Sen's daily

May 19, 2017

Non-Bahai shopkeepers in Noshahr call for the reopening of Bahai shops


Translation by Iran Press Watch, May 16, 2017.

Radio Zameneh reports on May 12 that
a group of Noshahr shopkeepers have written to the governor of the city of Noshahr in Mazandaran province (with a copy to the Prosecutor), demanding the removal of the seals placed on seven Bahai business units six months ago. No investigation has been performed during that time. The signatories say that the closure “causes skepticism towards Islamic practices and leads to economic downturn in the city.”

The shopkeepers wrote that according to Paragraph One of the Trade Union’s Guidelines, and Article 28 of the Executive Regulations, any trade unit closed without investigation should be reopened after six months, until the necessary

The shops were sealed by the Office of Properties on the morning of November 1, 2016, because the owners had temporarily closed businesses during the observance of Bahai Holy Days. According to the Iranian Trade Law, those with business licenses are allowed, by law, to close their units for 15 days per year, and should inform the Office of Properties of longer closures.

For the full report, see the translation by Iran Press Watch.

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May 14, 2017

18 Bahai-run businesses in Shahin Shah reopen

Bahai News, May 14, 2017.

The 18 Bahai-run businesses closed down by the authorities in Shahin Shahr, in Isfahan Province, on May 1 have been allowed to reopen by the Mayor’s office, effective from May 14.

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

May 5, 2017

Number of Bahai businesses closed in Shahin Shahr reaches 18


Bahai News (Persian), May 3, 2017.

The number of Bahai-run businesses closed down by the authorities in Shahin Shahr, in Isfahan Province, has risen to 18. The closures all took place on May 1. The businesses all have operating licences which were shown to the Bureau of Public Places, the agency that has closed them down. A source stated that the majority of Bahai-run businesses in Shahin Shahr, a town with a population of 150,000, have been closed down.

The eighteen businesses are all in trades such as television repair, clothing or stationery, except for one seller of dried fruits and nuts. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais may not work in cultural, educational or financial institutions, or 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. Because of the widespread Iranian belief that Bahais are unclean, they are barred from working in restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways, cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee. (See an earlier explanation on this blog).

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

May 2, 2017

Nine Bahai-run businesses shut by authorities in Shahin-Shahr

Bahai News (Persian), May 2, 2017.

Nine Bahai-run businesses in Shahin-Shahr, in Isfahan Province, have been closed down by the city’s Bureau of Public Places because they observed days of rest on the past week’s Bahai Holy days. The businesses are:
– a clothing business run by Mr. sa`id Qa’emi and Mrs Marjan Golshani (آقای سعید قائمی و خانم مرجان گلشنی)
– a hair-dresser’s run by Mr. Iraj Kushkaki (ایرج کوشککی)
– a retail supplies shop run by Mr. Hojjatollah Rouhani ( حجت الله روحانی)
– a dried fruit business run by Mr. Gulzar (گلزار )
– a mechanic’s business run by Mr. Ardavan Farougheyan (اردوان فروغیان)
– a rubber goods shop run by Mr. `Erfan Karamzadeh (عرفان کرمزاده)
– a sewing machine business run by Mr. Mial Azadi and Houssein Shaker (میلاد آزادی و حسین شاکر)
– a stationery shop run by Mr. Hakim and Mr. Navidi (آقایان حکیم و نویدی),
– a business selling burglar alarms and sports goods run by Puya Azadi (پویا آزادی).
Officers from the Bureau of Public Places went looking for Bahai-run businesses yesterday, asking for their business licences and other documents. They told the Bahais that next time they came, they would close the Bahai-run businesses. Today, the majority of the Bahai-run businesses have been closed down.

On June 23, 2016, the Universal House of Justice issued new guidelines for the observance of Bahai Holy Days in Iran, which allow for various compromises between the Bahais’ desire to close their businesses on the Holy Days and authorities’ desire to reduce the visibility of Bahais in commercial centres. For example, Bahais who have businesses could close the business one day before and one day after the Holy Day as well as on the Holy Day, they could leave the lights of a business turned on although nobody is working, or have a worker present although no trading is done. But the guidelines reject the idea of seeking official permission to close for a day, where this is neither provided for in legislation nor imposed on non-Bahais, since this would be to accede to government interference in the freedom of conscience.

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

February 11, 2017

Assets seized from 10 Bahai-run businesses in Karaj and Fardis

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 6, 2017.

During the first week of February, government agents have opened up 10 of the Bahai-run businesses in Karaj and Fardis (two adjoining towns to the West of Tehran) that have been closed down by the authorities, taken away all the stock and other requisites, and re-sealed the premises.

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

January 22, 2017

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan bailed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), January 22, 2017.

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh (کوروش شریف زاده) and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan (فواد میثاقیان), Bahais from Karaj who were arrested on January 19, have been freed on bail of 300 million tumans and 120 million tumans, respectively ($US 92,000 and $US 37,000 respectively). After their arrest they were transferred to Ghezel Hazar prison. Follow the arrest of Mr. Sharif-zadeh, he was taken in handcuffs to his business (which had previously been closed by the authorities), and all his stock was confiscated. The two men are (apparently) joint owners of Sam Optics in Karaj, which has been shut down by the authorities because of their Bahai beliefs. It is one of over 90 Bahai-run businesses that were closed down in various places in November, 2016.

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

January 19, 2017

Two Bahai business-owners arrested in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), January 19, 2017.

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh (کوروش شریف زاده) and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan (فواد میثاقیان), Bahais from Karaj whose optician’s workshop has been shut down by the authorities because of their Bahai beliefs, were summoned to the Office of Suspensions (a department of the Ministry of Justice), and arrested when they arrived. They were taken away from the Office of Suspensions, and their present whereabouts is not known. Kouroush Sharif-zadeh has been previously mentioned on this blog, as the owner of Sam Optics in Karaj, one of over 90 Bahai-run businesses that were closed down in various places in November, 2016.

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

January 12, 2017

Bahai business reopened in Karaj


Campaign against harrassment of Bahais, January 6. 2017.

An office fittings business operated by Kambiz and Kourush Sadeqi ( کامبیز و کوروش صدقی), two Bahai brothers living in Karaj, has been allowed to reopen. In the last three months, at least 140 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed by the authorities because they were closed on Bahai religious holidays. Most remain sealed.

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

January 4, 2017

Iqan Shahidi released after 5 years in prison


Bahai News (Persian), January 1, 2017.

Iqan Shahidi (ایقان شهیدی), a Bahai from Kermanshah, was released from Raja’i Shahr prison on January 1, at the end of a five-year sentence for his activism for equality of educational opportunities in Iran. Mr. Shahidi was successful in the University Entrance exams in 2007, but was excluded from tertiary education because he is a Bahai. The authorities used the excuse of “file incomplete” – which is to say, it lacked the word “Muslim.” He became active in the campaign against educational discrimination, and was arrested along with a number of other human rights activists, including four Bahais, on March 2, 2010, in Kermanshah. He was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran and held in wing 2A for 71 days. During this time he was subjected to prolonged interrogation and physical and psychological torture. He and Sama Nourani ( سما نورانی ), another Bahai who had been denied university admission, were pressured to make televised confessions. At that time he was about 21 years old. He was released on bail of 50 million tumans (at that time worth about 35000 euros) on May 11, 2010.

He was tried in Tehran on July 2 on charges of membership of an illegal organisation (the Committee for the Right to Education (PCED), propaganda against the regime, and membership of the Bahai community. He was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای) in Tehran. Judge Moqayesseh was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (imprisoned national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran) and continues to misuse his judicial position to oppress the Bahai minority even today. The sentence was confirmed by the review court under Judge Mauhed (قاضی موحد). He began his sentence on April 9, 2012. In 2014 he was granted six days of leave from prison, beginning on July 28.

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

December 19, 2016

Another Bahai-run business closed down in Bijar

Iran Press Watch, December 18, 2016.

The business premises of Nosrullah Takapu’i (نصراله تکاپوی) in the city of Bijar in Kurdestan province has been sealed by agents of the Office of Public Places. Mr. Takapu’i has 56 years experience in the dry cleaning business, but said the agents shut his shop because of his belief in the Bahai Faith. The agents who came to close the shop said that if the owner had the necessary permit, they would not have sealed the shop; yet the necessary permit, valid for five years, had been issued that very day. When shown the permit, they sealed the shop doors anyway.

Within the last two months, at least 140 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed because they closed their shops on Bahai religious holidays.

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

December 1, 2016

Eleven Bahai-run businesses closed in Rasht

Iran Press Watch, November 29, 2016.

The Office of Public Places has sealed the business premises of eleven Bahais living in Rasht over the last few days. They are a haberdashery shop run by Faraj Farhangi (فرج فرهنگی), a clock sales & repair business run by Touraj Farhangi (تورج فرهنگی), a medical supplies business run by Mohammad Asadpour (محمد اسدپور), and unspecified businesses run by Foad Yazdani (فواد یزدانی), Mass`oud Razavian (مسعود رضویان), Siamak Abdulhamidi (سیامک عبدالحميدي), Sa`eed Abdulhamidi (سعید عبدالحميدي), Shehab Ta’eed (شهاب تائید), Homayoun Khanlari (همایون خانلری), Bashir Heravi (بشیر هروی), and Sa`adat Yegan (سعادت یگان). Moreover, the Office of Public Places in Lahijan sealed the business of Navid Rouhipour (نوید روحی پور) in that city on November 16. Lahijan and Rasht lie on Iran’s northern coast, on the Caspian Sea.

The businesses were closed by the authorities because their owners had observed Bahai Holy Days. In recent weeks, more than 120 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed across Iran.

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

November 25, 2016

Payam Wali free on bail


Bahai News (Persian), November 25, 2016.

Payam Wali (پیام ولی), a Bahai living in Karaj who was arrested on November 22, was released on bail on November 24. Ironically, the bail was his worthless business licence. His business was closed by the authorities some nine years ago, and he is still trying to get the closure reversed. He recently wrote an open letter to Iranian authorities, seeking an end to the closure of his business.

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

November 16, 2016

Five arrested at the Provincial Governor’s Office of Mazandaran

Iran Press Watch, November 12, 2016.

On the morning of November 8, at least five Bahais were arrested at the Mazandaran Provincial Governor’s Office, and a large number of Bahais were harshly treated in front of that office. According to a report by BahaiNews, at least five Bahais who had attended a day of “public interaction with officials” regarding the sealing of Bahai business premises in Mazandaran Province were arrested by security agents. An informed source told the BahaiNews reporter: “After a number of Bahais were permitted to enter the Provincial Governor’s Office, intelligence agents immediately arrested those who were inside the building. Moreover, those who were outside the door were videotaped and attacked by security agents.”

This informed source added: “The agents were shouting that these people receive instructions from Israel, and that they had come there to assemble, start a riot and set fire to the banks. They kept on shouting this. With respect to those who had been arrested, they said, ‘We have also arrested your leaders’ ‒ meaning those who had been arrested inside the building.”

According to this informed source, the people who had come to this public meeting with the officials were Bahais from the city of Qaemshahr. Based on the latest news received by BahaiNews, the names of some of those arrested are: Nima Nokhaah (نیما نوخواه), Aarshaam Golpour (آرشام گلپور), Sohayl Haqqdoust (سهیل حق دوست), Shahrouz Zamaani (شهروز زمانی) and Behnam Mirzai, who is named by the BBC as `Ala-addin Mirza’i (علاءالدین میرزایی).

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

November 4, 2016

Over 90 Bahai businesses sealed by authorities

Iran Press Watch, November 4, 2016.

According to Bahai News (Persian) and Gold News, security agents and agents from the Office of Public Places raided and shut down eight Bahai-owned businesses in Karaj, 35 in Sari, seven in Nowshahr, 6 in Tonekabon, one each in Fereydunkenar and Amol, two in Bahnemir, three in Chalus, five in Bandar Abbas and 29 Bahai-owned businesses in Qaemshahr.

[The majority of the closures appear to relate to the observance of the Bahai holy days but the report includes the closure of eight Bahai-run optometry business in Karaj, which took place before the Holy Days.]

The names of the business owners along with the corresponding business are as follows:

Karaj

Mansour and Manouchehr Enayati — Zeis store
Farshid Azarshab — Eyeglasses store
Koursoh Sharifzadeh — Sam Optics
Shahriar Rabbani — Lathe workshop, Eyeglasses
Kourosh Laghayee — Glasses repair shop
Pejman Misaahi — Sina Glasses Repair Shop
Forouhari — Optometry
Mahtab — Optometry

Nowshahr

Bahman Rohani — Photography shop
Monib Mansour — Optometry
Raki Yousefi — Optometry
Arastou Aasadi — Welding business
Riazollah Heravi — Horology business
Arash Derakhshanian — Mechanic’s shop
Behshad Derakhshanian — Burglar alarm business

Bandar Abbas

Behzad Rasti — Gameron Glasses
Behram Heidarpour and Mr. Ataollah Rezvani’s family — Zeiss Eyeglasses Store
Mr. Sharafi — Arash Glasses Store
Behzad Heidarpour — Tamasha Eyeglasses Store
Mr. Shadpour — Shayan Optic (managed by Mr. Soleimani)

Qaemshahr

Zahra Golabian — Optometry
Sohrab Laghayee — Optometry
Nima Miri — Cosmetics
Fairborn Sabeti — Appliance repair
Farzad Sabeti — Car alignment and oil change
Changiz Derakhshanian and Nima Nokhah — Toy shop
Rezvaneh Samii — Garment store
Kourosh Ahmadzadegan — Security systems
Alaoddin Mirzayee — Security systems
Shayan Ghedami — Paint store
Hooman Rostami — Burglar alarm business
Shahram and Shahrouz Zamani — Auto parts
Soheil Haghdoost — Optometry
Bahaoddin Samimi — Stationery store
Jhobin Yousefi — Burglar alarm business
Behnam and Behdad Shirvani — Appliance repair
Noorollah Ataeeyan — Motor winding business
Bahram Safari — Electronics
Naim Samimi – Auto body shop
Fazel Asadi – Mobile repair
Zekrollah Akbari – Welding business
Shahin Akbari – Ironware
Fariborz Sanaee – Plastic ware
Zekrollah Babayee – Grocery
Atrollah Movafagh – Refrigerator repair
Shahrokh Asadi – Refrigerator repair
Daryoush Bakhtiari – Automobile studio
Saeed Asadi – Auto repair
Jalal Atayeean – Cosmetics

Sari

Mahyar Ghanbari — Security systems installation
Nima Mahinbakht — Security systems installation
Behzad Zabihi — Eyeglasses store
Kamaloddin Akbar — Woodturning
Ghavanoddin Sabetian — Carpentry
Ramin Moosavi — Building decoration
Naim Kamali — Appliance repair
Kourosh Ahmadi — Engine tuning
Zatollah Darabi — Carpentry
Sanaee — Cosmetics
Zia Khoshbin — Paint store (commercial)
Kourosh Moradi — Carpentry
Hossein Ahmadi — Carpentry
Jamal Movafaghi — Carpentry
Asghar Movafaghi — Carpentry
Ashkan Khalili — Motor winding
Shahrouz Zamani — Auto parts
Yaghoub Akbari — Appliance repair
Kamaloddin Akbari – Woodturning
Mahyar Ghanbari – Security systems installation
Ehsan Sanee – Cosmetics
Sohrab Zahedi – Stationery store
Nima Shabrokh – Cosmetics
Bahman Zabihi – Fabrics and crafts store
Shahriar Foroughian — Electric windings
Behrouz Yousefi – Home appliances repair
Vahid Golpour – Clothing
Jahanbakhsh Movafaghi – Woodturning
Saed Andokhs – Clothing
Akbar Hosseini – Wood shop
Hesam Yousefi – Carpentry
Arman Safaee – Stationery store
Zargham Zamani – Clothing
Shahram Nobakht – Appliances store
Pezhman Roshankoohi – Appliances store

Tonekabon

Misagh Esmaeil zadegan — Telephone repair
Noushin Masoudian — Clothing
Sirous Nasiri — Cabinet making
Saleh Eshkevarian — Home appliances
Sina Garshasbi — Home appliances
Naeim Khalaj Abadi — Furniture manufacturing

Fereydunkenar

Afshin Azadi — Clothing

Bahnemir

Ahmad Nikounejad — Gas appliances (sale and repair)
Feizollah Nikounejad — Bike repair

Amol

Serrollah Hekmatshoar

Chalus

Daryoush Talaee — Shoes store
Farshid Kian — Eyeglasses store
Afshin Sobati — Eyeglasses store

According to Bahai News, the reason for sealing these businesses has been the closure of these shops during the nine Bahai religious holidays. This is despite the fact that according to the Executive Regulations of Article Twenty-eight of the Trade Law, commercial units can keep their businesses closed for up to 15 days without providing prior notice to officials.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2Kp

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

November 1, 2016

Another eight Bahai-run businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), November 1, 2016.

In recent days, agents from the Bureau of Public Places in Karaj have closed down eight businesses run by Bahais. They are all optometry businesses: one a lens grinding workshop, a spectacle repair shop, and six optometry retail shops. Four of the Bahai managers are named as Farshid Adhershab (فرشید آذرشب), Korush Sharifzadeh (کورش شریف زاده), Shahryar Rabbani (شهریار ربانی) and Pazeshman Mithaqi (پژشمان میثاقی). The report states that ten other businesses have been closed recently, simply because they were run by Bahais, but it does not say whether these ten are in Karaj.

The recent closures of optometry shops in Karaj almost certainly relate to the widespread Iranian belief that Bahais are ‘unclean,’ and should not provide personal services to Shiah Muslims, who are ‘clean.’ This belief, and the government’s desire to prevent the Bahai minority prospering, have led to an extensive and largely secret set of rules specifying the jobs and sectors from which Bahais are banned. An order clarifying these rules, dating from 2010, says that Bahais must be barred from 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, or work in 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.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2Kl

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

October 28, 2016

Two Bahai-run businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), October 27, 2016.

On October 26, agents from the Bureau of Public Places closed two businesses in Karaj because they were run by Bahais. They are an optometry workshop run by Mr. Rahmani (رحمانی) and a spectacles shop run by Mr. Behshad (بهشاد). Six other Bahai-run shops in Karaj have been closed in recent weeks. One of these was a luxury goods shop run by Amin Rahmani (امین رحمانی). This is apparently not the same as the optometry workshop run by a Mr. Rahmani in the latest report.

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

October 2, 2016

Six Bahai-run businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), September 29, 2016.

On September 29, officials from the Bureau of Public Places closed down four businesses because they were operated by Bahais. They are a car parts shop run by Javid Iqaneyan ( جاوید ایقانیان ), which was closed previously on September 17, and allowed to reopen a week later, a luxury goods shop run by Amin Rahmani (امین رحمانی), a lighting shop run by Sa`id Vajdani (سعید وجدانی) and a shop called “Elixir” run by Ata’ullah Shahidi (عطالله شهیدی). In the previous week they closed to more Bahai business in Karaj, which I neglected to report at the time: those of Fardad Ja`fari (فرداد جعفری) and Houman Shahidi (هومن شهیدی). Houman Shahidi is the brother of Ata’ullah Shahidi.

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

September 28, 2016

Two Bahai business closed, more given notice of closure


Bahai News (Persian), September 25, 2016.

On September 22, officials from the Bureau of Public Places closed in Omidieh county, in the southern province of Khuzestan, closed two Bahai-run businesses. They were managed by Mustafa `Ebadi (مصطفی عبادی) and Ayaz Afshari (ایاز افشاری ), and worked in the refrigeration sector. Omidieh county is one of the hottest inhabited places on earth, during the summer months. No reason was given for the closures. The businesses have licenses to operate that are valid for another three years. Other Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Khuzestan have been given a 10-day notice of closure.

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

September 23, 2016

Another Bahai business closed in Karaj


Bahai News (Facebook, Persian), September 17, 2016.

A vehicle parts shop in Karaj, run by Javid Iqaneyan ( جاوید ایقانیان ) and his son `Emad Iqaneyan (عماد ایقانیان), was closed by the authorities on September 17. The authorities had refused to renew its business licence, apparently because Mr Javad Iqaneyan is known as a Bahai and has a reputation for integrity and customer service. Three other Bahai-run businesses in Karaj were closed by the authorities on August 16 and 18 this year.

On June 23 this year, the Universal House of Justice issued new guidelines for the observance of Bahai Holy Days in Iran, which allow for various compromises between the Bahais’ desire to close their businesses on the Holy Days and authorities’ desire to reduce the visibility of Bahais in commercial centres. For example, Bahais who have businesses could close the business one day before and one day after the Holy Day as well as on the Holy Day, leave the lights of a business turned on although nobody is working, or have a worker present although no trading is done. But the guidelines reject the idea of seeking official permission to close for a day, where this is neither provided for in legislation nor imposed on non-Bahais, since this would be to accede to government interference in the freedom of conscience. Such compromises have to be worked out locally, and it is not yet clear whether fewer Bahai businesses are being shut down because of the Holy Days issue. The authorities also have a campaign — inconsistently enforced across the country — to exclude Bahais from offering personal services such as optometry to the Muslim population, because Bahais are believed to be “unclean.”

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

September 15, 2016

Aminullah Emani’s optician’s shop reopens

Filed under: Bahai rights,Economic discimination — Sen @ 16:38


Gold News (Persian), September 14, 2016.

On September 14, local authorities in Isfahan allowed an optometry business run by Aminullah Emani (امین الله ایمنی) to reopen, after closing it on September 11. The closure apparently did not relate to the issue of Bahai holy days, since the report says that Mr Emani was visited by local officials who wanted to confirm that he was a Bahai. He had apparently been running his business in such a way that his Bahai identity was not immediately apparent. The report says that while the business, which has been operating for decades, was allowed to reopen, the “difficulties” are not entirely resolved, and follow-up continues.

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

September 12, 2016

Optometry shop closed in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian), September 12, 2016.

On September 11, local authorities in Isfahan closed down an optometry business run by Aminullah Emani (امین الله ایمنی). He had earlier been visited by local officials who wanted to confirm that he was a Bahai. They left, but returned a little later to shut his business down. Bahai-run optometry shops across Iran have been closed by the authorities in recent years, in an apparent effort to exclude Bahais from working in this sector.

Under Iran’s apartheid policy, Bahais are banned from government jobs and numerous industries, but the list of sectors from which Bahais are banned is formally a secret, and the list changes from time to time. On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned (by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete). The order refers to a widely-held Iranian superstition 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. At some stage optometry was apparently added to the list, and Bahai optometry shops began to be closed by the authorities. In January this year, the Vice President of the Iranian Optometry Association announced that Bahais are still involved in manufacturing and importing glasses, and have an active presence in this industry. This has been followed by the closure of many more Bahai optometrist’s shops.

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

August 30, 2016

Denial of pensions for Bahais in Iran


Aasoo (Persian), undated [August 2016]

The website Aasoo has published a document from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security in Iran, dated 23 May 2011. The letter, written by the management of the national pension fund, responding to a petition from Mr. Nahid Mehrabkhani (ناهید مهراب‌خانی ) states that no pension can be paid out to him because, in February 1984 he was dismissed from employment by the Ministry of Education because of his Bahai beliefs. The denial of pensions for Bahais after the 1979 revolution was widespread, but documents of individual cases seldom surface. The document in this case implies the existence of a general rule that state pensions cannot be paid to Bahais.

In September 2013, Behzad Shokuhi ( بهزاد شکوهی ), then 75 years old, was beaten up and insulted at the Provincial Government Offices for Tehran province, where he had gone to seek payment of pension rights accumulated when he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture before the 1979 revolution. Like other Bahais in the civil service he was fired and banned from any further work for the government.
12765
Gold News has published another ruling, in which Mr Mansour Baqa’i (منصور بقايي) is denied not only pension rights but also the health insurance coverage for himself and his family. Unfortunately the year given in the signature date is illegible, to me: it might be ’95’ (this year) or ’75.

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

 

August 18, 2016

Three Bahai businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), August 16 and August 18, 2016.

Around August 8, three Bahais who run shops in Karaj were warned that their shops would be closed permanently. Their names are Mansur Enayati (منصور عنایتی), Husayn Shayegan (حسین شایگان) and Manouchir Enayati (منوچهر عنایتی ), all close relatives.

On August 16, local officials from the Bureau of Public Places sealed the optometry shop run by Mansur Enayati, which had been closed during Bahai holy days, and its business licence was therefore not renewed. It had a staff of eight, who are now unemplyed. On August 18, officials from the same office sealed Mr. Shayegan’s optometry shop. Its business licence had not been renewed, because it was run by a Bahai.

There is some ambiguity whether the apartheid rules in Iran allow Bahais to run optician’s shops: Bahais are barred from many economic sectors but the list of exclusions is intended to be secret, and when it has been leaked it is out of date. The most recent list of the activities banned for Bahais did not include optometry.

The report notes that Mr. Manouchir Enayati’s shop was also closed on August 18, without adding details of that case. It does say, however, that the officials said they were acting on order from “higher up” — usually a reference to the Ministry of Intelligence.

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

August 1, 2016

Bahai businesses closed and reopened in several cities

Filed under: Bahai rights,Economic discimination — Sen @ 11:11

Iran Press Watch, July 29, 2016.

Iran Press Watch reports that the businesses of two Bahais in the city of Miandoab were sealed on July 30. They are a refrigerator repair shop run by Ehsan Dhehni ( احسان ذهنی دارای), and a mobile telephone store run by Taher Maqsudi (طاهر مقصودی). The reasons for the closures are not clear.

However the seals on at least thirteen Bahai-run businesses in Qaemshahr, and others in Sari, have been removed for the third time. Also, the seals on the businesses of 28 Bahais in Urumieh were removed on 21 July 2016, nearly two months after they were sealed.

As prevously reported, the Universal House of Justice has recently said that, where local authorities demand promises or has made suggestions designed to reduce the visibility of the closure of Bahais businesses on the Bahai Holy Days, such as closing the business one day before and one day after the Holy Day as well as on the Holy Day, leaving the lights of a business turned on although nobody is working in the business, or having a worker present although no trading is done, the Bahais may in consultation with mature Friends “accept such conditions or suggestions providing they do not conflict with the spirit of the Bahai teachings.”

Persian sources: Miandoab reopened; Miandoab closure, opening in Qaemshahr and Sari ; reopening in Urumeyyeh ; reopening in Qaemshahr.

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July 22, 2016

UHJ letter on economic restrictions on Bahais in Iran

Editorial, July 22, 2016.

On June 23, the Universal House of Justice issued a letter through its Secretariat, regarding the response of the Bahais in Iran to the economic restrictions imposed upon them. With regard to employees, it restates existing policies that a Bahai employee should try to take leave from work on the Bahai Holy Days on which work is suspended, but can work with a good conscience if this is refused. With regard to Bahai-run businesses and institutions, the letter marks an important development both in Bahai policy and in the willingness of authorities in some parts of Iran to allow Bahai businesses to close for Bahai Holy Days under certain conditions.

The letter refers to a description given by two Bahais of the economic restrictions imposed on the Bahai community in a particular city and to some questions they had presented to the Universal House of Justice. It praises them for their interest in the progress of the Faith, their willingness to endure hardships in the path of God and their determination to remain in Iran. The letter refers to the alarming level of the difficulties imposed on the Bahais in that city, and other places in Iran, because they have closed their shops and work places on the Bahai Holy Days. [The authorities have responded by closing the businesses down] These illegal closures by some authorities are undoubtedly part of a plan for the economic strangulation of the Bahai community in Iran, in the hope of weakening the resolve of the Bahais to remain in Iran. The world and the people of Iran now recognize that, despite this pressure and the diverse restrictions on them, the Bahais uphold their spiritual teachings and high hopes for Iran.

The letter refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion, and states that the observation of Bahai Holy Days, including the suspension of other community activities, the closure of Bahai-owned businesses, and the suspension of work on the Holy Days form part of the religious practices of Bahais around the world. Every sincere believer is obliged to observe the Bahai Holy Days. In countries where freedom of religion and beliefs is respected, Bahais observe the Holy Days by taking leave from their work, just as the Shiah in Iran close their businesses on their religious festivals. For the Bahais in Iran, the implementation of this religious practice in present circumstances implies:

1. Bahai employees in whatever field, as well as students at all levels, should refrain from working on the holy days on which work is suspended, but if their superiors do not agree to this, they can do their work on that day with a clear conscience.

2. Bahais who control a business should close their businesses on the holy days on which work is suspended, even if they have employees who are not Bahais. However if this would have effects requiring prior arrangements to meet the needs of the public, they should endeavour to make such arrangements and should inform the authorities of the intention to close the business and of the measures they have taken.

3. In exceptional cases, entities linked to Bahais may continue to operate on Bahai Holy Days, for example where they provide services that are essential to society, to protect the life and health of persons, or provide a service that directly impacts the lives of the people around them, to such an extent that a short closure, even where prior arrangements had been made, might disrupt orderly life. In such situations, the Friends may continue the services offered by such institutions, but it is desirable to minimise the work involved in consultation with the authorities.

The authorities in some cities have demanded promises as regards the closure of Bahai businesses on Holy Days [as a condition for allowing a closed business to reopen], or have offered suggestions, such as closing the Bahai business one day before and one day after the Holy Day [as well as on the Holy Day], leaving the lights of a business turned on although nobody is working in the business, or having a worker present although no trading is done. The Bahais, who are always ready to show good will and to be flexible, may in consultation with mature Friends accept such conditions or suggestions providing they do not conflict with the spirit of the Bahai teachings.

With regard to the suggestion made elsewhere, that the Bahais should seek permission from the authorities to close their shops on Bahai Holy Days, if the civil law and trade regulations require such permission, it should be obtained, and the obligations of Bahai individuals in this case will be the same as those of employees and students. But if permission to close is neither required in the case of non-Bahais, nor mentioned in the relevant legislation, then it does not seem necessary to obtain it, as it would only be interference in individuals’ spiritual lives.

Commentary
The above is a precis and explanation rather than a translation. The most important change in practice, for the many Bahais in Iran who run small businesses, will be the possibility of observing the Bahai Holy Days while avoiding conflict with the authorities. The closures of Bahai businesses in Iran appear to have three motives, in a mix that varies from place to place. One is prejudice and superstitions: the belief that Bahais are unclean and that Muslims should not interract with Bahais. This is also the motive behind the exclusion of Bahais from economic sectors involving food, drink and personal services. When Bahais observe a Holy Day by closing their business, the authorities can withdraw the business licence and so reduce interraction between Shiah and Bahai individuals. The second motive is mentioned in the letter: the economic strangulation of the community with the intention of compelling as many Bahais as possible to leave Iran. The third is a desire on the part of some local authorities to remove the visible presence of Bahais from public spaces. A business that is visibly closed on Bahai Holy Days, and only on those days, is a visible statement that the Bahais are still there, despite over 30 years of Islamic education and unremitting state propaganda against the Bahais. A Bahai cemetery is also a visible presence: hence the destruction of old cemeteries near to towns and the allocation of sites for new Bahai cemeteries in remote places.

Since the Bahais observe the Holy Days not to make a public statement, but because of the holiness of the day and events it commemorates, it is logical that the Universal House of Justice says that the Bahais may, in consultation with mature Friends – who will help all the Bahai business in a locality to act together – accept conditions or suggestions from the authorities that are designed to lower the public profile of the Bahai businesses, providing these conditions do not conflict with the spirit of the Bahai teachings.

The Persian text of this letter is available in text format in the documents archive of my Bahai Studies blog, and in PDF format here.

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June 23, 2016

Bahai shop-keeper protests in Urumeyyeh


Bazdasht, June 22, 2016.

Mr. Navid Maraqhi (نوید مرغی), one of the Bahais in the city whose shops have been sealed by the local authorities because they are operated by Bahais, who have refused to convert to Islam, has protested by sitting outside his closed premises.

On December 29 2010, security agents raided the homes of five Bahai families in Urumeyyeh (Urmia), a substantial city situated between Tabriz and the Turkish border, and arrested Mr. Maraghi along with Mrs. Shiva Karimi (شیوا کریمی) and Mrs. Hamira Parvizi (حمیرا پرویزی). They were released on bail on January 19, 2011. They were charged with seeking to undermine national security, establishing meetings to teach the Faith, getting to know Muslims with the intention of teaching them, and confusing the minds of Muslims. They were sentenced to one year in prison, but because they had no previous criminal records, three months of each sentence was commuted to three year’s probation. [I have no record of them serving their sentences ~ Sen]

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

June 20, 2016

Bahai business owners in North West Iran required to convert to Islam

Gold News (translation, Iran Press Watch), June 18, 2016.

Since mid-May 2016, in different parts of the city of Urumiyyeh (Urmia) such as Madani and Khayyam Streets, twenty-seven Bahai shops have been sealed and the owners warned that “they have no right to work in that city until and unless they convert to Islam”. In the city of Sanandaj, six Bahai-run shops, including a stationery store, were sealed. Despite appeals to different organizations such as trade unions, municipal officials and national officials, authorities at the Office of Public Places and the police department, the owners of these shops in Urumiyyeh and Sanandaj were offered “conversion to Islam” as their only option.

Full translation at Iran Press Watch

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June 16, 2016

Bahai-run shop in Shiraz closed, owner arrested


Bazdasht, June 16, 2016.

About a month ago, the bridal wear shop of Sara Ekhlaqi (سارا اخلاقی) in Shiraz was closed down, because photographs of women in wedding dresses had been posted to the shop’s Instagram account. These were called ‘obscene images.’ Agents took her Instagram password and used it to post a message on her Instagram account saying, “This account has been blocked for producing and distributing indecent images and instigation to behaviour incompatible with chastity.” The same message was attached to the door of her shop. The agents effectively took the place of the court and judge, deciding what was offensive and punishing her without a warrant or an opportunity for a hearing.

Two days ago, the Muslim holder of the business license [and presumably the owner of the premises] was contacted and told to go to the court with Sara Ekhlaqi, saying, “we have reviewed the case, you have no problems. Come to the court tomorrow for the legal procedure to reopen the shop.” A judge told them there was no problem, but they would have to participate in a “training class.” As the afternoon wore on, the pair had still not emerged. One of Mrs. Ekhlaqi’s neighbours reported that five or six agents posing as servicemen from the Water Department had rung her doorbell to gain admittance to the apartment building. They entered and brought a vehicle into the yard, and then contacted Mrs. Ekhlaqi’s husband to come for a signature for their work [The water company’s work on the appartment? ~ Sen]. When he opened the door, they entered and asked him whether he was a Bahai, and whether his wife was a Bahai. When he said they were, they said, “then your work is going nowhere.” The seized books and CDs relating to the Bahai Faith, poetry books and books on history and psychology, and departed over an hour later, saying that the books would be returned once they had been checked, and that Mrs. Ekhlaqi might be released that day; otherwise he was to contact the court the next day to arrange bail.

The holder of the business license was released that afternoon, and appeared very frightened. The word “Bahai” made his face cloud over. In the evening of the day she was arrested, Mrs. Ekhlaqi was allowed to telephone her husband, but there is no word of where she is being detained. The sources end by noting the polite behaviour of the various agents they dealt with, in the shop and in their home.

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June 1, 2016

Campaign against Bahai businesses in Mazandaran continues

Various sources, late May, 2016.

Gold News reports the closure of four Bahai-run businesses in Babolsar, which had closed on May 28, when Bahais around the world commemorated the Ascension of Baha’u’llah (13 ‘Azamat in the Bahai calendar). The managers are named as Mr. Mithaq Leqa’i (میثاق لقایی), Farshid Hikmat Sho`ar (فرشید حکمت شعار), Peyman Sahand (پیمان سهند) and Shahin Sana’i (شاهین سنایی).

Gold News also reports the closure of one Bahai-run business in Babol, a stationary shop run by Mr. Baha’ul-Din Samimi (بهاالدین صمیمی).

Bahai News reports that the former employees of the Bureau of Public Places in the city of Qaemshahr, who allowed Bahai businesses there to re-open, have received threats from the Bureau’s Provincial Office, including even death threats. Bahai News states that an agent from the Ministry of Intelligence, who uses the name of “Ansar al-Husseini” (انصار حسینی; Companion of Imam Husayn), is personally responsible for maintaining records for the Bahais and has fabricated cases against them on charges such as “smuggling.”

Meanwhile the Bahais concerned have been told by the Bureau of Public Places that if they want to open their businesses, they should ask the (Universal) House of Justice (in Israel). This refers to recent claims in the state-sponsored Iranian media that Bahais obey the instructions of the House of Justice rather than those of the government in Iran, and calling the Bahai community “a state within the State.” In fact, just the opposite is true: the Bahai teachings specify that the Bahais “in whatever country they reside, … will, unhesitatingly, subordinate the operation of [Bahai] laws and the application of [Bahai] principles to the requirements and legal enactments of their respective governments. Theirs is not the purpose, … to violate, under any circumstances, the provisions of their country’s constitution, much less to allow the machinery of their administration to supersede the government of their respective countries.” (Source). Far from aiming to be a state within the State, the Bahais are fully committed to the separation of the institutions of religion from politics, and this is one reason for their persecution by the theocratic order in Iran. “Go ask the House of Justice” apparently means that the authorities have no intention of allowing Bahai businesses to re-open. Security officials have also told the Bahais that they will be dealt with under the law (which allows them to close their shops for up to 15 days per year, see Article 28.b of the Code of Trades Guilds); that their business have been closed down because they did not open on Bahai Holy Days, which amounts to “teaching the Bahai Faith;” and that their cases would be referred to the Revolutionary Court for prosecution.

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May 24, 2016

28 Bahai businesses closed down in Urumiyyeh

Bahai News (Persian), May 24, 2016.

Agents from the Bureau of Public Places in Urumiyyeh (aka Urmia or Orumiyeh) have closed down at least 28 Bahai-run businesses. Ten days ago, the Bahais were told they had 10 days to shut down their businesses. The Bahais pursued the matter but were not able to learn any reason for the closures, having enquired with the local Burea of Public Places and the provincial government and Ministry of Intelligence in Urumiyyeh, although the Bureau of Public Places had originally said that the Ministry of Intelligence had ordered the closures. The Bahais have heard unofficially that it relates to the Bahai Holy Days, when the Bahai-run businesses shut.

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Bahai businesses in Qaem Shahr re-opened, then re-closed

Bahai News, Persian, reports dated May 4 and May 23, 2016.

On April 20, 2016, a number of Bahai-run businesses in Qaem Shahr and other cities on the coastal plain of the Caspian Sea were closed by the authorities. On May 4, 22 businesses in Qaem Shahr and Fereydounkenar were allowed to reopen. There is a slight discrepancy here with our previous report that 16 Bahai businesses in Qaem Shahr and five in Fereydunkenar had been closed down. Now the Bahai businesses in Qaem Shahr have again been closed down, as local authorities sealed the shutters on their premises on May 23 (a Bahai Holy Day). The names of the owners are included in the Persian report of May 23, linked above.

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May 23, 2016

Iranian media publish list of Bahai businesses for boycotting and closure

Oweis, May 18, 2016.

Government-sponsored media in Iran have published a list of Bahai-run businesses in Zahedan, along with a compilation of fatwas from Shia and Sunni divines, requiring Muslims to have no dealings with Bahais. Zahedan is a city of half a million, in the South of Iran, near to the border with Pakistan. It is an important centre for the Sunni population in Iran (70% of the population are Sunni). The Oweis report begins with an ugly “Rasputin” image, one of the stock images used in the anti-Bahai literature to represent the Bahai Faith. (See “Images of Hate” for a catalogue of these images: the content is offensive.) The list contains the names of 40 businesses, which suggests a Bahai population of some thousands in Zahedan. From the names, it appears that 12 of the businesses relate to optician’s work, four to photography, six to computers and electricity, and the remainder to an assortment of retail, services and consultancy work. The report promises to publish lists of Bahai businesses in other cities ‘soon.’

According to the report, in recent days the hearts of many of the faithful [Muslims] have been wounded by a visit from a well-born lady [Faezeh Rafsanjani] to the leaders of the Bahai Faith, which took place in Tehran. Oweis is therefore republishing the fatwas and a list of Bahai businesses in Zahedan, first published in August 2015 (as previously reported on Sen’s Daily). It says with regret that the government has not taken any action against these businesses.

The story, originally published in Oweis, has been republished in other government-sponsored media, such as Shahid News, and Qatreh News.

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May 20, 2016

Two Bahai students expelled and two businesses closed in Kashan

Bahai News (Persian), May 18, 2016.

Mahsa Elahian (مهسا الهیان), a Bahai student in the third semester of a degree in English language and literature, has been expelled from the Payem-e Nour University in Kashan. University officials asked her why she had listed her religion as “other” in the application forms, to which she replied that her religion was not one of those mentioned in the form. She was then expelled.

On April 25, another Bahai student, Laden Foroughi (لادن فروغی) was also expelled because of his religious beliefs. He was expelled from the Payam-e Nour campus at Natanz, about an hour south of Kashan, where he was studying Accounting.

On May 10, the optician’s shop of Behman Elahian (بهمن الهیان) in Kashan was closed by local authorities, because he had no business licence and was a Bahai. The optician’s shop of Arash Dhabiheyan (آرش ذبیحیان) was closed for the same reasons on May 17.

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May 17, 2016

Bahai-run business told to close in Urumiyyeh

Bahai News (Persian), May 17, 2016.

The Office of Public Places in Urumiyyeh (aka Urmia or Orumiyeh) has informed Farzin Aghsani (فرزين اغصاني), a Bahai who runs a refrigeration business, that he must close and vacate his business within 10 days. The report does not indicate a reason.

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May 14, 2016

Nine Bahai businesses allowed to reopen

Bahai News (Persian), May 11, 2016.

Nine Bahai-run businesses in Sari and Ramsar, which were sealed by local authorities on May 1, have been given permission to reopen. The Bahai businesses were shut down by the authorities because they had closed to allow the Bahais working there to observe Bahai holy days. But the authorities’ action was illegal, since the law allows all businesses in Iran, except for essential services, to close for up to 15 days per year.

The news that the businesses may reopen is surprising and gives hope that the authorities may begin to observe the law in their relations with Bahais. The 6 Bahai businesses in Kerman province that were closed down in April 2015 are still sealed, and another 7 have since been shut down. The picture is similar across Iran: Bahai businesses are frequently closed down but seldom allowed to reopen. However a number of international business leaders have recently been pressuring Iran to halt its economic discrimination against Bahais, “as an affront to the freedom to do business.”

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May 6, 2016

Bahai businesses closed down in Isfahan

Bahai Press (Facebook, Persian), May 3, 2016.

On May 1, which was the 12th day of the Ridvan festival for Bahais, local authorities in Iran closed down a number of Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Isfahan. Six owners are named, but it is not clear from the report whether only six businesses were closed down.

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

May 5, 2016

Six Bahai businesses closed in Ramsar and Sari; total now 39

Bahai Community News, May 2, 2016.

On May 1, local authorities closed down one Bahai-run business in Sari and five Bahai businesses in Ramsar. Both these centres lie in the province of Mazandaran, where 12 other Bahai-run businesses have been closed in the past week. This brings the total number of Bahai businesses closed in the past month, in Iran as a whole, to 39: 16 in Qaem Shahr, two in Babol, three in Tenakabon, five in Babolsar, two in Bahnamir, five in Fereydunkenar, and the six mentioned in this new report. All the closures appear to be related to the observance of Bahai festival days of Ridvan, and are contrary to Article 23 of the Constitution which forbids investigations of individuals’ religious beliefs, and also contrary to the regulations which allow businesses (except essential services) to close for 15 days per year without notifying the authorities.

According to a HRANA report, all the closures have been done in the absence of the owners, without written notice or informing the trades guild in advance. In Qaemshahr, authorities have told the Bahais that they cannot be accepted as residents and their businesses would be shut down, because they are Bahais and therefore have security files. One interesting aspect is that the Office of Public Places in Babolsar had told the Bahai businesses there that they would not be closed if they left their lights burning or the shop shutters raised during the Bahai Holy Days. It is not clear whether they complied (there is no reason why they should not) and were shut down anyway, or if they failed to comply. However this does suggest that the issue for the local authorities in Babolsar is that, on Bahai Holy Days, there should be no obvious sign in the commercial district of the number of Bahai-run businesses in the town. In other towns however, the closures are part of a general pattern of persecuting the Bahais at any opportunity. In 1934, when the Shah wished to close down the Bahai schools in Iran, he used the observance of Bahai Holy Days as an excuse.

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

Summary of new businesses closures in Mazandaran province

Bahai News (Persian), May 2, 2016.

Five Bahai-run businesses in the city of Babolsar, on the Caspian coast in Iran’s Mazandaran Province, were shut down by the local authorities on May 1. Seven other Bahai-run businesses in neighbouring areas were also closed. In Babolsar the Office of Public Places closed five Bahai businesses: an optician’s workshop belonging to Farshid Hekmat Sho`ar (فرشيد حكمت شعار), a computer workshop run by Karen Momtazeyan (كارن ممتازيان), a tailor’s shop run by `Erfan Ma`sumeyan (عرفان معصوميان), a tailor’s shop run by Afshin Azadi (افشين آزادي), and a photography studio run by Shahin Sana`i (شاهين سنائي). In the district of Bahnamir, a little inland of Babolsar, they closed another two businesses: a bicycle assembly shop belonging to Faizullah Nikunejad (فيض الله نيكونژاد) and a household appliance workshop run by Ahmad Nikunejad (احمد نيكونژاد). In Fereydunkenar, a coastal place near Babolsar, they closed an optician’s workshop belonging to Babak Wada`i (بابك وداعي). None of these closures have been previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

In Tonekabon, another coastal city 3 hours West of Babolsar, authorities closed five Bahai-run businesses: a security alarm system run by Omid Qaderi (امید قادری), a home appliances shop run by Armin Esma`ilpour (آرمین اسماعیل پور), an airconditioning service shop run by Ruhollah Eqani (روح الله ایقانی) and a refrigerator shop run by Michelle Esma`ilpour (میشل اسماعیل پو). The recent closure of two other Bahai-run businesses in Tonekabon, both home appliance shops, run by Mr. Mehryar Lotfi (مهریار لطفی) and Mr. Soroush Garshasbi (سروش گرشاسبی), has already been reported here.

In Babol, which lies half an hour inland of Babolsar, authorities closed two Bahai-run businesses: a staionary shop run by Baha’addin Samimi (بهاءالدین صمیمی) and a security alarm business run by Arash Keyan (آرش کیان). They were given a few days to close their businesses.

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

May 4, 2016

Another Bahai business closed down in Bandar Abbas

Bahai News (Persian), May 3, 2016.

On April 27, the Supervisors of Public Places in Bandar Abbas went to all the Bahai-run businesses still operating in the city and told them they must not close on the coming Holy Days for the Bahai festival of Ridvan. On the same day they told Mr. [?] Gamrun (گامرون), who runs an optician’s shop, that the shop would be closed. Three other Bahai-run optician shops in Bandar Abbas have been closed in recent months.

The shutting of Bahai optician’s shops probably relates to a common superstition in Iran, that Bahais are “unclean,” and must therefore be excluded from providing personal services. However authorities in Bandar Abbas have also shut down some elevator installation and service companies belonging to Bahais.

Reports indicate that most of the anti-Bahai activity in Bandar Abbas is initiated by a Captain Hassan Zand (سروان حسن زند) who heads the Office of Public Places, with the support of the Ministry of Intelligence. Beginning some years ago, he has been investigating the religious beliefs and personal lives of the Bahais, with the purpose of persuading them to leave Iran. He was one of those who, in past years, focussed on the business activities of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), who was martyred in Bandar Abbas two years ago. On several occasions he threatened to close Mr. Rezvani’s business and inhibit his business activities, and did indeed stop the family’s business activities for a period after the killing. One of the optician’s shops that has been closed down was run by Mr. Reavani’s son.

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

April 30, 2016

Two Bahai businesses closed in Tonekabon

Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, April 30, 2016.

On April 28, local authorities in Tonekabon acting on a court order closed two Baha-run businesses because they had not opened for business on the Bahai Holy Day. The two shops, both selling home appliances, were run by Mr. Mehryar Lotfi (مهریار لطفی) and Mr. Soroush Garshasbi (سروش گرشاسبی).

April 22, 2016

Two Bahai-run businesses closed in Babol

Human Rights in Iran, April 22, 2016.

Two Bahai-run businesses in Babol were closed by the authorities on April 20. And in Qaem-Shahr, the number of Bahai-run businesses closed by authorities on the same day, previously reported at 15, has been corrected to 16. The closures apparently relate to the observance of a Bahai Holy day on April 20.

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April 20, 2016

Fifteen Bahai businesses closed in Qa’em Shahr

Bahai News, April 20, 2016.

Fifteen Bahai-run businesses in Qaem Shahr have been shut down by the authorities because they were closed for the Bahai holy day of the first day of Ridvan. 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.”

The owners of these shops are named as Shahin Senasi ( شاهین سنایی), Sohrab Leqa’i (سهراب لقایی), Changiz Derakshani (چنگیز درخشانیان), Bijan Now`khah  (بیژن نوع خواه), Nima Miri (نیما میری), Sahil Haqqdust (سهیل حق دوست), Baha’ul-din Samimi (بهاءالدین صمیمی), Behnam Mirza’i (بهنام میرزایی), Kurosh Ahmadzadegam (کورش احمدزادگام), Adel Atta’eyan (عادل عطائیان), Kurosh Reza’i (کورش رضایی), Fariborz Sana’i (فریبرز سنایی), Rezvan Golpour (رضوان گلپور), Shahin Akbari (شاهین اکبری) and Farzad Sabeti (فرزاد ثابتی).

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April 8, 2016

Behzad Dhabihi summoned again


HRANA, April 6, 2016.

On April 4, Behzad Dhabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی), a Bahai from Sari, was summoned to the police station and interrogated in relation to a new accusation that is being developed against him. Mr. Dhabihi has been arrested four times in the past five years, and shops he ran have been shut down three times in the same period. This time, the case is said to have been initiated by a complaint from the electricity supply authority. His most recent arrest was on March 8, 2016, when he was held for 7 days before being released on bail. At the time of his arrest, he was charged with “propaganda against the regime” but at the court sitting the charges were presented as “propaganda against Islam and the Quran.” On February 22 this year, his shop in Sari was closed by the authorities, and remains closed despite efforts to reopen it.

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March 12, 2016

Another arrest in Karaj


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), March 11, 2016.

Soroush Shadabi (سروش شادابی), a Bahai from Karaj, near Tehran, was arrested on March 11, and his business was shut down. This follows the arrest of three young Bahais who have been excluded from tertiary education on March 8, in Tehran and Karaj, and the new arrest is assumed to be related. One of those arrested on March 8 was Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی). All three are being detained in Evin Prison in Tehran.

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March 11, 2016

Four more Bahais arrested in Iran


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), March 10, 2016.

On March 8, four more Bahais were arrested simultaneously in Tehran, Karaj and Sari. Their names are given as Tara Houshmand (تارا هوشمند), Rouhiyyeh Safajou (روحیه صفاجو) and Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی), in Tehran and the nearby city of Karaj, and Behzad Dhabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی) in Sari. It is not known where they are being detained.

Tara Houshmand (pictured top right) was arrested by security agents in her home in Tehran, which was searched. Her personal effects including a computer, a mobile phone and books were seized. She was one of a group of Bahais excluded from education who responded to a claim made in 2014, by Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, that Iranian authorities do not discriminate against Bahais, and challenging the Bahais excluded from education to send documentation. The Bahai students took their documentation to the authorities as requested, thus exposing Mr. Larijani’s lie. The story is detailed here.

Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (pictured top left) was arrested at the Roudehen campus of the Islamic Free University, near Tehran. He was a signatory of a letter about the breaches of Bahais’ civil rights, written to a Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights. An interview with him, about his expulsion from University, was cited on the BBC Persian service.

Rouhiyyeh Safajou (pictured bottom right) was arrested by 8 security agents posing as workers from the gas supply company. When she opened the door to them, they entered and searched her home, and took her away. She is also a student excluded from education. She was one of a group of Bahai students excluded from tertiary education who met with Ali Reza Mahjoub (علی‌رضا محجوب), a reformist Member of Parliament, to argue for the right of education. The meeting was reported on this blog in September 2014.

No details are available on the arrest of Behzad Dhabihi in Sari, but it appears to be unrelated to the arrest of the three students. Mr Dhabihi, who name was spelled Zabihi in a previous Iran Wire report, managed one of the three Bahai-run optometry businesses in Sari which were closed in November, 2015. At that time the Bureau of Public Places in the Province of Mazandaran shut down 23 businesses belonging to Bahais in the cities of Sari, Qa`em Shahr, Tenakbon and Babolsar.

Update, March 14: Human Rights in Iran reports that Rouhiyyeh Safajou is being held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, and has had contact by telephone with her family, in which she said that she is well.

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February 16, 2016

Bahai-run optometry business closed in Isfahan

Bahai News (facebook, Persian), February 7, 2016.

An optometry business in Isfahan, run by two Bahais, was shut down by agents from the Ministry of the Interior on February 6 or 7. The business, run by Mehrdad Haqiqi (مهرداد حقیقی) and Kouroush Pirjamali (کوروش پیرجمالی), provided sales and service for lenses. The agents showed a warrant from the Isfahan Provincial Prosecutor, but did not provide a copy. The two Bahais had previously been interrogated twice by security agents, and their premises were searched and their personal property, books and pictures related to the Bahai community were seized.

In the past few days, the Vice President of the Iranian Optometry Association announced that Bahais are involved in manufacturing and importing glasses, and have an active presence in this industry. However there is no direct linkage between this announcement and the closing of the business in Isfahan. Under Iran’s apartheid policy, Bahais are banned from government jobs and numerous industries, but the list of sectors from which Bahais are banned is formally a secret, and the list changes from time to time. On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned (by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete). It 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 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), cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee. At some stage optometry was apparently added to the list, without distinguishing between import and manufacture on the one hand, and prescription and retail sales on the other hand. The latter involves personal contact and might logically be out of bounds for the “unclean” Bahais (according to this superstition), but from the description of this
business in Isfahan, it would appear the two Bahais were merely grinding lenses.

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January 25, 2016

Bahai shop windows broken in Aq Qala city


Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, January 21, 2016.

In the early hours of January 21, unknown people broke the show windows of a Bahai-run shop selling wedding dress accessories in the town of Aq Qala, about 15 kilometers from Gorgan, in Golestan province. The shop has previously been closed by the local authorities several times because its owner, Neda `Abdeyan (ندا عبدیان) is a Bahai. Because Bahais are considered “unclean” they are bared from working in a variable list of economic sectors. Mrs `Abdeyan previously ran the same shop as a beauty salon, and when the local authorities decided that a Bahai could not work in that sector, she changed her line of business and re-opened the shop.

On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned (by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete). It 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 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), cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.

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January 2, 2016

Gudarz Bidaqi completes his third prison term


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 2, 2016.

Gudarz Bidaqi (گودرز بیدقی), a Bahai from Mehdishahr in Iran’s Semnan Province, was released from the Central Prison in Semnan on January 1, at the end of a four-month sentence. His imprisonment was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. This is the third prison sentence he has served because of his Bahai beliefs. From July 2012 to May 2013, he and his daughter Roufiya Bidaqi ( روفیا بیدقی ) were imprisoned in Semnan on charges of propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai activities. The family’s business was closed by the authorities in March 2011. Mr. Bidaqi’s first imprisonment followed the 1979 revolution. He is now over 64 years old.

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November 21, 2015

Two Bahai businesses shut down in Bandar Abbas

Iran Press Watch, November 21, 2015.

Two optometry shops run by Bahais have been closed down by authorities in the city of Bandar Abbas. The closures are still in effect in spite of extensive appeals by the shop’s owners, Mr Heidarpour (حیدرپور) and Mr. Rasti (راستی). On November 15, security forces also raided and searched the business of Mr. Navid Hemmat (نوید همت) and confiscated some of his property.

Within the past few days, dozens of Bahai-run businesses in Rafsanjan, Kerman, Tanekabon, Qa`em Shahr, Tehran and Karaj have been closed and sealed by government authorities.

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November 19, 2015

Four more business closures reported from Salmanshahr

Raja Harmeet Singh (facebook), November 17, 2015.

Reports indicate that four Bahai-run businesses in the Caspian coast town of Salmanshahr were closed by the Bureau of Public Places on the morning of November 14. These reports have not been confirmed by the sources I usually rely on, but they are consistent with other activity in Mazandaran province and appear credible. the businesses are named as the footwear and handbag shop of Farhad Shahidi (فرهاد شهيدي), a clothing shop run by Farshad Shahidi (فرشاد شهيدي), the photography business of Aziz Azemayan (عزيز اعظميان) and the refrigerator repair business of Dariush Ahmadpour (داريوش احمد پور).

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November 16, 2015

Iranian authorities launch widespread crackdown: Bahais arrested, businesses closed


Iran Wire (English), November 16, 2015.

On the morning of Sunday, November 15, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents arrested 20 Bahais in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad. They also closed down Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Mazandaran.

Among those detained was Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور), who was detained at Mashhad railway station after Intelligence Ministry agents arrived at her home with an arrest warrant and were told she was traveling. According to an informed source who spoke to IranWire, she was prevented from boarding the train and arrested. Also arrested in Mashhad were Nika Pakzadan (نیکا پاکزادان), Faraneh Daneshgari (فرانه دانشگری), Sanaz Es’haqi (ساناز اسحاقی) and Naghmeh Dhabihayan (نغمه ذبیحیان). They were all arrested at their homes.

In Isfahan, agents arrested Yeganeh Agahi (یگانه آگاهی), Adib Janamian (ادیب جانمیان), Keyvan Nik-A’in (کیوان نیک آیین), Parvin Nik-A’in(پروین نیک آیین), Vahid Karami (وحید کرمی), `Arsheya Rouhani (عرشیا روحانی) and Zarin Aqa-Baba’i (زرین آقابابایی). They also arrested Sahab Rouhani (سحاب روحانی) and Matin Janameyan (متین جانمیان), but released them after several hours. In Tehran, agents arrested Helia Moshtaq (هلیا مشتاق), Negar Baqeri-Tari (نگار باقری طاری), Sahba Farnoush (صهبا فرنوش), Nava Monjazeb (نوا منجذب), Yavar Haqiqat (یاور حقیقت) and Navid Aqdasi (نوید اقدسی).

Navid Aqdasi is a cousin Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), murdered two years ago in the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. Navid Aqdasi has actively pursued his cousin’s case and talked to the media about it. As a result, he has been threatened a number of times, including in recent months, when vandals have posted threatening graffiti on the walls of his house.

So far, no information has been made available about the charges against the Bahais. Their families have not been informed of their whereabouts. According to reports, it is likely that the prisoners have been taken to detention centers run by the Intelligence Ministry in their respective cities.

On the same day of the arrests took place, the Bureau of Public Places in the province of Mazandaran sealed and shut down 23 businesses belonging to Bahais in the cities of Sari, Qa`em Shahr, Tenakbon and Babolsar. This followed the businesses being closed on Saturday, November 14, a religious holiday for Bahais. Authorities have in the past objected to Bahai businesses observing holy days, threatening them with closure if they failed to keep the same business hours as non-Bahai shops and services.

Two days prior to the closure of Bahai businesses in Mazandaran, authorities also closed all Bahai businesses in the city of Rafsanjan in the southeastern province of Kerman. Among the businesses closed were shops selling cosmetics, health products, musical instruments, eyeglasses, clothes, tires and toys, and businesses offering refrigerator maintenance, photography and photocopier services. Bahais in Iran are barred from employment in most public sector jobs and many private sector jobs, with the result that many depend on small shops and workshops.

Shop and office owners were given no notice of the closure. In some cases, they were not even aware of the operation until some hours later. The town of Babolsar was the only exception. [That is, notice of closure was given in Babolsar. The ٍEnglish report on Iran Wire is incorrect on this point ~Sen]. The nature of the simultaneous arrests and closure suggests a planned operation, ordered and organized by the Intelligence Ministry.

According to reports, Bahai businesses shut down include those belonging to the following individuals:

Sari: Three optician’s shops run by Dhekrollah Rahimeyan (ذکرالله رحیمیان), Farid Alavi (فرید علوی), Behzad Zabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی) and Bozorgmehr Hor (بزرگمهر حر), the cosmetics shop of Ehsanollah Sana’i (احسان الله سنایی), and the clothing shops of Aramesh Zohouri (آرامش ظهوری) and Houshmand Goli (هوشمند گلی).

Qa`em Shahr: cosmetics and health products workshops run by Nima Miri (نیما میری) and Changiz Darakhshanian (چنگیز درخشانیان), a toyshop run by Bijan Nokhah (بیژن نوع خواه), a grocery operated by Dhekrollah Baba’i (ذکرالله بابایی), the optician’s shops of Soheil Haqdoost (سهیل حق دوست) and Zahra Golabian (زهرا گلابیان), the tire (or appliance?) business of Farzad Sabeti (فرزاد ثابتی) and a photocopy shop belonging to Shahin Sana’i (شاهین سنایی).

Tenakbon: The home security workhops of Omid Qaderi (امید قادری), the air conditioning workshops of Farhad Taqipour (فرهاد تقی پور) and of Michele and Armin Esma`ilpour (میشل و آرمین اسماعیل پور) and the refrigeration service business of Ruhollah Iqani (روح الله ایقانی).

Babolsar: The musical supplies business of Mithaq Leqa’i (میثاق لقایی), the photography business of Nasser Mir-Mohammadi (ناصر میرمحمدی) and the toyshop of Barzu Raf`ati (برزو رفعتی).

Persian source at Iran Wire
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November 15, 2015

Bahai businesses in Iran closed down following twin holy days

Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, November 15, 2015.

Separate reports from Rafsanjan and two cities in Mazandaran indicate that a considerable number of Bahai-run businesses have been shut down by the authorities, after their owners closed their businesses to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Bab — the first of two consecutive days known as the twin Holy Days. In Mazandaran, almost ten businesses in Qa`em Shahr and Tenakbon were sealed by the authorities on November 14, and on the same day all the Bahai businesses still operating in Rafsanjan were sealed by local authorities. Twelve Bahai-run businesses had already been closed. The exclusion of Bahais from economic activities in Iran, and the confiscation of their properties, has become more systematic and widespread in recent years, as the government seeks to reduce this section of the population to subsistence-level serfdom, and to “block their progress.”

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November 9, 2015

Stock seized from a workshop belonging to a Bahai in Semnan

HRANA, November 8, 2015.

On November 1, judicial officers went to the cut-glass manufacturing shop belonging to Afrasiab Khanjani (افراسیاب خانجانی), a Bahai from Semnan, and seized his entire stock. In 2012, a lens-making workshop belonging to Mr. Khanjani was closed, and his trading licence was revoked.

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October 20, 2015

Agricultural land confiscated in Semnan


HRANA, October 17, 2015.

Fifty hectares of land and the livestock on it, belonging to Zia’ullah Muta`arifi (ضیاء الله متعارفی), a 65-year-old Bahai from Semnan, was confiscated on October 15. The decision was made at a court hearing in Semnan, attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture in Semnan, the Public Prosecutor, and representatives of the security forces. Mr. Muta`arifi has been working this land since 1982, and purchased it in 1999, paying in installments. He was told his title would be confirmed once he paid a fee to confirm the area and improvements, and this last cheque had been cleared. But afterwards, the sellers denied having sold the land. A lower court decided against Mr. Muta`arifi, and the case was referred to the Provincial court of review. According to Mr. Muta`arifi, the review court judge initially overturned the lower court ruling, but later said that this was a mistake and referred the case to another court, which ruled that the land should be confiscated. Mr. Muta`arifi has been allowed to retain 3552 square meters, which he says is not suitable for use due to its location. The confiscated land had 17,000 mature trees and vines: pistachio nuts, olives, pine trees, grapes, pomegranates and others. Mr. Muta`arifi was not permitted to remove his belongings and implements from the land.

Mr. Muta`arifi had also written to an advisor to the President, who passed his letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, who said that this was a political case, and they could not interfere.

Mr. Muta`arifi introduced the first pressurized irrigation system in the province, and planted the first olive trees. He has received several awards from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Development, and a recognition from the international Food and Agriculture Organisation. According to another report, by the Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, the farm employed about seven staff, some of whom lived on the land with their families.

Mr. Muta`arifi said that his only concern was to serve the people of Iran, and his only fear was that the trees would be left to dry out and die. In January, 2010, Mr. Muta`arifi’s license to run an animal husbandry unit was revoked by the Department of Agricultural Development, who levelled accusations which Mr. Muta`arifi denied.

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August 20, 2015

Details of Bahai businesses closed in Kerman province


Bahai News (Persian), August 15, 2015.

Bahai News reports on a number of Bahai businesses in the Province of Kerman that have been shut down by authorities because they were closed on Bahai Holy Days. In November 2014, when Bahais in Iran were celebrating the Birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, close to 90 Bahai-run businesses in Vila Shahr, Nashtarud, and the southern region of Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft were closed by the authorities. No dates are given in the latest report, but these closures appear to be in addition to those previously reported, and are certainly in addition to the 12 closures in Rafsanjan — also in Kerman Province — that were reported on May 1, 2015. The new report gives a picture of how the Bahais in Iran try to make a living, given that they are excluded from government service, most professions, and work in many economic sectors (see the summary of the apartheid rules for Bahais here.) The latest report lists premises for construction pipe sales, car radiator sales or repair, an automobile workshop, and curtain and clothing production, which have been closed by the office of commercial and public places for Kerman Province. The Office has asked the Bahais to sign an undertaking [not to close on Bahai Holy days] for which there is no legal basis. The report states that one of the purposes of the closures is to prevent the businesses developing their customer base, and “to create divisions among the Bahais.” [sic ]

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August 9, 2015

Niki Khanjani summoned for trial (updated)


Bahai News facebook page, August 9, 2015.

Alaeddin Khanjani (علا‌ءالدین خانجانی), known as Niki (نیکی), has been summoned to present his final defence before Bench 5 of the court at Evin Prison in Tehran on August 10. Bench 5 has specialised in the persecution of Bahais.

Niki Khanjani and Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر ) — pictured above — and some of their Bahai employees were arrested in Tehran on August 24, apparently because they were selling spectacles, which was forbidden for Bahais. However the new regulations making it illegal for Bahais to sell spectacles are still officially secret: the existence of a new law is inferred from arrests of Bahai optometrists and closures of Bahai opticians’ shops across Iran in the course of 2014 and 2015. For a list of the economic sectors that are forbidden for Bahais, see “Iran’s apartheid rules” on this blog.

Niki Khanjani’s father Jamalledin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی) is one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (Bahai national facilitators) who are now in the eighth year of 20-year sentences for their services to the Bahai community. His son Fu’ad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی) is serving a 4-year sentence.

August 11: The court sitting went ahead as scheduled. Mr. Khanjani was able to present his oral defence — which was in line with the written defence he had previously submitted — and was allowed to return home.

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August 4, 2015

Over 30 Bahai businesses closed in Sari

Bahai News (facebook page), August 4, 2015.

Reports from Sari indicate that over 30 Bahais business have been closed by authorities, and that the closures are continuing. Most of the closures have now lasted from 3 weeks to 3 months, and in a few cases much longer. Local Bahais say that officials have two aims: to isolate the Bahais from society, and to force them to leave the country. By keeping the shops locked up, officials ensure that perishable contents will deteriorate. Officials have also tried to get the Bahais to sign an undertaking not to close their businesses on Bahai Holy Days. However the law allows all businesses to close without giving notice, on 15 days during the year, except that businesses such as bakeries are only allowed to close for 3 days and are required to give notice to the authorities before they close.

On May 27 I reported that eleven Bahai business had been closed in Sari. Since then, I have reported on five more closures. the most recent on June 30. The present report apparently includes these earlier closures. In recent months there has been a wave of closures for Bahai business across Iran, in cities such as Hamadan, Karaj, Kerman, Rafsanjan, Tehran and Zahedan, but the Bahais in Sari have faced the heaviest persecution. See the category “economic discrimination” on this blog.

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July 28, 2015

Official pressure to boycott Bahai-run businesses in Zahedan


Campaign against harassment of Bahais, July 28, 2015.

The Oweis website, whose page header indicates that it speaks for Ayatollah Khamenei’i (whom it promotes to ‘Grand Ayatollah’ ! ), has published a photograph of a Baha’i-run optometry shop in Zahedan, along with an article which says that although all the Shiah and Sunni religious authorities have stated that all sorts of transactions and dealings with the Bahais are haram (religiously forbidden), the Atiyeh Sazan Hafez health insurance company has contracts for services with a number of Bahai-run opticians to provide services. It includes some Bahai-run businesses in its list of approved providers, and the pictured optometrist, which is not included in the list, is also said to have a contract with the insurer. [Implying that the company does business with the Bahais without publicizing the fact ~sen]. The report claims that the Bahais attract customers by providing services not covered by the insurance company, and invoicing them incorrectly. The deviant Bahai sect serves the purposes of the satanic Zionist regime and attacks the sacred Republic of Iran, by seeking to dominate the Iranian economy, but they will be thwarted by the diligence of authorities in enforcing the laws [that discriminate against Bahais] and by the citizens’ “imitating” (following) the supreme source of emulation (Khamane’i).

The article concludes with various fatwas against having business dealings or social contact with Bahai. The Bahais of course will have no opportunity to answer these various slanders in the same media. About 70% of the population of Zahedan are Sunni Muslims, who pay no heed to the fatwas of Khamene’i. As the “Campaign” report indicates, the population show a large measure of support for the oppressed Bahai minority.

At the time of writing, the Oweis website was unavailable, but the report was confirmed by using Google Translate’s cache for the page http://oweis.ir/?p=7986. I have toned down the rhetoric somewhat. [July 31: The content is back on line here.]

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July 27, 2015

Trial scheduled for 10 Bahais in Hamadan

Bahai News (Persian), July 27, 2015.

Ten Bahais from Hamadan who have been free on bail have been informed that they face trial on July 29. They are to be charged with propaganda against the regime. The names of eight of the Bahais are given as Hamid Adharnoush [Azarnoush] (حمید آذرنوش), Mas`oud Adharnoush (مسعود آذرنوش), Shahin Rashedi (شاهین راشدى), `Atefeh Zahedi (عاطفه زاهدى), Roumina Tabibi (رومینا طبیبى), Mina Hemmati (مینا همتى), Mehran Khandel (مهران خاندل) and Parvaneh Ayoubi (پروانه ایوبى). It is likely that the two missing names are those of two Bahai women, Farida Ayoubi and Fataneh Mushtaq (فریده ایوبى و فتانه مشتاق), who were arrested in late March along with the others and bailed a few days later. Several of these Bahais have also faced the closure of their businesses or workshops.

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

July 18, 2015

Bahai business closed in Karaj


Campaign against harassment of Bahais, July 18, 2015.

A Bahai-run taxi dispatch office in Karaj has been given 10 days to close its doors. The office, which takes telephone bookings for taxis, has been operated by Mr. Haqiqi (حقیقی) for several years. Local officials said that its operating licence would not be extended, because they are not allowed to issue business licences to Bahais, but they did allow him ten days to close his business.

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

July 17, 2015

Another Bahai business closed in Tehran

Filed under: Bahai rights,Economic discimination — Sen @ 12:33


Bahai News (Persian), July 17, 2015.

A Bahai-run travel agency in Tehran is reported to have been given 10 days to close its doors. The officers who came to the travel agency to announce this told the manager that this was because he or she is a Bahai. A number of Bahais in Karaj are also reported to have had “serious difficulties.” Under Iran’s apartheid rules, Bahais are banned from employment in many sectors, and are not allowed to run businesses such as 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. Optometry was apparently added to this list in 2014. It may be that the travel sector has also been included.

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

July 3, 2015

Four Bahais from Rasht free on bail

Bahai News (Persian), July 3, 2015.

Foad Yazdani (فواد یزدانی) and his son Peyman Yazdani (پیمان یزدانی), and Nima Najafi (نیما نجفی) and his wife Paria Keshvar (پریا کشاور), have been released on bail in Rasht.

Foad and Peyman Yazdani were arrested on May 26, 2015. Nima Najafi and Paria Keshvar were arrested on May 28. Three other Iranians, who are not Bahais, were arrested at about the same time and charged with having links with Bahais. All seven were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence in Rasht.

On November 17, 2014, an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence, accompanied by two representatives of the Revolutionary Court, inspected the homes and businesses of the four Bahais and seized personal effects and various appliances belonging to customers which were waiting for repair. The agents then went to those non-Bahai customers whose contact information had been recorded, and interrogated them. The search was repeated in March 2015, during the New Year period. In the interim, the four Bahais had also been summoned for questioning by the police and Ministry of Intelligence several times, and had lodged several petitions with judicial officials for the return of their confiscated belongings.

In January and February this year, over 20 Muslim residents of Rasht were summoned and threatened by the Ministry of Intelligence because of their relationships with Bahais. Those summoned were subjected to insults, humiliation and threats, and told that they are not allowed to associate or have any business dealings with Bahais. The Ministry of Intelligence also sought to obtain baseless statements from these people regarding the activities of the Bahais.

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

June 30, 2015

Three more Bahai businesses closed in Sari

Filed under: Bahai rights,Economic discimination — Sen @ 22:52

, June 30, 2015.

After closing one Bahai business this morning, the local authorities in Sari closed three more in the course of the afternoon. The businesses are run by Yakub Akbari (یعقوب اکبری), Anbar Aqa’i (عنبر آقایی) and Payam Taqauwi ( پیام تقوی).

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

Bahai business closed in Sari

Bahai News (Persian), June 30, 2015.

A workshop belonging to Mr. Houman Bakhtavar ( هومن بخت آور ) was closed by the local authorities this morning, apparently because Mr. Bakhtavar is a Bahai. There has been a sharp rise in the number of Bahai businesses closed by the authorities in Sari in recent months, as well as in Kerman, Hamadan and Rafsanjan. See the category ‘Economic discrimination‘ on this blog.

[Note to readers: A Bahai of the same name was arrested in Mashhad in 2005, and began a two-year sentence for his Bahai beliefs on August 3, 2010. I would like to know whether this is the same Houman Bakhtavar who now lives (and tries to work) in Sari. ~ Sen]

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

June 19, 2015

Another Bahai business closed in Sari


Bahai News (Persian), June 19, 2015.

A carpentry workshop belonging to Qavam-adin Thabeteyan ( قوام‌الدین ثابتیان), a 74-year-old Bahai from Sari, is still closed, almost two months after local authorities moved to close about a dozen Bahai-run businesses in the city. This workshop was closed on April 26, and is not included in the list of 11 Bahai businesses closed by authorities in our last update, on May 27. At the time it was reported that 15 Bahai-run businesses had been shut down, but details were only available for eleven. The business licences of the owners have also been withdrawn, to prevent them opening new premises. Two officers from the office that administers business premises and licensing in Sari who went to Mr. Thabeteyan’s workshop asked him to sign a written pledge that he would abide by the commercial code, close his premises on public holidays, and seek prior permission from the local authorities before closing his business for one or more days. However the commercial code does not include any rule limiting the closing days of businesses such as Mr. Thabeteyan’s workshop, that is, one-man businesses which do not provide essential goods or services. The code allows such businesses to be closed for up to 15 days every year, for any reason, and for more than 15 days providing the authorities are notified. Thus the third condition imposed by authorities is itself contrary to the commercial code, serving no other purpose but to force Bahai businesses to open on the days of the nine most important Bahai religious observances. Mr. Thabeteyan therefore refused to sign this undertaking, and his workshop is still closed. The report does not indicate what has happened with the other eleven Bahais business that are known to have been closed at the time.

On July 19, 2010, Mr. Thabetan was arrested in his home by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. His home had previously been searched by officers of the Ministry, who at that time confiscated religious materials. It appears he was arrested for assisting educational rights activists. He was released one month later. Sarah Sabeteyan ( سحر ثابتیان ) was expelled from the Zahra secondary school in Sari on 1 November, for “blasphemy” and because she is a Bahai.

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

May 31, 2015

New arrests in Rasht aim to deepen the economic isolation of the Bahais

Bahai News (Persian), May 31, 2015.

Security forces in Rasht, a city on Iran’s Caspian coast, have arrested four Bahais and three other citizens who had associated with the Bahais. On May 26, they arrested Mr. Foad Yazdani (فواد یزدانی) and Mr. Peyman Yazdani (پیمان یزدانی), both Bahais from Rasht, on charges of conspiring to make propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. Two days later, they arrested Mr. Nima Najafi (نیما نجفی) and his wife Paria Keshvar (پریا کشاور) on the same charges. Three other Iranians, who are not Bahais, were arrested at the same time and charged with having links with Bahais. All seven were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence in Rasht.

On November 17, 2014, an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence, accompanied by two representatives of the Revolutionary Court, inspected the homes and businesses of four Bahai citizens in Rasht. They seized all the books, CDs, flash drives and any paper with handwriting on it, and also various appliances belonging to customers which were waiting for repair. The agents then went to those non-Bahai customers whose contact information had been recorded, and interrogated them.

Around the time of Naw Ruz (the New Year festival, from March 20), security forces searched the homes of these Bahais and seized some belongings, including computers, office supplies and the personal belongings of some employees. In the interim, the four Bahais had also been summoned for questioning by the police and Ministry of Intelligence several times, and had lodged several petitions with judicial officials for the return of their confiscated belongings.

In January and February this year, over 20 Muslim residents of Rasht were summoned and threatened by the Ministry of Intelligence because of their relationships with Bahais. Those summoned were subjected to insults, humiliation and threats, and told that they are not allowed to associate or have any business dealings with Bahais. The Ministry of Intelligence also sought to obtain baseless statements from these people regarding the activities of the Bahais.

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

May 27, 2015

Eleven Bahai businesses closed in Sari (update)

HRANA, May 27, 2015.

Local authorities in Sari have shut down eleven businesses run by Bahais because they had been closed on Bahai holy days. These include four clothing stores, run by Wahab Darabi (وهاب دارابی), Taraneh Zahedi (ترانه زاهدی), Sa`id Goli ( سعید گلی) and Aramesh Zahuri ( آرامش ظهوری); two electric motor winding shops, run by Farshad Kemali ( فرشاد کمالی) and Mehran Kemali (مهران کمالی); two toiletries and cleaning materials shops run by Ehsanullah Sana’i (احسان الله سنایی) and Ehsan Izadi ( احسان ایزدی), a paint shop run by Ziullah Khushbin (ضیاالله خوشبین), the wood turning workshop of Kemal Akbari (کمال اکبری), and a household container shop run by Pedaram Qanbari ( پدرام قنبری). The list is probably not complete: sources say that fifteen Bahai businesses have closed recently in Sari. Regulations allow local authorities to shut down any business that is closed, unannounced, for more than 15 days in a year. However there are less than 15 Holy Days in the Bahai calendar, and in any case the Bahai owners normally inform local authorities of upcoming Holy Days.

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

===

May 25, 2015

Three Bahai businesses shut down in Sari

HRANA, May 25, 2014.

Local authorities in Sari shut down three businesses run by three Bahais, on May 24, because they had been closed on Bahai holy days. The businesses are a shop selling colours, run by Ziullah Khushbin (ضیاالله خوشبین), the wood turning workshop of Kemal Akbari (کمال اکبری), and a toiletries shop run by Ehsanullah Sana’i (احسان الله سنایی). Recently 12 Bahais in the city of Rafsanjan had their businesses closed by local authorities, because they were shut on the three Bahai holy days of Ridvan, which this year fell on April 21, April 29 and May 2. Regulations allow local authorities to shut down any business that is closed, unannounced, for more than 15 days in a year. However there are less than 15 Holy Days in the Bahai calendar, and in any case the Bahai owners normally inform local authorities of upcoming Holy Days.

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

May 19, 2015

Iran’s apartheid rules for Bahais clarified

Click and zoom

Saham News, May 19, 2015.

Saham News has published an order from the chief of police, dating from April 8, 2010, which clarifies which economic sectors are forbidden for Bahais. 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. 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.

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

===

May 4, 2015

Bahai businesses in Rafsanjan shut down following Ridvan

Campaign against harassment of Bahais, May 1, 2015.

Twelve Bahais in the city of Rafsanjan have had their businesses closed by local authorities, because they were shut on the three Bahai holy days of Ridvan, which this year fell on April 21, April 29 and May 2. In November 2014, when Bahais in Iran were celebrating the Birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, close to 90 Bahai-run businesses in Vila Shahr, Nashtarud, and the southern region of Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft were closed by the authorities. This year, the Bahais informed the authorities of the upcoming closures in advance, in the hope of avoiding difficulties. The closure of businesses, and exclusion from employment in many economic sectors, are among the means the Islamic Republic uses to pressure the Bahai minority to recant their beliefs. See the category “economic discrimination” on this blog.

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

April 27, 2015

Another Bahai arrested in Hamadan; Bahai businesses remain closed


Iran Religious News, April 26, 2015.

Mehran Khandel (مهران خاندل), a Bahai living in the city of Hamadan, was arrested in his home on the afternoon of April 26. Agents from the security forces of Hamadan Province first searched his home, where Mr. Khandel was present with his two young children. Witnesses said that the agents had no search warrant, and conducted the search and arrest in an inhumane manner.

Agents from the security forces had visited his home earlier, when they arrested nine other Bahais in Hamadan city, but he was travelling at the time. He had just returned, on April 26, when security forces arrived to arrest him.

In November 2012, 32 businesses linked to Bahais in Hamadan Province were closed down by the authorities. The Bahais were told that they could re-open if they agreed not to close on the Bahai holy days. Because Bahais in Iran are excluded from employment by the government and from many economic sectors and professions, they rely heavily on small service and retail businesses to earn their livelihoods. The business remain closed today, although one source of friction, the celebration of the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah during the month of Muharram in the lunar calendar, has been largely obviated by a change in the Bahai calendar, to celebrate these days on a solar, not lunar, calendar.

Mr. Khandel’s business is one of the Bahai businesses closed down by the authorities, and his father, Hussein Khandel (حسين خاندل), was charged with being a Bahai and executed by the authorities in 1981.

February 4, 2015

Ministry of Intelligence pressures Muslims of Rasht to cut ties with Bahais

Iran Press Watch, February 1, 2015.

In the past two months over 20 Muslim residents of the city of Rasht, in Northern Iran, have been summoned and threatened by the Ministry of Intelligence because of their relationships with Bahais. Muslims who have some sort of relation with Bahais are frequently summoned and interrogated. These interrogations last between 5 and 7 hours; so far, 20 individuals aged between 20 and 64 have been subjected to 35 interrogation sessions. The process began on November 17, and the most recent case case was today (February 1), when two more people were summoned for interrogations to be held next week. Those summoned have been subjected to insults, humiliation and threats, and are told that they are not allowed to associate or have any business dealings with Bahais. The Ministry of Intelligence also seeks to obtain baseless statements from these people regarding the activities of members of Bahais.

On November 17, 2014, an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence, accompanied by two representatives of the Revolutionary Court, inspected the homes and businesses of four Bahai citizens in Rasht, on the basis of a hand-written warrant without the authenticating seal of the judge.

Persian source: HRANA

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

January 21, 2015

Bahai home and workplace raided in Shiraz

HRANA, January 21, 2015.

On January 19, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided the workplace and then the home of Mr. Hasan Salehi (حسن صالحی) in Shiraz. They had a search warrant for both properties. The officers said that he was suspected of propaganda against the regime and membership of an illegal organisation. When Mr. Salehi’s family protested the seizure of some Bahai materials, the officers said they were required to collect anything relating to Bahai beliefs, because it was a baseless sect, and anything relating to any family member. In the end, the agents seized a large number of books, pamphlets, photographs and other religious materials, and a desktop computer, from the house. At Mr. Salehi’s workplace they seized accounting, tax and administrative records and computers and even some letters of appreciation from customers.

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

December 24, 2014

Bahais banned from the optometry sector in Tehran

HRANA, December 22, 2014.

The Association of Optometry Manufacturers and Sellers in Tehran held its eighth trade fair, the Optics Exhibition, in Wessal Avenue on December 16 to 19. Eighty business took part. Not only were Bahai-run optometry importers and sellers barred from the exhibition, participants were also told to dismiss any Bahai employees they might have. A few years ago the Association stopped issuing licences to open optometry shops to Bahais, and stated that this instruction had come from the Ministry of Intelligence. Iran has an apartheid system that banns Bahais from higher education, receiving many state benefits, and employment in various sectors, but the rules are largely unwritten, and vary from time to time and in different localities.

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

November 24, 2014

Home raids and closures in Najafabad and Vila Shahr

HRANA, November 24, 2014.

[Corrected, Dec. 4: the Vila Shahr in this report is not in Mazandaran, but a few kilomters from Najafabad.]

On November 22, agents in plain clothes staged simultaneous raids on the homes of several Bahais in the city of Najafabad, in Iran’s Isfahan province, and the nearby town of Vila Shahr. They seized laptops, computers, and religious books, images and CDs. They also went to a mushroom-growing facility in Vila Shahr, belonging to one of the Bahais there, Mr. Haqiri(حقیری), where they broke some windows, turned off the heaters, and sealed the doors. The business provided work for a number of Bahais. A message was left on the door, saying it had been closed because of unsanitary conditions. Agents also went to the home of Mr. Piruzmandi (پیروزمندی) in Vila Shahr and seized leather bags, leather, and leather-working tools. No reason was given for that action.

HRANA also reports that two more Bahai-owned shops in Nashtarud have been closed by authorities, because they were closed on Muharram 1 and 2 this year (this year, for the last time, Bahais in Iran celebrated the Births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah on these days. Calendar changes mean that it will be many years before the Bahai Holy Days again fall in the first days of Muharram). The officers said that the instructions to close these businesses came “from elswhere” and that local authorities had objected, but were told to close the Bahai-run businesses. The failure to open the shops on Muharram 1 and 2 is treated as a breach of local commerce laws, although those laws allow every trade to close for 15 days during the year, in addition to Fridays.

The two closures in Vila Shahr, and two more in Nashtarud, in addition to the four previous closures reported in that town, and the closures of 79 Bahai-run businesses in the southern region of Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft, on October 25, mean that close to 90 Bahai-run business have been closed in the space of four weeks, and at least as many Bahai households have lost their means of livelihood.

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

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November 19, 2014

Four Bahai shops closed in Nashtarud, more closures expected


HRANA, November 18, 2014.

Early in the morning of November 18, the local officials who supervise public places closed four Bahai-run shops in Nashtarud, a district centre on Iran’s Caspian coast. There was no written explanation or prior notice. The four businesses were owned by two Bahais, Mr. Abu-Alfazli (ابوالفضلی) and Mr. Mohsennezhad (محسن‌نژاد). A witness said that the agents told him that businesses belonging to another 16 Bahais were to be closed during the day, and that they had been to close them, but the owners were already present and demanded that the officials should present written orders. Mr. Mohsennezhad and Mr. Abu-Alfazli had not yet arrived to open their shops.

The closures of Bahai businesses in Nashtarud follow the closures of 79 Bahai-run businesses in the southern region of Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft, on October 25.

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

October 27, 2014

Fifty businesses closed down following Bahai Holy Day observances (updated)

HRANA, October 27, 2014.

Over fifty Bahai-run businesses in Iran were shut down on October 26, in Bandar Abbas, Kerman, Rajsanjan, and Jiroft (the city formerly known as Sabzevaran). These cities all lie in the South-east of Iran. October 25 and 26 this year corresponded to the first and second day of Muharram in the Islamic lunar calendar — days on which Bahais in the Islamic world celebrated the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Those Bahais who were able would have closed their businesses for these Holy Days. Bahais in the rest of the world have used dates in the Gregorian calendar for these Holy days. However the international head of the Bahai community (the Universal House of Justice) announced on July 10, 2014, that from 2015 these Holy Days will be celebrated “on the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Ruz.” These dates fall between mid-October and mid-November. [These changes are discussed on my Bahai Studies blog ~ Sen]

Updated, November 2: In an interview with Diane Ala’i, Radio Farda links the current closures to several cases of arson against Bahai businesses in Rafsanjan, and reports that some of the Bahais in Rafsanjan recently received letters stating that they are forbidden to have any contact with Muslims.

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

September 7, 2014

High bail set for three Bahais in Tehran; four remain in prison (correction)


PCED, September 4; HRANA, September 6.

(Corrected: three of the four detainees for whom bail was set have not been released as the bail is excessive)

On September 3, Branch 4 of the court at Evin Prison set bail for three Bahais arrested in Tehran: Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر ), Nasr `Arshi Moqaddam (ناصر عرشى مقدم), and `Ata’ollah Ashrafi (عطاء الله اشرفى). The family of the three detainees were informed by telephone from Evin prison that bail for Babak Mobasher and Naser Arshi Moqaddam was set at 25 billion Rials (700,000 euros or 938,000 US dollars), while 20 billion Rials (560,000 euros or 750,000 US dollars) was demanded for `Ata’ollah Ashrafi’s temporary release.

These three have been charged with “subverting the economy of Iran,” and “membership in the Baha’i community of Iran.” Their family cannot afford to pay the bail, which amounts to 2.6 million dollars, or almost 2 million euros. They are being held in block 209 of Evin prison, which is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence. Alaeddin Khanjani (علا‌ءالدین خانجانی), known as ‘Niki,’ is also held in block 209: there is no word about his condition.

On August 11, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided the home and optician’s shop of the Khanjani family in Tehran, and arrested Babak Mobasher, his father-in-law Alaeddin Khanjani, and four employees: Naser `Arshi Moqaddam, `Ata’ollah Ashrafi, Ruhollah Monzavi (روح الله منزوى), and Javad Salehi (جواد صالحى). Javad Salehi was reported to have been released when it was discovered that he was a Muslim. Ruhollah Monzavi was released on bail of 1 billion rials (37,000 US dollars or 28,000 euros.) Iranian media reported this as the smashing of a big spectacle-smuggling network, and said there were eight arrests, without giving names.

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


April 14, 2014

Another Bahai business closed in Semnan

Filed under: Bahai rights,Economic discimination — Sen @ 23:22

HRANA, April 13, 2014

An optician’s shop owned by Afrasayab Sobhani (افراسیاب سبحانی) was closed by the authorities in Semnan on April 8. No reason was given. Mr. Sobhani is serving a one-year prison term, and one of the other Bahais of Semnan has been running the business so that his family has the means of livelihood. Because of restrictions on Bahai employment and the economic sectors in which they may have businesses, a number of Bahais in Iran have opened to optician’s shops, but in recent years several of these have been closed. On November 29, 2012, another optician’s shop run by Mr. Akbar Por-hoseini ( اکبرپورحسینی ), a Bahai in Semnan, was raided. In that case, authorities not only confiscated his entire stock, valued at 2 billion rials (125,000 euros, 162,000 US dollars), he was fined 3.6 billion rials (225,000 euro, 293,000 US dollars) after a secret trial.

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

February 17, 2014

Two Bahai businesses closed in Karaj

HRANA, February 17

On the morning of February 16, a business owned by two Bahais, Saman and Badi`i Ashkar (سامان بدیعی و اشکان بدیعی ), was closed by the local authorities of Karaj, and their business licence was revoked. The action was taken because of their religious beliefs, and flimsy pretexts.

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

December 1, 2013

Bahai businesses in Gorgan targetted by false flag flyposters

HRANA, December 1, 2013

In the city of Gorgan (the former Asterabad, in the North East of Iran), unidentified persons have been putting up posters on the homes and business premises of Bahais. The posters contain citations from the Bahai teachings, and typically Bahai pictures, so as to give the impression that the Bahais have put them up advertise their faith. On the morning of November 28, just as one of the Bahai shopkeepers arrived at his shop and found one of these posters on his window, officers from the local government body that supervises public places and businesses also arrived. They closed his business down for propagating the Bahai Faith. It was not re-opened until November 30.

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

November 27, 2013

‘Unclean’ — Iran’s Outcast Baha’i Minority

Huffington Post blog, November 26, 2013

Anthony Vance, Director of Public Affairs for the Baha’is of the United States, has an excellent article on Huffington Post about the Iranian Shiah concept that Bahais (and others) are unclean, and that contact with them is to be avoided. It’s a point I’ve made several times on this blog, but Vance does it better, and has some documentation on the economic sectors that are forbidden to Bahais that I have not seen before:

The concept of ritual uncleanliness is an old one embedded in several major religious traditions, including Islam and Judaism. It is still accepted by many religious Iranian Muslims today. The Iranian Government has even taken legal steps to make sure that it applies to the occupations in which Baha’is may work. In a letter dated April 9, 2007, from the Public Places Supervision Office of the Public Intelligence and Security Force in the province of Tehran, addressed to the regional commanders of police and the heads of public intelligence and security forces, instructions were issued to prevent Baha’is from engaging in a wide range of businesses including “high-earning businesses.” The letter also prohibits Baha’is from receiving permits in 25 “sensitive business categories” and trades ranging from the tourist industry to computer sales, publishing, and a wide range of food businesses. With respect to the latter, the letter provides: “In accordance with the religious canons, work permits will not be issued to the followers of the perverse Bahaist sect in business categories related to Taharat [cleanliness]:
1. catering at reception halls,
2. buffets and restaurants,
3. grocery shops,
4. kebab shops,
5. cafes,
6. protein [poultry] shops and supermarkets,
7. ice cream parlors, fruit juice and soft drinks shops,
8. pastry shops,
9. coffee shops.” (italics added)

Related Posts
Signs of hope for Bahais in Iran
Ayatollah Masumi Tehrani speaks with, and for, the Bahais
Mohammad Nourizad calls for mass rejection of the ‘unclean’ superstition
Former Rector of Tehran University apologises
Demonstrative rejection of anti-Bahaism from Mohammad Nourizad
`Adnan Rahmat-Penah’s trial again a farce

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November 15, 2013

Another Bahai business closed in Tonekabon

HRANA, November 14, 2013

On November 12, security forces closed the business of three Bahais in Nashtarud, Tonekabon county, until further notice. This is the second such closure in a month. The names of the Bahais involved in the business this time are Armeen and Michel Esma`ilour and Badi`ullah Abu-al-Fasli ( آرمین اسماعیل پور، میشل اسماعیل پور و بدیع الله ابوالفضلی ). They had previously been summoned and interrogated several times.

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

November 3, 2013

Bahai business closed in Tonekabon

HRANA, November 2, 2013

On October 5, security forces closed down a business run by three Bahais in Tonekabon. Their names are Soroush Gorshasebi, Sina Gorshasebi and Omid Qaderi ( سروش گرشاسبی، سینا گرشاسبی و امید قادری ). Mr. Gorshasebi was one of three Bahais arrested in Tonekabon on September 23 and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Sari. He was freed on bail after 17 days in detention. Sina Gorshasebi, a Canadian citizen, was previously sentenced (September 2011) to six months in prison for leaving Iran without a permit. Omid Qaderi was previously arrested in October 2010, and the business he had at that time was closed down in February 2011, when he was fined about 300 euros. The reasons for the closure have not been announced. Because Bahais are believed to be “unlean” they are barred from selling food items to Muslims, but local authorities can extend this ban to cover numerous other items as well, as liquids are believed to convey “uncleanness” like a contagion. In some cases, florists shops run by Bahais have been closed on the argument that the plants are often wet when sold and could spread Bahai uncleanness.

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