Sen's daily

News to October 20

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Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa and Nilufar Hakimi bailed in Shiraz

Gozar Net, October 18, 2018. –

Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) and Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی) were released on bail on October 18. Mr. Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) was arrested in Shiraz on September 16, while Ms. Hakimi was arrested on October. On October 12, Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت), Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) were also released on bail in Shiraz.

Under pressure from security forces, Samsung subsidiary fires a Baha’i

Iran Press Watch (from HRANA), October 18, 2018. –

Yazd security officials put pressure on the administrator of a Samsung subsidiary to fire marketing representative Sahar Rouhani on the grounds of her faith.

An informed source told HRANA that Rouhani was already being commended by Samsung executives as one of the best employees in the company after working there for little more than a year.

Rouhani’s university photography studies were cut short for the same reason in 2009, the source added. “She was expelled from the university in the middle of the fourth semester, after paying full tuition fees, because of being Baha’i.”

In August of this year, HRANA reported on the sudden and permanent dismissal of Baha’i Shiraz residents Sabah Haghbin, Samira Behinayeen, and Payam Goshtasbi from their private companies. Their company’s executives, like those at Samsung, had been harried by security agents to fire them.

Sixth arrest in Karaj

Campaign to defend prisoners of conscience, October 17, 2018. –

On October 16, security forces in Karaj raided the home of Parvan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی), seizing various personal effects, and arrested Mr. Ma`navi. It is not known where he is being held. He is the sixth Bahai to be arrested in Karaj in the past month.

Baha’i spokesperson arrested in Yemen

BIC News, October 12, 2018. –

The spokesperson for the Bahai community in Yemen has been arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. Abdullah Al-Olofi (عبدهللا العلف) was on his way to the market in Sana’a on 11 October when he was surrounded by armed soldiers in two pick-up trucks, blindfolded and taken away.

“This latest arrest is extremely worrying considering the recent intensification of persecutions against the Bahai community in Yemen,” said Diane Alai, Representative of the Bahai International Community to the United Nations.

Full report.

Three Bahai detainees bailed

Campaign to defend prisoners of conscience, October 12, 2018. –

Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت), Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) have been released on bail in Shiraz. Bail was set at 150 million tumans each (31,000 euros ; $US 36,000). They were arrested in mid-September, along with a number of other Bahais in the city. Bail amounts are said to have been set for other Bahai detainees in Shiraz, but their release has not been implemented.

Ruhiyyeh Nariman and Farzad Delaram detained in Shiraz

Iranians Global, October 8, 2018. –

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, and their house has been searched. On July 30 I reported here that they had been summoned to begin their prison sentences within one month, but that was delayed as the couple appealed that they should not serve their sentences simultaneously, since they have two children. That appeal was denied, and it is likely that yesterday’s arrest is to begin serving their sentences, although the new search of their home and the recent arrests of other Bahais in Shiraz make other explanations possible. Books and computers were seized. It is reported that they were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, rather than to the city prison.

As previously reported, they were originally sentenced to five years in prison, but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Farzad Delaram.

They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

New arrest in Shiraz

Hamid Rezataghipour, October 7, 2018. –

Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz on October 6, the latest in a series of arrests of Bahais in Shiraz.

Eighth arrest reported in Baharestan

HRANA (English), September 26, 2018. –

On Sunday, September 23rd, Saham Armin became the eighth Bahai to be detained by Ministry of Intelligence forces in Baharestan, near Isfahan. The agents searched his home before arresting him. I previously reported seven arrests on that day: Afshin Bolbolan (افشین بلبلان), Anush Rayneh (انوش راینه), Milad Davadan (میلاد داوردان), Farhan Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا), Bahareh Dhini-Sobhanian (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) and Fuzhan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی).

Koroush Rouhani bailed in Shiraz

HRANA (English), September 26, 2018. –

Koroush Rouhani (کوروش روحانی), who was arrested in Shiraz on August 16, was on Monday, September 24th on 1 billion rials (approximately $6000 USD) bail, and now awaits trial. As of the date of this report, no further information is available on his charges or the reasons behind his arrest.

Nora Pourmoradian’s home raided

HRANA, September 27, 2018. –

On September 27, security forces raided the home of Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان), one of the six Bahais arrested in Shiraz in the past two weeks. They seized personal effects such as books and documents, and briefly arrested her father and mother.

Sixth arrest and a business closure in Karaj

HRANA, September 26, 2018. –

On September 25, Houman Khoushnam (هومن خوشنام ) became the sixth Bahai to be arrested in Karaj in the past 10 days. His business was also closed down by the authorities. The arrests of five Bahais in Karaj are reported here.

Bahai student expelled in Isfahan

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), September 26, 2018. –

Shaqayeq Shouqi (شقایق شوقی), a student of applied chemistry in her sixth semester of study at the Isfahan University of Technology, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She discovered she had been expelled on the last day of the term exams, when she found that her access to her student profile on the University’s web site was blocked, and there was no way to re-enroll for the coming semester. When she enquired with university officials she was told that she would have to pursue the matter with the national office of educational assessment. When she did so, officials said that they were sorry, and that she had done nothing wrong, but the system is based on regulations that bar Bahais from entering universities. She was not given any documentary evidence that she had been expelled, and officials have refused to return the high school certificates she submitted when she first enrolled unless she provides a form saying she has withdrawn from university voluntarily.

Two more arrests in Karaj: environment a common factor in 19 arrests

Following the previous report of the arrest of three Bahais at a meeting for environmental education in Karaj on September 16, it has emerged that two other Bahais there have all been arrested. The report does not say whether this was also on September 16. The additional detainees are Payaam Sha’baani (پیام شعبانی ) and Paymaan Ma’navi (پیمان معنوی). Those originally reported are Maryam Ghafarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش), Jamileh Parkrou (جمیله پاکرو) and Keyarash Salmanzadeh (کیارش سلمانزاده).

Although no charges have been laid, it appears that environmental activities are a common factor in the arrest of the five Bahais in Karaj, seven (or eight, but the eighth is unnamed) in Baharestan, Isfahan province, and six in Shiraz.

Seven arrests in Baharestan, near Isfahan

HRANA, September 23, 2018. –

Early on September 23, security forces arrested seven Bahais at their homes in Baharestan, a newly built planned city about 30 km south of Isfahan. Those arrested are Afshin Bolbolan (افشین بلبلان), Anush Rayneh (انوش راینه), Milad Davadan (میلاد داوردان), Farhan Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا), Bahareh Dhini-Sobhanian (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) and Fuzhan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی). There is no word yet of where they are being held. One report suggested there were eight arrests, but this is not confirmed.

Student denied his diploma in Urmia

Hamid Rezataghpour (citing HRANA), Semptember 19, 2018. –

Mithaq Aghsani (میثاق اغصانی), an undergraduate student at the Payam-e Nour University in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), has been denied his Bachelor’s diploma and barred from further education because of his Bahai beliefs. His father is a veteran and war prisoner from the Iran-Iraq war, which, if he were not a Bahai, would give his son privileged access to university in Iran. The business of his father and grandfather have both been closed by the authorities for the past 14 months, because they are Bahais. They are continuing to work, on the footpath in front of their workplaces, in the heat of summer and cold of winter.

Bahai student expelled in Karaj, 58 excluded from enrolling

Adian Bashariyat (relaying HRANA), September 20, 2018. –

Anahita Horr (آناهیتا حر), a Bachelor’s student of architectural drawing at the non-profit Rasam University in Karaj has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She was able to enroll in 2016 (around August), and has completed two years of study.

HRANA continues to monitor the number of Bahai students who have completed the University Entrance examination successfully, but are barred from enrollment because their Bahai beliefs are known to the Ministry of Intelligence. Thus far, this year’s total is 58. At about this time last year, 115 Bahai students were known to have been excluded at the gate, and in October 2016 the figure for that year was 129.

Three arrests in Karaj

Iranians Global, September 19, 2018. –

On the evening of September 16, security forces arrested three Bahais in Karaj, about an hour West of Tehran, and took them to Evin Prison in Tehran. They are Maryam Ghafarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش), Jamileh Parkrou (جمیله پاکرو) and Keyarash Salmanzadeh (کیارش سلمانزاده). Security forces raided a meeting for environmental education, held at the home of Ramin Sadeqi (رامین صدقی) and led by Maryam Ghafarmanesh. The officers seized all the cell phones, took the personal details of all those attending, and then searched the house, seizing a desktop computer and Bahai books and the ownership documents for the house. Then they went to Mrs. Parkrou’s house and seized mobile phones and computers and the ownership documents for the house. About 20 hours later Mrs. Ghafarmanesh reported in a telephone conversation that her bail had been set at 300 million tumans (61,000 euros; $US 71,000).

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi released unexpectedly

Iranians Global, September 19. 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی), a 60-year-old Bahai from Yazd who began his 18-month sentence on August 7 this year, has been released without warning, after serving just six weeks, as well as (presumably) recognition of time he spent under interrogation before his trial. Earlier sources said that his sentence was 12 months, but in either case his release is unexpected and early.

Bahai student expelled from Tehran technical college

Hamid Rezataghipour, September 19, 2018. –

Nikan Sheydan-Shaydi, a Bahai student in the third semester of an Intermediate study in moulding technology at the Technical College of Tehran, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He began his studies in February 2017. He was summoned to the Institute’s security office [a branch of the Ministry of Intelligence] and asked why he had enrolled, since he was a Bahai? “There is no place for Bahais here, just like the universities.” However he was told that he could change the religion field in his student records, and continue with his studies.

In recent days the number of Bahai students who have just passed the University Entrance examination, and find they are excluded from tertiary education on the excuse of “incomplete file,” has risen beyond 50. In previous years the total has been above 100 each year.

Two more arrests in Shiraz

Iranians Global, September 17, 2019. –

Late in the evening of September 16, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) and too her to the Ministry’s offices in Shiraz. She was arrested at a family gathering to prepare for her grandmother’s funeral. Earlier [on the same day?], Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان) was arrested. These two arrests bring the number of Bahais arrested in Shiraz in the past week to six. On September 15, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz: Navid Bazmandegan (نوید بازماندگان), his wife Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری), and Elaheh Sami`zadeh. There present whereabouts is unknown. A fourth Bahai, Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) was arrested on September 16, and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility 100 in Shiraz.

Trial of 24 Bahais begins in Yemen

Fuad Rajah, September 16, 2018. –

Houthi activists started the trial of several Baha’i families on Saturday. Fifteen men and 9 women are charged with spying for Israel, the U.S. and Britain. The report comes from Fuad Raja, a reporter in Sanaa, quoting Abdullah Al-Olofi, spokesperson for the Bahai community in Yemen.

Four arrests in Shiraz

Radio Zamineh, September 16, 2018. –

On September 15, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz: Navid Bazmandegan (نوید بازماندگان), his wife Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری), and Elaheh Sami`zadeh. There present whereabouts is unknown. A fourth Bahai, Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) was arrested on September 16, and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility 100 in Shiraz.

More students excluded for their Bahai beliefs

Mahvash Zaeri, September 15, 2018. –

More Bahai students who passed the University Entrance examination with good marks have learned that they are excluded from tertiary education because the authorities — who according to the Constitution are not permitted to inquire into religious beliefs — know they are Bahais. The new names (in addition to those I listed yesterday) are Sahand Qa’emi (سهند قائمی), Faran Abbas-Pouli (فاران عباس پولی), Basiz Zayn-`Ali (?) Baghini (بصیز زینلی باغینی), Sadaf Mithaqi-Sisan (صدف میثاقی سیسان), Yahya Mousavi Tang-rizi (یحیی موسوی تنگ ریزی) from Karaj, Anita Rastegar (آنیتا رستگار), Nabil Bashi-Ardestani (نبیل باشی ارد ستانی), Tara Bahamin (تارا بهامین), Bita Chorkhzarin (بیتا چرخ زرین), Arman Golzar (آرمان گلزار), Pegar Sirusian (پگاه سیروسیان), Nariman Movafeq-Evali (نریمان موفقی ایولی), Nuna Qadiri-Nafarest (نونا قدیری نُفرست), Sayeh Aqa’i (سایه آقائی), Farhud Bashi (فرهود باشی) from Tehran, Parsa Shaykhzadeh (پارسا شیخ زاده), Foruzan Nuredel (فروزان نوردل) from Tabriz, Hadi Hedayat (هدي هدايتي) from Semnan, Sina Tala`i (سینا طالعی), Aryan Baqa’i (آرین بقایی) from Sari, Wafa Nobakht (وفا نوبخت) from Sari and Adib Rahmani (ادیب رحمانی) from Sari. This brings the total of the new cohort of Bahai students who have been excluded this year to 33.

Bahai student deprived of her Intermediate diploma

Tavaana (twitter), September 15, 2018. –

Sheqayey Dhabihi (شقایق ذبیحی), a Bahai from Karaj who has completed her Intermediate year in Architecture at the non-profit University of Karaj, applied to receive the Diploma. However she was summoned to the offices of the national Educational Assessments Bureau, and told that, because of her Bahai beliefs, she could not be awarded the Diploma and would not be allowed to continue her studies.

Ten Bahai students excluded from education

Hamid Rezataghpour, September 13, 2108. –

As the academic year begins in Iran, reports show at least ten Bahai students who gained passing grades in the nation-wide University Entrance Examinations have been excluded from enrolling in a university or technical institute, with the excuse “incomplete file.” The names of the excluded students known thus far are Shamim Eydelkhani (شمیم ایدلخانی) from the Moghan [sic, مغان] in Ardabil Province, Farniya Ilyazadeh (فرنیا ایلیازاده) from Tehran, Parmida Hoseynpuli-Mamqani (پارمیدا حسینپولی ممقانی), Servin Adhar-Shab (سروین آذر شب) from Tehran, Parand Mithaqi (پرند میثاقی), Shahrzad Tirgar (شهرزاد تیرگر), Melina Qumi-Nik (ملینا قوامی نیک) from Tehran, Tarannom Mo`tamedi-Borujeni (ترنم معتمدی بروجنی) from Shahenshahr in Isfahan, Wahid Sadeqi-Sisan (وحید صادقی سیسان) and Shaqayeq Qasemi (شقایق قاسمی).

Five Bahais sentenced in Shiraz

Shahrevandyar (Facebook), September 11, 2018. –

Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی) and Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) have been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were tried in a closed court, and sentenced by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Their places of exile are, respectively, Jahrom, Eqlid, Arsanjan, Darab and Larestan.

Mr. Dana, Mr. Haqqpazhouh, Mr. `Ebadi, and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (یهیه معنویپور) were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. Mr. Mansour and Mr. Sarafraz were arrested on September 1. Mrs. Ma`navipour was released on bail on September 18 and Mr. Dana on September 28, 2014. On October 21 Mr. Sarafraz, `Ebadi, Mansour and Haqqpazhouh were released on bail.

Sima Kiani released from Evin Prison

Payam-e Haqq, September 2, 2018. –

Ms. Sima Kiani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai resident of Shahr-e Rey (on the outskirts of Tehran), was released from Evin Prison in Tehran on September 1, after serving a one-year sentence on charges of “propaganda against the regime.” She was arrested by Security Forces for the first time on March 8, 2017 and was freed on bail of 200 million Tomans (equal to $US45,000) in early April 2017. At the time of her arrest. all of Ms. Kiani’s Bahai books and images, articles, CDs, and her personal computer, were confiscated. On January 27 she was tried and convicted on the charge of propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to one year in prison by the Shahr-e Rey Revolutionary Court. She began her sentence immediately after the trial.

Bahai business closed by authorities in Kashan

HRANA, August 19, 2018. –

An optician’s workshop run by Javad Dhabihiyan (جواد ذبیحیان) in Kashan was closed by the local authorities on July 28, by the expedient of not granting it an operating licence, because the owner is a Bahai. The business was also closed for two weeks in April 2016, following instructions from the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Kashan, and was allowed to re-open when Mr. Dhabihiyan promised to obtain a licence.

In recent years the local departments of public places in Iran have closed down many of the small workshops and shops on which Bahais must rely for their income, since they are barred from employment in the civil service and in many economic sectors. Bahais are also barred from running businesses in sectors that involve contact with food or personal services, in line with a commonly held superstition in Iran, that Bahais are “unclean.” A peculiarity of Iran’s apartheid system is that the rules saying what kinds of businesses Bahais may not operate are kept secret, since such discrimination is contrary to various international treaties to which Iran is a signatory. It is not clear — to the Bahais and also to the local authorities in many cases — whether Bahais are permitted to work as opticians.

On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned, but by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete. It does not mention optometry, but says that Bahais may not work in cultural, educational or financial institutions, and are not to be allowed to work in the sectors of periodicals, jewelry, watchmaking, print-making, tourist agencies, car rentals, publishing and bookshops, photography, film-making, internet gaming, computers, or internet cafes. They may not own printing works or hotels and other accommodation for travellers, or teach tailoring skills. The order then refers to the belief that Bahais are unclean, and requires the police bureaus to block them from restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways (Iranian-style), cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.

Another Bahai student expelled in Tehran

Hamid Rezataghpour, August 19, 2018. –

Roumina `Asgari (رومینا عسگری ), an undergraduate student at the Tehran Central campus of Iran’s Free University, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She has completed four semesters of her degree. Unusually, she was informed of her expulsion in writing, the reason given was “abnormal social behaviour, efforts to undermine the order, peace and security of the nation.” Yet she has not actually been attending classes in the last 6 months, having taken a one-semester suspension of her studies.

Six Bahais arrested in Shiraz, three released

HRANA, August 17, 2018. –

On August 16, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested six Bahais in Shiraz and took them to Detention Facility 100. Those arrested are Pejman Shahryari (پژمان شهریاری) and his wife Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیل), Houman Esmaili (هومن اسماعیلی) and Koroush Rouhani (کوروش روحانی), Negar Mithaqian (نگار میثاقیان) and her husband Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی). Negar Mithaqian and Dorna Esmaili were released a few hours later. Update: Houman Esmaili was also released on August 16, leaving three detainees in detention.

Dorna Esmaili is a Bahai student who was in the 7th semester of a degree in Graphic Design at the Eram non-profit private university in Shiraz when she was expelled in January, 2017. Negar Mithaqian was a student of computer engineering who was barredby the university during her enrollment, in 2009.

The other detainees have not previously been mentioned on Sen’s Daily.

Some reports have spoken of the arrests of 40 or more Bahais in Shiraz in recent days, but these reports have not been confirmed.

Appeal of 22 sealed businesses in Urmia rejected

HRANA via Iran Press Watch (Persian), August 17, 2018. –

The appeal of 22 Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), which were closed down by the authorities one year ago, because they closed for business on Bahai Holy Days, has been rejected by the Supreme Administrative Court without a hearing. The court’s decision was announced on August 16.

There are nine days each year that Bahais take free from work (with logical exceptions). The law in Iran allows any business to shut for up to 15 days each year, without special permission from the authorities, but the Bahais are apparently being denied this normal right, as they are denied many other civil rights.

In the past year, the owners of these businesses have pursued numerous channels with various government bodies, but only the local government’s office of public places has responded, saying that they would not be allowed to reopen unless they signed a pledge not to close on the Bahai Holy Days.

New Methods to Prevent Baha’is from Studying

Iran Press Watch, August 16, 2018.

Source: iranwire.comBy Kian Sabeti (shortened)

In recent days, according to reports received by IranWire, the Intelligence Bureau of Karaj has been pressuring a number of Bahai university applicants to promise that if their applications for the university are accepted, they will stop following the tenets of their faith.

Over the last several recent years, many Bahais who have successfully passed the entrance exams are turned away from universities under the pretext of having an “incomplete portfolio.” Pegah (پگاه), who lives in Karaj near Tehran, was previously given the same excuse when he was told he would not be able to attend college, but the story did not end there.

“On Sunday morning, someone — who did not identify himself —phoned and said he wanted to have a short interview with me about the 2018 entrance exams,” Pegah told IranWire. “He gave me the address of the Intelligence Bureau of Gohardasht, where I was to go. At 10am on the following day I went to that address and spent about 20 minutes in a room answering their questions. They told me that the results of the entrance exams were likely to be published soon and since I might have passed the tests they had to get some information about me. They asked me questions about Bahai religious organizations and religious classes, but I did not answer these questions because they had nothing to do with the entrance exams. I only wrote down my own bio.”

“Essentially, they wanted two things,” Pegah said. “The first was that if I were accepted to the university, I would not proselytize for the Baha’i Faith. I asked them to show me a law that makes proselytizing illegal. Then I told them that I would not proselytize but that if somebody asks me about my faith I cannot lie. [Baha’i tenets do not allow a Baha’i to lie about his faith.] The second was that if I was enrolled I would follow the laws of the Islamic Republic instead of the instructions issued by the House of Justice [the international governing council of the Baha’i faith]. I replied that I would obey the laws of the Islamic Republic but that I cannot ignore the instructions of the House of Justice because as a Bahai I must obey them.”

For 18-year-old Nina (نینا), this year’s entrance exam was her first. Three days ago, the Intelligence Bureau of Karaj called her and asked her to go to their office to answer questions related to the exams and, like Pegah, she followed their instructions. “They gave me two forms,” she told IranWire. “The first form was about detailed personal information, even strange questions like “known as” and “nickname.” I filled it out and signed it. Then they verbally asked me questions about Baha’i gatherings and my religious activities but since the questions had nothing to do with the exams I refused to answer them.”

The second form, besides asking for a full name, was a series of statements to be ticked off. “For instance,” she said, “whether I had passed the exam or I had selected my field of study. But at the bottom of the form it said: ‘I obey the laws of my country, not those of the House of Justice in Occupied Palestine and I do not recognize the House of Justice.’”

Nina did not fill out the second form and told officials it did not apply to her because the first question was about selecting a field of study and she had not done so. But they insisted she fill it out, saying: “If you pass the exam next year, you must sign this form before you go to the university, so it would be better if you would fill it out today.” Nina answered that if that happened, she would return. “We will talk about the form,” she told them.

Bahais in Iran were barred from participating in university entrance exams until 2005, when the Education Evaluation Organization, which oversees all aspects of nationwide university entrance exams and admissions, announced a change in the meaning of the “religion” question on application forms, saying that it did not meant to ask the actual religion of the applicants but instead about applicants’ knowledge about a specific religion. So, after 25 years, Bahai applicants could participate in the entrance exams. The Bahais chose “Islam” and were granted permission to compete in the exams. But if they did pass the exam, they were turned away with the excuse of “incomplete portfolio.” The very few who somehow slip through are expelled the moment the security office of the university finds out they are Bahais [in practice — when the Ministry of Intelligence order the University to expel them ~ Sen].

This religious discrimination extends even to private and non-profit institutes of higher education. In the last 40 years no Bahai has graduated from any university in Iran although Bahais are the biggest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran.

Since the 1979 Revolution, Bahais have been denied the most basic of citizen civil rights. They are even banned from working for the government. At international forums, officials of the Islamic Republic consistently deny this discrimination against the Bahais but, story after story, as with the two above, belie their claims.

Pictures from a funeral

Editorial, August 12, 2018.

As previously reported, the ‘Golestan Javid’ (Bahai cemetery) in Kerman was closed by the judicial authorities on March 16 this year, preventing both visits to the graves and new burials. When an elderly Bahai man, Abbas Khalousi (عباس خلوصی), died on August 16, the authorities refused to allow him to be buried anywhere in Kerman, and held the body for four days before giving permission for him to be buried in a desert area near Rafsanjan, the capital of Kerman Province. The two cities are about 90 minutes apart. They summoned his son and told him to bury his father there, or they would take the body and bury him themselves.

The result was that, on the day of the funeral, a large motorcade of cars sped from Kerman to the place of burial, with other cars coming from Rafsanjan and other places, and a well-attended funeral was held. The authorities’ obduracy resulted in a highly visible event proclaiming the presence of the Bahais in the two cities, and making their oppression by the authorities visible to all. But it remains the case that the Bahais of Kerman are banned from visiting and caring for their cemetery, which will inevitably become overgrown before being seized by the authorities for profitable development by a regime insider.

The closure, destruction and vandalization of Bahai cemeteries has become common in Iran: many recent examples can be found on this blog by typing “cemetery” in the search box, or clicking on the category link “Burials and social matters.” For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran (2012).

Mehrdad Heyrani free after 3 month’s interrogation

Kalameh TV, August 11, 2018. –

Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی), a Bahai from Tehran, was released from Evin Prison today (Saturday) after three months’ interrogation. Bail is reported at 1.2 billion tumans, but should I think read 1.2 billion rials (the official currency unit), which is 25,000 euros or $US 29,000 at the current official rate. Mr. Heyrani was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 11, while he was at a friend’s house in Fardis, 45 km West of Tehran. The agents returned with them to his own home. They searched it and seized a computer, some religious books and other personal effects.

Two Bahais begin their sentences in Yazd

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, August 9, 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی), a 60-year-old Bahai from Yazd, was arrested at his workplace on August 7, to begin serving his sentence (this report says it is 18 months, but my information is that it is 12 months), to be followed by one year in exile in Divandarreh, was recently reduced from the original three-year sentence by the Court of Review, but he had not been summoned to present himself to prison.

Other reports indicate that Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), who was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile in Saravan, presented himself to prison on August 8.

Nika Khalusi ends her prison term

HRANA, August 5, 2018. –

Nika Khalusi (نیکا خلوصی) has been released from prison in Mashhad at the end of her 5-year term. She began her sentence on April 30, 2014. She and her sister Nava (نوا خلوصی) were sentenced for “membership of the Bahai organisation, participation in illegal Bahai activities, and propaganda in favour of the Bahais and against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” Nava Khalusi, sentenced to four and a half years, was released on September 4, 2017. Their father, Manuchher Khalusi (منوچهر خلوصی) was released on July 31, 2017, at the end of a one-year sentence.

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


Three Bahais lose employment in Shiraz

Hamid Rezataghpour, July 31, 2018. –

In recent days, three Bahais in Shiraz have been dismissed from their employment because of their Bahai beliefs. Mr. Sahba Haqqbin (صهباء حق‌بین), a civil and structural engineer, his wife Samira Behinayin (سمیرا بهین‌آیین), a civil engineer, and Mr. Payam Gashtasbi (پیام گشتاسبی ), an accountant, had been employed by private companies in Shiraz. The were dismissed following instructions and pressure exerted by the security forces in Shiraz on the Directors of the companies employing them. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais are not only barred from the civil service, they are not permitted to work in many sectors relating to personal services, because of a wide-spread superstition that Bahais are “unclean.” However engineering and accounting are not among the jobs barred to Bahais.

Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram begin prison sentences

Shahrvandyar, July 28, 2018. –

In the last few days, Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) have been summoned to begin serving their prison sentences in Shiraz. The summons, sent via their bail agent, allows them one month to present themselves to prison. As previously reported, they were originally sentenced to five years in prison, but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and one year for Farzad Delaram.

They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

Bahai student expelled from University in Isfahan

Shahrvanyar (Facebook), July 27, 2018. –

Sarir Mauqen (سریر موقن) has been expelled from the Azad University in Isfahan because of her Bahai beliefs. The learned of her expulsion on May 23, 2018, just before the final exams, when she was told by telephone that her file was incomplete and she should go to the Office of Education. She later found that she was barred from the University’s web site. When she went to the Office, she was told “you are a Bahai and should not have entered the University.” She was also denied a certificate showing the grades she had achieved.

Ms. Mauqen began her studies in 2014, and listed her religion as “Bahai” in the registration form. When she was expelled she in the last semester of a Master’s degree in Architecture, having already gained 135 of the 145 study point required for the degree. She had not promoted her Bahai beliefs during her time as a student (a policy issued by the secretariat at the Bahai World Centre in 2015 states that there is no objection to Bahai students signing a pledge not to teach their Faith at university).

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi sentenced to one year in prison, one year in exile

Iran Press Watch (Persian), July 25, 2018. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 69-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, has been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile in Minab, 1700 kilometers from his home. he was charged with “propaganda against the regime.” The sentence was announced by the Review Court for Kurdistan province. He was arrested on September 8, 2015, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who searched the home he shares with his wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی). Four agents seized CD’s, books, pictures and other items relating to the Bahai Faith. They also arrested some non-Bahais who were present during the raid. His wife was arrested later, when their home was searched a second time on December 19, 2015. She has been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but the Review Court has not yet confirmed this sentence.

Mr. Ra’ufi was freed on bail six days after his arrest, but after his release some of his non-Bahai contacts were detained and lodged personal complaints against him.
One of these contacts, Mr. Muhammad Salahaddin Rashidiyan (محمدصلاح الدین رشیدیان) said that while he was detained at the Ministry of Intelligence office he was threatened with charges of apostasy, which carries the death sentence, but promised freedom if he lodged a complaint against the Bahais. He said that he knew of at least three others who were forced to lodge complaints against the Ra’ufi family in the same way. Their names are given as Entezar Rahimi (انتظار رحیمی), Mrs. Zhila Negahdar (ژیلا نگهدار) and Shahu Mohammadi (شاهو محمدی).

The arrests and subsequent efforts to fabricate a civil complaint against Mr. Ra’ufi appear to relate to the appeals of the Bahais in Sanandaj for officials to allow the burial of Mrs. Baji Muhammadifard in the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. Officials insisting that Mrs. Muhammadifar’s body should be taken to the Baha’i cemetery in Qorveh, approximately an hour and a half from Sanandaj. It emerged that this was part of a nation-wide policy under which Bahais would be buried in only one cemetery in each province of Iran.

Mr. Ra’ufi was previously arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime, followed by 6 months in exile in Tuyserkan. He also served his six-month prison term in Tuyserkan. And in June, 2011, the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj conducted mass interrogations of the Bahais there, seeking information on how Sanandaj’s Bahai community is managed. One of those questioned was Dhabihullah Ra’ufi.

Two Bahais sentenced in Yazd, five others have suspended sentences

HRANA, July 26, 2018. –

The Review Court in Yazd has revised the sentences of seven Bahais. Five of them have been given 3-year suspended sentences:

Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی), a 69-year old resident of Yazd who was arrested in Tehran on February 21, 2017, and released on bail in Yazd at the end of March.

Farzad Rouhani Manshadi (فرزاد روحانی منشادی), Ramin Hosuri Sharaf-Abadi (رامین حصوری شرف آبادی) and Ahmad Ja`fari Na’imi (احمد جعفری نعیمی) three Bahais who were arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, 2017, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers. They were released on bail on February 21, 2017. Muhammad-Ali Tadrisi (محمدعلی تدریسی), who was arrested in his home in Yazd on January 24, 2017, and released on bail on February 1, has also been given a 3-year suspended sentence.

Mr. Uzzatallah Kharram (عزت الله خرم), also arrested on january 18, 2017, was exonerated of the unspecified charges and has been released.

However two Bahai men were sentenced to 18-month prison terms followed by 12 months in exile: Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی). They will serve their exiles respectively in Saravan and Divandarreh. Mehran Eslami will probably serve two years and a half years in prison, because of a previous case. He was one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012, and was sentenced on charges such as “propaganda against the regime,” to one year in prison, which he has since served, and a one-year suspended sentence. This suspended sentence may be added to his new 18-month sentence.

Bahai student expelled in Kerman

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), July 18, 2018. –

Houman Emani (هومن ایمانی), a student of graphic arts at the Free University in Kerman, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. His expulsion occurred almost a year ago, but was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

Fataneh Nabilzadeh begins her sentence

Shahrvandyar, July 18, 2018. –

Fataneh Nabilzadeh (فتانه نبیل‌زاده), who has been sentenced to one year in prison for her association with the Bahai University (BIHE), was taken to prison in Mashhad on July 16. The BIHE is a distance-learning institute that offers education to Bahais, who are excluded from both state and private tertiary institutions under Iran’s form of apartheid. Educating Bahais is against state policies, although technically it is not against the law, since the policies are not published. On August 13, 2013, as part of a series of raids on the BIHE across Iran, security forces raided her home, searched it, and arrested her, along with two students who were taking an exam: her son Peyman Saraf (پیمان صراف) and Dayan Teymouri (دایان تیموری). The two students were bailed on September 5, but Mrs. Nabilzadeh was held for two months before being released on bail. In January 2018 she was sentenced to one year in prison for her educational activities.

Bahai student expelled in Karaj

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

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

Business closed and one arrest in Abadan

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), July 14, 2018. =

A sewing machine shop run by two Bahai brothers, Arman and Aram Azadi (آرمان آزادی و آرام آزادی) has been closed by the local authorities because of their Bahai identity and because they closed their business to observe a Bahai Holy Day. Aram Azadi’s wife, Nushin Afshar (نوشین افشار), has been arrested, and the operating licence of the business has been revoked. The brothers have run the shop for the past 38 years. Over the past 5 years, over 500 Bahai-run businesses have been shut down in Iran, in a policy of economic apartheid that also bars Bahais from the civil service and from private employment in many sectors of the economy.

Sheida Qoddusi granted prison furlough

Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2018. –

Sheida Qoddusi (شیدا قدوسی), who has served over a year of her 5-year sentence in Gorgan prison, began a 10-day furlough on June 27. She was one of about 20 Bahais who were arrested in Golestan Province in October, 2012, and later released on bail. They were tried by Judge Qanbari (قاضی قنبری). Sheida Qoddusi was initially sentenced to 11 years in prison, reduced to five years by the review court. She has two children.

Plot to seize property from a Bahai in Mahabad

Iran Press Watch (Persian), July 6, 2018. –

Saman Mithaqi (سامان میثاقی) is a 31-year-old Bahai living in Tehran, whose detention in Mahabad has not previously been reported here. He travelled to Mahabad over six months ago to sell his father’s apartment there, which had been used by a tenant. However the tenant, a Mr. Bakhtiar (بختیار ), had become a member of the Revolutionary Guards in the city, and refused to hand over the property because of Saman Mithaqi’s Bahai beliefs. Mr. Bakhtiar used his position to file a charge against Mr. Mithaqi and have him detained by the Ministry of Intelligence, leaving Mr. Bakhtiar in possession of the apartment. Mr. Mithaqi remains in detention, but has been offered bail if he will leave Iran and never return.

For older news, see the “old news” archive.


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