Sen's daily

September 22, 2017

115 Bahai students barred from universities in Iran


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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.”

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shahin Negari, BIHE teacher, released from prison


Bahai News (Persian), November 14, 2016.

Shahin Negari ( شاهین نگاری), a faculty member of the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), was released from Raja’i Shahr Prison on November 14, at the end of a four-year prison sentence. He was arrested at his home in Tehran in May 2011, but he was free on bail from June 28, 2011, to January 13, 2013, when he began his sentence.

The BIHE is a distance-learning institute which serves students who are excluded from tertiary study in Iran, because they are Bahais. Many staff and some students associated with the BIHE were arrested in late May, 2011, when their homes and BIHE premises were raided by security forces.

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

Bahai student Danial Kheradmand expelled from university


Iran Press Watch, November 12, 2016.

Danial Kheradmand (دانیال خردمند), a Bahai from Tehran, secured admission to the University of Sari on 10 September 2016 to study accounting. Classes began on the first of October. In the first week of November his name was removed from the student list because of his Bahai beliefs. After following up the case with the university administration, he was told that the university was asked to stop cooperating with him.

During the current year at least 129 Bahai students, after successfully passing the University Entrance Exam (Concours) in 2016, were prevented from continuing their education because they believe in the Bahai Faith. Some were allowed to commence their studies, but after being identified as Bahais they were expelled from their universities. [I have been unable to keep pace, on Sen’s Daily, with the reports of these expulsions and exclusions.]

The exclusion of Bahais from higher education is based on a document, dated the 2nd of February 1991, approved by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. This document states that Bahais are not permitted to work in any government establishment, or to continue their education in higher institutions of learning.

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

October 25, 2016

Mariya Kothari free on bail in Qorveh


Bahai News (Persian), October 18, 2016.

Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری), a Bahai from Qorveh, who was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 4, was freed on bail on October 18. Her bail was set at 60 million tumans (17,000 euros, $US 19,000). After her arrest in Qorveh she was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities first in Qorveh and then in Sanandaj. On October 9, while she was in jail, her home was searched by security forces for the third time.

Mrs. Kothari’s husband and son do not have Iranian nationality and have been required to leave Iran. Her husband lives in Equador and her son in Australia. As a result it has fallen to her mother to follow up on her arrest, but her mother has been denied visiting rights. Mrs. Kothari is accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. She is a qualified medical doctor. She studied medicine in Equador because, as a Bahai, she was barred from higher education in Iran under that country’s apartheid system.

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

October 11, 2016

129 Bahai students barred from higher education

Iran Press Watch, October 9, 2016.

In a continuation of the pattern of previous years, at least 129 Bahai students (as of September 18) have been denied the right to register at a university in Iran using the excuse of “incomplete file”. These are students who have gained adequate grades in the national University Entrance examination; it does not include those barred from sitting the examination, for example by not sending them exam registration cards, or who were given no grades when they did sit. It includes Bahai students who have been excluded in previous years, and sit the examination again. (Because of this, the figure cannot be used to guess the size of the Bahai community in Iran ~Sen) The Iran Press Watch article includes a review of the ways Bahais have been excluded from Higher Education since 1979.

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

October 7, 2016

Peyman Koushk-Baghi moved from Evin prison to Raja’i Shahr


Bahai News (Persian), October 6, 2016.

On October 6, Peyman Koushk-Baghi (پیمان کوشکباغی) was moved unexpectedly from Evin prison in Tehran to Raja’i Shahr prison, about an hour’s drive West of Tehran. Raja’i Shahr houses many of the male prisoners of conscience, including Baha’i prisoners. He has been sentenced to five years in prison for cooperation with BIHE, the Bahai open university which educates Bahais who are excluded from tertiary education in Iran under the apartheid laws. His wife Azita Rafizadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده) is serving a four-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for her own work in educating Bahai youth. The couple have a six-year-old son who, while both his parents were in the same prison, was able to visit his mother on Sundays and his father on Wednesdays.

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

September 22, 2016

More Bahai students barred from university in Iran

Bahai News (Persian), September 21, 2016.

Following the announcement of results from Iran’s University Entrance examinations, and the beginning of the new academic year, several new cases have emerged of students being excluded from education in Iran solely because of their Bahai beliefs. Bahai News has published reports of 22 such cases, nine in the report linked to above, and the remainder in previous reports. The pattern in past years has been that Bahai students are excluded at four points: by being barred from taking the examination, by receiving no results, at the moment of enrollment (as in these 22 cases), or when they are discovered to be Bahais after enrollment.

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

June 23, 2016

Bahai student expelled from the Imam Reza University in Mashhad

Bahai News (Persian), June 21, 2016.

Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai student, has completed an undergraduate course in biomedical engineering at the Imam Reza University in Mashhad, and, based on a provisional Bachelor’s certificate, has been accepted to study for a Master’s degree. However university officials then refused to issue his Bachelor’s certificate, saying initially that they had lost his files. Mr. Muhammadi pursued his case, even going to Tehran, but he was subjected to months of bureaucratic buck-passing. In the meantime, in the winter of 2014-2015, Mr. Muhammadi sat the entrance examination for the Master’s course, and was accepted for a course in Electricity of Telecommunications at the Imam Reza University. When he went to register, in August 2015, the Office of Education, the security office, and the Chief of Security told him that, as a Bahai, he did not have the right to register or attend university.

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

June 5, 2016

Bahai student expelled from University in Qazvin

faraz-sisan-expelled
Bahai News (Persian), May 30, 2016.

Faraz Karin-Kani Sisan (فراز کرین کانی سیسان), a Bahai student of civil engineering, has been expelled from university because of his religious beliefs. He was in the first year of studies at the Alborz Institute of Higher Education (recently recognized as a University). He received a letter from Dr. Assadullah Asra’i (دکتر اسدالله آسرایی), who is named in the letter (under the signature) as the “President” (Chancellor) of the Institute, although the Institute’s web site names Dr. Seyyed Morteza Nourbaksh (دکتر سید مرتضی نوربخش) as President. The letter states that he has been expelled in accordance with a decision of the University’s Security Department, on May 18 this year, that Bahai students cannot continue their education. Mr. Sisan is referred to the University’s Bureau of Education to “settle accounts,” suggesting the possibility of refund of his fees.

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

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

April 25, 2016

Kamran Morteza’i released from prison


Bahai News (Persian), April 24, 2016.

Kamran Morteza’i-Farid (کامران مرتضایی فرید), a former teacher at the Bahai Open University in Iran, has was released at the end of a five-year sentence for his educational activies on April 24. He has served an entire five-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison without a day of prison furlough. Mr. Morteza’i, now 63 years old, was one of the Bahais in Tehran, Zahedan, Sari, Isfahan and Shiraz who were arrested en masse in May, 2011. Those arrested were academic staff and support staff of the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), a Bahai-run distance learning university that provides internationally accredited university education to Iranian Bahais, who are excluded from tertiary education in Iran. He was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in educating the Bahais by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای).

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

April 19, 2016

Bahai student expelled from university in Kashan


Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, April 19, 2016.

Sara Shakib (سارا شکیب), a student of Statistics and Applications at the Kashan campus of Iran’s National University, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She said that initially the Student Welfare officer told her that University officials had realized that she was a Bahai. He said that the Chancellor’s office did not understand [what to do] and had not expelled her, but she should move from the student hostel, where fellow-students had reported to the administration that she was a Bahai. Given that she came from Isfahan, he suggested that she should transfer to the University there. But when she asked about it at the hostel, they offered to write a joint letter to the Administration on her behalf. She submitted an application to transfer to Isfahan. A few weeks later the University’s security office summoned her and asked her to write that she was a Bahai. She said she had no reason to, as she was at the university only for education. They asked her to write that she was a Muslim, and she again refused. Then the head of security came and told her that the Revolutionary Council had decided that Bahais did not have the right to tertiary education. She replied that there was nothing about that in the University’s registration form. He said, “But you are expelled anyway.” They took her student ID, and a few days later the gates of the university were closed to her, and she was told that the other branches of the University had been informed. Later the University sent a notification that she had been transferred to the Isfahan campus, but the security office there told her she had been barred from tertiary education because of her religious beliefs.

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

April 15, 2016

BIHE teacher Faran Hesami released after 4-year sentence


Bahai News (video in Persian), April 15, 2016.

Faran Hesami ( فاران حسامی ), one of the imprisoned teachers from the Bahai Open University (BIHE) was released from Evin Prison in Tehran today, at the end of a four-year sentence for educational activities.

Mrs. Hesami and her husband Kamran Rahimiyan (کامران رحیمیان) were arrested in September 2011. Both were charged with membership of the Bahai community and assembly and collusion to undermine national security in relation to their work for the Bahai Open University, which offered courses to Bahai students who had been excluded from Iranian tertiary institutions because of their Bahai beliefs. Both received four-year sentences, handed down by Judge Salvati (قاضی ابوالقاسم صلواتی). As Mr. Rahimiyan began his sentence earlier, he was released on August 17, 2015. In March 2015, Mrs. Hesami was awarded the Raha Südwind Award which honours individuals who have participated in the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran.

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

April 5, 2016

Two students expelled from Urumiyyeh University for Bahai beliefs


Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, April 5, 2016.

Sara Penahi (سحر پناهی) and Navid Moqaddam ( نوید مقدم) have been expelled from the Payam-e Nour University’s campus in Urumiyyeh (aka Urmia or Orumiyeh). Miss Penahi was in the fifth term of a degree in Persian Literature, and Mr. Moqaddam was in the fifth term of a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Both are also banned from further tertiary study.

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

March 27, 2016

Sarmad Shadabi, Tara Houshmand and Rouhiyyeh Safajou bailed


Bahai News (and on Facebook), March 15, 2016.

Sarmad Shadabi, Tara Houshmand and Rouhiyyeh Safajou (تارا هوشمند، سرمد شادابی و روحیه صفاجو) have been released on bail after 20 days in Evin Prison in Tehran. Mr. Sarmad Shadabi’s bail was set at 200 million tumans (600 Euros, $660 US) while bail for Ms. Houshmand and Safajou was 50 million tumans each. These three students, expelled from tertiary education for their religious beliefs, had all tried to pursue their supposed right to education using legal means. They were arrested in Tehran and the nearby city of Karaj on March 8. Soroush Shadabi (سروش شادابی), a Bahai from Karaj, was arrested on March 11, and his business was shut down. This appears to be related to the other three arrests. He remains in prison.

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

March 14, 2016

Three Bahai students held in Evin prison to be tried


Bahai News, March 15, 2016.

Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی), one of three Bahai students arrested in Tehran and Karaj on March 8, and held in Evin Prison, has had telephone contact with his family. They report that he and the other two students, Tara Houshmand (تارا هوشمند) and Rouhiyyeh Safajou (روحیه صفاجو) have been told their interrogation is complete and they will be tried next Tuesday. [I assume this means March 15: at the time of writing it was March 14 in Iran, March 15 in New Zealand where I am ~ sen] These three students, expelled from tertiary education for their religious beliefs, had all tried to pursue their supposed right to education using legal means. The details are in a previous posting on this blog.

Update: Iran Wire has an excellent detailed report of the arrest of Rouhiyyeh Safajou and the situation of the Bahais in general.

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

 

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

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 28, 2016

Peyman Koushk-Baghi arrested in Tehran

Bahai News (Persian, facebook), February 29, 2016.

Peyman Koushk-Baghi (پیمان کوشکباغی), who has also been sentenced to five years in prison for cooperation with BIHE, has been arrested in Tehran. He was visiting his wife Azita Rafizadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده), who is serving a four-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for her own work in educating Bahai youth. He was arrested in front of the East gate to Evin prison, and his present whereabouts are unknown. Azita Rafizadeh began her sentence on October 19, 2015. The couple have a six-year-old son.

Azita Rafizadeh was tried by Judge Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court in June 2014, and her husband Peyman Koushk-Baghi was separately tried by him in May 2015. Moghisseh sentenced them respectively to four and five years in prison for “membership in the illegal and misguided Baha’i group with the aim of acting against national security through illegal activities at the BIHE educational institute.” The Appeals Court upheld their prison sentences.

In an earlier interview, Azita Rafizadeh said, “I was one of the BIHE professors when the homes of professors of this online university were stormed in June of 2010. … The news was widely reported. They came to our house with a warrant to arrest me and my husband. They searched the house and interrogated us. They asked us to promise not to work for the BIHE. If we had agreed, the case would have been closed, as was the case for a few others. But my husband and I did not agree. So they only let us go temporarily on 50-million-tuman [approximately $16,700] bail.”

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

February 25, 2016

Another Bahai student expelled in Miandoab


Bahai News, February 24, 2016.

Arezu Iqani-Qajalu (آرزو ایقانی قجلو ), a Bahai student entering the last semester of a degree in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at the Payam-e Nour University in Miandoab, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. At the time when students select their courses for their graduation semester, they receive an overview of their status. In her case it read, “barred from tertiary education.” Arzu Iqani received a law degree from the Bahai Open University (BIHE) three years earlier.

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

 

February 17, 2016

Two more Bahai students expelled in recent weeks

Filed under: Bahai rights,Educational discrimination — Sen @ 23:38


Bahai News, two reports, compiled February 18, 2016.

Bahai News (January 17) reports the expulsion of Maqsud Anvari (مقصود انوری) from Shahid Bahonar University in Kerman because of his Bahai beliefs. Iran Press Watch has a full account.

Bahai News (February 5) also reports the expulsion of Basir Ibrahimi (بصیر ابراهیمی) from the Allameh Mohaddes University in the city of Nur in Mazandaran. He had studied architecture for four months.

January 28, 2016

Another Bahai student expelled in Tehran


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

Ma`ideh Khalili-Amiri (مائده خلیلی امیری) has been expelled from Tehran University because of her Bahai beliefs. She was enrolled at the University for four months. In conversation with the “Campaign” she said that one day in religion class she was told to report to the University’s central office. She did not do so, and was summoned by telephone to the University’s Office of Student Cultural Affairs. There she was told that she had been accused of propaganda (teaching the Bahai Faith) and would need to get a certificate from the office of student evaluations. When she went there, she was told she had been expelled from the beginning (of her enrollment). She asked why they had summoned her then, and they replied that they had no summoned her, she came herself. After following this up in the course of day, I said that I would not go anywhere until they gave me something in writing, and I sent to the official responsible for expelling students. He (or she) said, “You people always pretend not to understand. Anyway, the right to education only applies to secondary schools,” and so on. I said that the Constitution says that everyone has a right to education. He said, “there are other laws that contradict that.” I said, “How can another law be contrary to the Constitution?” He said, “You are living in a Muslim country, so it is possible.”

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

January 21, 2016

Three more Bahai students expelled


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), reports from January 13, 17 and 22.

Bahai News in Persian has reported three further expulsions of Bahai students from tertiary institutions in Iran, because of their religious beliefs. The first relates the expulsion of Mahnush Shafi`ei-Mehr (مهنوش شفیعی مهر) from the University of Samangan campus in Amol County (Mazandaran Province). The University of Samangan or Samangan Institute is a private non-profit tertiary institution. Mrs Shafi`ei-Mehr had studied Business Administration for two years, and gained a “Foundation degree,” preparatory to a Bachelor’s degree. This degree was declared void because of her Bahai beliefs. [January 27: Iran Press Watch has a fuller report.]

A second report, dated January 17, relates the expulsion of Maqsud Anvari (مقصود انوری) from the University of Shahid Bahonar in Kerman because of his Bahai beliefs. When he enrolled at the University he listed his religion as “other” [because Bahai was not given as an option] but later he was required to fill in various forms by hand, and he wrote that he was a Bahai. He had completed one semester of studies in Information Technology when he was expelled.

The third report is of the expulsion of Mehrdad Dhehni-Miandoab (مهرداد ذهنی میاندوآب) from the Payam-Nur University in Miandoab, before he had actually begun lessons. He had enrolled for a course in Industrial Engineering.

January 27: Iran Press Watch also has a report of the expulsion of Mina Mohammadi (مینا محمدی), a resident of Birjand, South Khorasan province. She was expelled in November 2015. This expulsion was not reported on Sen’s Daily at the time.

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

 

January 12, 2016

Another Bahai student expelled in Tehran


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 13, 2016.

Elham Pakru Miandavab (الهام پاکرو میاندوآب) has been expelled from the Mallard Campus of the Azad University in Tehran because of her Bahai beliefs. She had begun a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. She was summoned to the University’s security office and told she had no right to tertiary education, because she is a Bahai. She was also excluded from a private educational initiative known as “The network era” because of her religious beliefs.

Reports coming to Bahai News indicate that a number of Bahai students have been allowed to register at a university [and pay the first installment of the fees ~Sen], only to be expelled once they have been identified.

January 26: Iran Press Watch has a fuller report of this expulsion.

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

 

Four Bahai students expelled from Iran’s universities


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 11 – 12, 2016.

Bahai News reports that Shamis Pourshah-Reza’i (شمیس پورشاه رضایی) has been expelled from the Tehran Central campus of the Azad University, because she adheres to the Bahai Faith. She had filled in the word “other” in the religion column of her personal details, and entered the first term of a study of Video and Direction. When the University’s security officers enquired, she said she was a Bahai and was expelled. In the University Entrance examinations, she was ranked 138th in the entire country.


Another report recounts the expulsion of Sahba Avaz-Pour (صهبا عوض پور) and Rabi` Khalili (ربیع خلیلی) from the University of Applied Sciences in Kermanshah, because of their Bahai beliefs. Both were in the first semester of their studies. [Janaury 27: Iran Press Watch has a fuller report.]

A third report from Bahai News is of the expulsion of Irsalan Mirza’i (ارسلان میرزایی), who was in the third semester of a study of Material Engineering at the Shahid Chamran University in Ahvaz.

December 31, 2015

Fu’ad Moqaddam transferred to hospital


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 31, 2015.

Dr. Fu’ad Moqaddam (فواد مقدم) a 63-year-old physician and one of the former administrators of the Bahai online university (BIHE) in Isfahan, was again taken from prison to hospital, about two weeks ago, and is still in hospital. In July this year he was taken to hospital for treatment for heart disease, but it would appear he was later returned to prison, since the latest report states that he has been hospitalized again. He was arrested in May, 2011, and sentenced to five years in prison for his educational activities. He is serving his term at Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, near Tehran.

The BIHE is a distance-learning institute which serves students who are excluded from tertiary study in Iran, because they are Bahais.

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

November 28, 2015

Student expelled from Shiraz University for Bahai beliefs

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook)

Matin Nuwah-nejad ( متین نوح نژاد), a Bahai who has completed the first semester of study at Shiraz University, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He was studying Mathematics and Applications. Under a 1991 policy approved by the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council (ISRCC), Bahais “must be expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Bahais.”

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

November 10, 2015

Faran Hessami returns to prison


Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, November 10, 2015.

On November 3, I reported that Faran Hessami ( فاران حسامی ) had begun a prison furlough to enable her to be with her son Artin who required surgery. She has now returned to the women’s section of Evin Prison, in Tehran. Mrs. Hessami is serving a four-year sentence for educational activities with the Bahai Open University (BIHE).

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

October 21, 2015

Azita Rafizadeh to begin prison sentence for her work at Baha’i University

Filed under: Bahai rights,Educational discrimination — Sen @ 08:36


International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, October 19, 2015.

Azita Rafizadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده), a Bahai who taught at the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), must report to prison on October 24 to begin serving her four-year sentence. Rafizadeh said her main concern now is for her five-year-old son because her husband, Peyman Koushk-Baghi (پیمان کوشکباغی), who has also been sentenced to five years in prison for cooperation with BIHE, will be summoned to prison to begin serving his sentence as well.

“We have a child who is five years and nine months old. He goes to kindergarten. If I go to prison and my husband is also summoned to go to prison, what will happen to our child? None of our relatives have the means to help,” Rafizadeh said.

Azita Rafizadeh was tried by Judge Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court in June 2014, and her husband Peyman Koushk-Baghi was separately tried by him in May 2015. Moghisseh sentenced them respectively to four and five years in prison for “membership in the illegal and misguided Baha’i group with the aim of acting against national security through illegal activities at the BIHE educational institute.”

The Appeals Court upheld their prison sentences.

“I was one of the BIHE professors when the homes of professors of this online university were stormed in June of 2010, said Rafizadeh. “The news was widely reported. They came to our house with a warrant to arrest me and my husband. They searched the house and interrogated us. They asked us to promise not to work for the BIHE. If we had agreed, the case would have been closed, as was the case for a few others. But my husband and I did not agree. So they only let us go temporarily on 50-million-tuman [approximately $16,700] bail.”

Rafizadeh, 35, received her Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from BIHE and her Master’s degree in the same subject from a university in India. She began teaching computer engineering at BIHE in 2002.

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October 17, 2015

Baha’i student expelled from school for not participating in Islamic Friday congregational prayers

Iran Press Watch, October 16, 2015.

Parsa Hemmat (پارسا همت), a Bahai school pupil from Isfahan, has been prevented from continuing his education because he did not attend the Muslim congregational prayer in his school. He was in his second year of high school. Informed sources said, “this Bahai citizen did not show up at the prayer room because of his religious beliefs; he announced that he did not find it necessary to participate in the congregational prayer because he is not a Muslim. He has been expelled from school for the same reason.”

Persian report (Bahai News)
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October 12, 2015

Little ‘Aref goes to school


Bahai News (Persian), October 10, 2015.

‘Aref Hekmat-Sho’ar (عارف حکمت شعار), a 10-year old boy who has been excluded from three schools in Karaj, is to return to school. His father has said that the Ministry of Intelligence for the province of Alborz has now returned his son’s file, and his son will be readmitted to school on October 11. The report does not say which school has accepted him. 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 travelled to Karaj to protest.

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October 7, 2015

Baha’i child expelled from a private school in Karaj


Iran Press Watch, October 1, 2015.

According to the “No to the Persecution and Imprisonment of Bahai Citizens” campaign, a 10-year-old child has been expelled from his primary school in Karaj because he is a Bahai.

Mohammad Nourizad (محمد نوری زاد), a human rights activist in Iran, writes:

Last Saturday I received an email from a friend telling me that they wanted to expel his 10-year-old son [‘Aref (عارف)] from school in Karaj because he is a Bahai. [He has only been attending that school for two or three days.] I told my friend a 10-year-old couldn’t be Bahai or Muslim or Christian. But the school Principal, Mrs. Eskandri (خانم اسکندری) saw this child as a Bahai, and insisted that either he goes or she will go. I arranged to meet the father in front of the school the next day and we entered together. [This private school in the Mahr Vila is called “the cradle of knowledge” (گهواره دانش). It presents itself as a strongly religious school.]

The Principal was a slight, sullen 60-year-old woman. The father said to her, you asked me to come and collect my son’s file. “Yes”, she replied – either he goes or I go.” I asked her: “Is there anything wrong with this child?” She said: “There’s nothing wrong except that he is not acceptable in my creed.”

I said: “So if there is a problem it is because of your beliefs. … If you had any sense you would accept this child and try to attract him with your kindness, courtesy, wisdom and tolerance instead of repelling him from Shi’ite Islam with the garment of hatred you have forced on him. If I cannot close down your school because of your actions, I will make sure that every car that passes your school will jeer at the ignorance which is prevalent here.”

When we were outside, I told the father not to take the file under any circumstances. I said: “Your son is a student in this school; drop him off here every morning; let them refuse to admit him; we must sweep away this ignorance once and for all.”

Update, October 10.
Baha’i Campaign reports that Mohammad Nourizad, Doctor Maleki (دکترملکی), Mr. Karim Bigi (کریم بیگی) and ‘Aref’s father went to the school with ‘Aref on the morning of October 6. Mr. Muhammadi (محمدی ), the proprietor, initially refused them entry. When he was introduced to Dr. Maleki [a well-known author and the first President of the University of Tehran], his attitude changed. They went inside, to a room at the school, where the Principal, Mrs. Eskandri, joined them. A polite discussion was interrupted by five members of the Revolutionary Guards, who expelled the visitors from the school, although the leader of the team was polite and said that these [Bahai] children should have the same rights as their own children, and offered to help enroll ‘Aref in another school.

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September 10, 2015

Current example of the exclusion of Bahai students from Iran’s universities


HRANA, September 10, 2015.

After completing the national university entrance examinations, Ava Amini-Yazdel (آوا امینی یزدلی), an 18-year old Bahai, was confronted with a message on the examinations result site saying that her file was incomplete, and she could not continue her education. “File defective” is currently the usual phrase used to exclude Bahai students from tertiary education. Although President Hassan Rouhani had promised to address the issue of students being excluded from university, many Bahai students were excluded after the entrance examinations this year, on the excuse that their files were incomplete.

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August 16, 2015

Bahai student expelled from a private university in Sari (updated)


Taghato, August 14, 2015.

Dorsa Qolizadeh (درسا قلی‌زاده), a Bahai student of architecture who had managed to enjoy two terms of tertiary education at Rouzbahan University, a private institution in Sari, has been expelled from the University following pressure from Iran’s Ministry of ‘Intelligence.’ She has described the events in a letter, on which this summary is based. [Iran Press Watch has now translated the entire letter.] During the examinations at the end of the second term, on June 9, she was summoned by telephone to the Sari office of the Ministry of Intelligence, and asked why she had enrolled when she knew the Bahais were not permitted to attend higher education in Iran. She was accused of teaching the Bahai Faith on the campus, but without any specifics about when or how she was supposed to have done this. When she asked for evidence, she was told it was not her place to ask questions. The two interrogators told her that there were three possibilities: continue in her religious beliefs, and be expelled from the University; continue her studies outside Iran; or renounce the Bahai religion, and go to the Friday Imam [to declare herself a Shiah Muslim], in which case her conversion to Islam would be published in the newspapers and she could continue her studies. Ironically, her examination for the following day would be on the subject “The Islamic Perspective.” She replied that people believe in their hearts, you (the Ministry) cannot take their faith from them, and chose to stick to her beliefs. She was able to sit the last two examinations, and tell her friends that she was being expelled. She reports a great measure of solidarity from her classmates and friends. Next day, she was summoned to the University to sign a form. She did so, and then realized that the form said she was withdrawing from the course. The university staff may have meant well, since signing the form also meant that she would get part of her university fees back.

[I have used her letter, on HRANA, to supplemented the Tagheto report ~Sen]

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July 29, 2015

Further details on the expulsion of Samim Dukuhaki from university in Iran

Filed under: Bahai rights,Educational discrimination — Sen @ 12:36


Farzan Faramarzi blog, July 29, 2015.

I previously carried a brief report on the expulsion of Samim Dukuhaki (صمیم دوکوهکی), a Bahai student of music at the Beyda campus of the Azad University (‘Free University’ in Fars province), because of his religious beliefs. Following the nation-wide university entrance examination, he was denied entry to universities because of his Bahai beliefs, using the pretext of “incomplete files.” However in October 2014 he received an automated SMS message, saying that he had been enrolled to study music at the Azad University. At the end of his first term, just before the examinations, he found his account at the university was blocked. He followed this up immediately, but found that the university authorities did not know of any reason. Since the examinations were imminent, they gave him written permission to sit the exams. However when he came to select his courses for the second term [early March, 2015], he again found that his account was blocked. He to the university went with his father to enquire about this.

The Security Office at the university told them, “surely you know you are not allowed to study at a university?”
Mr. Dukuhaki (senior) said “I know that in Iran, nobody is barred from work or tertiary education because of their religious beliefs.”
The Head of security replied “Who told you that!”
“It was Mr. Larijani.” (a reference to ‘lying Larry‘, the head of Iran’s Human Rights Council).
University staff, and then the Head of Security, confirmed that Samim Dukuhaki had been expelled from University. In response to protestations, and a request from Samim Dukuhaki for a written explanation of his expulsion, they were told that he could not study at a university because he is a Bahai, and they could provide nothing in writing to confirm that he had ever been registered.
Samim Dukuhaki, who in the estimation of his teachers had made good progress during his first term, said goodbye to his teachers and classmates, and left the University of Freedom.

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“Paint the change” campaign supports equality in education in Iran

Street art in West Holywood


Editorial, July 29, 2015.

In its ‘feast letter‘ addressed to the Bahais who will gather at centres across the US on July 31 (the Feast of Kamal), the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United States calls on the Bahais to participate in a world-wide street art campaign in support of all those excluded from higher education in Iran, especially the Bahai students.

Efforts will draw on the power of public art to give a city’s common spaces a unique character and to help raise awareness of local, national, and international issues and concerns.

“Paint the Change” will commission murals in cities around the world―two of them being New York and Los Angeles. The murals will serve as sites for events and as inspiration for photos and videos …. Beyond the official murals, “Paint the Change” will stimulate individuals and groups to create their own art.

Street art can take many forms, and we hope that you will … find creative ways to express your support of “Paint the Change.” An online handbook will provide useful materials and sample artwork to aid you, and the “Paint the Change” website will enable you to explore ways that you and your community can join this new phase of Education Is Not a Crime. Use of the social media will be integral to the success of “Paint the Change” and it is already active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. To join the conversation, please follow and “like” the “Paint the Change” pages and use the official hashtags, #EducationIsNotACrime and #PaintTheChange.

The campaign will also be engaging a professional filmmaker to produce video vignettes focusing on activities connected with “Paint the Change” in various locales across the world. These videos will appear throughout the campaign’s duration, concluding in the spring of 2016. Individuals and communities are encouraged to keep the campaign apprised of local activities (you may send images and footage to be@paintthechange.me).

Participants are also reminded to respect local laws and the rights of property owners.

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July 22, 2015

17-year-old girl expelled from school for her Bahai beliefs


Campaign against harassment of Bahais, July 22, 2015.

Kamand Agahi (کمند آگاهی), a 17-year-old school student in Isfahan, was expelled from Safura High School because of her Bahai beliefs on July 1 this year. The school principal, Mr. Qari (قاری) refused to confirm her school registration, and treated her and her family disrespectfully. After the family complained to the district schools authority, he declared she had been expelled because she was teaching the Bahai Faith in the school.

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May 15, 2015

Another Bahai student expelled from university


Farzan Faramarzi blog, May 14, 2015.

Samim Dukuhaki (صمیم دوکوهکی), a Bahai student of music at the Beyda campus of the Azad University, was expelled from the University on March 1, 2015 because of his religious beliefs. He had completed one semester of study. The campus is in Fars Province.

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May 3, 2015

Another three BIHE educators released, nine remain in prison


Iran Press Watch, May 2, 2015.

After four years in prison, Mahmoud Badavam (محمود بادوام), Farhad Sedeqi (فرهاد صدقی) and Ramin Ziba’i (رامین زیبایی), faculty members of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), were released from Raja’i Shahr Prison on April 30. They were arrested in late May, 2011, when premises and homes relating to the Institute for Higher Education were raided by security forces. In October, 2011, they were sentenced to four years in prison. Noushin Khadem (نوشین خادم), another BIHE educator, was released on April 22. She had also served a four-year sentence, but without receiving any prison furlough. Amanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ), who was sentenced to five years in prison, is free on medical furlough. Sadaf Thabetayan ( صدف ثابتیان ), arrested in 2011, was given a two-year sentence, and freed in the Ramadan amnesty of August, 2012.

The BIHE is a distance-learning institute which serves students who are excluded from tertiary study in Iran, because they are Bahais. Among the other educators arrested for their work with the BIHE is Riaz Sobhani ( ریاض سبحانی ), who was arrested in June 2011: he was also sentenced to 4 years in prison, so his release may be expected in the next few weeks. Faran Hessami ( فاران حسامی ) and her husband Kamran Rahimiyan (کامران رحیمیان) are also serving four-year sentences for educational activities, in Raja’i Shahr prison, but they were not arrested until September 2011. Fu’ad Moqaddam ( فواد مقدم ) was arrested in May, 2011, and sentenced to five years in prison. Talu Golkar (طلوع گلکار) was sentenced to five years in prison for her association with the BIHE in January, 2014. Her date of arrest is not reported. Nasim Baqeri (نسیم باقری), who was arrested in May 2011 and sentenced to four years in prison, did not begin her sentence until April, 2014. She is held in Evin prison. Shahin Negari ( شاهین نگاری) was arrested in May 2011, but he was free on bail from June 2011 to January, 2013, when he began his sentence. Hasan Momtazi (حسن ممتازی) is serving a 5-year sentence. Azizollah Samandari (عزیزالله سمندری) is serving a five-year sentence, which he began on July 7, 2012. He was sentenced in October 2011 after a 10-minute trial, in which the only question he was asked was whether he belonged to the Bahai community. This list of nine BIHE educators still in prison may not be complete.

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February 11, 2015

Court rejects complaint of several Bahai students

HRANA, February 10, 2015.

Following the announcement of results from Iran’s national secondary school graduation exam for this academic year, many Bahai youth who achieved good marks, sufficient for entry even to the best of the state-controlled universities, found they were rejected from university due to “defects in the file.” Some of these students filed a legal complaint, which after overcoming various obstacles was actually received and considered by Branch One of the Administrative Court. This court deals with complaints, grievances and protests lodged against officers or government entities, or challenges to government regulations. The Bahai students’ complaint was however rejected. The court, which is reported to have been headed by the President of the Administrative Courts for all of Iran, based its ruling on a decree of the Council for the Cultural Revolution, issued shortly after the 1979 Revolution, which bars Bahais from higher education in government-run institutions. The court did not provide any written decision to the students or their lawyer, and the court records do not contain any mention of the fact that the complainants were Bahais, but rather refer to the general conditions of admission.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, has publicly stated that “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Bahai Faith merely based on being Bahais, as they believe that based on the Iranian Constitution every individual has the same rights and cannot be deprived of constitutional rights.” Nevertheless, hundreds of Bahai students have been barred from entering universities in Iran, or expelled from university when their religious beliefs became known. Moreover the Bahai Open University (BIHE), established to offer education to those excluded from government-supervised institutions, has been raided and closed down, and its administrators and teachers have been imprisoned.

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January 29, 2015

Dr. Fu’ad Moqaddam denied medical treatment


Iran Press Watch, January 29, 2015.

Fu’ad Moqaddam ( فواد مقدم ), a 63-year old physician and one of the managers in Isfahan of the Bahai online university, the BIHE, despite heart problems and other health issues, was forced out of his hospital bed by prison authorities and returned to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj without receiving treatment. According to the Peace Activists in Exile Campaign, officials of Rajai Shahr Prison, in Isfahan, blocked any medical treatment for Dr. Moqaddam, who had himself served Iran in front line war zone hospitals for three years. Last week, due to the severity of his health condition, he was transferred to a hospital outside the prison and was admitted to the ICU, but a few hours later, due to pressure from the authorities at Rajai Shahr Prison, in particular at the personal insistence of an individual by the name of “Asadi” (اسدی), he was returned to the prison. The conscript soldier who was accompanying the prisoner protested against this. It is said that he was reprimanded as a result, and his mandatory military service was extended.

Dr. Moqaddam was arrested in Isfahan on May 22, 2011, when Ministry of Intelligence agents entered the homes of at least 30 of the academic staff of the BIHE, seizing books, computers and personal effects. A total of 16 educators were arrested. He was sentenced by the 28th Branch of the Revolutionary Court to five years in prison for his role in educating students who, under the Iranian regime’s apartheid policy, should not be educated. He began his sentence in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on January 21, 2013.

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January 19, 2015

Bahai student expelled from Technical University in Ramsar

Fariba Kamalabadi” (public figure Facebook page), January 19, 2015.

On January 11, Bahrad Adhargan (بهراد آذرگان), a student of Electrical Engineering at the Mulla Sadra Technical University in Ramsar, in the Mazandaran province of Iran, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. However he was able to study for five semesters. Apparently it took this long for the university administration to notice that in his application form, following the question “Religion?” he had written “Of course.” The university then summoned him to the office of the Chancellor, to ask what he meant, and what religion he followed. Mr Adhargan said that he was a Bahai. They were surprised, and within the hour Mr. Adhargan had been expelled, without any documentation of the reason, or any academic records showing his results over five semesters.

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January 12, 2015

Bahai student expelled from the University of Mazandaran

HRANA, January 12, 2015.

Noura Mesami (نورا مسمی), a Bahai student of software engineering at the University of Mazandaran, has been expelled from the university at the end of her first semester of studies. She had honestly stated her religion as “Bahai” in her application, and was excluded from the end of term examinations.

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January 3, 2015

Several Bahais arrested in Abadeh

HRANA, January 2, 2015.

On December 29, 2014, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Farshid Rastegar (فرشید رستگار) and a number of Bahai students who had gathered in his home in Abadeh, a town approximately halfway between Isfahan and Shiraz. As in other recent cases, the agents posed as postmen to gain entry to the house, and they did not have a search warrant or arrest warrants. They searched the house, and arrested Mr. Rastegar and the others present, who were all students of the Bahai Open University (BIHE). Mr. Rastegar has been helping students in the Abadeh area who are studying at the Bahai Open University, an institution designed to offer tertiary courses in certain subject to students who are excluded from licenced universities in Iran because of their religious beliefs. The youth who were arrested on December 29 were released next day, but Mr. Rastegar was held for two days, and was questioned mainly about the Bahai Open University.

Abadeh was the scene of large-scale raids on Bahai homes, and threats to the safety of Bahais, reported on this blog in October 2013.

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December 8, 2014

5-year sentence of Hassan Momtazi confirmed

Campaign to stop harassment of Bahais (facebook), December 9, 2014.

Hassan Momtazi (حسن ممتازی) reports, on December 8, that he has heard via his lawyer that the review court has confirmed his five-year sentence for educational activities with the Bahai Open University (BIHE). He was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were heard at the Public Prosecutor’s office in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down in Tehran Revolutionary Court branch 28 by Judge Maqiseh (مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, but was not communicated to his lawyer until April 2.

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November 12, 2014

Bahais join demonstration in support of Nasrin Sotoudeh


HRANA, November 11, 2014.

On November 10, Bahai students who have been excluded from tertiary education joined the Iranian civil rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (نسرین ستوده) in her three-week-old demonstration in front of the Bar Association building in Tehran. She is claiming the right to be reinstated by the Bar Association as a practicing lawyer, having been excluded from practicing for three years. She has been joined by a number of human rights activists, including the prominent Iranian film director Mohammad Nourizad. Mr. Nourizad reported on his face book page that a group of Bahai students who have been excluded from tertiary education had joined the protest.

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November 8, 2014

Bahai student expelled in Miandoab

Jabari-Adhar
Campaign to stop harassment of Bahai citizens (facebook), November 9, 2014,

On October 7, a Bahai student whose name is variously given as Faran or Farab Jabari Adhar (فاراب( فاران) جباری آذر) was told verbally that he had been expelled from the Miandoab campus of the Payam-e Nour University because of his Bahai beliefs. He had completed four semesters of a degree in hydraulic and soil engineering. His family’s efforts to obtain written evidence of his expulsion have been fruitless, although there was a verbal announcement that his expulsion was on account of his being a Bahai.

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September 25, 2014

Iranian MP abuses a group of Bahai students


Taghato, September 24, 2014.

Ali Reza Mahjoub (علی‌رضا محجوب)[*], an Iranian Member of Parliament who has been reelected several terms for the ‘reformist’ faction, insulted a number of the Bahai students who have been excluded from tertiary education, who were visiting him in his office. He called them terrorists and gunmen and expelled them from his office. One of the students, the 18-year-old Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh (روحیه صفاجو), described the meeting on her facebook page on September 23. She writes that as the meeting began, one of the eight Bahai students greeted Mr. Mahjoub, saying “Salam.” He did not respond with Salam [as both social norms and religious teachings require], but rather asked “Has Bahaism become a religion?” [In this context, ‘Bahaism’ is not intentionally insulting ~Sen]
Mrs. Sefajuh responded on behalf of the eight students, “We are not talking about religion, we have come to say that we are Iranians and we have a right to education. I was expelled, and now my daughter is not even accepted at university.”
Mr. Mahjoub, who had closed his eyes, answered, “Don’t change the subject. Give me an answer. Is Bahaism a religion?”
Mrs. Sefajuh replied, “Yes, Bahaism is a religion.”
Mr. Mahjoub raised his voice and began insulting the things Bahais hold dear, and would not allow any of those present to speak. However Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh asked quietly if she could speak for a few moments, which only elicited a louder and even more angry reaction. Mr. Mahjoub said “All you try to achieve is terrorism [the word is also used in Iran for assassins], you’re all getting your pistols.” To Miss Sefajuh he shouted, “Get out, get out!”
Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh replied, “I won’t go. My own father has not shouted at me, these eighteen years. What right do you have to shout at me?”
Mrs. Sefajuh continued her account of the meeting, writing that ‘Mr. Mahjoub began shouting again, saying “What business do you have with me? What is it you want ?” I said very quickly, “This does have to do with you. You expelled my father, my mother was not even allowed to sit [the University Entrance exam], so here I am.” Mr. Mahjoub shouted, “Is that my fault? Get out!”
Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh began to cry, and they left Mr. Mahjoub’s office.

About two weeks ago, 360 Bahais who were excluded from tertiary education in previous years wrote an open letter to President Rouhani, reminding him of his campaign promises regarding civil rights, and said that the way examination results had been withheld from a large number of Bahai university candidates was a sign of his reluctance to admit Bahai students to universities.

[* Mr. Mahjoub was the only reformist MP to be relected in the Tehran district in the 2012 elections, when there was a strong swing to conservative candidates. He is active in labour market affairs and heads the “Worker’s House.” He has opposed subsidy reforms.]

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September 13, 2014

Numerous excluded students give the lie to Larijani

MJLarijani
Editorial, September 13, 2014.

This year, as in previous years, Bahai high school graduates who have achieved the necessary passes in Iran’s nationwide university entrance examinations are being refused entry to universities across the country because of their religious beliefs. However this year they are being excluded without documentation: their educational records have the message “write to PO Box so-and-so” or “refer to PO Box so-and-so” in place of examination grades. This phrase, inserted in their educational records, amounts to a coded message for educational institution, which will be understood as saying, “this is a Bahai, do not admit him or her.” An example of this was given on this blog on August 4. A similar procedure has been followed where a student who is already enrolled becomes a Bahai or is discovered to be a Bahai: they are told to make enquiries at an office, where they are informed verbally that they have been expelled because they are Bahais. The example of Yalda Na’imeyan ( یلدا نعیمیان) was reported on this blog on September 7

Another innovation this year is that Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, has publicly stated that “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Baha’i faith merely based on being Bahais, as they believe that based on the Iranian Constitution every individual has the same rights and cannot be deprived of constitutional rights.” “Those who claim to have been deprived of studying at university due to being a Bahai” should “send your documentation for follow-up.” (Translated by Iran Press Watch) Any Bahai who did have such documentation, from previous years when expulsions were sometimes announced in writing, would be very foolish to send it to the “Human Rights Council.” That would be inviting a prison term. Resilient as always, the Bahai students and human rights organisations have been documenting and publishing the stories of individual Bahai students, providing irrefutable evidence for those able to access human rights web sites that Mr. Larijani is lying. They may not say “lying” in as many words (Bahais generally are polite to a fault), but that’s what it amounts to. There are too many stories for me to translate them all, but I am collecting the names and photographs below: click on the photograph for the source in Persian.

Anahita Etahadi
(آناهیتا اتحادی)

Noura Sabet
(نورا ثابت)

Tara Houshmand
(تارا هوشمند)

Shadi Shirazi
(شادان شیرازی)

Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh (روحیه صفاجو)

Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh
(روحیه صفاجو)


Dorsa Dehqani (درسا دهقانی)

Dorsa Dehqani
(درسا دهقانی)

Nilofar Mazidi( نیلوفر مزیدی)

Nilofar Mazidi
( نیلوفر مزیدی)

Sarmad Shadabi
(سرمد شادابی)

 

Dr. Mohammad Maleki (محمد ملکی), former president of the University of Tehran, and Muhammad Nourizad (seated) meet some of the excluded students (photo Radio Yek Jahan)

Dr. Mohammad Maleki (محمد ملکی), former President of the University of Tehran, and Muhammad Nourizad (محمد نوری‌زاد, seated 3rd from right) meet some of the excluded students (photo Radio Yek Jahan)

 

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September 10, 2014

Shadi Shirazi, with top university entry grades, denied admission


Alliance for Rights of All Minorities-ARAM, September 10, 2014.

Shadi Shirazi (شادان شیرازی), a math student with top tier ranks in her entrance exams was denied admission to university because of her religious beliefs in Baha’i faith, according Taghato News. A decision of Iran’s Supreme Council of Culture and Revolution effectively calls for the exclusion of members of Baha’i faith from employment and opportunities for higher education. The third section of this provision calls for an immediate removal of the student at any point upon the revelation of their religious identity, including post registration or during the academic year.

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Another student expelled from University in Shiraz


PCED (facebook), September 10, 2014.

On August 19, Farnaz Rouhani ( فرناز روحانی), who has completed four semesters of study in English translation at the Azad (“free”) University in Shiraz, was expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She began her studies in October 2012. Her efforts to pursue the matter have been fruitless. No evidence or reason for the decision has been given in writing. She was told to direct her enquiries to Tehran, but again received no answers, except that the decision was taken by the University’s central security office in Tehran.

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September 6, 2014

Bahai student expelled from university in Miandoab


PCED (facebook page), September 7, 2014.

Yalda Na’imeyan ( یلدا نعیمیان), a student at the Payam-e Nur University in Miandoab, has been expelled from the university after five semesters of study because of her Bahai beliefs. Her expulsion took place on May 17, 2014, but has only just been reported. Her efforts to obtain a written statement of the reasons for her expulsion have been fruitless. The University branch in Miandoab referred her to the head office in Tehran. She could not obtain a written statement there either. However a worker at the head office in Tehran told her that the head of the Payame-e Nur University of Azarbayjan province expelled her because of her Bahai beliefs.

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August 18, 2014

Bahai war veteran unable to enrol children at school in Shiraz

Martyr-Khonsari-Shiraz
HRANA, August 18, 2014.

The administration at the government-run Martyr Khonsari secondary school in Shiraz has refused to enrol the children of Behrouz Farzandi Ardekani (بهروز فرزندی اردکانی) because the family are Bahais. Mr. Ardekani is a war veteran who has been classified as having more than 25% disability. Their actions are in contravention of explicit legislation regarding civil rights, the right to education and the ban on investigating people’s religious beliefs.

Moreover, Mr. Ardekani provided a copy of an official letter stating that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa stating the Bahai ex-POWs and disabled veterans are entitled to the rights of other veterans and ex-POWs. Nevertheless, the school administration and the Department of Education have continued to refuse to enrol the children of this Bahai family. Numerous Bahai youth have also been denied entry to tertiary education in Iran, or have been expelled when their religious beliefs were discovered.

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August 5, 2014

Bahai university candidates again denied results

HRANA, August 4, 2014.

As in previous years, numerous Bahais who sat Iran’s university entrance examinations this year have been denied their examination results, and are therefore excluded from tertiary education. In previous years, Bahai school-leavers have found the cryptic “application incomplete” on their university entrance results. This year, the Bahai students have received the message “write to PO Box so-and-so” or “refer to PO Box so-and-so” in place of examination grades. This phrase, inserted in their educational records, amounts to a coded message for educational institution, which will be understood as saying, “this is a Bahai, do not admit him or her.”

click the pen

See also:
A note from the heart … translation by Iran Press Watch


Although President Rouhani of Iran promised, before his election, to address the exclusion of some citizens from tertiary education, there are no signs of any progress. It should be borne in mind that many of the senior staff at the Ministry of Science and the Organisation for Educational Assessment were appointed under President Ahmadinejad.

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April 28, 2014

Nasim Baqeri taken to prison

Radio Yekjahan, April 27, 2014

Nasim Baqeri (نسیم باقری) has been arrested by security forces who came to her home in Tehran. She was taken to prison [presumably, Evin Prison ~sen] to begin serving a four-year sentence for “acting against national security through membership of the Baha’i Institute BIHE.” She was one of 10 Bahais associated with the Bahai Open University (BIHE) who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013.

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April 27, 2014

Interview with an expelled Bahai student gives insight into expulsions, the BIHE, and studying abroad

Iran Rights, March 26, 2014

Iran Rights has published a report on two interviews with Parham Aqdassi, which I warmly recommend to readers. Mr. Aqdassi was a nuclear physics student at Hamedan’s Bu Ali Sina University from late September, 2006, when he was one of the first Bahai students to be allowed to enter a university. He was expelled on December 24, 2006, when he refused to renounce his Bahai beliefs. This was in accordance with the Cultural Revolution High Council’s directive of February 25, 1991, Article 3, which states that Bahai students are banned from pursuing higher education. Many students staged a sit-in protest. Mr Aqdassi went on to study and graduate from the BIHE, the Bahai Open University, which provides limited university-level education for students barred from studying at other tertiary institutions. He describes his studies there, the attacks on the BIHE institutions by security forces, and his decision to travel to Texas to take a Master’s course.

The full report in English is online here.

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April 11, 2014

Another Bahai student expelled from Birjand University


HRANA, April 10, 2014

Mazyar Malaki (مازیار ملاکی), a student studying machine manufacturing at Birjand University, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He was summoned by the University’s security office and asked to sign a statement that he would not participate in Bahai activities or follow the directions of the Universal House of Justice. When he refused to sign this, he was told that he was barred from the university until further notice, and that the final decision would be communicated to him.

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March 17, 2014

Second Bahai student expelled from Mazandaran University


PCED, March 13, 2014

It was previously reported that Setayash Asadi (ستایش اسدی), a Bahai studying Tourism Management at the Babolsar campus of the University of Mazandaran, has been expelled because of her religious beliefs. The PCED reports that Sama Hashemi (سما هاشمی), a student of management at the same campus, was also expelled, for the same reason: “religious minorities are not entitled to tertiary education.”

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March 15, 2014

Student expelled from Mazandaran University for being a Bahai


HRANA, March 12, 2014

Setayash Asadi (ستایش اسدی), a Bahai studying Tourism Management at the Babolsar campus of the University of Mazandaran, has been expelled because of her religious beliefs. She was admitted in the current academic year, and expelled in the middle of the second semester, after gaining 19 university credits. A HRANA reporter was told that, after her student web page was closed, she was referred to the Office of Education and told that “religious minorities are not entitled to tertiary education.”

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February 19, 2014

Emanullah Mostaqim on medical leave again


PCED, February 19

Emanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ) was granted medical leave from Raja’i Shahr prison on February 16. He has returned to the prison on February 10, after his previous medical leave was not extended. He has been under treatment for a heart ailment, and was transferred to hospital one month ago, only to be returned to prison. Mr. Mostaqim was one of the staff of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, which provides tertiary training to students who have been expelled or barred from Iranian universities because of their religious beliefs. He has been sentenced to five years for his educational activities, but doctors say his health is not adequate to withstand prison conditions.

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February 3, 2014

Another student expelled for Bahai beliefs


HRANA, February 3, 2014

Farshad Farzan (فرشاد فرزان), a student at the Shahid Bahonar school of engineering and technology in Shiraz, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He began a course in business accounting at the university in October 2011 and earned a preparatory qualification. He was then admitted to the Bachelor’s degree course, but was expelled on January 21, 2014, after completing one semester of study, because of his Bahai beliefs. He was not only denied further study, the university credits he had earned in his first semester were denied to him.

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January 21, 2014

Talu` Golkar sentenced : 5 years for educational activities


HRANA, January 22, 2014

Talu` Golkar, a Bahai from Tehran, has been sentenced to five years in prison, on charges of having links to the Bahai Open University (BIHE). The sentence was communicated to her lawyer on January 14. Talu ` Golkar was one of then Bahais associated with the Bahai Open University who appeared at the Public Prosecutor’s office in Tehran on March 12, 2013. After presenting their defence, they were released on bail. At present more than 10 Bahais associated with the university are serving prison terms for their educational activities, in Raja’i Shahr prison and in the women’s wing of Evin prison.

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January 12, 2014

Emanullah Mostaqim hospitalized


PCED, January 10, 2014

On January 8, Emanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ), one of the staff of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran who was serving a 5-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison, suffered a sudden heart complaint and was taken to Imam Khomeini hospital in Tehran.
Mr. Mostaqim also suffers from diabetes, and doctors have said that he should be under treatment in a hospital specialising in heart disease. He had an open-heart operation not long before his arrest in May 2011, and has been hospitalised several times since he was imprisoned. The forensic doctor has stated that his physical condition is such that he should not be in prison. On September 4, 2013, he was granted leave from prison on medical grounds. It is not clear from this report whether he had since returned to prison, or was still on leave when his condition required him to be hospitalised on January 8.

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January 1, 2014

Bahai student expelled from Semnan University

PCED, December 29, 2013

Two years ago, Nilisa Yahyahvi ( نیلیسا یحیوی ), a graduate in Persian language and culture, was barred from university studies with the excuse “file incomplete” — a euphemism used to disguise religious discrimination in Iran’s education system. In this academic year she again applied, and was admitted to a Master’s course at Semnan University. She attended classes until one week before her expulsion, when university officials asked for her BA diploma and a few day later, contacted her by telephone to ask some questions about her religious beliefs. She was then told that she was barred from further study at the University.

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November 28, 2013

BIHE class raided in Karaj

Iran Press News, November 28, 2013

According to reliable sources in Iran, one of the classes of the Bahai Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Karaj (west of Tehran) was stormed by security agents on November 27. Students in the class were required to fill out forms giving their personal data, the names of family members and relatives, and the identity of the BIHE instructors and faculty members. The agents made students sign a promise not to participate in any activities relating to the BIHE. The students’ cell phones were also confiscated.

On the same day, the Office of the President published a Bill on Citizen’s Rights. After more than 100 days of Rouhani’s presidency, Bahais are facing more pressure than before.

Persian text

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November 27, 2013

Bahai student expelled in Shiraz


PCED, November 27, 2013

Azita Momtaz ( آزیتا ممتاز ) a student of Industrial Management at Zand University in Shiraz has been expelled for her Bahai beliefs, after gaining 92 study credits. The university authorities stated that her expulsion had been ordered by the Ministry of Intelligence and “the powers that be.” She has also been denied all forms of certification for the results of her three years of study, and for her preparatory studies. Following the election of President Rouhani, the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology announced that students who have been expelled from the country’s universities in recent years could be reinstated, none of the Bahai students who have been expelled, or barred from beginning with the excuse that their files were incomplete, have had their rights reinstated.

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November 12, 2013

Three arrests in Mashhad in August, no news since

HRANA, August 14, 2013

On August 13, 2013, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence made three arrests which went unreported on Sen’s Daily. The agents raided the home of Fataneh Nabilzadeh-Saraf in Mashhad, where a number of young Bahais who have been barred from higher education were receiving instruction in preparation for classes from the Bahai Open University (BIHE). They arrested Mrs. Nabilzadeh along with Peyman Saraf and Dianne Timuri ( پیمان صراف و دایان تیموری ). I have found no reports of what has happened to them since.

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

January 28, 2013

Bahai school student expelled in Isfahan

Bahai News Service (Persian), January 14

Recently a school in Isfahan added the category “Bahai” to the recognized religions on its registration form. When Ruya Eshraqi ( رؤیا اشراقی ) entered her religion as “Bahai,” she was immediately expelled, and has twice applied to be re-enrolled without success. [The event is not dated in this report, and the Bahai News Service can be as much as a year behind events. The school year in Iran begins in late September. There have been several other incidents in Isfahan in which Bahai school students have been expelled, in some cases being reinstated later. ~ Sen]

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November 30, 2012

Egypt to exclude Bahais from education

Muslim network for Bahai rights, November 30

On November 30th, Egypt’s Minister of Education, Ibramim Ghanem, gave an interview to the Egyptian newspaper al-Sabah. In the context of a discussion of Egypt’s changing education policy, one question affirmed the long-standing legacy of marginalized minority religions such as the Baha’i faith across Egyptian society. The newspaper asked, “What is the position of the ministry regarding the right of Baha’is to enroll their children in school?” His response was: “State law in accordance with government procedures only recognizes three religions, and the Baha’i faith is not among them. Thus their children do not have the right to register in government schools.”

Full story (in English)

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