Sen's daily

August 20, 2018

Bahai business closed by authorities in Kashan

HRANA, August 19, 2018. –

An optician’s workshop run by Javad Dhabihiyan (جواد ذبیحیان) in Kashan was closed by the local authorities on July 28, by the expedient of not granting it an operating licence, because the owner is a Bahai. The business was also closed for two weeks in April 2016, following instructions from the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Kashan, and was allowed to re-open when Mr. Dhabihiyan promised to obtain a licence.

In recent years the local departments of public places in Iran have closed down many of the small workshops and shops on which Bahais must rely for their income, since they are barred from employment in the civil service and in many economic sectors. Bahais are also barred from running businesses in sectors that involve contact with food or personal services, in line with a commonly held superstition in Iran, that Bahais are “unclean.” A peculiarity of Iran’s apartheid system is that the rules saying what kinds of businesses Bahais may not operate are kept secret, since such discrimination is contrary to various international treaties to which Iran is a signatory. It is not clear — to the Bahais and also to the local authorities in many cases — whether Bahais are permitted to work as opticians.

On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned, but by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete. It does not mention optometry, but says that Bahais may not work in cultural, educational or financial institutions, and are not to be allowed to work in the sectors of periodicals, jewelry, watchmaking, print-making, tourist agencies, car rentals, publishing and bookshops, photography, film-making, internet gaming, computers, or internet cafes. They may not own printing works or hotels and other accommodation for travellers, or teach tailoring skills. The order then refers to the belief that Bahais are unclean, and requires the police bureaus to block them from restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways (Iranian-style), cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.

Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.


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