Sen's daily

May 15, 2019

Bahai barred from rose-water manufacture

HRANA, May 13, 2019.

On May 12, security forces raided the home of Mr. Heshmatollah Ehsaani (حشمت الله احسانی) in the village of Maazgaan (Maazgun, مازگان) in Kashan County, and seized all the items related to making rose-water. He was told that he was not entitled to continue this work. He was told that he would have “problems” with security agencies if the media reported this action. Maazgaan is a village that has had a substantial Bahai population for many years past.

The present action presumably means that making rose-water has been added to the list of occupations that Bahais are barred from, under Iran’s apartheid system. Because Bahais in Iran are excluded from employment in the civil service, education and health, and other major sectors, many of them start small shops or workshops in sectors where this is permitted, but the rules they must obey have been kept secret. The list of occupations that are barred to Bahais also changes at the whims of unidentified authorities. A leaked copy of the list, dating from April 8, 2010, clarifies which economic sectors are forbidden for Bahais. This order from the chief of police to police bureaus all over the country instructs them to constrain, limit and police the activities of Bahais in the specified fields, and ensure the Bahais do not constitute a significant presence in society.

The order specifies that Bahais should not be allowed to earn high incomes, but may work or be employed at the standard minimum income. 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 refers to the widespread Iranian 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), cafe, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.

Since this order was issued, the optometry sector has apparently been added to the list, on or before December 2014. In addition to these limitations on where Bahais may work, the Ministry of Intelligence has pressured Muslims to cut social and economic ties with Bahais, and Bahai businesses across Iran have been shut down where they close to observe the Bahai Holy Days.

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

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