Sen's daily

November 24, 2017

Foad and Payman Yazdani granted conditional release in Rasht

HRANA, November 21, 2017.

On November 17, Foad Yazdani (فواد یزدانی) and his son Peyman Yazdani (پیمان یزدانی) were released from Lakan Prison in Rasht after serving three months of their 2-year prison terms. Their release is conditional.

They were accused of “participating in a propaganda campaign against the regime.” They were among four Bahais and three non-Bahais arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on May 26, 2015, in a campaign to stop the Shiah population doing business with Bahais. The non-Bahais were charged with “having links with Bahais.” In January and February 2015, 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. The Bahais who were arrested had repair businesses and had customers who were not Bahais.

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


November 8, 2017

Bahai-run computer repair shop closed in Karaj

HRANA, November 6, 2017.

A computer repair workshop in Karaj, run by Ramtin Ziba’i (رامتین زیبایی), has been closed down by the authorities, who claimed this was part of the drive against the black market in smuggled goods. It appears likely that the real reason is that Mr. Ziba’i is a Bahai, since it workshop does not sell products, he sells his labour and expertise in repairing computers.

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

November 7, 2017

Dozens of businesses shut down in Sistan and Baluchistan region

HRANA, November 6, 2017.

A large number of Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan have had their premises sealed by the authorities because their owners closed them during the recent “Twin Holy Days,” the annual commemoration of the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. The closures are said to have taken place “today” (i.e., November 6), in the cities of Zahedan, Zabol, Chabahar, and Iranshahr, and to have affected about thirty businesses.

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November 5, 2017

Summary of recent closures of Bahai businesses

Payam News (Facebook), October 25, 2017.

At least 21 Bahai-run businesses in Mahshahr (Khuzestan Province) have been closed down by the authorities because they were closed on a Bahai Holy Day. It is notable that sixteen of these businesses were run by members of the Afshar family. The businesses included an aluminum door and window supplier, a shop for locks and door fittings, a hardware shop, a drapery and a clothing store, two electric appliance shops, a TV showroom, two shops selling car parts and accessories, a workshop manufacturing goods from MDF wood and a supplier of ventilation equipment. An informed source said that only two Bahai-owned businesses in the city have continued to operate.

Another 28 Bahai-run businesses have been shut down in Shiraz, Gonbad-e-Kavus and Gorgan, along with 40 in the Province of Golestan.

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October 24, 2017

14 Bahai-run businesses closed in Shiraz Province

Payam News, October 22, 2017.

Fourteen Bahai-run businesses in the cities of Shiraz, Gonbad-e Qabus, and Gorgan have been closed by the authorities. Five were closed in the Shiraz, eight in Gonbad-e Qabus, and one in Gorgan. The office of public places has claimed they had no business licences: the Bahai owners have responded by posting photographs of their business licences, bearing the yellow stamp from the office of public places.

The business owners in Shiraz are Riazullah Khadem (ریاض اله خادم), Isma`il Foruzan (اسماعیل فروزان), Farshad Farzandi (فرشاد فرزندی), Varjavand Mostaqim (ورجاوند مستقیم) and Mostafa Sha`erzadeh (مصطفی شاعرزاده). In Gonbade-e Qabus the owners are Koroush Ziari (کوروش زیاری), owner of two sealed businesses, along with Mrs. Hamideh Ziari (حمیده زیاری), Iraj Roshani (ایرج روشنی), Houman Ta’ef (هومن طائف), Sassan Sabeti (ساسان ثابتی), Shahram Tahdhib (شهرام تهذیب) and Farhad Fana’ayan (فرهاد فنائیان). The Guild authorities in Gonbad had issued a warning that shops should be kept open on last Saturday and Sunday, which were Bahai Holy Days which Bahais take free from work, where possible. The Bahai-run business that was closed in Gorgan was an optometry supplies shop run by Mehran Khalkhali (مهران خلخلی ).

In recent days, at least 40 Bahai businesses in Golestan were warned that they face closure if they take the Bahai Holy Days free.

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October 13, 2017

Stock of Bahai optician in Karaj expropriated

Payam News (facebook), October 12, 2017.

The entire stock of an opticians shop formerly run by Farrokh Bandi (فرخ بندی) and Behnam Ellahi (بهنام نبی اللهی), two Bahais living in Karaj, was seized by the authorities on October 11. The shop has been sealed since November 9, 2016. After seizing the contents of the shop, it was resealed. The owners were forced to gather their property together and load it into a rental van, which they were required to pay for. The property confiscated by the government included glasses and accessories, and equipment for making glasses.

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September 20, 2017

Behzad Dhabihi begins 6-month sentence in Sari

Payam News (Facebook), September 14, 2017.

Behzad Dhabihi Mahforujaki (بهزاد ذبیحی ماهفروجکی ), a Bahai from Sari, was arrested on September 4 and taken to prison to begin serving his sentence. He was originally sentenced to one year in prison and two years in internal exile in Heris County in Eastern Azerbaijan (the report says, Western Azerbaijan), but this sentence was reduced by the Court of Review to six months in prison. It is not clear whether the internal exile was also annulled. He was convicted in the Islamic Court (that is, not in a criminal court) in Sari on a charge of propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith, although at the court sitting the charges were presented as “propaganda against Islam and the Quran.” The text of the court’s judgement shows it was prepared by the Ministry of Intelligence in Mazandaran Province.

Mr. Dhabihi has been arrested four times in the last six years, and shops he ran have been shut down three times in the same period. On February 22, 2016, his shop in Sari was closed by the authorities, and remains closed despite efforts to reopen it.

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September 12, 2017

Bahai business reopens in Birjand

Payam News (Persian, facebook), 11 September 2017.

A Bahai-run business in Birjand has been allowed to reopen, nine months and 3 days after it was closed by the Bureau of Public Places. The technical systems shop belonging to Mr. ‘Ali Zamani (علی زمانی) was sealed by the authorities on December 6, 2016 because he is a Bahai, and closed his shop to observe the Bahai Holy Days. The authorities revoked the business licence before closing it down. The business was allowed to reopen on September 4.

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September 10, 2017

Bahai businesses in Ahvaz allowed to reopen

Payam News, September 10, 2017.

Fourteen businesses run by Bahais in the city of Ahvaz, closed by authorities since July 9, were allowed to reopen on September 7, following an order given orally by the Bureau of Public Places in the city.

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September 1, 2017

West Azerbaijan Provincial Security Council seeks re-opening of Bahai businesses

Payam News, August 31, 2017.

Forty days after the closure of 23 Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), the Provincial Security Council for the West Azerbaijan Province has issued a request that they be allowed to re-open. However the Office of Public Places in the city of Urmia has not acted on this, and has instead extended their closure for one week. One leather clothing shop run by Rita Latifi (ریتا لطیفی) has been allowed to re-open, after being transferred [to a non-Bahai proprietor ?].

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August 4, 2017

Four more Bahais businesses closed in Urmia

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), August 3, 2017.

Four more Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh) have been closed down by the authorities in recent days, bringing the total in the past two weeks to 23. The authorities have not given any response to the Bahais who have made enquiries about the closures.

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August 2, 2017

Sohayl Haqqdoust arrested, released on bail in Sari

Bahai News (Facebook, Persian), July 30, 2017.

Sohayl Haqqdoust (سهیل حق دوست) has been released from the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Sari after posting bail. His arrest, not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, took place on July 25, when five agents entered his home without his permission and arrested him for “media reports about the closure of his business.” The agents were accompanied by officials known as the Ansar Hosseini (انصار حسینی), charged with religious affairs in the Province of Mazandaran. Mr Haqqdoust was released on bail on July 29.

In April, 2016, 15 Bahai-run businesses in Qaemshahr were shut down by the authorities because they were closed for the Bahai holy day of the first day of Ridvan. One of these businesses, an optician’s shop, belonged to Mr. Haqqdoust. On the morning of November 8, 2016, he was one of five Bahais from Qaemshahr who were arrested at the Mazandaran Provincial Governor’s Office, where Bahais had gathered to seek interaction with public officials regarding the closure of Bahai businesses. They were released on bail after 9 days in detention.

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August 1, 2017

Threat to shut down a Bahai business in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, August 1, 2017.

Following the widespread closures of Bahai businesses in recent weeks, the Office of Public Property of Alborz Province has sent a letter to Mehran Naseri (مهران ناصری), a Bahai resident of Karaj, requesting the removal of his personal items.

According to the website of Human Rights in Iran, a letter sent to Mehran Naseri (مهران ناصری،) by the Alborz Provincial Office has warned this Bahai citizen to remove any perishables or personal items and leave his business within 10 days. He [also?] owns several commercial spaces which are rented by Muslims. According to Payam News, recently agents of the Office of Public Property have summoned those Muslims who rent business space from Bahais to the government sanctions office.

Recently at least 25 businesses in Urumiyeh and one business in Shahrud have been sealed because they were closed on a Bahai religious holiday. In addition, a number of Bahai business owners in Khorramshahr have also been summoned for questioning by the Office of Public Property of Khuzestan Province.

Over the past year, more than 300 Bahai businesses have suffered the closure of their businesses solely because they closed on Bahai religious holidays and for their belief in the Bahai Faith.

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July 17, 2017

Eleven Bahai businesses closed in Ahvaz

Iran Press Watch, July 15, 2017.

Indifferent to a recent verdict of the Administrative Bureau of Justice, the shops and businesses of at least 11 Bahais who closed their businesses in observance of a religious holiday (between the 8th and 10th of July) were closed and sealed by authorities in the city of Ahvaz. According to the law, citizens are permitted to close their place of business for up to 15 days a year without any particular or specified reason. However this law doesn’t seem to apply to Bahai citizens. Whenever Bahais close their businesses in observance of their religious holidays in which work should be suspended, authorities are quick to move in and seal the businesses.

Rostam Derakhshan (رستم درخشان), Sam Derakhshan (سام درخشان), Sohrab Firouzmandi (سهراب فیروزمندی), Khosrou Zohdi (خسرو زهدی), Vargha Derakhshan (ورقا درخشان), Sohrab Derakhshan (سهراب درخشان), Farzad Afshar (فرزاد افشار), Farshid Afshar (فرشید افشار), Jamshid Najafi (جمشید نجفی), Feyzollah Qanvatiyan (فیض الله قنواتیان) and Kianoush Afshar (کیانوش افشار) were among the citizens whose businesses were sealed.

According to an informed source, the official Closure Notification stated that “this closure has been ordered by the Judicial Authority (deputy prosecutor’s office), and will be carried out by security forces.”

The law states that a business owner is allowed to closed their business for up to 15 days a year without any particular or specified reason.

Recently the Administrative Bureau of Justice issued a verdict in favor of the Bahai citizens of Mazandaran, whose businesses had been closed in similar manner, stating that the legal right of these citizens to close their business for up to 15 days a year without any specific reason had been ignored.

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May 30, 2017

Bahai-run business closed down in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), May 21, 2017.

On April 13, 2017, ten officers from the Department of Sanctions arrived at the workplace of Farhad Samadani (فرهاد صمدانی), seized all his stock, including 528 spectacle frames, and sealed the business. They were intending to arrest him, but his physical health did not allow this — yet they took his car away with them. Although he had receipts for the purchase of the frames, including the payment of customs duty, his goods were confiscated and he was given a fine for the possession of “contraband” amounting to three times their value. The loss and fine amount to “40 million”, which if it is stated in tumans would be 11,000 euros or $US 12,300.

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May 8, 2017

Secret order to close Bahai-run businesses in Mazandaran leaked

Bahai News (Persian), May 7, 2017.

Six months after the closure of 94 Bahai-run businesses in Mazandaran Province, the Provincial Council’s instruction to close them has been leaked to the Press. The businesses were sealed by the authorities after they had closed for business on November 1 and 2, 2016, when Bahais celebrated the birthdays of the religion’s founders, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, in 1819 and 1817 respectively. The order specifies that the business premises of members of the erroneous and misleading sect should be closed down, and that Bahais should not be allowed to close their business until further notice [sic]. The order claims that the Bahai sect was founded by the English and Zionists (the Bahai Faith actually predates Zionism, and the period when the English were influential in Iran).

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March 11, 2017

Two Bahai businesses shut by authorities in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), March 10, 2017.

On March 9, police and agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and the Ministry of Penal Affairs (تعزیرات), along with a judge, went to one business in Karaj that is run by two Bahais, Farid and Farnush Pasha’i (فرید و فرنوش پاشایی) in the Gohardasht neighbourhood of Karaj, where they sealed the premises. The pretext was ‘sexual contraband.’ Although the owners presented invoices of their purchases to show that the articles were not contraband, the officers were uninterested, and returned on March 10 to confiscate all the business stock. [Under Iran’s economic apartheid system, Bahais are not permitted to provide many items of food, drink and personal services to Muslims, since Bahais are ‘unclean.’ But the rules are unwritten, or what is written is circulated confidentially, making it difficult for Bahais to know what they may and may not sell. A broad list of market sectors closed to Bahais was published on this blog in 2015, but the rules are constantly changing ~ Sen]

Government officers also went to a newly-opened business run by another Bahai, Arash Kazemi (آرش کاظمی) in the “Golshahr Metri 45” neighbourhood of Karaj. They shuttered the premises.

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

March 4, 2017

Contradictory statements by Mazandaran Attorney General on the closure of 94 Bahai businesses

Iran Press Watch, March 3, 2017.

According to HRANA, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, over 100 days have passed since the simultaneous closing of 94 business units belonging to Bahais in Mazandaran. During this time, the Attorney General of Mazandaran, Assadollah Jafari ( اسدالله جعفری), has issued contradictory statements regarding his role in the closure and sealing of the businesses of Bahais.

According to several of the Bahai business owners in Mazandaran whose businesses have been sealed, over the first few days following the closing of the businesses, provincial Attorney General Jafari responded by saying: “I personally signed the order to seal Bahai business and trade units and officers of the Office of Private Property are merely carrying out my orders.” He also said that Bahais were planning propaganda against the regime by closing their businesses on Bahai religious holidays. This was the reason for preventing the cases regarding the closure of the Bahai businesses from reaching the court, or from being addressed by the courts.

At the same time, a warrant signed by provincial Attorney General Jafari was located in the district attorney offices of a number of cities. This warrant contained orders to seal any Bahai business that closes on the 1st and 2nd of November. In another letter addressed to the Deputy Intelligence and Security Offices of Mazandaran Province, it was stated that Bahais take orders from Israel, that they intend to disturb the security of the province, and that that was why it was requested that if they close their shops and businesses on their religious holiday on the 1st and 2nd of November their business units were to be sealed.

Over two months ago Assadollah Jafari told several Bahais whose units had been sealed that “I swear on the Quran that I have no role in sealing the shops and businesses of Bahais in Mazandaran province, I never signed the warrant to seal the trade units, and did not order officers of the Office of Private Property to close your businesses! If you feel that the officers committed a violation, you can submit a complaint against them and be confident that it will be dealt with.” However, there continues to be a refusal [by the courts] to address the issue of the sealing of Bahai businesses.”

Under Article 32 of the Code of Criminal Law, management and oversight of the judiciary is up to the prosecutor. Also, according to Clause 1 of Article 28 of the Law on trade, the closure of any trade unit must be done with the knowledge of trade unions (trade guilds), and the Office of Private Property is the executive liaison to the unions. The unions said that they had no knowledge of the reason for the sealing of the Bahai Businesses in Mazandaran and they had no role in these closures.

Attorney General Jafari, despite an order from the Chief Justice of the Mazandaran Province Judiciary – Hojjatol-Islam Taghavi Fard (حجه الاسلام تقوی فرد) ‒ on December 14, 2016, refused to pursue an inquiry in this regard which was submitted to him. The text of the paragraph from the Chief Justice of Mazandaran Province is as follows:

“Mr. Jafari, according to the records, please review and announce the resulting decisions. Chief Justice Taghavi Fard.”

It should be noted that in March 2012, the European Union imposed sanctions on Attorney General Assadollah Jafari for human rights violations, including some against Bahais in Mazandaran.

Persian source: HRANA

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