Iran’s Instructions to Monitor Baha’is

The contents of a letter sent on 29 October 2005 by the Iranian Armed Forces’ Command Headquarters to a number of governmental agencies has been made public and is available from the Baha’i World News Service.

The letter asks the agencies to assist in preparing a “complete report of all the activities” of the Baha’is “including political, economic, social and cultural” for the purpose of “identifying all the members” (quoted from an English translation of the letter).

In March the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ms. Asma Jahangir, stated that she was highly concerned about this letter – addressed to the Ministry of Information, the Revolutionary Guard and the Police Force – which states that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had instructed Command Headquarters to gather this information. Ms Jahangir said that this constituted “an impermissible and unacceptable interference with the rights of members of religious minorities” and was concerned that this would form the basis for the increased persecution of the Baha’is in Iran.

Disturbuing evidence has also been found of the extent to which the Iranian authorities are carrying out this instruction. The Baha’i World News Service has a copy of a letter (and English translation) dated 2nd May 2006 instructing the Iranian Union of Battery Manufacturers to provide a full list of Baha’is in the union within one week.

In recent months many Baha’is have been arrested and released without charge in a pattern of activity that is feared to be intended to further harass the Baha’i community, a full report of the situation the Baha’is currently face in Iran can be found here.

Meanwhile, following the disturbing discovery of this confidential correspondence, the worrying plight of the Iranian Baha’is has been brought to the attention of governments and media around the world who have spoken up in their defence. The Baha’i World News Service story quotes responses from, among others, a spokesman for the President of the United States, the Council of Europe, the French Foreign Affairs Minister, the Spanish House of Representatives and the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

See the full story here
See the letter in Persian here
See the English translation here

See also: The Growing Threat to Iran’s Baha’is

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