addition, on the basis of asylum applica-
          tions sent to the State Department for review, we
          estimate that over 40 percent of asylum appli-
          cants are members of religious minorities.
          In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, let me once
          again emphasize that while members of all the
          non-Islamic religious minorities have encoun-
          tered problems in Iran, the most serious human
          rights situation in that tormented country is the
          regime's persecution of members of the Baha'i
          This administration has been very much
          aware of the Khomeini regime's persecution of
          the Baha'i. President Reagan has personally con-
          denined this tragic persecution. We have docu-
          A RLAlAN1' DISREGARI)
          mented our abhorrence of this flagrant violation
          of human rights and international standards of
          decency in our annual human rights reports to
          the Congress as well as in the official statements
          of Department spokesmen. The voice of Amer-
          ica regularly carries items about the persecution
          of the Baha'i in its Farsi language broadcasts. In
          addition, the United States has been working
          with allied and other friendly countries in inter-
          national fora to focus attention on this problem,
          to support involvement by the United Nations
          Secretary General in attempts to alleviate this
          and other human rights abuses in Iran, and, to
          the extent possible to bring international pres-
          sure to bear on the Iranian authorities. In so do-
          ing, we must be sensitive, however, to the Iranian
          regime's tendency to make the baseless charge
          that the Baha'is are a fifth column of American
          agents in Iran, and that our interest in the Baha'i
          is not solely based on humanitarian concerns.
          We welcome these hearings as a further op-
          portunity to bring the plight of the Baha'i and
          other human rights violations in Iraii to the pub-
          lic's attention.
          A Roll Call of Martyrs
          M name is James F. Nelson. .1 am a judge of the.
          Municipal Court of Los Angeles, California, and
          the chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly
          of the Baha'is of the United States—the governing
          body elected by the American Baha'i community.
          With me is Dc Wilma Brady, vice-president of
          Spelman College and vice-chairman of the Nation-
          al Spiritual Assembly. With me also is Dr. Firuz
          Kazcmzadeh, professor of history and chairman of
          the Conmiittee for Middle Eastern Studies at Yale
          University; he is on leave from the university, to
          serve this year as secretary of our National Spiritu-
          al Assembly.
          YI ARS AGO we had the honor of testifying
          _ [ before this Subcommittee about the persecu-
          tion of the Baha'is in Iran. We presented a large
          body oF documentary material that showed how a
          fanatical retime, disregarding all norms of civilized
          behavior, attacked a peaceful, law-abiding religious
          corn nunity with the purpose of obliterating it
          from iran. We provided evidence of trials,
          tions, torture, confiscation of property, dismissal
          from jobs and schools, destruction of holy places,
          and the denial of all human rights to over three
          hundred thousand long-suffering Baha'is, [ ran's
          lan 4 cst minority. It is noteworthy that not one
          statement we made then or thereafter has been
          proved incorrect, not one claim exaggerated.
          It is heartbreaking that in the two years since
          this committee heard our initial testimony the situ-
          ation in iran has not improved. In spite of world-
          wide proteSts from statesmen, intellectuals, parlia-
          ments. philanthropic societies, religious leaders,
          and ordinary citizens of dozens of nations on sever-
          al continents, the authorities of the Islamic Repub-
          lic have relentlessly pursued their cruel aim of ex-
          tirpating the Baha'i Faith from the land of its birth.
          Their ham-barous aim is to be achieved either
          through the forced conversion of the Baha'is to
          Shiite Islam or through their extermination.
          We testified in May 1982 that more than 100 Ba-
          ha'is, most of them members of local Spiritual As-
          semblies, had been put to death. Today the figure
          stands at over 170. This number includes men,
          women, and even teenage girls. Two years ago we
          testified that 150 Baha'is were known to be lan-
          guishing in prison. Today at least 703 Baha'is are
          behind bat-s.
          Killings and imprisonment are accompanied
          with insults, beatings, and every form of degrading
          behavior. There have been instances in which pro-
          fessional police and prison officials expi-essed shock
          and dismay at the treatment of Baha'i prisoners by
          members of Islamic committees and the Revolu-
          tiormary Guard.
          On July 9, 1982, Mohammad Mansuri, Jadido-
          llah Ashraf, Mohammad Abbasi, and Manuchchr
          Farzaneh-Moayyad were executed in Qazvin. On
          July 12, in Tehran, Manuchehr Vafai was mur-
          dered in his home. Pinned to his body was a note
          proclaiming that he had been killed because he re-
          fused to recant his faith. Three days later, on July
          15, Abbas-Ali Sadcqpur was executed in Shiraz.
          On August 11 Ali Naimiyan was executed in Uru-
          niiyyeh after having spent a year in prison without
          being charged with any crime.
          On September23 the Islamic Revolutionary
          Court in Shiraz sentenced five .Baha'is to death.
          The judge offered each of the condemned life
          and freedom if he agreed to recant. Not one ac-
          cepted the offer. Three, Habibollah Owji,
          Ziaollah Ahrari, and Hedayat Siavushi, were
          subsequently executed.
          In October mass arrests of Baha'is occurred
          in Shiraz. Many of the prisoners were beaten.
          Some were not permitted to recite Baha'i pray-
          ers -
          On January 10, 1983, in a remote village in
          the Sari district, province of Mazandaran, Mrs.
          Goldanch Ahipur, about sixty years of age, was
          attacked by a mob and strangled. Her body was
          publicly burned.
          In February 1983, again in Shiraz, twenty-
          two Baha'is were sentenced to death. The sen-
          tences were sustained by Iran's Supreme Court,
          though no formal charges had been preferred.
          The names of the condemned were not made
          public, increasing the agony of a large number
          of Baha'is whose relatives were in prison and
          could have been among the condemned. When
          the presiding judge of the Revolutionary Court
          was asked by a reporter for the Khabar.eJunub,
          a local newspaper, to comment on the death
          sentences, he stated: “It is absolutely certain
          that in the Islamic Republic of Iran there is no
          place for Baha'is or Bahaism. . . . Before it is
          too late, the Baha'is should recant Bahaism,
          which is condemned by reason and logic. Oth-
          erwise, the day will come when the Islamic na-
          tion will deal with them in accordance with its
          religious obligations.. .” The judge added
          menacingly that the files of five hundred Shiraz
          Baha'is were being studied by his revolution-
          ary court.
          While the United Nations Commission on
          Human Rights on March 10, 1983, adopted a
          resolution expressing concern at the violations
          of human rights in Iran, and while specific ap-
          peals were being made on behalf of the con-
          demned Shiraz Baha'is by various govern nients
          and the European Parliament, Islamic authori-
          ties, on March 12, hanged Yadollah Mahmud-
          nezhad, Rahrnatollah Vafai, and Mrs. Tuba
          In April 1983, there were more arrests. On
          the 29th the entire membership of the Spiritual
          Assembly of Zahedan was imprisoned without
          being charged.
          14 WORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          On May 1 two Baha'is, Soheil Safai and Jalal
          Hakirnan, who had recently been transferred
          to Tehran from a jail in Esfahan, were summa-
          rily executed.
          On May 12, in the city of Dezful, Mrs. Iran
          Rahimpur, who, while in prison, had given
          birth to a son, was put to death. The infant was
          given away to a Muslim family and its subse-
          quent fate is unknown.
          JUNE 1983 was a month drenched in blood. In
          spite of pleas by foreign governments, in spite
          of a personal appeal by President Reagan, six
          men were hanged in Shiraz on the 16th. They
          were Dr. Bahram Afnan (forty-eight years old),
          a prominent and highly respected cardiologist;
          Bahram Yaldai (twenty-three years old), a stu-
          dent; Jamshid Siavushi (thirty), a merchant;
          Enayatollah Eshraghi (sixty), a retired officer
          of the Iranian National Oil Company; Kurosh
          Haqbin (twenty-seven), an electrician; and Ab-
          dul Hoseyn Azadi (sixty), a retired employee
          of the Ministry of Health. One of Mr. Esh-
          raghi's sons is with us today. He will presently
          tell the committee the harrowing tale of what
          befell one Baha'i family.
          Still hungry for Baha'i lives, the Islamic au-
          thorities next hanged ten women. They were
          Nosrat Yaldai (fifty-four years old), mother of
          a student who died on the gallows only two
          days earlier; Ezzat Eshraghi (fifty), wife of En-
          ayatollah Eshraghi; Roya Eshraghi (twenty-
          two), daughter of Enayatollah and Ezzat Esh-
          raghi; Tahereh Siavushi (thirty-two), wife of
          Jams hid who had been hanged on June 16;
          Mona Mahmudnezhad (eighteen), whose fa-
          therhad been hanged on March 12; Zarrin Mo-
          qimi (early twenties); Shahin Dalvand (early
          twenties); Akhtar Sabet (nineteen); Simm Sa-
          ben (early twenties); and Mahshid Nirumand
          The hanging of ten women, among them
          three teenage girls, was a particularly heinous
          crime. The courage and steadfastness of the vic-
          tims have already become legendary among
          Iranian Baha'is.
          An eighteen-year-old girl, Mona Mahmud-
          nezhad, charged with the crime of teaching Ba-
          ha'i children's classes, bravely debated Judge
          Q azãi, the religious magistrate who eventually
          sent her to the gallows. I would like to read a
          brief excerpt from a letter written by a Baha'i
          woman who shared Mona's incarceratibn and
          survived to bear witness to the young girl's
          • . in her trial the religious magistrate, Mr.
          Q azai, after insulting and humiliating her,
          said, “Your father and mother have deceived
          Habibollab Owji
          Dr Bahra,n Afnan Soheil Safai
          and misled you.” In reply Mona said, “Your
          honor, it is true that I learned about the Ba-
          ha'i Faith from my parents, but I have done
          my own reasoning. In the Baha'i Faith one
          adheres to religion after investigation, not
          by imitation. You have many of our books;
          you can read and find out for yourself. My
          father and mother did not insist on my ac-
          cepting their belief; neither did they force
          me to become a Baha'i. If the religious mag-
          istrate thinks I should abandon my belief, I
          will never do so, and prefer submitting to
          the order of execution.” The religious mag-
          istrate was astounded and said, “Young girl,
          what do you know about religion?” Mona
          exclaimed, “Your honor, I was brought here
          from the classroom in school. I have been in
          prison and going through trials for three
          months. What better proof of my religious
          certitude than my perseverance and stead-
          fastness in the Faith? It is the Faith that gives
          me confidence to go through this trial in
          your presence The religious magis-
          trate remained silent for a while, then said to
          Mona, “What harm did you find in Islam
          that you have turned to Bahaism?” Mona's
          answer was, “The foundation of all religions
          is one. From time to time, according to the
          exigencies of time and place, God sends His
          Messenger to renew religion and guide the
          people in the right path. The Baha'i reiigion
          upholds the truth in Islam, hut if by Islam
          you mean the prevailing animosity, murder,
          and bloodshed in the country, a sample of
          which I witnessed in prison, that is the rea-
          son I chose to be a Baha'i.”
          In Shiraz jails as elsewhere, the Revolution-
          ary Guard freely applied torture to prisoners,
          both male and female. Accounts written by
          surviving eyewitnesses are full of grueso ne de-
          tails of beatings. They tell of pri oners
          whipped with metal cables; of prisoners having
          boiling water poured on their heads, and hav-
          ing their heads smashed against concrete walls;
          of prisoners being kicked with heavy boots and
          being beaten with fists and sticks of prisoners
          being beaten on the soles and then forced to
          run on lacerated feet.
          Two more Baha'is perished in Shiraz before
          bloody June was over. On the 28th Sohcil
          Hushmand (twenty-eight) was hanged and on
          the 30th Ahmad-Ali Sarvestani (sixty-seven)
          died in prison.
          Thereafter the rate of executions decreased
          dramatically. There were no executions in July
          1983. Though Mohammad Eshragi, a promi-
          nent eighty-one-year-old Baha'i died in prisop
          in Tehran on August 31, and his death can be
          Mrs. Iran Rahimpur
          Kurosh Haqbin
          Bahranz Yaldai
          16 /ti)lU.D ORDER: /VINIER 1983—84
          directly attributed to his incarceration, it was
          not an execution. The same holds true of Ab-
          dul Majid Motahhar, who was imprisoned in
          Esfahan in September and died shortly afteL
          October, as far as we know, was free of deaths.
          Bahman Dehqani, a highly respected Baha'i,
          was killed by a mob in Mohammadiyeh near
          Esfahan on November 19, 1983. December
          again was free of murders and executions.
          January 1984 witnessed the arrest in Ker-
          man of Rahmatollah Hakiman, a former o —
          cial of the Ministry of Agriculture. The most
          distressing feature of his case was that he died
          after undergoing severe torture.
          There were no reported deaths in February.
          However, in March at least three Baha'is died
          in prison in mysterious circumstances. The
          body of Molisen Razavi (fifty-five years old)
          who died in Narmak near Tehran bore the
          marks of hanging. Abdul Hoseyn Shaken-
          Hasanzadeh died in prison in Tehran under
          mysterious circumstances. His body was not
          released to his family for burial. The same hap-
          pened with Nosratollab Ziyai (sixty-one) in the
          town of Baft.
          In April we received the news of the
          non in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran of
          Kamran Lotfi (thirty-two). a university profes-
          sor who had been incarcerated since May 5,
          1983. Rahim Rahimiyan (fifty), a businessman,
          arrested on the same day as Professor Lotfi,
          was executed in Narmak, near Tchran, in
          April. Yadollah Saberiyan (sixty), a printing
          press manager, imprisoned on February 9,
          1982, was put to death in Tehran.
          Though the number of killings diminished,
          probably at least in part because of worldwide
          publicity,other forms of pressure intensified.
          Recent r ports indicate that torture is being
          used not only to force recantat ions and conver-
          sions to Islam but also to extract false confes-
          sions of various fictive crimes, confessions
          which would “prove” the old accusations that
          the Baha'is were Zionist or imperialist agents,
          foreign spies, or a political subversive group.
          Having failed in five years to produce a single
          document or a single genuine admission indi-
          cating Baha'i participation in any antigovern-
          nient activity, the authorities seem desperately
          anxious to force their Baha'i victims to incrimi-
          nate themselves and their community.
          The number of arrests and imprisonments
          has incre sed greatly in the last two years. Be-
          tween M y 1982 and May 1984 over 1,000 per-
          sons werh arrested and jailed. Of these at least
          703 were still held as of two weeks ago. This
          constitutes an almost fivefold increase over the
          number of Baha'is in custody in May 1982.
          J flhlSbid Siavus/n
          D,: Karnran Lotfi
          A bdu/ Hoscyn Azadi
          PARALLEL with the actions of the authorities
          there has been a great deal of semiofficial anti-
          Baha'i activity. Typically, a local revolutionary
          committee or an individual mullah will arouse
          a mob of simple-minded fanatics and lead a po-
          grom of the local Baha'is.
          For sixteen days in August of 1982 fifty Ba-
          ha'is in the village of Seysan were subjected to
          violence and abuse. They were finally forced to
          sign prepared documents of recantation. Im-
          mediately thereafter they wrote letters affirm-
          ing their belief in the Baha'i Faith and stating
          that they had signed the documents under du-
          ress. These letters they sent to the government
          together with copies to the newspapers that
          had publicized the alleged recantations. It
          should be pointed out that the reaflirmationof
          belief in the Baha'i Faith was an act of great
          courage since it opened them to the possible ac-
          cusation of being lapsed heretics worthy of in-
          stant execution.
          Mob scenes were repeated in December
          1982 in Qomsar, near Kashan, where Baha'i
          properties were set on fire and individual Ba-
          ha'is were attacked in the streets.
          On June 29, 1983, in the village of Ival, near
          Sari in the province of Mazandaran, some 130
          Baha'is, including women and children, were
          driven into an enclosure in an open field and
          told that they would be held there without
          food or water until they recanted their reli-
          gion. For two days and nights the Baha'is re-
          sisted the demand. On the third day they were
          permitted to return to their homes. However,
          that same night they were attacked by a mob
          and forced to seek shelter in the dense Mazan-
          daran forest.
          As it did in earlier years, the Islamic govern-
          ment of Iran between May 1982 and May 1984
          continued to deprive Baha'is of work, to deny
          pensions to retired Baha'is, to expel Baha'i ciiil
          dren from schools, to bar Baha'i youth from
          universities, to withhold business licenses frhm
          Baha'is, to confiscate private property belong-
          ing to Baha'is, and to make every effort to im-
          poverish the Baha'is, thus breaking their spirits
          and making them amenable to conversion to
          Islam. An appendix to this testimony includes
          a number of official documents that prove the
          truth of the above conditions. For example:
          On April 6, 1983, one of Iran's leading newspa-
          pers, Ettelaat (No. 16980), published an official
          report of a purge of Iran's oil ministry. The
          head and the high officials of the ministry met
          with the president of the Supreme Court of the
          Islamic Republic of Iran. In the course of the
          meeting a list of persons discharged from ! the
          ministry with the reasons for the discharge cvas
          Shahin Dalvand Simm Saberi Mrs. Tahereh Siavushi
          18 /VORLD ORDER: WiNTER 1983—84
          given out to the press. Of the 778 persons on
          the list 61 were named as collaborators with
          the SAVAK, the political police of the Shah's
          regime; 39 were purged for “efforts in consoli-
          dating” that regime; 24 were dismissed as free
          masons or members of organizations athliated
          with freemasonry; 134 were purged for mem-
          bership in organizations whose constitutions
          denied God and had been banned; 8 were dis-
          charged for deeds detrimental to the Islamic re
          public, rumor mongering, spying, and armed
          aggression; 7 were dismissed for bribery, fraud,
          misappropriation of government funds, and
          extortion; 2 were dismissed for calumny, perju-
          ry, contempt of court, and forgery; 31 were dis-
          missed for immorality; and 472—more than
          half of the 778—were purged for membership
          “in the misguided group of Baha'ism which, ac-
          cording to the unanimous verdict of Muslims,
          is a heretical group outside Islam.”
          The above document leaves no doubt as to
          the purely religious nature of the persecution
          of the Baha'is and the overwhelming ill will the
          clerical rulers of Iran bear them. Unfortunate-
          ly, the purge of the oil ministry was not unique.
          Other government departments have under-
          gone similar Islamization. Such processes inevi-
          tably remind one of the actions of other ideo-
          logical dictatorships and their treatment of
          undesirables whether they were “inferior”
          races or class enemies.
          THE HEA/'IEST of all blows fell upon the Baha'i
          community on August 29, 1983, when the Rev-
          olutionary Prosecutor General Hojjatu'l Islam
          Seyyed Hoseyn Musavi Tabrizi in an interview
          with a reporter of the newspaper Keyhan pro-
          claimed that as of that day
          all the collective and administrative activi-
          ties of Bahaism in Iran are banned, even
          though this has always been so. This is being
          announced in behalf of the Islamic Republic
          of Iran. The constitution of the country has
          also not recognized them... . Therefore,
          because of such sabotage activities and ille-
          galities which prevail in the Baha'i adminis-
          tration, such administration, according to
          the opinion of the office of the Prosecutor
          General of the Islamic Republic, is hostile
          and subversive. Any form of activity carried
          out in behalf of the administration, there-
          fore, is forbidden.
          The Prosecutor General quite inconsistently
          stated that “if a Baha'i himself performs his re-
          ligious acts in accordance with his own beliefs,
          such a man will not be bothered by us, pro-
          vided he;does not invite others to the Baha'i
          Faith, does not teach, does not form assem-
          blies, does not give news to others, and has
          nothing to do with administration. Such peo-
          ple,” the Prosecutor General continued, “are
          not only spared execution, they are not even
          imprisoned. If, however, they decide to work
          within the administration, this is a criminal act
          and is forbidden. . . . Such people are consid-
          ered as cc nspirators.”
          Thus he mullahs outlawed the entire orga-
          nizational structure of a religion that has no
          clergy and administers itself through local and
          national elective bodies. The Spiritual Assem-
          blies collectively perform the work of priest,
          teacher, advisor, trustee of funds, and keepers
          of records. They admit to membership, wit-
          ness marriages, supervise the religious educa-
          tion of children, settle disputes among individ-
          uals, grant religious divorce, encourage good
          deeds, and censure reprehensible behavior.
          Spiritual Assemblies are central to the life of
          the Baha'i community. They are viewed as di-
          vinely blessed institutions and their members
          as trustees who perform indispensable func-
          tions on behalf of the entire Baha'i population.
          There were in Iran at least 3,600 Baha'is who
          served on local Spiritual Assemblies. Each of
          these Assemblies had numerous committees
          and subcommittees, multiplying the number
          of individuals directly involved in organiza-
          tional activity three or four times. Thus well
          over 10,000 people were instantly turned into
          criminal conspirators.
          In reply to the statement of the Prosecutor
          General the National Spiritual Assembly of the
          Baha'is of Iran, men and women, seventeen of
          whose predecessors had been either abducted
          or put to death by the Islamic authorities, ad-
          dressed a letter that was delivered to two thou-
          sand government officials and public person-
          ages in Iran.
          The letter accused the authorities of “bra-
          zenly bringing false accusations against a band
          of innocent people, without fear of the Day of
          Judgment, without even believing the calum-
          nies they utter against their victims, and having
          exerted not the slightest effort to investi-
          gate . . the validity of the charges they are
          The Prosecutor, the letter said, has accused
          the Baha'is of espionage but produced not even
          one document in support of the accusation.
          “What is the mission . . of this extraordinary
          number of ‘spies': What sort of information
          (do) they obtain and from what sources?
          Whither do they relate it and for what pur-
          pose? What kind of ‘spy' is an eighty-five-year
          old man from Yazd who has never set foot out-
          side his village? Why do these alleged ‘spies'
          not hide themselves, conceal their religious be-
          liefs and exert every effort to penetrate, by ev-
          ery stratagem, the Government's information
          centers and offices? . . . What secret intelli-
          gence documents have been found in their pos-
          session? What espionage equipment has come
          to hand? What ‘spying' activities were engaged
          in by primary school children who have been
          expelled from their schools?”
          Systematically, logically, with overwhelm-
          ing evidence, the letter demonstrated the false-
          hood of the accusations hurled against the Ba-
          ha'is by the Prosecutor General and the
          government authorities of the Islamic Repub-
          lic. It reiterated with dignity and eloquence the
          principles that animate the Baha'i community
          and spoke of the “pure and innocent lives that
          have been snuffed out; . . . the precious breasts
          that became the targets of firing squads.” The
          National Spiritual Assembly then announced
          “the suspension of the Baha'i organizations
          throughout Iran, in order to establish its good
          intentions and in conformity with its basic te-
          nets concerning complete obedience to the
          instructions of the Government. Henceforth,
          until the time when, God willing, the misun-
          derstandings are eliminated . . . the National
          Assembly and all local spiritual assemblies and
          their committees are disbanded and no one
          may any longer be designated a member of the
          Baha'i Administration.”
          IN CONCLUSION the National Assembly ex-
          pressed the hope that the authorities would
          “reciprocate by proving their good intentions”
          by ending persecutions, arrests, torture, and
          imprisonment of Baha'is for imaginary crimes;
          guaranteeing their lives, property and honor;
          according them freedom to choose their resi-
          dence and occupation; restoring them their civ-
          il rights; restoring them their sobs; releasing Ba-
          ha'i prisoners; restoring to the Baha'is their
          property; permitting Baha'i students abroad to
          continue their education; permitting those Ba-
          ha'is who have been prevented from continu-
          ing their studies to resume their education; per-
          mitting Baha'i students stranded abroad to
          receive their allowance on the same basis as
          other Iranian students; restoring Baha'i ceme-
          teries and permitting Baha'is to bury their dead
          in accordance with Baha'i burial ceremonies;
          guaranteeing the freedom of Baha'is to per-
          form their religious rites, solemnize Baha'i
          marriages and divorces, and to carry out acts of
          worship, “because although Baha'is are entire-
          ly obedient and subordinate to the Govern-
          ment in the administration of the affairs which
          are in the jurisdiction of Baha'i organizations,
          in matters of conscience and belief, and in ac-
          cordance with their spiritual principles, they
          prefer martyrdom to recantation or the aban-
          doning of the divine ordinances prescribed by
          their Faith.”
          The islamic government has paid no atten-
          tion. It has disregarded not only the legitimate
          requests of Baha'i citizens of Iran but has, in
          fact, intensified pressure against them- Hun-
          dreds of persons, most of them former meni-
          bers of the no longer existing Spiritual Assem-
          blies, have been imprisoned since September 3,
          1983, the date on which the National Spiritual
          Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran announced the
          dissolution of all Baha'i institutions in that
          It would serve no useful purpose to rehearse
          once again the sad tale of continuing economic
          pressure, social harassment, legal disablement,
          and psychological assault relentlessly applied
          to the Baha'is by the authorities of the Islamic
          Republic- However, one element of the situa-
          tion must be mentioned again and again—the
          20 WORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          growing resort to torture, that ultimate act of
          inhumanity that has become a regular feature
          in what passes for judicial process in today's
          The voice of the Iranian Baha'i community
          has been stilled. Through the thick walls of Is-
          lamic Republic's dungeons the world hears
          only the muffled groans of those whose bodies
          are torn and mangled by the torturer's lash. We
          American Baha'is who live in freedom have the'
          duty of alerting the world.
          The people and the government of the Unit-
          ed States have an abiding commitment to decen-
          cy, tolerance, and religious freedom. Through
          their elected representatives they have already
          expressed their sense of outrage at the persecu-
          tion of the Baha'i in Iran. We hope that the
          Congress will reaffirm its support for the op-
          pressed Baha'is and invite other governments
          and peoples to raise their voices in defense of
          the most fundamental rights of an oppressed
          Three of the/our martyrs of Qazvin, left to right:
          Manuchehr Farzaneh-Moayyad, Moharnrnad
          Mansuri, and Jadidollah Ashraf
          AND DIED IN PRISON (P) SINCE 1978
          BASHIRI, MR. AHMAD
          QAIM-MAQAMI, MR.
          QUDIMI, MR. YUSIF
          RAWHANI, DR.
          RAWSHANI, MR. RUHI
          ISMAILI, MR. AHMAD
          NAW-RUZI, MR.
          DASTI ISH, MR.
          RUZBIHI, MR. HATAM
          RUZBIHI, MR. JAN-ALl
          FAHANDIZH, MR.
          FAHANDIZH, MR.
          FAHANDIZH, MRS.
          AFNANI, MR. PARVIZ
          VUJDANI, MR. BAHAR
          AAZAMI, MR.
          MUINI, MR. ALI-AKBAR
          BAYANI, MR. PARVIZ
          MUKHTARI, MR.
          SUBHANI, MR. YUSIF
          DADASH-AKBARI, MR. ALl
          MAHBUBIYAN, MR.
          08- 12-78
          12- -78
          12- -78
          12- -78
          12-14-78 K
          SHIRAZ 12-14-78
          SHIRAZ 12-14-78
          MIAN DUAB 12-22-78
          MIAN DUAB 12-22-78
          HESAR, KHORASAN -79
          USHNAVIYYEH 04-02-79
          MAHABAD 09-27-79
          BOWKAN 10-28-79
          TEHRAN, DATE KIDNAPPED 11-11-79
          ORUMIYYEH 02-04-80
          05-1 1-80
          06- -80
          07- 14-80
          07- 14-80
          07-30-80 K
          08-15-80 K
          09-08-80 K
          22 /VORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          DHABIHIYAN, MR.
          MUTAHHARI, MR. ALl
          FIRUZI, MR. RIDA
          MASUMI, MR.
          SANAI, MR. BIHRUZ
          ANVARI, MR. MIHDI
          DIHQANI, MR.
          YARSHATIR, MRS.
          MIHDI-ZADIH, MR.
          HABIBI, MR. SUHAYL
          HABIBI, MR. SUHRA
          (TIBYANI) TEHRAN
          BAKHTAVAR, MR.
          BAHIRI, MR. MIHDI
          FIRUZI, DR. PARVIZ
          ZIHTAB, MR. ISMAIL
          ATIFI, MR. BAHMAN
          ATIFI, MR. IZZAT
          RIDVANI, MR. AHMAD
          THABIT-RASIKH, MR.
          NUK, BIRJAND
          NUK, BIRJAND
          09-08-80 K
          09-08-80 K
          09-08-80 K
          09-08-80 K
          09-08-80 K
          09-08-80 K
          11-09-80 K
          11-23-80 K
          11-23-80 K
          12-17-80 K
          01-12-81 K
          03-17-81 K
          03-17-81 K
          04- -81 K
          04-30-81 K
          04-30-81 K
          04-30-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-14-81 K
          06-23-81 K
          06-23-81 K
          06-23-81 K
          06-24-81 K
          06-24-81 K
          06-24-81 K
          06-24-81 K
          07-26-8 1 K
          07-26-81 K
          DARUN, ESFAHAN
          DARUN, ESFAHAN
          DARUN, ESFAHAN
          DARUN, ESFAHAN
          09-1 1-81
          09-11-8 1
          09-11-8 1
          09-11-8 1
          DARUN, ESFAHAN
          09-11-81 K
          12-2 7-8 1
          12-27-8 1
          12-2 7-8 1
          12-27-8 1
          0 1-04-82
          0 1-04-82
          0 1-04-82
          0 1-04-82
          0 1-04-82
          0 1-04-82
          0 1-04-82
          04- 12-82
          05- 10-82
          05- 10-82
          05-1 6-82
          05- 16-82
          07- 15-82
          08-1 1-82
          1 1-16-82
          1 1-2 1-82
          0 1-10-83
          RAWHANI, MR.
          SAMIMI, MR. KAMRAN
          AMTR-KIYA BAQA, MRS.
          SHIVA TEHRAN
          NAIMIYAN, MR. AL!
          MUNA SHIRAZ
          IRAN DEZFUL
          24 WORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          SABIRI, MRS. SIMIN
          AHMAD ALl
          MUTAHHAR, MR.
          HAKIMAN, MR.
          RADAVI, MR. MUHSIN
          LUFTI, MR. KAMRAN
          TE IIRAN
          SINCE 1978
          149 BAHA'IS WERE KILLED
          6 DIED IN PRISON
          06-18-83 K
          06-18-83 K
          06-18-83 K
          06-18-83 K
          06-18-83 K
          06-18-83 K
          06-28-83 K
          06-30-83 P
          08-31-83 P
          09- -83 P
          11-19-83 K
          12-31-83 P
          01-11-84 K
          03- -84 K
          03- -84 P
          04- -84 K
          04- -84 K
          04- -84 K
          HANGED IN SHIRAZ ON JUNE 18, 1983
          (The writer, O/ya Ruhizadegan, a Baha ‘i from
          Shiraz, was in prison with other women includ-
          ing those who were martyred on June 18, 1983.
          Because she was the mother of a three-year-old
          child she was released and later succeeded in leav-
          ing Iran)
          TEN DAYS later Mrs. Fereshteh Nazeri (A nvarz,.)
          who was in prison with us, was called for inves-
          tigation and returned after two hours in a piti-
          ful condition. She was so weak I had to hold
          her arm, and I smelled alcohol. Quietly, be-
          cause we were watched, I asked her what had
          happened. She said, “They made me walk
          down many steps toward the basement, where
          I heard the voice of people in pain. The blind-
          fold was taken off, and what I saw filled me
          with terror. There were eight benches on
          which eight persons were tied with chains face
          down. They were being lashed with cable
          whips and severely tortured. I was so terrified
          that I became unconscious; and when I recov-
          ered, I found myself lying on the hospital bed.
          Again 1 was humiliated and was told, ‘Now
          you can go; but, remember, we will see you
          again!' From this account I realized what was
          in store for us, and in the hands of what savages
          we were
          The following day I was called for investiga-
          tion along with two other women. At the end
          of the steps, where we could hear the groaning
          of people being tortured, we were separated,
          and each one, accompanied by a person, was
          taken to a room for investigation. The person
          who was with me asked many questions and re-
          corded the answers in my file: “What is your
          religion?” “I am a Baha'i.” “Do you love your
          children?” “Yes, I do.” “According to the Ko-
          ran you are condemned to be executed unless
          you repent and come back to Islam! I will give
          you time to think it over! I am sure they have
          deceived you! You are misled!” “No! I have not
          been misled or deceived. According to the
          teachings of Baha'u'llah every person should
          investigate the truth foi- himself. I have investi-
          gated the Baha'i Faith myself and accepted it.
          As a Baha'i, I believe in Islam and all the past re-
          In general, the conduct of the investigators
          was so rude and rough that it did not allow the
          friends to think about what to say. In the room
          for interrogation we could hear the cries of ag-
          ony from the basement where women were be-
          ing lashed.
          One of the investigators said to me, “You
          claim to be obedient to the laws of the country.
          The government of the islamic Republic wants
          you to leave the Baha'i religion and return to
          Islam.” I answered, “In accordance with arti-
          cles 19 to 41 of the constitution of the Islamic
          Republic freedom of belief is recognized for all
          the people in Iran; hence it is not reasonable for
          the government to want inc to give up my be-
          lief.” He paused for a moment and said, “Sup-
          pose the government tried to force you to give
          up your belief; then what would you do?” I re-
          plied, “My religious belief is ar inner knowledge
          I have found by independent investigation; I will
          not give it up under any circu stances. Our be-
          lief does no harm to the country as long as we
          obey the laws of the government of the Repub-
          The investigator asked personal questions
          about myself and my husband, and about out-
          employment in the Iranian Oil Co. I said I was
          discharged because I was a Baha'i, and my hus-
          band's pension was cut off for the same reason.
          He said, “We have looked up your record in
          the N.I.O.C.; you have been a good employee.
          Now, be reasonable and fair to yourself. just
          say, ‘I am not a Baha'i,' and I will see that you
          go back to your job, and the .payment of your
          husband's pension will he resumed.” My reply
          was, “Please don't ask me to tell a lie and he
          ashamed the rest of my life.” When he realized
          I was steadfast in my belief, he admired my
          truthfulness and closed the interrogation.
          Thus, after being in the Army prison for
          thirty-six days for interrogation, I was trans-
          ferred to Adelabad prison. .
          in Adelabad we went through the second
          stage of our interrogation. Our identities and
          family details were recorded in a file, and when
          2 WORLD ORDER: WINtER 1983—84
          they asked about our religion, we said we were
          Baha'is. The police officers who were fed up
          with the regime of Mullahs, exclaimed, “Isn't it
          funny! People's wives and daughters are im-
          prisoned just because of their belief
          The judge left the room and returned with
          my three-and-a-half-year-old son, Payam. (It
          was customary for the families of those on trial
          to wait outside the court.) The minute Payams
          saw me, he threw himself in my arms, yelling,
          “Mama! Mama! Why have you stayed here?
          Why don't you come home? I know they have
          brought you from Adelabad prison! I will be a
          good boy!” I need not say how deeply touched
          I was with the way my poor child acted, and
          the way he had followed the events in his
          mother's life. The judge tried to pull him away
          from me, but Payam cried, “Sir! I want my
          Mama! Mama, you come with us!” The judge
          was confused and turned away, saying, “Will
          ou get up and give the child to his father?” He
          had imagined that the love of a mother for her
          child might influence inc to listen to him and
          recant to get my freedom. Not a chance!
          Finally, the judge turned to me and said,
          “For the last time I warn you. Because you are
          active in Baha'i administration you are con-
          demned to he executed unless you declare that
          you are not a member of the perverted sect.” I
          replied, “I am definitely not a member of the
          perverted sect; I believe in one God and have
          faith in the sacred Baha'i religion!” “Are you
          prepared to be executed for your faith?” he
          said. “Yes, I am!” was my reply. He then called
          my husband and said, “Your wife is free on
          bail. Go and bring a real estate voucher and
          take her home.”
          Mona Mah,nudnczhacl, a sixteen-year-old
          girl, one day was summoned to the Court. The
          Religious Magistrate, after the usual insults and
          humiliation, said to her, “Your parents have de-
          ceived you; now you are condemned to be ex-
          ecuted unless you repent and recant.” Mona re-
          plied, “It is true I was born in a Baha'i family
          and learned about the Baha'i Faith from my par-
          ents, but it was my own investigation which
          proved to me the truth of the Baha'i message. My
          parents did not force me to be a Baha'i.
          I embraced Mrs. Zaerpur, who after fifty-five
          days in soliltary prison, was brought to the
          general prison. She could hardly walk, so weak
          and sickly she had become. We entered the cell,
          and I asked Mrs. Zaerpur what had they done
          to her! She described in detail the events of her
          imprisonment and trial as follows:
          She had her first trial four days after she was
          imprisoned. For three consecutive days she
          was summoned for interrogation and was
          asked many questions; but the answers she
          gave did not satisfy the investigator. Each day
          they took h r down to the basement and lashed
          her in order that she give the information they
          As the result of repeated lashings, Mrs. Zaer-
          pur was painfully injured and had sore spots all
          her body, although she tried not to show
          it. On the first day she was lashed with fifty
          strokes of he whip, on the second day one
          hundred strokes, and on the third day seventy-
          four strokes, with cable whip, some on the
          soles of her feet and some on her back. The
          hundred strokes of the second day made her
          Mrs. Nosrat Yaldai
          A ROLL CALL 0! MARIYRS
          lose consciousness before they took her iack
          o her cell in prison. The sore spots on her
          body were so painful that she could not sleep
          for many nights. Her toes were bleeding and
          the toenails fell off as a result of injuries. In
          spite of all the suffering Mrs. Zaerpur never
          complained. She prayed all the time. She was
          the embodiment of spiritual strength and resig-
          nation to the Will of God, and a source of com-
          fort to all of us. She had dedicated her life to the
          service of the Cause of God and finally gave up
          her life and was honored with the crown of
          martyrdom in His path.
          Mrs. Nosrat Yaldai was called for investiga-
          tion two days after her arrest. She was asked
          questions about her administrative duties and
          positions. They wanted her to confess to being
          a member of a local Spiritual Assembly and to
          give the names of all the Assembly members
          and other administrative bodies. Mrs. Yaldai,
          unwilling to involve other friends, refrained
          from giving the information they demanded.
          The following day she was taken to the base-
          ment and given fifty strolces on the soles of her
          feet, and fifty strokes on her back. Then they
          brought Mr. Mahmudnezhad, who advised her
          to give all the information. He said to her,
          “The situation is worse than you think. They
          already have got all the information; we have
          nothing to hide. We thought the Three Mem-
          ber Meetings were out of the question! On the
          day they brought Dr. Afnan, Mr. Hakimi, and
          myself in this very basement and lashed the
          three of us in front of each other, we consid-
          ered it advisable to give all the facts. Now you
          do the same.” She was taken back to the cell in
          a terrible condition, and a quarter of an hour
          later she was called again. The prison attendant
          said, “This woman is unconscious; she cannot
          walk.” But the invcstigato did not mind and
          had her pulled into the interrogation room.
          This time they dragged all the information out
          of her about the administrative bodies in Shiraz.
          One day I went in the bathroom with Mrs.
          Yaldai. I noticed that, after seventy days, the
          sore spots on her back and waist were swollen
          and a deep wound in the shape of, and caused
          by, the cable whip could be seen.
          Translated from the Persian
          JUNE 18, 1983
          • . When Zarrin was taken to the religious
          magistrate to recant her Faith, and was told as
          usual either to recant or to be prepared for ex-
          ecution, she said in reply, “I have found the
          way to reality, and 1 am not prepared to give it
          away for any price. Therefore, I submit to the
          Court's verdict.” On another occasion the
          judge asked Zarrin, “To what extent are you
          prepared to adhere to your belilef?” Zarrin an-
          swered, “I hope to remain firm in my belief to
          the last moment.” “But you must give up your
          belief!” retorted the judge. Zarrin, annoyed by
          the repetition of the same proposal, exclaimed,
          “Your honor, you have been conducting my
          trial for many days, and have asked the same
          question, and I have given you a definite and
          satisfactory answer. I don't think repeating the
          same thing is necessary!” But the judge rudely
          repeated the same proposal. Dear Z rrin start-
          ed crying and with a loud voice said. “in what
          language do you want me to tell you? Why
          don't you leave me alone? My whole being is
          Baha'u'llah! My love is Baha'u'llah! My heart is
          dedicated to Baha'u'llah !“ The infuriated judge
          shouted, “I will pull out your heart from your
          chest!” Zarrin replied, “Then my heart will call
          and cry out, ‘Baha'u'llah! Baha'u'llah!'” The
          judge, moved by this display of sentiment, left
          the room.
          Zarrin ‘s Martyrdom
          AFTER ZARRIN'S martyrdom, dear Mother de-
          scribed the event for me over the phone: “Satur-
          day, June 18, 1983, 1 went to visit Zarrin as usual,
          taking fresh fruits with me. it was raining, and
          the weather was quite warm. At the visiting time
          Zarrin was brought behind the glass partition.
          and we started to talk. Her countenance seemed
          to have changed; she said to me, “Mother, please
          pray for me and implore God to give me perse-
          verance!” She did not say good-bye to me when
          leaving, because she did not want to see me sad-
          dened. Zarrin had always told me not to hope for
          2S / ORL!) )RDER /VINI'ER 1983—84
          her freedom, but it did not occur to me that this
          was our last meeting. Thc friends (Baha'is) had
          been urged to recant for the last time, and most
          probably they would be executed. Visiting time
          was over, and I returned home. The following
          day, Sunday, June 19, early in the morning I
          found out that ten women prisoners had been
          hanged during the night. I ran out of the house to
          inquire from the friends; in the street I met three
          Friends. With tearful eyes they showed me a list;
          then 1 realized Zarrin was also martyred. I ran to-
          ward Adelabad prison, moaning and crying.
          This was the place most of our time had been
          spent the last eight months. I was allowed to go
          into the cold room. What I went through that
          day, and what I saw in that historic moment, I
          cannot describe. I entered the cold room. 0, my
          God! 1 saw ten angels lying motionless next to
          each other. I knew all of them; I had been in the
          same prison with them. Mother and daughter
          were togethet; All had a pair of pants and a sum-
          mer blouse on. Some of them had their chadur
          (long robe) tied around their waist; others had it
          thrown on the floor. What force kept me on my
          feet and breathing I don't know! I looked at all
          the ten angels, and found Zarrin among them re-
          posed; I embraced her cold body, put my cheek
          on her delicate and cold cheek, and kissed the
          mark of rope on her lovely neck on behalf of all
          of you (Father, who was in prison; myself; and
          my brother, out of the country). Her face looked
          natural and composed.”
          Translated froni the Persian
          SHIRAZONJUNE 18, 1983
          (The write ; Mrs. Oiya Ruhizadegan, was Mona
          fellow prisoner but was released and later succeed-
          ed in leaving the country.)
          MONA was another young girl eighteen years
          of age when martyred. She was a teacher of Ba-
          ha'i children's classes and served on the Three
          Members Board and was arrested with her fa-
          ther, Yadollah Mahmudnezhad.
          Twice the order for Mona's release was is-
          sued, but at the third stage in her trial the reli-
          gious magistrate, Mr. Qazai, after insulting and
          humiliating her, said, “Your father and mother
          have deceived and misled you.” In reply Mona
          said, “Your honor, it is true that I learned about
          the Baha'i Faith from my parents, but I have
          done my own reasoning. In the Baha'i Faith
          one adheres to religion after investigation, not
          by imitation. Ypu have many of our books;
          you can read and find out for yourself. My fa-
          ther and mother did not insist on my accepting
          their belief; neither did they force me to be-
          come a Baha'i. If the religious magistrate thinks
          I should abandon my belief, I will never do so,
          and prefer submitting to the order of execu-
          tion.” The religious magistrate was astounded
          and said, “Young girl, what do you know about
          religion?” Mona exclaimed, “Your honor, I was
          brought here from the classroom in school; I
          have been in prison and going through trials
          for three months. What better proof of my reli-
          gious certitude than my perseverance and
          steadfastness in he Faith? It is this Faith that
          Zarrin Moqiozi
          A ROLI_ CAll. OF lARl'YRS
          gives me confldcncc to go through this trial in
          your presence....” The religious magistrate,
          impresscd by Mona's sincerity, asked her to say
          a prayer. Mona put away the file and, with the
          usual respect and humbleness, recited a prayer
          by ‘Abdu'I-Baha: “0 kind Lord, Thou art
          kinder to me than I am to myself The reli-
          gious magistrate remained silent for a while,
          then said to Mona, “What harm did you find in
          Islam that you have turned to Bahaism?”
          Mona's answer was: “The foundation of all reli-
          gions is one. From time to time, according to
          the exigencies of time and place, God sends. His .
          Messenger to renew religion and guide the peo-
          ple in the right path. The Baha'i religion up-
          holds the truth in Islam, but if by Islam you
          mean the prevailing animosity, murder, and
          bloodshed in the country, a sample of which I
          have witnessed in prison, that is the reason I
          have chosen to be a Baha'i.
          Mona's answer was the subject of conversa-
          tion among the friends for quite a while in pris-
          on. How did Mona dare to talk to the religious
          magistrate in this way?
          SHIRAZ ON JUNE 18, 1983
          THE DAY the court's verdict of execution was
          issued and conveyed to the friends in prison.
          can you imagine how they reacted to it? Let me
          give you an example: Mrs. Avaregan is a fifty-
          five-year-old woman who was arrested the
          same night with Zarrin (Moqimi). She is still in
          prison. She was kept in solitary confinement
          thirty-five days, and because of the foul air in
          the prison cell she fainted twice; they had to ap-
          ply intravenous infusions to cure her. Onthe
          day she was summoned to the court for trial
          she still had the i.v. on her arm. They pulled it
          out and made her walk to go through all the
          stages of trial. Finally, when the religious mag-
          istrate said to her, “The verdict for you is ex-
          ecution; you have only one chance—to recant
          and be freed,” Mrs. Avaregan replied, “1 am a
          Baha'i and firm in my belief; 1 am not ready to
          recant at any price. I respect the court's verdict,
          but you, the religious magistrate sitting on the
          throne of justice of Imam Au. . . .“ The infuri-
          ated magistrate said, “Yes, 1 am sitting on this
          chair and want to send you to the lowest abyss
          so that your sin may be wiped Out!” Mrs. Avar-
          egan said, “For the time being you have cured
          my ailment.” That night when Mrs. Avaregan
          returned to prison, she was quite well, as though
          she had never been ill. She laughed and cried
          out, “The magistrate has told me I am to be ex-
          ecuted; he thinks I am afraid of execution!
          Translated from the Persian
          (EXPORT) BANK. JUNE 1982.
          ON JUNE21, 1982, Mr. .Ahbasian and five other
          Baha'i employees of the bank ‘cre asked to
          Mona Mah?nudnezhad
          Translated from the Persian
          30 /VOR 1) ORDER: /VINFIR 1983—84
          port to the central office. They were ordered to
          proceed to the Revolutionary Court accompa-
          nied by members of the Islamic Society of the
          Bank. They were told that since they were Ba-
          ha'is the religious magistrate had to issue the
          order for their discharge.
          They were blindfolded before they reached
          Evin prison, where the interrogator, a man
          called Tului, met them with the usual insults
          and the accusation of being Zionists. Abbasian
          objected, saying, “I am not a Zionist.” He said,
          “1 am a Baha'i.” Thereupon the interrogator
          slapped him on the face and beat him with
          hand and fist and repeatedly kicked him. The
          others were also beaten. Then with two point-
          ed rods, perhaps two pencils, the interrogator
          poked the blindfold into Ahbasian's eyes and,
          and after heating him again, ordered all of them
          taken to General prison. On June 27, 1982, Mr.
          Abhasian was summoned to the court; and the
          interrogator, the same Tului, passed on to him
          sheets of paper with questions printed on them
          and threatened him with severe punishment if
          he wrote falsehoods; at the same time he stood
          over his head and beat him repeatedly on the
          neck and shoulders, causing pain and nervous
          After the questionnaire was answered and
          the beating stopped, the interrogator demand-
          ed tha Abassian recant the Baha'i Faith and
          name the members of certain administrative
          bodies in the Baha'i community whom they ac-
          cused of sending spies out of the country.
          When the interrogator met with resistance
          from Abbasian, he, accompanied by several
          guards, proceeded to hurl him down against
          the hard surface of a bench, causing his fore-
          head and jaw to be severely injured and to
          bleed (the effect of the injury remained for sev-
          eral months and was felt while eating). Then
          with something like a wire Abassian's feet were
          tied to the edge of the bench so tightly that it
          broke the skin and left a hollow bruise, which
          after seven months is still visible and not quite
          healed. His hands were pulled forward and tied
          to the wall or something else. He was now ly-
          ing on his abdomen with hands and feet tied
          up, and the soles of his feet turned upward. Tu-
          lui ordered the guards to start lashing and to
          continue until Abbasian recanted and gave the
          names of committee members or died. The
          lashing was done with a whip made of cable
          wire about two centimeters in diameter. The
          blows were aimed at the five toes of each foot
          so that each toe received its share of the total
          numbei of three hundred blows. Mr. Abbasian,
          Gi vc of the ten women martyred in Shiraz on June 18, 1983
          whose face and mouth were covered with a
          blanket so that his screams might not be heard,
          and realizing the intensity of his torture,
          turned in his heart to the Blessed Beauty (Ba-
          ha'u'llah) and prayed.. . . When the lashing
          was finished, Abbasian, with injured head and
          feet covered with blood, was led into prison.
          Here the friends, with the limited facilities at
          their disposal, tried to bandage his wounds and
          alleviate his pain. The following day Uune 28)
          again he heard his name called on the loud-
          speaker and was told to go to the interrogation
          room. The same questions were posed, and
          when he gave the same answers, he was re-
          turned to prison.
          On July 30, 1982, the Baha'i employees of
          the bank, including Abbasian, were summoned
          to the court for trial. Abbasian was accused on
          the following counts:
          1. being a member of the heretic sect of Ba-
          2. being a spy for Israel
          3. making a trip to Israel
          4. sending spies to different parts of the
          5. getting money from the bank through
          6. teaching the Baha'i religion in the bank
          and on duty
          After Abbasian refuted every one of the
          above accusations, the file was declared incom-
          plete by the judge, and the defendant was re-
          turned to prison.
          On August 2 he was summoned to the court
          a second time. This time the judge was a differ-
          ent person, and all the previous accusations
          were repeated and again were refuted by Abba-
          sian. Finally, the judge asked if be was ready to
          recant the Baha'i Faith. Abbasian's reply was
          an emphatic refusal, and he was returned to
          In prison, with the help of other friends,
          Abbasian attended to the treatment of his
          wounds, but six of his toenails dropped off
          after a while due to ecchymosis and made walk-
          ing very painful and difficult for a long time.
          The final verdict of the court in his case was
          announced as follows:
          1. six months in prison
          2. permanent discharge from the hank
          3. payment of his debt to the hank
          On December 30, 1982, when the bank i e-
          ceipt for payment of his debt by Abbasiad's
          family was presented, he was released on bail:
          Translated from the Persi in
          The Eshraghis of Shiraz
          My name is Said Eshraghi. I am an Iranian Ba-
          ha'i who has resided in the United States for
          the last six years. I currently live in Nacog-
          doches, Texas, where I work as director of op-
          erations ol a small chain of restaurants. I appear
          before this Subcommittee to tell the story of
          the persecution of my family, three members
          of which have been martyred for their beliefs.
          Mv story is not unique. But it may throw some
          light on what is happening to the Baha'is in
          -r 5:00 O'CLOCK in the morning on June 17,
          1983, 1 had a strange phone call from Aus-
          tralia. It was my brother. He said, “Good
          morning. How are you?” I said I was fine and
          asked him why he was calling so early. He said
          he just wanted to see how I was doing and
          asked if I had heard anything from home. I
          said, “No.” He said, “Well, I have congratula-
          tions.” I said, “What are you talking about?”
          I—Ic said, “Our father was martyred.” I think I
          was still asleep when he said that, and I said,
          “What are you talking about?” He said, “Wake
          up! Go put some water on your face, and wake
          up. Our father has gone to God.”
          For about live or ten minutes I didn't know
          what to do. I had two finches in a cage. The
          first thing 1 remember was feeling that I needed
          to let the finches go. I opened the cage and let
          them go. Then I called my sister in Iran. She
          wasn't home. But another member of my fam-
          ily in my parents' home told me, “Your Dad
          was executed yesterday.” That was on June 16,
          would like to congratulate you one more time,
          brother.” I said, “What are you talking about,
          brother?” He said, “Our Mom joined Dad.”
          “Well,” I said, “at least now he is not alone.”
          Then he said—and he was crying—”Well, I am
          going to congratulate you one more time. Our
          sister has gone with them, so they are not
          alone. They are all together.”
          Those events added a new dimension to my
          life. Now I had the three dearest members of
          my family executed for the Cause of God.
          Let me tell you a little bit about my family— ,
          what they are doing and who they are. I have a
          brother named Vahid, who lives in Australia.! 4ç
          have a sister named Nahid. She is in Nigeria. I
          had two sisters in Iran, one named Roya and -
          the other named Rosita. My father was an ofl - .
          cer of the. National Oil Company in Iran. My 4
          mother was a housewife.
          I left Iran before the revolution, as did my
          brother and my sister Nahid. But my two little ;
          sisters were still in Iran. During and after the :
          revolution I kept hearing news about the perse.
          cution of the Baha'is in Iran. First it started in
          Shiraz. I don't know how long ago it was. It
          probai ly was in 1980 right after the revolu-
          tion. A mob destroyed about two hundred
          houses and businesses that belonged to the Ba
          ha'is. They burned some of the houses and d:
          molished everything. They took away what ev-
          erybody had because they were Baha'is. TL.
          news kept coming that my family and other
          Baha'is were in danger. The National Spiritual.
          Assembly of Iran was executed. Other Baha'is
          all over Iran were also being executed. I never
          thought that such things would happen one
          day to me, that I would be someone who. ,
          would get hurt from the revolutionary govern-
          On November 29, 1982, my father Enaya.
          During those few days I was in a state of
          shock. We had a small memorial service for my
          Dad at our house on June 18, 1983. The next
          morning, June 19, 1983, 1 had another phone
          call from my brother in Australia. He said, “I
          tollah Eshraghi; my mother, Ezzat; and my sis-
          ter Roya were arrested. They were taken to
          prison by the authority of the government in
          Shiraz. They were arrested at 8:00 P.M. Govern-
          ment officials came to the house and asked
          them to go with the officials for questioning.
          That night, besides my parents and my sister,
          forty-five other Baha'is were arrested in Shiraz.
          Probably thirty-five more Baha'is were arrest-
          ed that night and the next night and were put in
          jail. For a long time we didn't have any infor-
          mation about what went on. What were the
          charges? Why were eighty-five Baha'is in pris-
          on? Nobody would tell.
          And even when they started to put all the
          Baha'is on trial, nobody knew what the trial
          was all about except that my father and my
          mother and my sister were in a trial. Nobody
          else was allowed to be in the court or the court-
          That was the time I started calling back to
          my home and talking to my sister Rosie about
          the things that were happening. I know a few
          things. A lady who was in prison with my
          mother but was later released sent me a letter
          and wrote some things in the letter.
          During the trial my sister asked the judge if
          she could talk to my Dad for a few minutes.
          She hadn't seen or touched my Dad even for a
          minute during the past six months. The judge
          said, “Well, you may go and talk to your Dad.”
          So my sister Roya, who was in a women's pris-
          on, saw my Dad for the first time. They were
          in a room, and she hugged my Dad and told
          Said Eshraghi, BahI'/ witness at
          Congressional hea ring
          34 /VORLD ORDER WINtER 1983—84
          him, “Dad, don't worry about me and Mom.
          We are fine.” Anything that a father and daugh-
          ter would say to each other, they said, “I love
          you. I miss you so much.” Things like that.
          The judge told my sister, “All you and your
          Dad have to do is deny your faith and simply
          become Muslims. Just tell them you are not Ba-
          ha'i. I'll let you go. I'll let your Mom and your
          Dad go. I would even let your Dad have his rc
          tirement money.” Before he went to prison,
          my Dad's retirement benefit was cut because he
          was Baha'i. The judge even told my sister Roya
          that he would let her continue her education at
          the university. She had been thrown out of the
          University of Shiraz because she was a Baha'i.
          Of course, my family didn't want to deny their
          belief. During the time that they were in pris-
          on, they were constantly asked to deny their
          faith, and of course they didn't.
          I don't know much about the trial and what
          happened in the courtroom. Nobody was al-
          lowed to go to the court. We don't know what
          they discussed, but as far as I know the charges
          against my father were that he was a spy for Is-
          rael because he had gone to Israel once as a Ba-
          ha'i pilgrim, and the charges against my moth-
          er were that she was my Dad's wife. My sister
          was a teacher at the Sunday school for Baha'is.
          The charges were that she taught the Baha'i
          Faith. The o cials gave my family four
          chances to recant their faith. They had a tape
          recorder and a piece of paper and a pencil that
          they would take to the prison. They would tell
          my Dad first, “You must recant your faith, and
          if you do, you will be released.” The same was
          done to my Mom and my sister. None of them
          wanted to recant their faith.
          june 15, 1 think, was the last day my sister
          Rosita, who was seventeen years old, went to
          the prison to visit my Dad. With her was her
          fiancee and our cousin. The purpose of the
          meeting was for my sister to get my Dad's per-
          mission to marry her fiancee. Of course, my
          Dad agreed and told them to go ahead and get
          engaged. My brother-in-law said to my father,
          “Mr. Eshraghi, we are sorry that you are not
          going to be at the ceremony.” My Dad smiled
          and said, “Well, if I am not going to be there,
          my spirit will be there for sure.” My cousin
          talked to my Dad for a few minutes. My Dad
          told her that he was waiting for the court to de-
          cide his case. Dad told her that he would not re-
          cant his faith. Apparently the judge was in the
          prison, because my Dad told her, “He is a nice
          man because he let you come in because prison-
          ers are only allowed to have visits from the im-
          mediate members of the family.” My cousin
          was not considered an immediate member of
          the family. The next day,June 16, 1983—I don't
          know what time—my father and six other Ba-
          ha'is were executed. On that same day my sis-
          ter Rosita got engaged, and as my Dad was telling
          her, his spirit for sure was at the engagement
          On June 17, my sister got the news that six
          Baha'is had been executed and that their bodies
          were in the morgue. She went to the morgue.
          The person in charge wouldn't let anyone go
          in, but my sister begged for about thirty min-
          utes, and he finally said, “Okay, well, why
          don't you go look.” She went in and saw my
          Dad. Later on we found out that when the
          names of 1 my Dad and Dr. Afnan were called,
          they rac d each other, each wishing to be the
          first to be executed. That amazed everyone be-
          cause it showed the authorities that the Baha'is
          were dying, that they were sacrificing them-
          selves for the Cause of God.
          On June 18, the day after my sister went to
          the morgue and saw the body of my father, she
          was to go to the women's prison to see my
          mother and my sister. She went there and told
          Mom what happened to Dad. My sister dropped
          a few teafs, and then she said, “Well, that's his
          destiny.” My Mom simply said, “I wish I were in
          his place. I wish I could sacrifice myself for
          him.” Then my Mom told my sister Rosie that
          she knew that something like that would come
          up. She said, “I think it is going to be the same
          thing for me and probably for Roya because we
          won't recant our faith either. It will be the same
          for all of us.”
          Shortly after the visiting hours they took all
          the ladie , including the young ladies—I think
          Mona M hmudnezad was only seventeen years
          The next day my sister Rosie found out
          about the executions, and so she went to the
          morgue. She just wanted to know if my mother
          and sister were among the people who had
          been executed. The man at the morgue asked,
          “What do you want today?” She said, “I think I
          have some more people in there.” He said,
          “Didn't you have enough? Your Dad was here
          yesterday.” He probably felt sorry for my sis-
          ter, and he let her go in, and she found the bod-
          ies of the ten ladies all over the floor.
          The 6 rst one she found was my sister's
          body. She could not find my mother's body.
          She looked for about five more minutes and fi-
          nally found it. She saw an old lady whose face
          had almost turned black. That was my Mom.
          My sister cried on my Mom's body, and she
          said, “Thank you, Mom. I am proud of you. I
          am proud for you.” The man in charge of the
          morgue came and said, “Who is this?” and my
          sister said, “This is my Mom.” “Come here,”
          she told him, “I want to show you my sister.
          Here is my sister. Look, this is my sister, and
          this is my Dad.” The man must have been
          shocked to see somebody who had lost her
          Mom and Dad and sister in two days. He told
          her, “Go on home. Don't stay here. It is
          The next day my relatives and my sister
          went to the morgue to pick up bodies, but they
          did not release the bodies. They told them that
          the government would bury the bodies. Iso-
          body saw how they buried them, but on of
          the guards apparently said that they buried he
          bodies in the Baha'i cemetery in Shiraz and
          that to bury all sixteen Baha'is didn't take them
          more than twenty minutes. Apparently the '
          * had a bulldozer dig a hole, and they just
          dropped the bodies in the hole and covered
          them with dirt.
          Of course, whatever happened to the bodies
          is not important. What is important is the peo-
          ple in prison right now—those people who are
          still suffering. They don't have jobs. Their kids
          cannot get an education because the arc Ba-
          ha'is. Those are the important people. That is
          why I am here. I am trying to establish sonic
          kind of public support for the Baha'is who live
          under pressure right now in Iran. I hope you all
          can help.
          FHE ESFIR:/GJ-JIS of: SHIRAZ
          Ezzat Eshraghi, Enayato/lah Eshraghi, and Rova Eshraghi
          36 WORLI) ORDFR: /X IN!ER 1983—84
          During the past two months I have heard
          more news. First, the authorities confiscated
          our house in Shiraz, and when my sister went
          to them—she said, “I am seventeen and one-
          half years old and single. You executed my fa-
          ther, my mother, and my sister, and now you
          are takint my home away from me. What
          should I do? Should I die?” The government of-
          ficials at first tried to cooperate and said, “We
          are sorry to hear that. We sure didn't want to
          take your house away.” But apparently aftera
          few times, when my sister went to the courts
          and the judge, the judge said, “Well, since you
          are Baha'i, the only thing we can do for you is
          to rent a room somewhere else. Not in your
          home. Your home belongs to the government
          now. It doesn't belong to you anymore. We can
          rent a room for you until you get married.
          Once you marry, you have to leave the room,
          and you won't he able to live there anymore.”
          My sister left, and the only thing they could
          say was, “Well, somebody will take care of
          ‘ OU.'
          Rosie is eighteen, a kid, and once a week she
          goes to the prison to see other relatives. It is
          hard on her. She has been going to the jail to see
          her family ever since she was sixteen.
          SHIRAZ IN JUNE 1983
          ON MONDAY, 8 Azar 1361 (29 November
          1982), about a year after the arrest and three-
          day imprisonment of our family in the Guards
          prison of Shiraz, which we discussed at length
          on Rova's birthday, we returned home around
          S P h i. from uncle's home because father kept
          saying, “I'm worried; burglars have no doubt
          broken into our home.”
          It was 8:30 when the door bell rang. Three
          armed men, revolutionary guards, entered;
          searched everywhere and put some books, a
          portrait of ‘Ahdu'l-Baha, and the family al-
          bum, which they had found, in two sacks;
          made a list of them; and had us sign the list.
          Then using a list with many names on it they
          called out the names of Enayatollah Eshraghi,
          Ezzat JanamiiEshraghi, and Roya Eshraghi. I
          was very unhappy that they did not call my
          name and will never forget the spark of happi-
          ness that appeared in Roya's eyes when her
          name was called. Dad was in a hurry to go and
          . saidto Mother, “Hurry up! The gentlemen are
          waiting.” Mo her was worried, and kept rub-
          bing her hands together, and made last-minute
          recommendations. Roya ran upstairs happily
          to get her clothes ready. I cannot describe or
          forget that night.
          The next morning we received the news
          that about forty-five Baha'is had been arrested
          that same night in more or less the same man-
          ner by the revolutionary guards and taken to
          the Guards prison, located in the southeastern
          corner of Shiraz.
          On 13 Azar (4 December) telegrams were
          sent to the authorities appealing to them on be-
          half of the prisoners. The telegrams remained
          unanswered. We also took some fruit for the
          prisoners, but the officials did not accept it, at-
          tempting thus to demoralize us.
          On 4 Day 1361 (25 December 1982) the
          Guards prison opened its doors to the relatives
          of the prisoners, and Rosita was able to visit
          her beloved mother and sister. . . . She de-
          scribed the occasion in these words, “After
          about a month I succeeded in seeing Mother
          and Roya... . They were both pale, and in
          their eyes there was concern and fear for my
          sake, but there was nothing to do. I tried to re-
          assure them. But as a result of the interroga-
          tions their fear was natural. At any rate it was a
          bad day, becai se after the long period of wait-
          ing I did not expect such scenes. From then on I
          lived with the hope of seeing them every Satur-
          day and Dad on Wednesdays.
          “Thank you God that I was finally able to
          see him. Would that I could be in his place.”
          On 8 Day 1361 I was able to see him with his
          growth of bead and his smiling face. He broke
          down and shed a few tears when he saw auntie,
          and I wept when I saw his face and his weak-
          ness. .
          The next week also Mother and Roya were
          visited on Saturday and Father on Wednesday.
          On 18 Day 1361 (8 January 1983) Mother and
          Roya were transferred to Adelabad prison, and
          Father was transferred there on 22 Day. From
          the conversations during these visits it ap-
          peared that the preliminary investigations
          were completed because they had set a bail of
          10,000,000 rials (approximately $100,000) for
          Father, but he said, “I don't want you to do
          such a thing. They have arrested us together,
          and we must be freed together. . .
          Wednesday, the 29th Day of 1361, was
          rainy, and when we went to visit the prisoners,
          we had our umbrellas open to protect us. But
          the guard who was taking us to the visitors'
          room did not let us keep our umbrellas open
          because the drops of rain that fell from our um-
          brellas, he said, would make others “unclean.”
          So we were soaked when we reached the visi-
          tors' room. Looking at each other we burst out
          Kba bar, the daily paper published in Shiraz,
          printed the death sentences of twenty-two Ba-
          ha'is on 23 Bahman 1361 (12 February 1983).
          The next day families of the prisoners went to
          see the Imam Jom'a and the Governor of Fars
          Province to see if the news was authentic, but
          the o cials all denied it. They were very angry
          that such a story had been publicized within
          the country and abroad.
          Following the publication of this news the
          families of the prisoners went to Tehran in
          groups to meet the judicial authorities and ap-
          peal on behalf of their loved ones. Rosita also
          went to Tehran with a number of other friends
          (for a few days) and in this short trip met the re-
          presentative of Shiraz in the Parliament, the
          members of the judicial council, and the Pros-
          ecutor General, who all denied the news—
          more or less.
          Once again on 22 Isfand 1361 (12 March
          1983) the hands of the oppressors in Shiraz
          were drenched in the blood of the innocent and
          meek in the path of God. Three dearly loved
          friends adorned the gallows: Mr. Yadollah
          Mahmudnczhad, an old friend of the Esh-
          raghis; Mr. Vafai; and Mrs. Zaerpur. We all
          wondered about the morale of the prisoners
          and the way we should behave. This was the
          first of our good-byes with them.
          Taraneh, the eldest daughter of Mr. Mali-
          mudnezhad, was with me when we went to /‘is-
          it Dad. . . . When he saw her he was about to
          weep, but he controlled himself and asked if
          they had been buried. . . . It was during this
          visit that Dad said: “Anyway I said good-bye
          today because I may not be here the next.time
          you come.” Then he told me to greet evefyone
          on his behalf and to be content with what God
          has wanted for us My throat was tigh , but
          I followed his example and controlled mi 'self.
          Dad asked about Said, Nahid, and Vahid.
          When the visit was over, he raised his arms and
          sent me a kiss and as usual strode out of the
          room before everyone else.
          Until the following Saturday the ladies did
          not know who the two men were who had
          been executed; each was afraid that her loved
          one was killed. . . . Anyway, that Saturday was
          the turn of Mrs. Eshraghi, Roya, and the other
          ladies to say their farewells.
          After my birthday on 7 Ordibehesht (27
          April 1983) I went to see Dad, and my dear Dad
          had not forgotten my birthday. I was happy
          and surprised because at home he was against
          celebrating birthdays. 1 said, “You did not for-
          get!” and he said, “No. In three of my letters I
          wished you a happy birthday, but I gues you
          did not get them
          During this time Mi Eshraghi was able to
          see Mrs. Eshraghi and Roya only once; that
          was when the prosecutor had gathered them all
          in one place to “guide” them and give them a
          last chance (to recant). At the end of the meet-
          ing he allowed the prisoners to visit with their
          immediate family....
          Our last visit with Mr. Eshraghi was on 25
          Khordad (15 June 1983) when we informed
          him of our engagement, and he was so happy
          that he had tears in his eyes. He told us, “Don't
          be sad. I hope you will be happy. If we are not
          with you, our spirits will be with you
          The next day, 26 Khordad, 16 June, when we
          were getting ready for the engagement party,
          about 4 P.M., they called Mr. Eshraghi and five
          others on the pretext of going to court, al-
          though everyone knew that on Thursdays
          there was no court, and took them to the Ab-
          38 WORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          dollah Mesgar Base, known as the Polo Field,
          for execution.
          Saturday, 28 Khordad, around 9 AM. we re-
          ceived the news from one of the Baha'i
          friends. . . . We later went to the medical exam-
          iner's office to see if they would release the
          bodies to us for burial. They refused. We then
          asked to see the bodies. They did not want to
          do even that. Finally, through an old acquaint-i
          ance and our insistence the immediate family
          were given a few minutes to view the bodies.
          The door of the morgue was opened. . . . The
          bodies were placed in two rows.. . . I recognized
          Dad's body from a distance. Because I had never
          seen a dead body, and in the unfamiliar sur-
          rounding I was finding my father, I was disor-
          iented and did not know what was happening
          to me. As I walked, my foot caught on one of
          the bodies, and I fell. His body was cold, and
          his skin was hard. When I reached Dad's body,
          I sat down and kept saying, “Oh, Baha'u'llah!
          Is this my father?” and I was weeping. When I
          kissed Dad, he was stiff, the skin on his face
          would not move at my touch. I caressed his
          face and could not believe it. His face and body
          were swollen so that the trace of the noose did
          not show. He had stuck out his chest as though
          he went determined. . . . He had a sweet smile
          on his face. I was trembling when I left the
          Saturday, 28 Khordad (18 June), was also the
          day for our visit to the women prisoners.
          /Vhen they entered the visitors' room, they
          were happy and laughing. I tried to hold my
          tears back. Roya pointed to my ring and con-
          gratulated me, and I cried. She asked what the
          matter was before the phones (over which the
          prisoners, who were separated by glass parti-
          tions, talked) could be connected, and I made
          her understand that Dad had been executed.
          She was bewildered and asked me if I was seri-
          ous, and I nodded. Tears came to her eyes, and
          with an angelic smile she put her hand to her
          head and said, “Praised be God.” I was just
          watching in a daze. Mother noticed Roya and
          asked her what had happened. She put her
          hand on Mother's shoulders and told her.
          Mother turned to me and said, “Don't worry.”
          I could not believe this was my Mother. The
          phones were connected, and she asked me
          when it happened, and I said Thursday. She
          said, “I knew it, and I have already shed my
          tears. I dreamed that Dad and I were some-
          where together. We will be going soon, today
          or tomorrow. That is why we have come here.
          You should not be sad. I wish you happiness.” I
          just wept, for myself of course. My Mother did
          not shed one drop of tear.. . . I then gestured to
          Roya that I had seen Dad (his body) and told
          her that he was smiling. We promised that we
          would follow his example and be strong and
          keep smiling. She said that [ earlier] they had al-
          ready taken Mother to be executed and at that
          time Roya had thought that Dad was going to
          be executed with her. So she said she had de-
          tached herself from them at that time.
          When the time was up and we were leaving and
          we said good-bye, everyone was saying, “Look
          at them; well, this may be the last time we see
          them.” I was weeping, and Roya told me with a
          smile, “lDon't cry; you promised.”
          IMMEDIATELY after the visit two of the women
          were called to the prison office and released.
          Later ten others were called, and everyone
          thought they would also be released, but they
          were wrong. All ten were put on a minibus and
          taken directly to the Polo Field and hanged.
          The bodies were delivered to the morgue at 10
          The driver who took these pure and guilt.
          less souls to be massacred has recounted: “It did
          not seem at all that these ladies were to be ex-
          ecuted. I first thought that they were going to
          be released because they were so happy and
          laughing. But when I stopped for inspection at
          the prison gate, I realized that I was to take
          them for execution. They were laughing and
          chanting prayers all the way.”
          Sunday morning when we went to the
          morgue to receive the men's bodies, we discov-
          ered that ten women had been executed the
          night before. . . . We only learned that Roya
          was among them, and Rosita was worried that
          if her Mother was spared it would be very hard
          on her. . . . When we arrived home, it was
          crowded with people.. . . Half an hour later
          the phone rang, and we learned that Mother
          also was among them. . . . We went to the
          morgue again, and upon our insistence they al-
          lowed the relations to see the bodies. . . . It was
          frightening and yet a proud occasion. The faces
          had changed generally. I recognized Roya from
          her clothes. . . . Her left hand was on her fore-
          head as though she was asleep.. . . The blind-
          fold was now on her forehead. Her face was a
          little swollen and blue, and the trace of the
          noose was quite clear. . . . Her body was cold
          but still soft. I kissed her and kept saying,
          “Thank you. Thank you, sister.” Then I got up
          to look for Mother, but I could not 1 nd her.
          The people I had seen for seven months in pris-
          on I could not now recognize. I saw an old lady
          with hair almost completely white. I asked my-
          self, “Who is this? We had no one like this.”
          Then I looked at her clothing. She had a nice
          scarf around her neck. “My God! This is my
          mommy, and this is the scarf I brought her!” I
          sat down, kissed her, and put my hands on her
          shoulders. I thanked her and took her hand....
          When I was bent over her the official of the
          morgue came and asked what relation of mine
          she was. I said, “This is my Mom. Come and
          see my sister.” I took him to see Roya. He
          knew that yesterday I had (come to see my fa-
          ther. He told me) to leave and we all left.
          It was about noon when they took the six-
          teen bodies by ambulance to the Baha'i ceme-
          tery and threw the bodies, dressed the way
          they were, into the graves that they had already
          prepared and filled the graves. Later they dis-
          turbed the area of the graves so no one can tell
          where the graves are or which is whose grave.
          But what difference does it make? They were
          all love and light, and they have all gone in the
          same direction.
          America's Reactions
          My name is Wilma M. Brady. I am vice-presi-
          dent for Development at Spelman College in
          Atlanta, vice-chairman of the National Spiritu-
          al Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States,
          and one member of the second generation of
          four generations of an American Baha'i family.
          I WAS BORN in southern Illinois and lived
          my first years in that state on the land that
          my forebears homesteaded in 1848 after fleeing
          from slaver>'. In 1936 my family moved west to
          Phoenix, Arizona, where my oldest sister, a
          college student, heard of the Baha'i Faith. At-
          tracted to its teachings on the elimination of all
          prejudices, the equality of men and women,
          universal education, and a plan for world
          peace, my sister and my mother were the first
          family members to become Baha'is. I, being the
          next to the youngest child, started my religious
          training in the Baha'i Faith at that time.
          In the 1940s my family moved to Los Ange-
          les where the family's home was maintained
          until my parents' deaths in the early 1970s. It
          was in Los Angeles that the rest of the family
          members became Baha'is.
          Mr. Chairman, I would like to describe the
          American Baha'i community and then make
          some comments on the reactions of that com-
          munity to the persecutions of the Baha'is in
          Since the beginning of the American Baha'i
          community some ninety years ago, Baha'is
          who were members of prominent and wealthy
          families have joined with Baha'is who were
          skilled and unskilled workers, farmers, house-
          wives, and business and professional people to
          pursue the goal common to all Baha'is—the
          unity of the human race.
          Baha'is live in every state in the union. They
          conie from a great variety of religious and eth-
          nic backgrounds. Among the 100,000 Ameri-
          can Baha'is are represented more than fifty In-
          dian tribes. Over 30 percent of this community
          is black. The four women and five men who
          serve on the community's national governing
          body, the National Spiritual Assembly, reflect
          its rich diversity—one is Asian, one is a native
          American, three are black, and four are white.
          Initially, the news of the attacks on the Iran-
          ian Baha'i community was perceived by many
          American Baha'is, especially those not deeply
          read in history or international affairs, those
          who did not know the nature of the Iranian
          revolutionary movement, with a degree of in-
          credulous confusion. They were aware of the
          peaceful and nonpolitical nature of the Iranian
          Baha'i community since they, themselves, were
          believers in the same principles of the unity of
          mankind, human brotherhood without dis-
          tinction of race or class, and respect for all reli-
          gions and for all people.
          Therefore, when, in the fall of 1978, the
          American Baha'is heard the news of the des-
          ecration of the Baha'i cemeteries, the looting
          and burning of Baha'i homes, the demolition
          of Baha'i holy places, and the beatings and
          murders of their Iranian coreligionists, they
          thought these attacks were incidents of mob
          violence and misunderstandings in a country in
          the throes of revolution. Moreover, not wish-
          ing to embarrass the government of Iran, and
          hoping that the initial attacks on the Baha'is
          were the result of mob violence, the American
          Baha'is (and Baha'is throughout the world) did
          not wish to publicize these attacks. But very
          soon after the Islamic revolutionary govern-
          ment took charge of Iran and began to set in
          place its official priorities, it became clear to
          the American Baha'i community that there
          was no misunderstanding—no confusion. The
          attacks on the members of the Baha'i Faith, on
          their homes and families, on their businesses,
          on their institutions and holy places, were well
          planned and systematic and represented deep-
          seated prejudices and hatreds cultivated by the
          Shiite clergy over many, many decades.
          Mr. Chairman, permit me to say a word of
          my own personal reaction to the persecution
          of the Baha'is in Iran. I have never been to Iran.
          Until 1978 my knowledge of that country was
          similar to that of most American Baha'is. I
          knew that Iran was the country where our
          Faith originated. I was aware of earlier attacks
          on the Iranian Baha'is, who were, and still are,
          viewed as renegades in that Moslem culture—a
          culture in which religion and government are
          not viewed as separate and distinct parts of the
          life of the community.
          To be perfectly candid, I cannot understand.
          I have been raised in a free country, and I react
          violently against injustice. I have inherited the
          legacy of my people, black Americans whose
          history is one of discrimination, prejudice, and
          the continuing struggle for civil rights. In my
          own life I have witnessed segregated schools,
          crosses burned on front lawns, and public ac-
          commodations in which there hung signs say-
          ing “For Whites Only.” Although I was quite
          young, the painful memories are there. My
          children are products of the turbulent sixties.
          As a family we joined in the nonviolent strug-
          gle to rid out American society of the stifling
          prejudice and bigotry our forebears suffered.
          Now, all of a sudden, my coreligionists,
          42 WORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          members of my universal family, are being tak-
          en back to medieval darkness in which all of
          the most treasured beliefs about the freedom to
          live have been cruelly stripped from their per-
          Sons and their community—solely because of
          their religious beliefs. I feel an old, deep, and
          very personal pain.
          It was the shocked and anguished American
          Baha'is, not those suffering in Iran, who urged
          their National Assembly to approach our
          ernment and the press about this urgent matter.
          Out of its own despair and deep sense of frus-
          tration and in response to the American Baha'i
          community, the National Assembly launched
          a concerted effort to keep government officials
          and agencies and the media informed as reports
          of persecutions mounted.
          We believed, and had enough evidence to
          confirm us in our views, that the government
          of Iran was not entirely deaf to the voices of
          foreign governments or of international public
          The hearing held by this Subcommittee two
          years ago did much to shape that opinion. Both
          before and after the adoption of the Concur-
          rent Resolution No. 73 by the two Houses of
          the Congress, many representatives and sena-
          tors made statements protesting the arrests, dis-
          appearances, and killings of Baha'is in Iran.
          The congressional Record shows clearly the
          concern of its distinguished members for the
          plight of Iran's Baha'is and for the absence of
          elementary human rights in that strife-torn
          The Department of State has consistently
          shown sympathy and understanding. Mr. El-
          liott Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State for
          Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, has
          made statements before this Subcommittee and
          to the press on the condition of the Iranian Ba-
          ha'is. The Bureau he heads included informa-
          tion on the persecution of the Baha'is in
          “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
          for 1983” submitted to the House Committee
          on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee
          on Foreign Relations.
          We are grateful for the support our govern-
          inent gave the Baha'i issue in the United Na-
          tions Commission on Human Rights where
          Ambassador Richard Schifter assumed a strong
          position and, together with the representatives
          of a number of other nations, forged a resolu-
          tion to appoint a special representative of the
          Commission to study the human rights situa-
          tion in Iran and to present his conclusions to
          the next session of the Human Rights Commis-
          We are equally gratified by the decision of
          the State Department to extend to Iranians
          who fled their country to save their lives and
          were stranded abroad additional processing
          priorities that would enable them to enter the
          United States. The thorny issue of refugees was
          handled by the Assistant Secretary of State
          James N. Purcell, Jr., and his staff with much
          sympathy and good will. Ambassador H. Eu-
          gene Douglas, Coordinator for Refugee Af-
          fairs, has been invariably helpful and encourag-
          ing.. His knowledge of the issues and his
          determined efforts in behalf of refugees have
          won our admiration.
          To facilitate the movement of Baha'i refu-
          gees the National Spiritual Assembly of the
          United States and the National Spiritual As-
          sembly of Canada cooperated in sending two
          representatives to various cities in Europe and
          the Middle East. They obtained for us valuable
          information on the needs of the refugees, estab-
          lished closer contact with the offices of the
          United Nations High Commissioner for Refu-
          gees and with governments concerned, and
          brought much needed hope and assurance to
          people who have been cruelly uprooted and are
          full of justified fear. It should be noted that
          American embassies and consulates every-
          where extended to our representatives many
          courtesies and greatly helped in making their
          mission a success.
          The American Baha'i community has, dur-
          ing the last four years, absorbed close to ten
          thousand Iranian Baha'is. We have made and
          continue to make every effort to help them
          build for themselves a new home. Exile is al-
          ways a bitter experience. We are trying to make
          it less painful.
          It is particularly significant that the presi-
          dent of the United States on 22 May 1983 pub-
          licly appealed to the government of Iran on be-
          half of twenty-two Baha'is who had been
          condemned to death in Shiraz. Ayatollah Kho-
          meini felt compelled to answer the president's
          appeal through the media. President Reagan
          made another statement concerning the Ba-
          ha'is on 9 December 1983, the eve of Human
          Rights Day.
          The two presidential statements, the text of
          the Congressional Resolution No. 73, inter-
          views with American Baha'is, press editorials,
          as well as news items and commentaries, have
          been regularly broadcast over the Voice of
          America in many languages, including Persian,
          thereby emphasizing that the Islamic regime
          cannot do its work of murder in silence, that
          the world knows and recoils in horror from
          the inhumanity perpetrated by the clerical rul-
          ers of Iran.
          Our country's media have not ignored the
          tragic story. It is natural for us to feel that not
          enough attention has been paid to a tragedy
          that is unique in today's world—the killing of
          individuals for no other reason than religious
          convictions. Yet we acknowledge that the
          press, radio, and television have played an im-
          portant role in informing the public and enlist-
          ing support for the Baha'is of Iran. The New
          York Times, the Washsington Post, the Los Ange-
          les Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-
          Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, News-
          week, U.S. News and World Report, the New
          Republic, and literally hundreds of other news-
          papers and magazines have published editori-
          als, news items, and features about the persecu-
          tion of the Baha'is in Iran, about its individual
          victims, and, in many cases, about those who
          found refuge in America.
          Broadcast media have contributed their
          share. All three major television networks have
          interviewed Baha'is. The American Broadcast-
          ing Company devoted a segment of its 20/20
          show on 28 July 1983 to an examination of the
          treatment of the Baha'is in Iran. The program
          gave millions of viewers a graphic demonstra-
          tion of the courage of the victims and of the in-
          humanity of their oppressors. In addition, the
          Public Broadcasting System has broadcast sev-
          eral interviews with Baha'is as well as occasion-
          al news items.
          Urged by a concerned citizenry, twenty
          state legislatures have adopted resolutions con-
          demning Iran's Islamic regime for its inhuman-
          ity toward Baha'is. Many city governments
          also passed such resolutions, clearly demon-
          strating the grass-roots sympathy for the Ba-
          Private organizations and individuals have
          also made their voices heard. Amnesty In erna-
          tional has consistently followed developnients
          and publicized acts of injustice and barba ity in
          Iran. The American Bar Association has irged
          its members to protest against the treatm nt of
          Iran's Baha'i lawyers, many of whom. have
          been disbarred or imprisoned for their beliefs.
          The American Baha'i community has not
          been alone in its efforts to tell the world this
          cruel tale of persecution. The Baha'is of Canada,
          Great Britain, Ireland, West Germany, Austra-
          lia, the Netherlands, and other countries, have
          brought the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran
          to the attention of their governments and pub-
          lics. Several parliaments have passed resolu-
          tions in favor of Baha'is. The press, particular-
          ly in Europe, has given the issue considerable
          The results of all this activity cannot be easi-
          ly gauged. However, there can be no doubt that
          the government of Iran has been put on notice.
          It knows that the world knows of the murders;
          the mock trials; the tortures; the discrimina-
          tion inflicted upon men, women, and children
          whose only crime is the faith they hold in com-
          mon with us and with so many others through-
          out the world—their belief in God, in the
          biotherhood of mankind, in the essential unity
          of religion, and in peace.
          We, the American Baha'is, will make every
          effort to keep before the public the story of the
          suffering of our Iranian coreligionists. We have
          already witnessed the response of our fellow
          Americans and our government.
          We appeal for continuing support so that
          the voice of this nation may always sound in
          defense of the persecuted and the oppressed.
          FOLLOWING the testimony about the contin-
          ued persecution of the Baha'is in Iran given on
          May 2, 1984, before the Subcommittee on Hu-
          man Rights and International Organizations of
          the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S.
          House of Representatives, a concurrent resolu-
          tion expressing the sense of Congress regarding
          the persecution of the members of the Baha'i
          religion in Iran by the government of Iran
          went before the House of Representatives. Be-
          low is the text of the concurrent resolution and
          of the debate on the resolution as it appears in
          the House of Representatives Congressional Rec-
          ordon May 22, 1984, pages H 4280—83—ED.
          Mr. YATRON. Mr. Speaker, I ask unani-
          mous consent that the Committee on Foreign
          Affairs be discharged from further consider-
          ation of the concurrent resolution (H. Con.
          Res. 226) expressing the sense of the Congress
          regarding the persecution of members of the
          Baha'i religion in Iran by the Government of
          Iran, and ask for its immediate consideration in
          the House.
          The Clerk read the title of the concurrent
          The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objec-
          tion to the request of the gentleman from
          There was no objection.
          The Clerk read the concurrent resolution,
          as follows:
          H. CON. RES. 226
          Whereas more than one hundred and fifty mem-
          bers of the Baha'i faith have been brutally executed
          by Iranian authorities since the 1979 Islamic revolu-
          Whereas many Baha'is in Iran have disappeared
          and others have been tortured, persecuted, and de-
          prived of their fundamental rights to personal prop-
          erty and employment;
          Whereas an edict issued by Iran's Prosecutor Gen-
          eral on August 29, 1983, has far-reaching implica-
          tions that threaten the lives of three hundred thou-
          sand Baha'is residing in Iran and places the future
          practice of Baha'ism in jeopardy by dismantling the
          administrative structure of the Baha'i religion; and
          Whereas these actions for the first time establish
          an expressed national policy which lays the legal
          foundation for executions, arrests, the confiscation
          of property, denial of jobs and pensions, expulsion
          of Baha'i children from schools, and other pressures
          which may be brought to bear by Iranian authorities
          on the Baha'is: Now, therefore, be it
          Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Sen-
          ate concurring). That the Congress—
          (1) holds the Government of Iran responsible for
          upholding the rights of all its nationals, including
          the Baha'is;
          (2) condemns the recent decision taken by the
          Government of Iran t destroy the Baha'i faith by
          labeling as “criminal acts” all Baha'i teaching and or-
          ganized religious activities, including the attempts
          by Baha'is to elect their own local and national lead-
          ers, to meet in assemblies, to communicate among
          themselves, and to work for volunteer committees;
          (3) calls upon the President—
          (A) to work with appropriate foreign govern-
          ments and the allies of the United States in forming
          an appeal to the Government of Iran concerning the
          (B) to cooperate fully with the United Nations in
          its efforts on behalf of the Baha'is and to lead such ef-
          forts whenever it is possible and appropriate to do
          so; and
          (C) to provide, and urge others to provide, for
          humanitarian assistance for those Baha'is who flee
          Sec. 2. The Clerk of the House of Represent-
          atives shall transmit a copy of this concurrent reso-
          lution to the President
          The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentle-
          I House Debate: Support for a Special People
          46 WORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          man from Pennsylvania (Mr. YATRON) is rec-
          ognized for 1 hour.
          Mr. YATRON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 min-
          utes to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. LEACH),
          pending which I yield myself such time as I
          may consume.
          (Mr. YATRON asked and was given permis-
          sion torevise and extend his remarks.)
          Mr. YATRON. Mr. Speaker, I would like to
          commend the gentleman from Illinois for orig-
          inally sponsoring and authoring House Con-
          current Resolution 226, legislation regarding
          the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran. This res-
          olution condemns the Iranian Government's
          decision to destroy the Baha'i faith, and calls
          upon the President to work with foreign gov-
          ernments and our allies in formulating an ap-
          peal to the Government of Iran on behalf of
          the Baha'is.
          The Subcommittee on Human Rights and
          International Organizations, which I chair, has
          long recognized the severity of the situation
          facing the Baha'i community in Iran. In May of
          1982 under the leadership of Mr. BONKER, the
          subcommittee conducted a hearing on the Ba-
          ha'is in Iran. Just recently, on May 2, 1984 we
          held a second hearing on the persecution of the
          Baha'is in Iran. As a result of these hearings we
          were able to help call attention to the grievous
          problems of Iran's largest religious minority.
          The Baha'i faith is not recognized in Iran,
          and Baha'is are deprived of their basic human
          rights. Members of this peace-loving communi-
          ty are the principal targets of the current re-
          gime. Over 170 prominent Baha'is have been
          executed since Khomeini came into power.
          The places of worship have been destroyed,
          their possessions have been confiscated, and
          their religion banned.
          The Baha'is are not the only Iranians who
          must suffer. Executions of political or religious
          victims are an almost daily occurrence. Since
          1979, according to Amnesty International, ap-
          proximately 5,500 people have been summari-
          ly executed by the Iranian Government. Those
          citizens who have not lost their lives encounter
          restrictions of their basic freedoms—freedom
          of speech, political freedom, and freedom of re-
          ligion. Countless numbers of Iranians sought
          shelter from this tyranny in other countries.
          Baha'is in Iran have always experienced tre-
          mendous pressure and persecution but they are
          being slaughtered by the Khomeini regime for
          adherence to their faith. For this reason, I urge
          my colleagues to support House Concurrent
          Resolution 226.
          Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, will the gentle-
          man yield?
          Mr. YATRON. I yield to the gentleman
          from California.
          Mr. STARK. I thank the gentleman for
          yielding to me.
          Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself
          with the remarks of the gentleman and urge the
          support of House Concurrent Resolution 226.
          The Baha'is have indeed been persecuted, tor-
          tured, and unjustly imprisoned in Iran for
          many years. The American people cannot sit
          back and witness this without raising a loud
          voice of objection.
          I hope this will be a step in the direction of
          bringing justice to a peace-loving, gentle folk
          who deserve our concern. I appreciate both the
          gentlemen's concern and the gentleman from
          Illinois for introducing this resolution.
          Mr. YATRON. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank
          the gentleman for the fine work that he has
          done and the leadership he has shown in this
          Mr. LEACH of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I yield
          myself such time as I may consume.
          (Mr. LEACH of Iowa asked and was given
          permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
          Mr. LEACH of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I rise in
          support of House Concurrent Resolution 226,
          expressing the sense of the Congress regarding
          the persecution of members of the Baha'i reli-
          gion by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
          I want to take this opportunity to commend
          the gthtleman from Illinois (Mr. PORTER) for
          his leadership on this issue, as well as the gentle-
          man from Pennsylvania (Mr. YATRON) for press-
          ing for expeditious floor action. In addition, it
          should be stressed that the Department of State
          “enthusiastically supports” the resolution.
          Three weeks ago, on May 2, 1984, the Sub-
          committee on Human Rights and Internation-
          al Organizations held a hearing on the “Reli-
          I-lOUSE DEBATE
          gious Persecution of the Baha'is in Iran.” The
          subcommittee heard eloquent testimony from
          representatives of the American Baha'i com-
          munity indicating that some 20 more Baha'is
          have been executed since the resolution before
          us was drafted, bringing the total to date to
          over 170 victims. Included among those 170
          victims were men, women, and teenage girls.
          Thousands of others have been arrested, tor-
          tured, and lost their jobs and property. Baha'i
          holy places have been confiscated and demol-
          ished. Members of the Baha'i religion are under
          constant pressure to recant their faith and em-
          brace Islam in order to escape the horrors of
          Two years ago, in May 1982, our subcorn-
          mittee held a similar hearing on the persecu-
          tion of the Baha'is. But as Judge James F. Nel-
          son, chairman of the National Spiritual
          Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States,
          recently noted: “It is heartbreaking that in the
          2 years since this committee heard our initial
          testimony the situation in Iran has not im-
          proved.” Judge Nelson went on to point out
          that in spite of pleas from government officials
          and parliaments as well as other prominent
          persons and organizations, the number of
          those executed had increased over that 2-year
          period and that whereas 150 were imprisoned
          in May 1982, today over 700 Baha'is are under
          One cannot help but conclude that the aim
          of the Iranian Government is the extirpation of
          the Baha'i faith from Iran, either by forced con-
          version of Baha'is to Shiite Islam or “extermi-
          nation.” The analogies between Iran today and
          Germany under Hitler are towering.
          The acts of inhumanity and brutality that
          have been heaped upon members of a peaceful
          religion are incomprehensible to civilized hu-
          manity. Among those recently executed are 10
          women including 3 teenage girls. The Revolu-
          tionary Guard tortures others in prison, whip-
          ping them with metal cables, pouring boiling
          water on their heads.
          While there is some tentative glimmer of
          hope that worldwide protests against this per-
          secution may have diminished the Iranian au-
          thorities' appetite for executions, the abuses
          continue to occur and demand our unflagging
          efforts to bring all pressure possible to bear on
          that Government for its crimes. The law-abid-
          ing international community must continue to
          make clear to the Iranian Government—
          through national actions and efforts by inter-
          national organizations like the UN Human
          Rights Commission—that it cannot escape full
          responsibility for its actions to eliminate the
          Baha'i faith.
          Mr. Speaker, it is my hope that those Baha'is
          who remain in Iran and who live in the dark-
          ness of this terror will hear our words and
          know of our actions today.
          Accordingly, I urge the unanimous support
          of my colleagues for this resolution as a symbol
          that the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot perpe-
          trate an evil of this nature in silence. Interna-
          tional protests may prove futile, but ignoring
          the plight of this gentle, committed people
          would be morally negligent.
          The Baha'is are a very special people with a
          very special faith. They are special people be-
          cause of the intellectual and personal depth of
          the convictions they hold. Their faith is pecial
          because it draws on so many religions ar d em-
          phasizes, above everything else, toleranc .
          This Congress by this resolution expresses
          the profoundest possible respect for the Baha'is
          and implicitly for all citizens of the world who
          have been persecuted for holding minority reli-
          gious views.
          Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may con-
          sume to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. POR-
          TER) whose resolution we are considering.
          (Mr. PORTER asked and was given permis-
          sion to revise and extend his remarks.)
          • * Mr. PORTER. Mr. Speaker, I first want to
          commend the chairman of the Subcommittee
          on Human Rights, the gentleman from Penn-
          sylvania, and the ranking minority member,
          the gentleman from Iowa, for their leadership
          on this issue, for their commitment to it, for
          their bringing the resolution to the floor, and
          for the excellent hearings that were held before
          the subcommittee on May 2, and the earlier
          hearings on religious persecution that were
          held under the chairmanship of Mr. BONKER of
          48 /VORLD ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          I think it is particularly appropriate that we
          consider this resolution today. It was 140 years
          ago today that the Baha'i religion was founded
          in Persia, incorporating as it did the essential te-
          nets of all organized religions and emphasizing
          the unity of mankind, world peace, world or-
          der, the social equality of all people, pacificism,
          and tolerance.
          It is an ironic crime against all humanity
          that these gentle and peaceful people have been
          persecuted in their homeland through 140
          years of history but especially since the rise to
          power of the murderous Khomeini regime.
          Today also marks 1 year since President
          Reagan's historic appeal on behalf of the Ba-
          ha'is, and I want to take a moment of the time
          of the House to quote from the President's let-
          ter of just a year ago.
          “These individuals,” the President said, “are
          not guilty of any political offense or crime,
          they have not plotted the overthrow of the
          gime, and they are nor responsible for the
          deaths of anyone. They only wish to live in ac-
          cordance with the dictates of their own con-
          sciences. 1 strongly urge other world leaders to
          join me in an appeal to the Ayatollah Kho-
          meini and the rest of Iran's leadership not to
          implement the sentences that have been pro-
          nounced on these innocent people.”
          Mr. Speaker, what has happened since that
          time, during the year since the President ap-
          pealed for restraints from the Ayatollah Kho-
          mcmi? It has to be said that the situation in Iran
          has worsened and worsened appreciably. Iran is
          the only place on Earth today where people are
          being persecuted, tortured, and executed solely
          for their religious beliefs.
          I ask the House to consider these recent re-
          ports from Iran and try to put ourselves in the
          position of the individual Baha'is toward
          whom this persecution has been directed: Since
          the beginning of the Islamic revolution in
          1979, more than 300 residences of Baha'is have
          been plundered or set on fire, and the people
          have nowhere to turn for help. One hundred
          and seventy Baha'is, most of them prominent
          members of the Baha'i community, have been
          killed by a variety of methods, but principally
          through execution by firing squads and by
          One woman lost her husband who was shot
          before a firing squad and then, as a widow, was
          demanded to pay the cost of the bullets for his
          execution. Three teenage girls were hanged
          whose only crime was a refusal to recant their
          religious beliefs.
          In urban areas, properties belonging to hun-
          dreds of families have been seized, and in rural
          areas, orchards have been destroyed, farms and
          arabic lands confiscated with no chance for re-
          dress. The Ministry of Works and Social Af-
          fairs of Iran formally instructed industrial and
          commercial institutions not to pay the salaries
          of Baha'is that were on their staffs. More than
          10,000 Baha'is employed in government offices
          or in the private sector have been summarily
          - discharged, their rights to pensions and other
          employment benefits simply revoked, and in
          many cases demands were made of them to re-
          turn the salaries they had earned. Students have
          been dismissed from universities and other in-
          stitutions of higher learning simply because
          they affirmed a belief in the Baha'i religion. In
          most cities and provinces, Baha'i children have
          been denied an education, the opportunity to
          attend school and to learn.
          Some 700 Baha'is including men, women,
          and children are being held in various prisons
          today throughout Iran. For more than 9
          months, visits to 40 Baha'i prisoners have been
          strictly prohibited by the authorities; no one
          knows w hat their fate is. In some prisons, Ba-
          ha'i prisoners are undergoing relentless torture
          in an effort on the part of authorities to force
          them to admit to false charges of engaging in es-
          pionage and acting against the Islamic Republic
          of Iran.
          For a period of months they have been sub-
          ject to fl ggings of all parts of the body, par-
          ticularly he legs and feet. Sometimes up to 400
          strokes b y wire cables have been administered
          to a singie prisoner, and then that prisoner is
          forced. to crawl back on his hands and knees to
          the dark ess of his cell.
          Prisor ers are regularly whipped in the head
          and face I with thick plastic tubes in some pris-
          ons, and imilar procedures are used, to a lesser
          degree, in others. A number of these victims of
          torture have lost their sight and hearing; oth-
          ers, their mental competence.
          The bodies of four prisoners subjected to
          such treatment were seen being buried recent-
          ly. It has been reported recently that three of
          the Baha'is broke under this torture and gave
          confessions that they were part of a CIA or Zi-
          onist plot against the regime. These confes-
          sions were reportedly videotaped for use as
          propaganda on Iranian TV. Lies, Mr. Speaker;
          all lies.
          The Baha'is are unsafe in their own homes,
          which are entered at will, day or night, by rev-
          olutionary guards who harass the inhabitants,
          insulting theni and threatening them and berat-
          ing them, and if the Baha'i individual they are
          looking for is not present, they seize others as
          hostages, including women, and even children.
          Recently a Baha'i woman gave birth and she
          was instantly slain by a fanatical Moslem mob,
          her child taken to be raised in the “true faith.”
          Whenever the head or sonic other impor-
          tant member of the family has been killed, and
          often when such a person has been imprisor ied,
          those renlaining behind have been forced from
          their homes and not permitted to take any be-
          longings, even in the dead of winter, with
          them. They have no redress for these griev-
          Religious shrines have been destroyed. The
          place of the founding of the Baha'i faith was
          systematically torn down by the government.
          We can only imagine a goverment tearing
          down our church or temple and having to
          stand by helplessly, with no means of protest.
          Recently four more Iranian Baha'is were ex-
          ecuted. All had been tortured prior to their ex-
          ecutions, and another died in prison as a result
          of his torture.
          Last year the Prosecutor General of Iran is-
          sued an edict banning all Baha'i religious activ-
          ity as criminal acts. Like the Nuremherg l tws,
          HOUSE DEBATE 49
          Site of the House of the Ba'b, where the Baha”i Faith began on May 23, 1844. The house was dest roved by I la mic
          authorities in September 1979; in 1981 the Site was made into a road and public square.
          50 //‘ORLI) ORDER: WINTER 1983—84
          this edict establishes the so-called legal grounds
          for mass arrests and genocide, and that is what
          is oceuring, Mr. Speaker—genocide. In re-
          sponse to this decree, elected leaders of the Ba-
          ha'i faith in Iran did dissolve all Baha'i institu-
          tions there, citing obedience, as they always do,
          to the civil law of the land. But, Mr. Speaker,
          this has done nothing to prevent more torture,
          more persecution, and more executions.
          I think it is important to call attention
          worldwide to the plight of the Baha'is. In this
          generation, we have witnessed other attempts
          at genocide—the Armenians, the Cambodians,
          6 million Jews in World War II. The setting in
          iran today resembles Nazi Germany during
          Hitler's rise to power, Mr. Speaker, and the
          world must speak out against it.
          The prirpose of the resolution is threefold.
          First, it holds the Government of Iran respon-
          sible for upholding the rights of all its citizens,
          including the Baha'is. Second, it condemns the
          Prosecutor General's edict banning the Baha'is.
          And third, it calls upon the President of the
          United States to work in the United Nations
          and other forums with leaders of other coun-
          tries to form a broad-based appeal to the Iran-
          ian Government.
          Mr. Speaker, I know that it is impossible to
          fight murder and torture and genocide with
          resolutions, but we here in this free land some-
          times forget that injustice toward anyone any-
          where on this globe is in reality injustice to-
          ward each of us. We arc all diminished by what
          is being done today in Iran.
          Mr. Speaker, we debated a long time wheth-
          er public exposure of this situation by Mem-
          bers of the Congress might jeopardize Baha'is
          in Iran even furtheI However, after several dis-
          cussions with members of the National Spiritu-
          al Assembly of the Baha'is in the United States,
          I now believe that calling attention to the
          plight of the Iranian Baha'is might help im-
          prove the atmosphere there and reduce the ex-
          The world must learn what is happening in
          Iran and bring the pressure of civilized opinion
          to bear on this barbaric situation. As Firuz Ka-
          zemzadeh, the Secretary of the Baha'i Assem-
          bly in America, a professor of Russian history
          at Yale and a gentle and thoughtful man so re-
          presentative of the adherents of this faith, said
          recently: “It is more difficult to kill, more difli-
          cult to torture, in broad daylight.”
          Mr. Speaker, House Concurrent Resolution
          2261has 188 cosponsors, including many mem-
          bers of the Congressional Human Rights Cau-
          cus. It deserves not only enactment, but more
          importantly, that its concerns be brought to
          theattention of people all over the world. This
          resolution will not, in itself, change anything,
          but the people of this planet, united in their op-
          position to genocide in any form, can.
          Mr. LEACH of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I would
          like to commend the gentleman from Illinois
          for a very profound statement.
          Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may con-
          sume to the gentleman from South Carolina
          (Mr. CAMPBELL).
          (Mr. CAMPBELL asked and was given per-
          mission to revise and extend his remarks.)
          Mr. CAMPBELL. I thank the gentleman for
          yielding. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this
          resolution, and also to commend the gentle-
          man from Illinois.
          Members of the House of Representatives
          and indeed all of the United States view with
          alarm and revulsion the continued persecu-
          tions and repressions of the Baha'is by the Aya-
          tollah Khomeini.
          The Baha'i faith is represented by over 7,200
          locations in the United States with a significant
          nun ber in my own State of South Carolina.
          Sin e the 1979 revolution in Iran at least 150
          members of the Baha'i faith have been execut-
          ed, more than 550 believers have been impris-
          oned, and many more are missing. Thousands
          of Baha'is have lost their homes, jobs, and pos-
          sessions; no child of Baha'i parentage has been
          allowed to attend school; and all places holy to
          the faith, properties, and cemeteries-have been
          confiscated or destroyed. Most recently, the
          followers of Khomeini have banned all Baha'i
          organizations and worship services.
          To those of us from a country founded on
          religious freedom, these actions are abhorrent.
          Though we may not all believe the same, we do
          all believe in the sanctity of life. Khomeini's
          senseless and brutal treatment of the Baha'is is
          HOUSE DEBATE
          an affront to all peace-loving peoples, and I join
          my colleagues in condemning the actions of
          Khomeini and his thugs.
          I hope that this resolution will focus light
          on these atrocities so that these murders and
          tortures may be lessened and the Baha'is may,
          in fact, live in peace.
          • Mr. FASCELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in sup-
          port of House Concurrent Resolution 226, ex-
          pressing the sense of the Congress regarding
          the persecution of members of the Baha'i reli-
          gion in Iran by the Government of Iran.
          At the outset, I would like to especially
          commend two Members for their energetic
          leadership Ofl this issue—the Honorable JOHN
          PORTER, cochairman of the Human Rights
          Caucus and sponsor of the resolution, and the
          Honorable Gus YATRON, chairman of the Sub-
          committee on Human Rights and Internation-
          al Organizations, whose subcommittee con-
          ducted hearings and considered the resolution.
          House Concurrent Resolution 226 has broad
          support in the House with cosponsorship of
          over 180 Members.
          The persecution of the Baha'is in Iran is not
          a new occurrence—it has persisted throughout
          their 140 year history. Most unfortunately, the
          abuses have intensified to an intolerable degree
          since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Over 150, of
          the 300,000 Baha'is in Iran have been executed
          since that time. Estimates of the number of Ba-
          ha'is incarcerated there range from 500 to over
          700—many have been tortured, and some have
          died in prison. Even women and children
          among this pacifistic minority have been tor-
          mented and executed.
          In an egregious disregard for the Baha'is, not
          only did the Government officially ban the Ba
          ha'i religion in August 1983, but it has targeted
          these peace-loving people for extreme abuse.
          Baha'is have been fired from their jobs, denied
          their pensions, and had their property and
          businesses confiscated—even their religious
          shrines and cemeteries have been desecrated
          and destroyed. The basic tenets of the Baha'i
          beliefs—pacifism, social equality, and toler-
          ance—make them particularly vulnerable to
          the merciless fanaticism directed against them.
          Other religious minorities in Iran have also
          been subjected to persecution—jews, Chris-
          tians, and Zoroastrians. The attacks against the
          Baha'is have been the most flagrant, however.
          The resolution before us charges the Iranian
          Government with responsibility for respecting
          the rights of all its citizens, including the Ba-
          ha'is; condemns that Government's decision to
          label all Baha'i activities as “criminal acts”; and
          calls on the President to work with other na-
          tions to appeal to Iran on behalf of the Baha'is,
          and to encourage cooperation with U.N. ef-
          forts, and to provide humanitarian assistance
          to Baha'is fleeing from Iran.
          Mr. Speaker, as a humanitarian appeal to
          Iran to encourage its sensitivity toward the Ba-
          ha'is, I urge the adoption of House Concurrent
          Resolution 226..
          Mr. LEACH of iowa. Mr. Speaker, 1 have no
          further requests for time, and I yield back the
          balance of my time.
          Mr. YATRON. Mr. Speaker, I have no fur-
          ther requests for time, and I yield back the bal-
          ance of my time.
          The concurrent resolution was agreed to.
          A motion to reconsider was laid on the ta-
          Senate Debate: Sending a Clear Signal
          THE concurrent resolution expressing the
          sense of the U.S. Congress about the continued
          persecution of the Baha'is in Iran by the gov-
          ernment in Iran, having been passed by the
          Subcommittee on Human Rights and Interna-
          tional Organizations of the Foreign Affairs
          Committee of the U.S. House of Represent-
          atives and by the House itself on May 22, 1984,
          went before the U.S. Senate in June. The fol-
          lowing is the text of the debate in the Senate as
          it appears in the Senate Congressional Record
          on June 15, 1984, pages S 7367—71—ED.
          Mr. BAKER. Mr. President, I send a concur-
          rent resolution to the desk and ask for its im-
          mediate consideration.
          The PRESIDING OFFICER. The concur-
          rent resolution will be stated.
          The legislative clerk read as follows:
          A concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 226) ex-
          pressing the sense of the Congress regarding the per-
          secution of members of the Bahai religion in Iran by
          the Government of Iran.
          The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without ob-
          jection, the Senate will proceed to its consider-
          Mr. PERCY. Mr. President, today the Senate
          votes on House Concurrent Resolution 226,
          condemning the persecution of the Baha'is in
          Iran. Last week the Foreign Relations Commit-
          tee unaniniously passed this resolution. Given
          the plight of the Baha'i community, I believe it
          is time for the full Senate again to go on record
          as objecting strenuously to the treatment of
          this peaceful religious minority. The House
          passed an identical resolution on May 22, and,
          together, our message will be strong.
          Since the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini in
          1979, the Baha'i community in Iran has been
          subjected to cruel and escalating persecution.
          Since the Khomeini government took power,
          175 Baha'is have been executed for the crime of
          their faith, and many others continue to suffer
          systematic oppression and torture. According
          to Baha'i leaders in the United States, the perse-
          cution appears to be entering a new and sinister
          I know many Baha'i people because the Ba-
          ha'i headquarters in the United States is located
          just two blocks from my house in Illinois. The
          Baha'i community in the United States fully
          supports this resolution. They believe that it is
          crucially important at this time to focus inter-
          national attention on the severe situation for
          their coreligionists in Iran. By passing this reso-
          lution, the Senate will make public its absolute
          condemnation of Iran's persecution of the Ba-
          Mr. MATHIAS. Mr. President, during this
          year's commemoration of Maryland's 350th
          anniversary, I have often been reminded that
          the first settlers of our State came to this coun-
          try to establish a haven of religious toleration.
          Unfortunately, intolerance continues today in
          many places of the world.
          The persecution of the Baha'is in Iran is a
          tragic case that calls for our support for House
          Concurrent Resolution 226, which condemns
          the Iranian Government's treatment of the Ba-
          Since the Khomeini regime took power in
          1979, the Government of Iran has embarked
          upon a conscious policy of persecuting those of
          the Baha'i faith in the country of its birth.
          More than 175 Baha'is have been executed
          by the Khomeini regime. Many of those ex-
          ecuted were elected leaders of Baha'i assem-
          blies, the governing bodies of this religious
          faith, which has no clergy but elects its leaders
          to direct the affairs of the community. Women
          and teenage girls have been hanged for their re-
          ligious faith. Indeed, the proof that the persecu-
          tion is based solely on religious differences is
          seen in the fact that almost all of those executed
          were offered their freedom, and restoration of
          jobs and possessions, if only they would re-
          nounce their faith and embrace Islam.
          The administration has issued two public
          appeals on behalf of the Iranian Baha'i commu-
          nity, and continues to work in the United Na-
          tions Human Rights Commission to secure
          collective appeals against the actions of the
          Khomeini regime.
          The results of these efforts have been mod-
          est. But it is my sincere hope that in passing this
          resolution today we will send a strong signal to
          the civilized world that we cannot tolerate
          mindless persecution of a community of inno-
          cent men and women.
          Mrs. KASSEBAUM. Mr. President, the au-
          thors of this resolution should be commended
          for the leadership that they have exercised on
          this most important humanitarian issue. No-
          where is the repugnance of the radical regime
          in Iran more apparent than in its vicious and in-
          defensible persecution, if not genocide, against
          the Baha'i people in that country. This is reli-
          gious persecution in its most virulent form.
          Neither racial nor cultural differences distin-
          guish Baha'i Iranians from their Shi'ite Mos-
          1cm countrymen. It is purely on the basis of re-
          ligious intolerance that Baha'is in Iran are
          persecuted, tortured and killed.
          From time to time, history has witnessed
          the kind of intolerance and genocide that the
          present Iranian regime is visiting upon its own
          Baha'i population. However, when brutality
          of this type has been exposed to the world's
          eye, history also shows us that no regime that
          engages in such abuses can last for long. This is
          why the authors of Senate Concurrent Resolu-
          tion 86 deserve our praise. They are bringing
          ongoing abuses to our consciousness. They are
          providing the first necessary step to bring pres-
          sures to bear on the perpetrators of the prac-
          tices we condemn.
          In conclusion, Mr. President, let me state
          that I do not believe that this issue is a matter of
          exclusively Christian or Jewish concern against
          Moslems. In point of fact, this issue is of con-
          cern to all people of all religious faiths. Persecu-
          tion against any one group affects us all, for it is
          all too easy for any of us to become the next
          victim if we only stand by while the rights of
          others are abused.
          Mr. HEINZ. Mr. President, I ani deeply
          gratified by the actions of the Senate Foreign
          Relations Committee in bringing this resolu-
          tion, House Concurrent Resolution 226, to the
          floor, and I urge all of my colleagues to join in
          condemning the Iranian Government for the
          continued persecution of the people of the Ba-
          ha'i faith. This resolution is identical to Senate
          Concurrent Resolution 86 introduced by Sena-
          tor PERCY and myself last November.
          As the war between Iran and Iraq intensifies
          our attention is necessarily focused on that
          strategic yet volatile corner of the world. We
          must not, however, let that conflulct divert our
          attention from an international tragedy which
          has befallen a small, peaceful religious minority
          in Iran—the Baha'is.
          The rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini in the
          1979 Islamic revolution initiated escalating ha-
          tred and hardship for the peaceful Baha'i com-
          munity in Iran. Over 170 Baha'is—men, wom-
          en, and even teenage girls—have been executed
          by the Khomeini regime, ostensibly on crimi-
          nal charges. But in truth these innocent people
          SENiVIE 1)EBAiE 53
          54 /VQRLI) ORI)ER: WINTER 1983—84
          were publicly hanged because of their dedica-
          tion to the Baha'i faith.
          Members of the Baha'i community have
          been denied their basic human rights. Their re-
          ligion is not recognized by the Khomeini
          girne, and every attempt is made to convert Ba-
          ha'is to Islam through the threat of o cially-
          sanctioned persecution. For refusing to embrace
          the religion of the ruling government, thousand s,
          have been arrested and tortured, losing their
          property and jobs. Holy sites have been confis-
          cated and desecrated.
          On May 2, 1984, the House Subcommittee
          on Human Rights and International Organ iza-
          dons held a hearing on the “Religious Persecu-
          tion of the Baha'is in Iran.” The record of that
          hearing demonstrates the horror which is be-
          ing inflicted upon the Baha'is of Iran. Since
          Senator PERCY and I introduced Senate Con-
          current Resolution 86 on November 14, 1983,
          over 20 more individuals have been executed.
          Countless others have faced torture in order to
          elicit false confessions that they were members
          of the CIA or agents of Zionism who were at-
          tempting to overthrow the regime. In addition,
          the record reveals that some 700 Baha'is, in-
          cluding children, are being held in Iranian pris-
          ons. Because access to these victims is strictly
          limited by the regime, their fate is uncertain
          and precarious.
          Ms President, Senate Concurrent Resolu-
          don 86 calls attention to the tragic and unjust
          persecution of this religious minority. The res-
          olution condemns the Khomeini regime's ac-
          dons against the Baha'is and reaffirms our soli-
          darity with the Baha'i people. The resolution
          also calls on the President to take an active role
          in persuading the iranian Government to halt
          the destruction of this peaceful community.
          I am pleased the 67 Members of the Senate
          are cosponso s of Senate Concurrent Resolu-
          tion 86 and that it is supported by the State
          Department on behalf of the Reagan admin-
          istration. In a recent letter to the chairman of
          the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
          CHARLES PERCY. the State Department ac-
          knowledges that resolutions in multilateral bo-
          dies and in international media serve as a brake
          on the Iranian regime and prevent even more
          egregious actions that might be taken out of
          the glare of world publicity.
          Let me urge each of my Senate colleagues to
          add his or her support to this important resolu-
          tion, House Concurrence Resolution 226. To-
          gether, this body can send a clear signal directly
          to the Iranian regime that we have noted and
          that we condemn these outrageous violations
          of internationally accepted standards of basic
          human rights.
          Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to
          insert into the RECORD a recent Newsweek ar-
          ticle, “Death Inside Khomeini's Jails,” which is
          an eyewitness account of torture and execution
          in Iran.
          There being no objection, the article was or-
          dered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
          Safely away from Ayatollah Khomeini's jails, a survi-
          s'or sat in a London oII ce last week describing thc tor-
          ments she had endured. She was a woman in her early 40s, a
          mother of three, .She was also a Baha'i, a member of a reli-
          gious faith that Iran's Islamic leaders consider a heresy.
          Since the over-throw of the shah, they have relentlessly
          persecuted the country's 300,000 Baha'is—arrest ing their,,
          confiscating their property and, sometimes, when they re-
          fuse to recant their religion, executing them. lu usc the
          woman's name would jeopardize the lives of relatives still
          in [ ran. But the story she told Newsweek's london bureau
          chief Tony Clift n seemed as credible as it was bleak. Ex-
          I worked fo the National Iranian Oil Co. in Shiraz.
          About two year ago I was taken before two mullahs who
          questioned mc fcjr four hours. They tried to convince me I
          should recant an i convert to Islam. They told me that. ill
          did not recant I iould he dealt with according to “Islamic
          law.” I said I could not. About 10 days later I was sum-
          moned again. ‘rhey asked who my family and friends were
          and for the names of other Baha'is. One said, “Don't think
          you're just going to lose your job—from now on you'll be
          followed everywhere.”
          And then I was sacked, for being “a follower of the mis-
          leading sect of Baha'ism.” Baha'is were not allowed to leave
          the country. But I didn't waist to leave—I hadn't done any-
          thing wrong. At the end of 1982, four Revolutionary
          Guards came to our house and took me. My thrce-year.old
          boy ran after Inc crying, “I want my nsunsmy!” A guard
          just threw him aside.
          They dr ve me to the Scpah military prison in south-
          ern Shiraz. When we came to the courtyard they blind-
          folded me. I was led into a room and a voice said, “What's
          the charge?” anti someone replied, “Balia'i.” There seemed
          to be other men in the room and they cursed mc: “Your fa-
          ther was a dog.” “Your ancestors were animals.” “You're a
          racial degenerate.” This went on for two hours. Afterward,
          SEN ATE DEBATE
          I was taken to another room where a woman stripped me
          and searched me. Then I was taken to a cell.
          The cell was about 10 feet square. It was in semi-
          darkness, lit only by two dirty windows in the ceil-
          ing. There were about 40 women of all ages in it,
          most of them Baha'is. But some were political pris-
          oners. A small number were there for civil crimes.
          We were squeezed together standing up, and when
          we tried to sleep at night we had to lie on our sides,
          because if we lay on our backs or stomachs we took
          up too much room. I was there almost two months.
          During that time, women were taken out and tor-
          tured and then brought back. There was never a
          time when someone was not groaning or screaming
          or lying unconscious next to you.
          I will always remember Nusrat Yaldoi, a Baha'i
          woman I knew. They tried to force her to recant,
          and the guards whipped her with wire cables. Be-
          cause she was a woman they had covered her back
          with a cotton chador, because it would have been
          immodest for them to see her bare back. The wires
          had torn her back to shreds, so that you could see
          the bone, but they had also torn the chador to shreds
          a d the piecesof rag had been whipped into the raw
          flesh on her back. They whipped her until she was
          unconscious and threw her in the cell. Then another
          group of guards came in and said they needed Yaldoi
          for her trial. We all said she couldn't be tried because
          she was unconscious. They just dragged her by the
          arms, with her feet trailing on the floor. Later she
          told us that when they were beating her they said
          they would stop if she would go on radio and televi-
          sion to publicly deny her faith and to say that the Ba-
          ha'is spied for Israel. She was in the cell for 55 days
          without medical attention. Finally she was taken
          away and hanged with nine other women who had
          also refused to recant.
          I was never tortured myself, but I was questioned
          endlessly, sometimes for 12 to 14 hours at a time.
          They tried to get me to reveal the whereabouts of
          other Baha'is and where Baha'i funds were hidden.
          Sometimes I would be blindfolded and stood against
          a wall, and suddenly the guards would cock their ri-
          fles as though they were about to shoot me. Once,
          they blindfolded me and took me downstairs to a.
          room that must have been a torture chamber. I could
          hear someone being whipped, and could hear
          screams and groans. Someone said to me, “This will
          happen to you if you don't tell us what we want to
          know.” Then one day I was taken into a courtroom.
          The guards had my three-year-old son. I hadn't seen
          him since they arrested me. They let him sit on my
          knee. One of the men said, “Here's your son. You
          can keep him with you, and have your home and
          pension back. All you have to do is recant. If you
          don't—we'll take you out and hang you.” I still re-
          Torture: It was common practice to put pressure
          on you through ycur family. One day the prison
          guards came for another Baha'i woman, a young
          hospital nurse from Shiraz named Tahirin Siavashi.
          They told her that her husband, Jamshid, had re-
          canted. When they brought him to see her, two
          guards had to support him becatise he couldn't walk:
          he had been whipped and his toenails pulled out.
          Jamshid told her that he had been condemned to
          death, but that he had not recanted and that she
          must not do so either. Two days later they hanged
          Last year they hanged Tahirin Siyavashi too. The
          youngest of the nine Baha'i women hanged Was
          Muna Mahmadnijhad. She was 17. Her father had
          been tied face down on a bed and flogged for refus-
          ing to disclose the names of other Baha'is. He told
          her to cooperate with the authorities so that they
          would not beat her too. But of course she was so
          young she didn't know anything. So they hanged
          him, and they hanged her as well. She was only a
          high-school student and had never done any harm to
          Then they released the survivor. She thinks she
          was freed because she was a high Baha'i! othcial in
          Shiraz. “I think they believed that if theylet me go,
          they could keep a watch on me and wait for me to
          lead them to our people who were in hiding.” In-
          stead, she made her way safely out of iran. She still
          carries a photograph of Tahirin Siyavashi. “The last
          thing she said to me was, ‘Go and tell everyone what
          they're doing to us.' And so I'm telling you, now.”
          Mr. PELL. Mr. President, the resolution be-
          fore us, House Concurrent Resolution 226,
          concerns the plight of the Baha'is in Iran. With-
          out a doubt, the treatment of the Baha'is is the
          most serious of many appalling human rights
          abuses in Iran today, and one of the most egre-
          gious human rights violations anywhere. I
          commend my colleague from Pennsylvania,
          Senator HEINZ, for offering this timely resolu-
          tion and for his efforts to secure its passage.
          The Khomeini regime has, in effect, made
          adherence to the Baha'i faith a ciinie. In Au-
          .ist 1983, Iran's Revolutionary Prosecutor
          General effectively banned all Baha'i religious
          activity. In Iran, it is now a crime for the Ba-
          ha'is to participate in a social welfare rganiza-
          tion, to operate a business corporation, or to
          teach the faith, even by parents to children at
          borne. Baha'i shrines and cemeteries have been
          desecrated and Baha'i women, whose mar-
          riages are not recognized by the regime, have
          been branded prostitutes.
          Since Khomeini took power niore than 170
          Baha'is have been executed. The victims have
          56 WORlD ORDER: /VINTER 1983—84
          included men, women, and even children.
          Over 700 Baha'is are imprisoned in Iran today.
          Torture of the Baha'is—including the whip-
          ping of prisoners with metal cables, the pour-
          ing of boiling water on prisoners, and severe
          beatings—is commonplace.
          We should harbor no illusions about the
          probable fate of Iran's Baha'is. I would like to
          quote a brief extract from an interview given
          by Hojjatol-Islam Qazi, a religious judge and'
          president of the Revolutionary Court of
          The Iranian nation has arisen in accordance with
          Koranic teachings and by the will of God has deter-
          mined to establish the Government of God on
          earth. Therefore, it cannot tolerate the perverted Ba-
          ha'is who are instruments of Satan and followers of
          the devil and of the super powers and their agents,
          such as the Universal House of Justice of Israel. It is
          absolutely certain that in the Islamic Republic of
          Iran there is no place whatsoever for Baha'is and Ba-
          Of the seriousness of the regime's intention
          to eliminate the Baha'is from Iran, there can be
          no doubt. Hojjatol-Islam Qazi's comments
          came as the Shiraz Court sentenced 20 Baha'is
          to death.
          The treatment of the Baha'is in Iran is all to
          reminiscent of the treatment of the German
          Jews in the early stages of Hitler's Reich. If a
          full-scale genocide is to be avoided, the world
          community must keep international attention
          focused on Iran's treatment of the Baha'is. Res-
          olutions, such as the one we are about to pass,
          at-c a useful tool in insuring that the vilest crime
          of all—genocide—does not occur in the dark.
          Mr. SARBANES. Mr. President, last year an
          Iranian Prosecutor General published an edict
          which defines as “criminal acts” the teaching
          and religious activities of the Baha'i faith, in ef-
          fect outlawing the formal practice of the Baha'i
          religion and placing in jeopardy the employ-
          ment, education, property and even the lives of
          the Baha'is themselves. This edict does not rep-
          resent a departure from the established policies
          of the Khomeini government in Iran; it merely
          carries those policies forward, to establish a
          new framework for the oppression and perse-
          cution of persons of the Baha'i faith.
          The policies of oppression and persecution
          are well documented. In the House of Repre-
          sentatives, the Subcommittee on Human
          Rights and International Organizations of the
          Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings in
          May 1982, and again in May of this year to doc-
          ument the tragic situation of the Baha'is. The
          Senate Foreign Relations Committee is sched-
          uled to receive further testimony in hearings
          on June 26.
          We have learned from the bitter experience
          of this century that the persecution of a vulner-
          able people must not be ignored. The approxi-
          mately 300,000 Baha'is now living in Iran are
          indeed vulnerable, and House Concurrent Res-
          olution 226 speaks out in their defense by con-
          demning the Iranian policies of persecution
          and calling for international cooperation on
          behalf of the Baha'is. As Elie Wiesel has so elo-
          quently reminded us, the opposite of love is
          not hate but indifference. Our respect for hu-
          man rights and human dignity, indeed our own
          self-respect as a free nation will not permit us
          to remain indifferent.
          Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I rise in strong
          support of House Concurrent Resolution 226,
          regarding persecution of members of the Ba-
          ha'i faith by the Government in Iran. Along
          with a majority of my colleagues, I am a co-
          sponsor of this resolution, and I hope that the
          Senate will pass it in timely fashion.
          The Baha'i faith was founded 140 years ago
          in Iran. While I am not myself any great expert
          on the finer points of religious doctrine, I think
          an outside observer would agree that the most
          striking feature of the Baha'i religion is the em-
          pha is placed on tolerance. Live and let live,
          The road the Baha'is have faced has been a hard
          one, but they have stuck to that basic principle.
          That is why what is being done to them now is
          particularly ironic—and especially painful.
          There are now some 300,000 Baha'is in Iran.
          Their very existence as an organized religion,
          the passage of their faith to their children, is il-
          legaL Since 1979, 170 prominent Baha'is have
          been executed in Iran for their beliefs. Last Au-
          gust, Iran's Prosecutor General declared that all
          Baha'i teaching and organized religious activi-
          ties were criminal activities. Revolutionary
          guards, the brown shirts of the Khomeini re-
          gime, have the authority to enter any Baha'i
          SENME DEBATE
          home at will. More than 300 Baha'i homes
          have been destroyed.
          Recently, Iran's Minister of Works and So-
          cial Affairs officially instructed commercial
          and industrial institutions not to pay the sala-
          ries of the Baha'is on their staff. More than
          10,000 Baha'is have simply been dismissed,
          without warning, without justification; their
          incomes erased, their hopes wiped out. Baha'i
          students have been expelled from colleges and
          secondary schools because of their religion.
          And, in most places in Iran, it is impossible for
          a child of Baha'i parents to obtain even an ele-
          mentary school education.
          These statistics are accurate, but they are
          not the whole story. We have reliable accounts
          of the horrible truth. We have heard of the Ba-
          ha'i woman whose husband was executed by
          firing squad—which then demanded payment
          to cover the cost of the bullets. We know about
          the Baha'i woman who gave birth and was
          killed by a fanatic mob, who took her child
          from the murdered mother to be raised accord-
          ing to Khomeini's brand of Islam—and we won-
          der at the fate of that child, what the future will
          hold. We know about the Baha'i prisoners who
          have died in custody, tortured to death because
          they refused to confess to fantastic crimes they
          did not commit. And we know what such con-
          fessions would be used for—justification for
          more persecution of the Baha'is, and the other
          luckless victims of Iran's Islamic Republic.
          Mr. President, there is a word for this kind
          of wholesale atrocity. The word is “genocide.”
          The August 1983 edict against the Baha'is re-
          minds me of nothing so much as the Nurem-
          berg laws of a half-century ago. We cannot al-
          low this to go on without protest. We know
          that, at this time, there is little we can do to aid
          the Baha'is in Iran, but as Dr. Firuz Kazemza-
          deh, a distinguished constituent of mine, a Yale
          professor and the secretary of the Baha'is As-
          sembly in America, has said, “It is more diffi-
          cult to kill, more difficult to torture, in broad
          That is why passage of House Concurrent
          Resolution 226 is so important. My good
          friend and colleague, Senator HEINZ and Con-
          gressmen YATRON, PORTER, STARK, and
          LEACH as well, deserve credit for pressing this
          matter in Congress. We must shine the light on
          the persecution of the Baha'is. This resolution
          does three things: First, it states that Iran will
          be held responsible for the crimes against the
          Baha'is; second, it condemns the efforts of the
          Iranian Government to destroy the Baha'is by
          making their religious practices illegal; and
          third, it urges the President to work /;‘ith the
          appropriate governments, and with the United
          Nations, to provide aid and comfort to the Ba-
          ha'is, both those within Iran and those who
          have managed to escape. These are sound goals,
          and I urge my colleagues to support them by
          prompt passage of House Concurrent Resolu-
          tion 226.
          Mr. GLENN. Mr. Pr esident, as a cosponsor
          of Senate Concurrent Resolution 86, the Sen-
          ate companion to House Concurrent Resolu-
          tion 226, I join my colleagues in condemning
          Iran's persecution of the Baha'i religious mi-
          nority. While the peaceful Baha'i community
          has been persecuted in Iran for well over a cen-
          tury, the current Iranian Government has
          fiercely rekindled its oppression of the Baha'is.
          Since the establishment of a fundamentalist,
          Shi'ite theocracy in Iran in 1979, well over a
          hundred Baha'is have been executed, several
          hundred have been imprisoned, and the safety
          and civil rights of the more than 300,000 Ba-
          ha'is living in Iran have been seriously threat-
          ened. An ominous development is the 1r nian
          Government's banning of Baha'i administra-
          tive institutions which paves the way for future
          arrests of thousands of individuals who serve
          on Baha'i spiritual assemblies. The Iranian
          Government has created conditions which
          threaten the very survival of the Baha'is faith in
          Only a few months ago, the Congress com-
          mitted itself to the establishment of a memorial
          here in the Nation's capital to serve as a re-
          minder of the millions who perished in the Ho-
          locaust during World War II. The goal of this
          memorial was not only to remind us of this tei-
          rible era of persecution, but to serve as a warn-
          ing to he vigilant against the persecution that
          continues in our own time. As citizens of the
          world's oldest democracy, we are committed to
          58 WORLD ORDER /VINTER 1983—84
          the universal rights of the individual and spe-
          cifically to the freedom to worship without
          fear of oppression. We are deeply committed to
          the belief that the Baha'is should have this same
          While this resolution may do little to ease
          the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran, it would
          be unconscionable for the Congress to be silent
          in the face of this great injustice. We call upon
          the administration to work with our allies an
          all other members of the international commu-
          nity on behalf of the persecuted Baha'is of Iran.
          Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I
          want to take this opportunity to address an im-
          portant human rights issue. The persecution of
          the iranian Baha'is by the Khomeini regime is
          perhaps one of the worst human rights viola-
          tions in the world today. I feel compelled to
          speak out against this persecution.
          Not a week passes without an act of sheer
          barbarism and religious oppression occurring
          in Iran, and the Baha'is are a key target. Al-
          ready, more than 60 people—storekeepers, arti-
          sans, teachers, government employees, doc-
          tors, a university professor—have been
          lynched by mobs, or executed by revolution-
          ar)' firing squads. At least 190 people have been
          brutally murdered by the Iranian Government
          since the Government takeover in 1979. Hun-
          dreds of Baha'is have been dismissed from jobs;
          thousands more thave lost their homes and
          possessions. More than 700 Baha'is have been
          imprisoned, charged by the Iranian Govern-
          ment with trumped up charges such as coopera-
          tion with Zionism, spying for imperialist pow-
          ers, corrupting the Earth, and warring with
          This persecution is based upon theological
          differences between the Shi'ite Islams in con-
          trol of Iran, and the Baha'is, an Islamic off-
          shoot. The Baha'is, because of these differ-
          ences, arc considered heretical. Their religion is
          not even formally recognized in the Iranian
          constitution, as other non-Islamic religions are.
          As this attitude conflicts with those estab-
          lished in our Constitution and is foreign to the
          American concept of human rights, steps have
          been taken by the U.S. Government to alert
          the rest of the world to the Baha'is' search for a
          solution. The U.N. Human Rights Commis-
          sion has passed four major resolutions concern-
          ing the persecution, and the United States has
          supported each one. The Voice of America has
          included mention of the persecution in its Per-
          sian language broadcasts. The Secretary of
          State and the President have issued statements
          calling attention to the persecution and re-
          questing international support. The process
          has begun.
          It is obvious that further action must be tak-
          en to combat this persecution. The 300,000 Ba-
          ha'is in Iran are aware of this. The State De-
          partment and the President are aware of this.
          Congress has begun to act. On May 22 the
          House passed a resolution condemning this
          persecution and calling on the President to
          work with ppropriate foreign governments in
          forming an appeal to the Khomeini regime.
          The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has
          passed this measure, and I understand the Sen-
          ate will take it up within the next week. Final-
          ly, the Foreign Relations Committee will be
          holding a hearing on June 26 which will ad-
          dress the plight of the Baha'is.
          These efforts must continue. The Baha'is
          cannot be forgotten. Thank you, Mr. Presi-
          Mr. PRESSLER. Mr. President, I rise in sup-
          port of thi resolution condemning the perse-
          cution of the Baha'is in Iran. I have been a co-
          sponsor of this meausre in the Senate and a
          consistent critic of the Khomeini regime's
          treatment of the Baha'is. I urge my colleagues
          to join me today in support of this important
          The Baha'i religion has members in 152 in-
          dependent nations. It was founded in the 19th
          century as an offshoot of Shi' ite Islam. This
          faith is not considered to be a branch of Islam
          Baha'is i epresent the largest religious minor-
          ity in Iran. Their 350,000 members make up
          slightly less than 1 percent of the Iranian popu-
          - lation. Because of the relatively progressive
          ways of the Baha'is, they have come under se-
          vere persecution by Iranian authorities. They
          are often branded heretics and are condemned
          for having ties with Israel and the West.
          Since 1979, over 170 Baha'is have been
          executed because of their religious beliefs. Thou-
          sands more have been jailed, with approximately
          700 in custody at this time. All organized Baha'i
          activities are labeled criminal acts and Baha'is
          who refuse to reject their religion for the ways
          of Islam are subject to execution.
          In addition, thousands of Baha'is have been
          dismissed from their jobs because of their faith.
          Their children have been expelled from
          schools. Places of worship have been confiscat-
          ed and homes destroyed.
          Mi President, the Baha'is of Iran have been
          systematically denied virtually all freedom and
          opportunity. By anyone's measure, their hu-
          man rights continue to be trampled upon. In
          particular, their freedom of religion is effective-
          ly nonexistent. The Iranian Government must
          be convinced that these atrocities are unaccep-
          table and cannot be tolerated. To this end, the
          U.S. Government—and, indeed, all govern-
          ments of the world—should direct themselves.
          This action of the U.S. Congress should inspire
          other nations, many of whom have closer ties
          with Iranian authorities than does the United
          States, to increase pressure on Iranians with
          whom they do business to stop official and pri-
          vate atrocities against the Baha'is.
          Mr. BOSCHWITZ. Mr. President, I am
          pleased to add my own sentiments to those of
          the members who have spoken before me to-
          day in support of Senate Concurrent Resolu-
          tion 86, expressing the sense of the Congress re-
          garding the persecution of members of the
          Baha'i religion in Iran by the Government of
          Iran. It's easy to become jaded these days to the
          many examples we read and hear about of tor-
          ture, persecution, and killings, but the situa-
          tion faced by the Baha'i community is of a
          scope that makes some response a moral neces-
          Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Baha'i
          community has come under increasing pres-
          sure from the theocratic regime which rules
          that unfortunate country. The Baha'is have
          had to face an escalating series of personal hard-
          ships, hardships which are the result not of in-
          dividual prejudice but of a systematic govern-
          mental policy which has as its goal the
          elimination of this world religion, which the
          fundamentalists in Teheran consider a heretical
          Evidence of the governmental nature of the
          persecution which the Baha'is currently face is
          plentiful. Baha'i shrines and cemeteries have
          been violated, their property rights have been
          ignored or revoked, they are being systemati-
          cally excluded from social services, and prac-
          tice of their religion has been outlawed by the
          Prosecutor General.
          More frighteningly, these measures have re-
          cently been supplemented by widespread kill-
          ings. Hundreds have been executed, while
          countless others have been the victims of extra-
          judicial killing. Indeed, the situation has
          reached the point where, as the distinguished
          ranking member of the Senate Foreign Rela-
          tions Committee, Senator PELL, has observed,
          the word “persecution” has arguably been sup-
          planted by the word “genocide.”
          I recognize that, in the face of the mon-
          strous horror which we confront here, our
          weapons seem pitifully inadequate. And yet I
          would urge the Senators not to under stirnate
          the value of resolutions of this sort. As Prof.
          Firuz Kazemzadeh [ Gah-zern-zah-dayl has ar-
          gued in urging action on this bill, “It is more
          difficult to kill, more difficult to torture in
          broad daylight.”
          Men love the darkness, Mr. President, be-
          cause it hides their deeds. This amendment
          sheds light on the dark deeds of a despotic re-
          gime. I don't suggest that our responsibility
          ends there, but it certainly begins there. I ask,
          then, for the adoption of this beginning, a first
          step toward the return of some degree of light
          to the Baha'is in Iran.
          The concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res.
          226) was considered and agreed to.
          The preamble was agreed to.
          Mr. BAKER. Mr. President, 1 move to re-
          consider the vote by which the concurrent res-
          olution was agreed to.
          Mr. BYRD. I move to lay that motion on
          the table.
          The motion to lay on the table was agreed
          H. Con. Res. 226
          Aereed to June 15, 1984
          Binmj,-ci ghth on grez of the. dIlInitcd tat z of merIca
          Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday, the twenty-third day of January,
          one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four
          oncurrtnt lRnolution
          Whereas more than one hundred and fifty members of the Baha'i
          faith have been brutally executed by Iranian authorities since the
          1979 Islamic revo'ution;
          Whereas many Baha'is in Iran have disappeared and others have
          been tortured, persecuted, and deprived of their fundamental
          rights to personal property and employment;
          Whereas an edict issued by Iran's Prosecutor General on August 29,
          1983, has far-reaching implications that threaten the lives of three
          hundred thousand Baha'is residing in Iran and places the future
          practice of Baha'ism in jeopardy by dismantling the administra-
          tive stru ture of the Baha'i religion; and
          Whereas these actions for the first time establish an expressed
          national policy which lays the legal foundation for executions,
          arrests, the confiscation of property, denial of jobs and pensions,
          expulsion of Baha'i children from schools, and other pressures
          which may be brought to bear by Iranian authorities on the
          Baha'is: Now, therefore, be it
          Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring,
          That the Congress—
          (1) holds the Government of Irad responsible for upholding
          the rights of all its nationals, including the Baha'is;
          (2) condemns the recent decision taken by the Government of
          Iran to destroy the Baha'i faith by labeling as “criminal acts”
          all Baha'i teaching and organized religious activities, including
          the attempts by Baha'is to elect their own local and national
          leaders, to meet in assemblies, to communicate among them-
          selves, and to work for volunteer committees; and
          (3) calls upon the President—
          (A) to work with appropriate foreign governments and
          the allies of the United States in forming an appeal to the
          Government of Iran concerning the Baha'is;
          (B) to cooperate fully with the United Nations in its
          efforts on behalf of the Baha'ia and to lead such efforts
          whenever it is possible and appropriate to do so; and
          (C) to provide, and urge others to provide, for huxñani-
          tarian assistance for those Baha'is who flee Iran.
          Sac. 2. The Clerk of the House of Representatives shall transmit a
          copy of this concurrent resolution to the President.
          ‘.a. c . I
          Secretary of t e Senate.
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Tagged as:

Baha'i, Freedom of Religion