Sen's daily

July 15, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Karaj

Filed under: Bahai rights,Educational discrimination — Sen @ 22:10

Melliun Iran (citing HRANA), July 15, 2018. –

In May, 2018, Sogol Dhabihi Sissan (سوگل ذبیحی سیسان), a student of Graphics at Rasam University in Karaj, was expelled and denied certificates for the courses she has already passed, because of her Bahai beliefs. She was in the fourth semester of an undergraduate degree. She discovered that she had been expelled when the university’s site blocked her access, needed to obtain the entry card for term exams. When she followed up, she was referred to the national “Educational Appraisals Agency.” The Agency branch in Karaj refused to allow her to enter the building, but told her by telephone that she had no right to higher education because she was a Bahai, so she had been expelled. She was told to submit a request in writing, which she did. She returned to the office for further information four times over the following two months, without even obtaining a copy of her course results, and received no response to her letter.


June 13, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Zanjan

Centre for Human Rights in Iran, June 12 (?), 2018. –

Soha Izadi (سها ایزدی), a student of Information Technology Engineering at the University of Zanjan, was expelled from the University on March 14, 2018 due to “being Bahai.” She had completed almost one year of studies, and was in the midst of the end-of-semester examinations when university officials contacted her to say they had received a letter from the “moral standards” section of the national “Educational Appraisals Agency” which meant that she could not continue education. She was removed from the student register and her access to the university web site was blocked. When she pursued the matter, the university officials told her the only way she could be re-admitted was to renounce her Bahai religion. An indication of how long this educational apartheid policy has endured in Iran is that both her mother and her father were also excluded from enrolling in tertiary education, using the “incomplete file” excuse (that is, the religion section did not say “Muslim” so the file was “incomplete”).

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

June 2, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Gorgan

Hamid Rezataghipour, May 29, 2018. –

Shakib Teymouri (شکیب تیموری), a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Gorgan University, was expelled on May 27. University officials excluded him from the university web site and from registration. The university refused also to document the Bachelor’s degree he had already achieved. He began his studies late in the autumn of 2014, and entered the Master’s course in 2016.

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

May 31, 2018

Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice confirms apartheid in education and employment

HRANA, May 29, 2018. –

Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice has formally confirmed that Bahais in Iran have no right to public service employment or tertiary education. This policy was set out in the 1991 “Golpaygani Memorandum,” drawn up by the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council (ISRCC). The memorandum calls for Iran’s Bahais to be treated in such a way “that their progress and development shall be blocked.” It specifies that all Bahais should be expelled from universities; that they shall be denied positions of influence, and that “employment shall be refused to persons identifying themselves as Bahais.” The exclusion of Bahais from universities was reiterated by Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in 2006. The latest court decision confirms that the 1991 policy remains in place: it cites the 1991 memorandum in confirming that Hanan Har (حنان حر), a Bahai student who scored well in the university entrance examination in 2016, and was accepted at a university in Babol, but was excluded because of his Bahai beliefs. In 2017 he appealed to the Court of Administrative Justice, which investigated and ruled that the appeal could not be processed because “Bahais are not only excluded from government employment, they are also deprived of the right to study.” The decision was communicated to Hanan Har in the past few days.

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

April 30, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Gorgan

Bahai Campaign, April 29, 2018.

Kiana Sana’i (کیانا ثنایی), who has completed two semesters of undergraduate study in architecture at the private non-profit Mir-Damand Institute of Higher Education in Gorgan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. The expulsion was initiated by the national “Educational Appraisals Agency.”

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

April 28, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Rasht

Didgaheno, April 27, 2018.

Seyyed Arash-Razavian-e Rudbardeh (سید آرش‌رضویان رودبرده), who was in his fourth semester of studies in Physics, has been expelled from Gilan University in Rasht because of his Bahai beliefs. On March 18, before the New Year break, he was told to go to the University, where he was informed that he had been expelled, and if he wanted more information he should go to the National Examinations organisation. After the holidays he did so, and was told that he had been expelled because he was not a follower of one of the four recognized religions. He asked that the reason should be put in writing, which he received, but it said only that his general qualifications were not accepted and he did not qualify for university education. This is remarkable, since Bahai students are usually given no document at all to indicate that they have been students, or have been expelled. When he asked for clarification, he received a prompt reply saying that, in accordance with a decree from the Cultural Council, he has no right to tertiary education. This is a reference to a confidential memorandum from the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council, dated February 1991, which states that Bahais must be expelled from Universities, and the progress and development of Bahais should in general be blocked. This reply also said that the “Police 10+” organization had been informed of his expulsion, in relation to his compulsory military service. This letter was signed by the Director of Educational Services at the University of Gilan.

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

January 21, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Kashan

Human Rights in Iran, undated (circa January 18, 2018).

Neda Eshraqi Borujeni (ندا اشراقی بروجنی), a student of computer science at the University of Kashan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. On December 18, 2017, she was contacted by the University security office [a branch of the Ministry of Intelligence], and she went to the office on December 23. There, she was asked to write, on a form they provided, that she was a Bahai, and to sign it. Her student card was then confiscated and she was barred from the student dormitory and the University’s web site for students. She was not given a written statement that she had been expelled, but was told that she had been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs and should pursue the matter with the National Organization of Educational Testing.

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

January 14, 2018

Bahai student expelled from Razi University of Kermanshah

HRANA, January 11, 2018.

Sadaf Vajdani (صدف وجدانی), a student of architectural engineering, was expelled from Razi University of Kermanshah because of her Bahai beliefs. She was notified of her expulsion just before the beginning of the first term examinations.

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

January 6, 2018

Imprisoned Bahai teacher told to repent in exchange for furlough

Filed under: Bahai rights,Educational discrimination — Sen @ 10:10

Center for Human Rights in Iran, January 5, 2018.

The authorities At Tehran’s Evin Prison have told imprisoned Bahai educator Azita Rafizadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده), that she will only be considered for furlough if she apologizes for teaching online classes in computer engineering to members of her faith.

“The prison authorities said she must sign a statement to repent for her work and promise that she will not work there again,” a family source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 3, 2018. “But Azita said she has done nothing to repent for. She said she is proud of her work and if she went back in time she would do it again.”

Since October 2015, Rafizadeh and her husband Peyman Koushk-Baghi have been behind bars for teaching at the Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), an online learning service that is banned in Iran. Relatives are raising their eight-year-old son.

“For the Iranian New Year [March 21, 2017], Azita was granted furlough for six days but she returned to prison three days later. They told her she had committed a violation and never granted her furlough again,” said the source, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“The prison authorities said they had made a mistake granting her furlough the last time,” said the source, adding that they claimed Bahais are not eligible for temporary leave.

Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.

Iran’s Constitution does not recognize the Bahai faith as an official religion. Although Article 23 states that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief,” followers of the faith are denied many basic rights as one of the most severely persecuted religious minorities in the country.

Bahais are also denied access to higher education in Iran, either by being banned from entering university or being expelled without a proper explanation once enrolled.

Rafizadeh, 35, is a former BIHE graduate who returned to Iran after receiving a master’s degree in computer engineering from a university in India. She began teaching the subject at BIHE in 2002.

In 2014, Judge Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Rafizadeh to four years in prison and her husband to five years in prison on the charge of “membership in the illegal and misguided Bahai group with the aim of acting against national security through illegal activities at the BIHE educational institute.”

The source told CHRI that the imprisoned couple’s son, Bashir Koushk-Baghi, is being raised by another Bahai family. “He knows his parents are in prison for a noble cause,” added the source. “He sees his father and mother as heroes.”

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

December 28, 2017

Bahai student expelled from Azad University in Kashan

Iran Press Watch, December 25, 2017.

According to the reports by Baha’i Campaign, Paria Foroughi (پریا فروغی) was expelled from the Azad University of Kashan due to her belief in the Bahai Faith.

Ms. Foroughi was expelled by the President of Azad University of Kashan, after having studied Psychology for three semesters.

Ms. Foroughi shared the following:

“I was sitting for an exam when I was summoned to the University President’s office, and there I became aware of this, and an extraordinary sorrow overcame me.”

“The head of the university objected to the incompleteness of my registration form, and then I saw the form, he said ‘you have completed everything but the religion field, why did you not write your religion?’ I said I might have forgotten. He said, ‘no, it was not accidental that you forgot your religion. What is your religion?’ I said, ‘Bahai.’ He said, ‘write it down’, and I did. He said, ‘You know that according to the Islamic Republic’s law, you do not have a right to education?’ I said ‘yes’, he said, ‘Then wrap-up what you need to do and resign.’ I said ‘no you are expelling me from the university, I did not resign. You are expelling me due to my belief.’”

“He then said, ‘This law is for everyone.’ I answered, ‘Excuse me, but students from all the other countries have the right to study at the universities in our country, and I have no right to study in my own country? Is this correct and fair in your opinion?’ He answered, ‘it is certainly correct’, and asked, ‘Why did you say you are a Baha’i, to cause your expulsion?’ I answered, ‘Truthfulness is the foundation of the Baha’i Faith’, he said, ‘You have no right to study at this university, nor any other universities in Iran’, and laughed. I answered, ‘I’m proud that I was expelled due to my pure belief, there is no problem.”

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

December 20, 2017

Negin Qadameyan begins her sentence

HRANA, December 18, 2017.

Negin Qadameyan (نگین قدمیان) a Bahai from Tehran who has been sentenced to five years in prison for educational crimes in relation to the Bahai Open University (BIHE), was arrested at
an airport on December 16, and has been taken to Evin Prison to begin her sentence. She was arrested, along with many others associated with the Open University, in May, 2011. On March 12, 2013, she and nine other Bahais associated with the Open University were tried. After the trial they were freed on bail or with a pledge, until summoned to begin their sentences.

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

December 13, 2017

Five Bahai-run businesses in Tabriz closed by authorities

Iran Press Watch, December 7, 2017.

According to reports from the Bahai Campaign, another Bahai-owned business was shut down by officials from the Office of Properties in Tabriz on December 6. The business was operated by Touraj Mithaqi (تورج میثاقی).

According to a source close to Mr. Misaghi, “Over the past few days, Mr. Touraj Misaghi has been interrogated by the security forces and the law enforcement forces, and finally after being summoned and interrogated again, they shut down his business yesterday.”

In recent days, the businesses of four other Bahais in Tabriz, Shahryar Khodapanah (شهریار خداپناه), Anis Hokmran (انیس حکمران) in partnership with his father, Kheirollah Bakhshi (خیراله بخشی) and Payam Zafaryab (پیام ظفریاب).

On December 3rd, Shahindokht Molavardi, a special assistant to the President of Iran on civil rights issues made a statement to the media insisting that she “has made some inquiries, from the President’s Legal Assistant, about the closure and the blocking the Bahai commercial activities, and an attempt is being made to move this conversation forward through legislation until a solution to this issue is found.”

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

November 16, 2017

Hassan Momtazi begins a 5-year sentence for educational activities

HRANA, November 15, 2017.

Hassan Momtazi (حسن ممتازی), a teacher for the Bahai Open University (BIHE), has been arrested in his mother’s home in Shiraz. He was first arrested in 2011. He was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, and confirmed by the review court. It is thought that he will be taken to Evin Prison to begin his sentence.

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

November 8, 2017

Three Bahai students who sought justice sent to prison

HRANA, November 8, 2017.

Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی), Tara Houshmand (تارا هوشمند) and Rouhiyyeh Safajou (روحیه صفاجو), aged 22, 21 and 21 respectively, have each been sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious human rights violator Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه). All three are students barred from tertiary education because of their Bahai beliefs, who pursued their constitutional rights to equal treatment through various legal means. They were arrested in Tehran on March 8, 2016.

Tara Houshmand was arrested by security agents in her home in Tehran, which was searched. 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 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 was arrested by 8 security agents posing as workers from the gas supply company who entered her home. 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. Mr. Mahjoub called the students terrorists and gunmen and expelled them from his office.

The three were summoned to appear in court six times, but court sittings were held on only two occasions. In the first sitting, Judge Moqiseh was absent and another Judge took his place. This Judge heard the accusations and defence, and issued a summons to the Prosecutor’s Office dealing with the defendants’ case to come to court and explain why they had been arrested [since they had not broken any law ~ sen]. However at the next sitting, on September 26 this year, Judge Moqiseh was present, as were the defendants and their lawyer. No representative from the Prosecutor’s office was present to explain why the defendants had been arrested. Judge Moqiseh reserved his judgement, and now, five weeks later, has announced the sentences of five years each on charges of undermining state security in the form of membership of the Bahai sect. The ruling contained no mention of the defence that had been presented, as if the defendants and their lawyer had not attended the court at all.

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

September 22, 2017

115 Bahai students barred from universities in Iran

موژان نورانی نژاد،فتانه ابراهیم زاده،مبین بختیاری،سریز خادم نیریزی،دنا مهاجری،شیما اسدی زیادی،تارا هدایتی،شایان دانش پور،طناز یقینی،سالار حامدی،روژینا پارسا، مهیار نداف،بهرام رضایی،بدیع ابراهیم نژاد، شهیر شوقی، بهزاد یزدانی، سبا سبحانیان، رادمان بخشیان، دیبا فرخ همدانی، فراز خاضعی،ایمان میرزاپناه،عرفان شهری، ویدا محبوبی، فایز بابایی،پانیذ مبین، هیلا دارابی،کیانا زاهدی،وفا مهاجر، رویا کمالی،هوداد قلی زاده،سما رستگار،کیمیا روحانی،صحرا دارابی،سحر راسخ فرد،دیبا منزوی،امید فرزاد،کیارش صداقت،سرور منزوی،یاسین مرادی،ترنم بابایی،کسری امانت،آزاده احسان، ساناز مشتعل،سهندگلشنی نجف آبادی،ثمین صراف،دیانا بهشاد،کیمیا کامروا،صبا ایقانی،ترنم گرجی،متین گرجی،پرنیا میثاقی،پگاه سیروسیان،راشین حسینی،زهره فضلی،بهاره رحمانی مهدی آبادی،مهنا مسلمی، آوا صادقیان، سما صفری، لیلی اشتیاق،افشان اسحاقیان،صبا ایقانی فرد،غزل صداقت،ثمن صادقی، دل آرام منزوی،متین صادقی وحید،تینا شهریاری،صهبا بلوری،رسده ذاکریان، ماندانا مومنی، سارا ایقانیان، اسا ایمانیان، سما کلیدی، رادمان کشاورز، وفا باقری،مها محمدی، کیانا پژگاله، ریاض بهراد، آرین علیزاده، رکسانا کرم زاده، صهبا آزادی، هامون رنجبر،اردلان صادق زاده،ماهرخ محمدی،نسیم صفری، مازیار استانی،طنین آزادی،غزال وحدت،مهزاد ذهنی میاندوآب، ترنم حقیقی نجف آبادی، وحید صادقی، بهرام حقیقی،نگین روحانی، ادیب فردوسیان نجف آبادی،پارسا اسمعیل پور، معین همت،پانید جوهری، پگاه جوهری،راشین روحی،نورا محمدی فرد سیسان، متین آگاهی،شمیم احسانی،سینا محمدی، خشایار بیرجندی، سارینا کرمزاده،یاسمین صحراگرد، بهزاد شیخی،یونس شاکراردکانی، تینا تمدنی، شمیس نورانی، مهران مهرگانی، سینابرگی،نبیل زارعی و شقایق روحی جهرمی

Payam News (Facebook), September 19, 2017.
Radio Farda, September 20, 2017

As the results of the annual University Entrance Examination come in, at least 115 Bahai students are known to have received the message “Dear applicant, there’s a flaw in your dossier. Please contact the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency.” The number actually excluded this year is thought to exceed 200 — some for the first time, some who have been excluded in the past and who have taken the examination again this year. Some of the names that have been checked by Payam News are shown on the right.

The number of Bahais excluded or expelled from tertiary education since the 1979 revolution is believed to exceed 100,000. Iran’s educational apartheid policy was formalised in a 1991 decree which also sets out other measures intended to block their “progress and development.”

Farzad Safaei, an Open University student in the southwest city of Ahvaz; Vafa Hovaidaei, an Amir Kabir University student in Tehran; and Vesal Laqaeifar (pictured), an Amir Kabir University student in Tafresh are three Bahais deprived of their rights for education in recent months.

This was the second year that Foad, a Baha’i applicant, received the message. “I have not yet visited the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency this year. However, last year I had a long discussion with one of the agency’s officials, who told me I was denied entry on the orders of security agents of the Intelligence [Ministry],” he told Radio Farda.

Foad quoted the official as saying, “Therefore, we cannot let you enter a university,” and added, “When I asked the reason behind it, the official said, ‘They have disqualified you because of your faith.’ ”

The answer was not good enough for Foad. “I asked the official to respond to my enquiry in writing. He wrote down my address and telephone number, saying, ‘We’ll send your request to the Intelligence [Ministry] and will let you know if we receive an answer.’ ”

“I never received any answer,” Foad added.

Another Iranian Bahai, Omid, who successfully participated in this year’s national university admission contest but was denied entering a university, told Radio Farda, “Yesterday, I went to the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency. They introduced me to an expert who was there exclusively for Bahai student cases. They didn’t respond to my enquiry in writing but told me I do not have the right to enter a university because of my belief in the Baha’i faith.”

A Bahai nicknamed Maryam, who used to study at Tehran’s Beheshti University, told Radio Farda, “They did not deliver me anything in writing. They simply closed down my site and, after two semesters, tried me in absentia and expelled me from the university. I called them to find out why I was deprived of continuing my studies. They did not tell me why.”

Maryam had no choice other than to visit the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency. “There, I discussed my case with the members of the Central Appraisal Board. They said, ‘You know that you are a Baha’i and Bahais do not have the right to education.’ I was deprived of further education solely because my school of thought is different. They insisted the only way for me to return to the university was to write a letter saying I had converted to Islam and rejected Baha’ism.”

June 1, 2017

Three students expelled for Bahai beliefs, Farzan Ma`sumi denied his Diploma

Editorial compilation, June 1, 2017.

Bahai News reports that Wafa Hoveida’i (وفا هویدایی), who was in the second semester of an undergraduate degree in the Department of Physics and Energy Engineering, has been expelled from Amir Kabir Polytechnic University because of his Bahai beliefs. He learned of the expulsion when his user’s page on the University’s site was blocked. When he made enquiries, university officials told him he had been expelled because he was a Bahai.

The same report says that Farzad Safa’i (فرزاد صفایی), who has completed 8 semesters of a degree in Industrial Metallurgy at the Free Islamic University of Ahwaz, was expelled in late May. He received a summons from the University Security office, and his user’s page on the University’s site was blocked.

In a separate report, Bahai News says that Wessal Leqa’i-far (وصال لقایی فر) a student of Chemical Engineering, was expelled at the end of his seventh semester, when he resisted pressure from two officials from the Ministry of Education to renounce the Bahai Faith. At the end of his fourth semester he was also blocked, and in response to his enquiries the university officials told him this was because he was a Bahai. After repeated follow-ups he was able to win a promise that he could complete two more semesters.

A third report from Bahai News states that officials at the Payam-e Nour University campus in Kavar (Fars Province) have refused to issue a graduation diploma to Farzan Ma`sumi (فرزان معصومی). He has completed the courses for a Bachelor in Political Science. The officials said they were acting on orders from the Bureau of Educational Assessments, and protests to the University would be fruitless. Farzan Ma`sumi was arrested on February 12, 2017, along with Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت), when their homes were searched and religious and non-religious books, mobile phones and computers were seized, along with family photos and religious images. He was released on bail on February 22.

Short link:

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

April 23, 2017

Twin siblings expelled from two universities

Bahai News (Persian), April 22, 2017.

Two separate universities in Iran have expelled twin siblings, Shekib Muhammad-Alipour (شکیب محمدعلی پور) and his sister Shima Muhammad-Alipour (شیما محمدعلی پور), because of their Bahai beliefs. When Shima Muhammad-Alipour (-Dastgerdi) was filling in the enrollment forms for the School of Art and Architecture at the University of Kashan, she chose the option ‘other religion,’ but in the forms for accommodation she filled in “Bahai Faith.” On October 1, 2016, which was her first day at the University, she was summoned by the security office and her student card was taken away. She was told that she could apply to the national Office of Educational Assessment for permission to continue her studies, but several months have passed and she has received no reply.

Her brother Skekib was enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering of the Khorramabad State University, in Lorestan Province, and gave his religion as “Bahai” on enrollment. At the end of the first term, when he found he had no grades for his courses, he discovered — via one of his teachers — that he had been expelled.

Short link:

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

March 9, 2017

Two more Bahai students expelled from universities

Bahai News (Persian), March 2017.

In separate reports dated March 4 and March 6, Bahai News reports on the expulsion of Mahsa Sha`erzadeh (مهسا شاعرزاده) and Puya Azami Aqjeh (پویا اعظمی اقجه).

Ms. Mahsa Sha`erzadeh, a Bahai living in Ramhormoz, in Khuzestan, was expelled from the campus of Payam-e Nour University in Rahhormoz because of her Bahai beliefs. She was taking a Bachelor’s course in Applied Chemistry, and had passed her final exams and gained 70 credits. She was summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence in the city and pressured to officially withdraw from her course. She refused, but was expelled on March 1, 2017, and was given no documentation.

Mr. Puya Azami Aqjeh, a Bahai from Tehran, was expelled from the Rudehen campus of the Free Islamic University. He was in the first semester of a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. In January 2016, he found himself barred from the final examination for the semester, and was told that he had no right to university education because he was a Bahai. He is the sixth Bahai student expelled from this University in recent months.

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

February 10, 2017

Bahai student Sepena Shadabi expelled from the Azad university of Kermanshah

Filed under: Bahai rights,Educational discrimination — Sen @ 09:36

Bahai News (English), February 9, 2017.

Sepena Shadabi (سپنا شادابی), a Bahai student from Kermanshah, has been expelled from the Sahneh County campus of the Free Islamic University of Kermanshah because of his Bahai beliefs. He is an architectural engineering student who began his studies in September 2014, and passed 104 units and completed the examinations. On January 31, 2017, he responded to a summons to the security office of the central university [university security offices in Iran are departments of the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen] where a security official took his student ID card and asked him whether he was a Bahai. “Yes,” he said, “I am a Bahai.” The head of security then told him “I have been instructed by the competent authorities to tell you that, under a ruling issued by the Council of the Cultural Revolution, you as a Bahai are not allowed to study at a university.” Next day he found that his login to the university website was blocked.

In the past month, 20 Bahai students have been expelled from Iranian universities because of their belief in the Bahai Faith. The ruling of the Council of the Cultural Revolution which initiated this systematic policy of discrimination against Bahai is available here.

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

February 7, 2017

Bahai student expelled from a non-profit university in Mashhad

Bahai News (Persian), February 1, 2017.

Sougol Kazemi-Bahnamiri (سوگل کاظمی بهنمیری) has been expelled from the Non-Profit University in Mashhad, where she had reached the fifth semester of a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Enginering, because of her Bahai beliefs. The discovered she had been expelled when she tried to access her personal page on the University’s web site on January 23. Her access was blocked. She went first to the IT services department, who sent her to the Education Office, who knew nothing about her expulsion. That office sent her back to the Director of the Education Office, who made further enquiries with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, who said that her student portal had been closed, but this was to be confidential. When she asked whether she had been expelled, the Education Office told her, “No, but until the Testing Organisation says that the problem with your file has been resolved, you are barred from further study and cannot follow classes in the coming semester.” She then went to the Ministry of Education and the Testing Organisation, but as of January 28 she had received no response, and there has also been no official documentation of the her expulsion.

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January 18, 2017

Six Bahai students expelled in Rudehen

Bahai News (Persian), January 17, 2017.

On December 31, 2016, six students were expelled from the Islamic Free University in Ruhdehen (Roodehen), because of their Bahai beliefs. After confirming their identity (as enrolled students), Sana Hourbakht (ثنا هوربخت), Janahgir Hedayati (جهانگیر هدایتی) and four others who have not given permission to use their names found they were blocked from the student’s part of the university web site and, after various efforts to follow up on this, found that their expulsion was directly related to the head of the University’s security department.

Sana Hourbakht sat the national University Entrance examination in the previous academic year, and was faced with the “incomplete file” excuse that is used to bar Bahai students from universities, but he was nevertheless able to enroll at the Free University to study architectural engineering. But on December 28 he, like the other five Bahai students at the university, found his personal page had been blocked and that he no longer had user access as a student.

Janahgir Hedayati was in his fifth semester of a degree in Computers and Applications, and just two weeks before his expulsion the Chancellor of the Free University had awarded him a wall plaque (pictured above) in recognition of his academic excellence. He too sat the national University Entrance examinations and received only the result “file incomplete,” but was able to enroll at the university as a “free” student, without UE results.

The other expelled students likewise had given their religion as “Bahai” on enrolling, and found they were expelled when they were blocked from the university web site. There is no evidence of who took the decision or blocked their accounts, but only university officials have that access to the web site. When they followed up, the Chancellor’s office told them to go to the Security Department [which is an arm of the Ministry of Intelligence, not controlled by the University ~ Sen]. when they went to the Security Department, their mobile phones were confiscated [to prevent them recording the interview ?] and the Head of Security told them “do not come to the University, you know why you have been expelled.” From the University Administration they learned that the officials there had no idea why they had been expelled, only that there was a red star beside their names in the list of students. The officials said to ask the Security Office what it meant.

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January 17, 2017

Bahai student expelled in Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian), January 15, 2017.

Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیلی), a student in the 7th semester of a degree in Graphic Design at the Eram non-profit private university in Shiraz, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. On January 8, during the end of term examinations, an examination official contacted her to say that the National Organisation for Educational Testing had said she was not eligible for examinations. When she asked the reason, she was told to contact Mr. Nourbaksh (آقاي نور بخش), at the head office of NOET in Tehran. When she asked the Chancellor of the University why she was expelled, he said she contact NOET. She did so, travelling to Tehran to see Mr. Nourbaksh, he said he had been contacted by the Ministry of Intelligence, and was not responsible for the decision.

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January 15, 2017

Bahai student expelled in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), January 16, 2017.

Ma’ideh As-sadat Hosseini-rad (مایده السادات حسینی راد), a Bahai from Isfahan, has been expelled from university because of her Bahai beliefs. She was not given any documentation of her expulsion, or evidence of the grades she had achieved.

Following the national university entrance examinations she was excluded from study, with the excuse of “incomplete file,” but she was able to resolve that issue (the details are not specified) through contact with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, allowing her to enrol at the Technical University of Isfahan to study mathematics and statistics. But following the examinations at the end of the first semester she was excluded from the University’s web site and contacted to say that the National Organisation had not confirmed her eligibility to enrol, and she should go to the Organisation with any questions. When she did go to the Organisation, accompanied by her mother, for an interview with the head of student selections. He said the issue was a long-standing one, and that he was a supporter of the Bahais, to which Miss Hosseini-rad replied that there had been no improvement in the situation for Bahais over the years. He said the fault lay with the Ministry of Intelligence, not the Ministry of Science and Technology.

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January 12, 2017

Another student expelled in Shiraz

HRANA, January 12, 2017.

Nazanin Niku-seresht ( نازنین نیکو سرشت), a student of English Literature at the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Shiraz University, has been expelled after two and a half months of study because of her Bahai beliefs. On December 28, 2016, when she checked the University web site to see her grades, she found the list was blank. When she enquired at the Faculty, she was told the University’s central administration had sent a letter saying her university studies had been stopped. The letter was signed by Dr. Muhammad-`Ali Masnadi Shiraz (محمدعلی مسندی شیراز), the head of educational affairs at the University. University officials said the decision was made by the Lecturer and Student Selection Committee in Tehran on December 12, and covered the expulsion of six students [for various reasons]. She was told she would have to contact the Committee for further details, but was not allowed a copy of the letter.

Mrs. Niku-seresht was one of the 129 Bahai university applicants who were rejected this academic year, with the excuse “incomplete file.” But she enquired about the nature of the “incomplete file,” and in the meantime was able to enroll and begin studies. Her further enquiries to the national body responsible for the university entrance requirements received not answer. But when she looked at Shiraz University, where she had applied, she found her name on the list of new students. She chose her courses and was given a student number and ID card.

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December 30, 2016

Another Bahai student expelled

Bahai News (Persian), December 29, 2016.

Peygah Dehqani-Mohammadi (پگاه دهقانی محمدی) has been expelled from Al-Taha Institute of Higher Education in Tehran because of her Bahai beliefs. She was in the first semester of a degree, and preparing for examinations. On December 29, officials left a telephone message at her home saying that, since she was a Bahai, the Institute could not accept her and she need not go to the Institute any more. However she does intend to return to the Institute on December 31, to follow up on the matter. She lives in Eslamshahr, in Tehran Province, and was taking an applied science degree in computer software.

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December 29, 2016

Bahai student expelled from university in Birjand

Bahai News (Persian), December 28, 2016.

Farinarz Mokhtari (فریناز مختاری) was expelled from the Birjand Women’s Technical Institute on December 26 because of her Bahai beliefs. She was contacted on December 25, and told to report to the Chancellor to receive documents relating to a letter from the Department of Education. Next day, she reported to the Chancellor’s office, and was told she had been barred from tertiary education. In the current academic year, at least 129 Bahai students who have passed the University Entrance examination have been barred from tertiary institutions because of the religious beliefs.

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December 28, 2016

Bahai student expelled in Yazd

Iran Press Watch, November 29, 2016.

Raha Sedaqat (رها صداقت), a Bahai from Yazd, has been expelled from university because of her religion.

According to reports and Raha herself: “After participating in my college entry exam, I was told my academic record had deficiencies, like other Bahai students. However, a few days later, I received a message from the State University of Yazd to register, and so I began my studies at Yazd University, until the day I went for my midterm exams and was unable to find my name or seat number in the student roster. The next day, when I inquired about this, I was told that they had received an urgent and confidential letter from the national University Assessment authorities for my immediate expulsion, as well as three other students. At the end of the meeting, they took my student ID and expelled me.”

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Expulsion of Bahai High School student

Iran Press Watch, December 5, 2016.

Bardia Rouhu’l-Fada (بردیا روح الفدا), a 15-year-old Bahai boy, has been expelled from Komayl boys high school in Rasht because of his belief in the Bahai Faith. [It would appear that this happened early in September, during the re-enrollment process. Secondary education in Iran is divided into 3 years of lower secondary school followed by up to 3 years of upper secondary schooling, beginning at about 15 years. The school (incorrectly identified in one report) appears to be an orthodox religious school, the Dabirestan Shahid Komayl ~Sen] Two other high schools in Rasht also refused to register him. He is currently being home-schooled.

A source close to his family stated that: “Bardia’s father was asked by the Principal of the high school to fill out the registration form again. When he came to the religion section of the form, the Principal asked him not to mention that he is a Bahai, although Bardia’s father had previously mentioned that his son is a Bahai. The Principal told him that this high school is one of the exemplary public schools, and so he had to expel his son.”

His father then went to the Education Department, but officials there refused to give him a document that would state that being a Bahai was the reason for his son’s expulsion. According to this source, “Sanayeh Poushesh High School told his father that they did not have room for his son; Mulla Sadra and Shahid Raja’i High Schools recommended that his father not state that he is a Bahai. Contesting this, Bardia’s father said, “You mean I have to lie?” And they replied, “Yes, you have to lie. Otherwise, your son cannot continue his education.”

After Bardia was expelled from high school, his classmates were upset about his expulsion, and they gave him a standing ovation as he was leaving the school.

Within the past month, more than two thousand Bahai citizens have written to Hasan Rohani, and have asked for the improvement of educational conditions for the Bahais in Iran. From the Islamic Revolution in Iran to date, more than one hundred thousand Bahais have been prevented from continuing their education in Universities and Technical Institutes (Tertiary education). In recent years, a number of Bahais or those born into Bahai families have also been denied education in elementary, middle school and high school. This has been based on a Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution dated February 25, 1991, under which Bahais are excluded from tertiary education or employment in government bodies. According to this text, “The government’s dealings with them must be such that their progress and development are blocked.” “They can be enrolled in schools provided they have not identified themselves as Bahais. Preferably, they should be enrolled in schools which have a strong and imposing religious ideology.

The last two clauses are contradictory: Bahai children are required to identify themselves so that they can be directed to enrol especially in schools that emphasise religious orthodoxy, but having identified themselves as Bahais they should be excluded from school! This appears to be the issue here: in accordance with government policy the Bahai family has registered with an orthodox religious school, but these are just the schools that do not want Bahai students.

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December 27, 2016

Student couple expelled from university for Bahai beliefs

Bahai News (Persian), December 23, 2016.

Azadeh Dhulfaqari (آزاده ذوالفقاری) and Masoud Qadirzadeh (مسعود قدیرزاده), a young Bahai couple studying in Yazd, have been expelled from the Payam-e Nour University because of their religious beliefs. On November 14, 2016, they enrolled in courses on medical engineering and accounting. Some time later, after they had chosen their units and paid the fees, it was noticed that the registration form, which they had not filled in themselves, said that they were Muslims. When they went to the University Rector [to correct this], the Rector consulted with the University’s security department [answering to the Ministry of Intelligence], and they were expelled.

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November 15, 2016

Amrollah Hekmat-Sho’ar arrested in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), November 7 and 10, 2016.

Amrollah Hekmat-Sho’ar (امرالله حکمت شعار), the father of 11-year-old ‘Aref Hekmat-Sho’ar (عارف حکمت شعار) who was expelled from school in Karaj last year because his parents are Bahais, was arrested in Karaj on November 7. In the preceding days he had been contacted by telephone with instructions to report to Raja’i Shahr prison, to which he replied that an arrest warrant should be sent according to formal procedures, and not via a telephone call. When agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested him near his home, they took him in handcuffs to his work place and his home, and searched both very thoroughly. They had a search warrant, and showed an arrest warrant that said he would be charged with undermining national security and propaganda against the regime. He was later released on bail, apparently on November 10. Bail was set at 50 million tumans (14,400 euros; $US 16,400). During his interrogation, he was asked about the exclusion of his son, then aged 10, from three schools in Karaj. Following ‘Aref’s third expulsion, from “the cradle of knowledge” (گهواره دانش ) school in the Mehrvila district of Karaj, a number of human rights activists intervened, and some of them, including Mohammad Nourizad (محمد نوری زاد), Doctor Maleki (دکترملکی) and Mr. Karim Bigi (کریم بیگی) travelled to Karaj to protest.

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