Sen's daily

August 4, 2017

Four more Bahais businesses closed in Urmia

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

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

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

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

July 25, 2017

Numerous Bahai business sealed in Urmia and other centres

Bahai News (facebook), July 24, 2017.

Local authorities in Urmia (Urumiyyeh) have sealed the doors of at least 19 Bahai run business in Urmia, on the excuse that the businesses were closed on July 9 this year, when Bahais around the world remembered the martyrdom of the Bab in Tabriz, in 1850. The closures began on July 19, and is continuing. Notices of forthcoming closure have been issued progressively, affecting 6 businesses each day. At first the owners were given 10 days notice of closure, but later only 4 days. The agents concerned have said that more than 100 businesses run by Bahais in Urmia will be closed, which would amount to about 90 percent of the Bahai-run businesses.

In a separate report, Bahai News reports that since July 9, Bahais who have businesses in Khorramshahr have been individually summoned, sometimes by telephone, to the Ministry of Intelligence and threatened with closure. They were asked why their businesses were closed on July 9, and told that they must inform the authorities of any closure 1 week in advance. The summonses are still occurring, and have thus far seen 9 Bahais threatened with the closure of their businesses.

In the past year, over 300 Bahai-run businesses across Iran have been closed by the authorities, on the excuse that they closed their doors on a Bahai Holy Day. Yet this is perfectly legal: business owners in non-essential sectors are allowed to close their businesses for up to 15 days in the course of each year, without notifying the authorities.

The shops and workshops that have reported closed thus far, in Urmia, belonged to Vahab Moghaddam (وهاب مقدم), Navid Morghi (نوید مرغی), Siavash Abdi (سیاوش عبدی), Fardin `Owza’i (فردین اعضائی), Faridoun `Owza’i (فریدون اعضائی), Aynullah Aqdasi (عین الله اقدسی), Sina Derakhti (سینا درختی), Chengir Shahmohammedi (چنگیر شاه محمدی), `Erfan Samandari (عرفان سمندری), Ali Latifi (علی لطیفی), Elham `Abdi (الهام عبدی), Arman Nourzai (آرمان نورزی), Nasr Panahi (ناصر پناهی ), Omid Latifi (امید لطیفی), Rita Latifi (ریتا لطیفی), Sassan Karimi (ساسان کریمی), Bonyan Maqsudi (بنیان مقصودی), Qorban Najafzadeh (قربان نجف زاده) and Mr. Suleimani (سلیمانی).

In addition, a business run by Farhad Joushnei (فرهاد جوشنی), a Bahai living in Shahrud, has recently been closed.

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

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

October 4, 2016

Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh vandalized again


Bahai News (Persian), October 3, 2016.

On September 30, the Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh (Urmia) was again vandalized. On July 25, 2015, a large number of 20-year-old trees in this cemetery were cut down using a chainsaw. On the most recent occasion gravestones were damaged and an attempt was made to burn the remaining trees. When the Bahais complained to the police and court, they were told there was nothing to be done, since the Bahais did not know who had vandalized the cemetery. The destruction of the graves of religious minorities, especially those of Bahais and Jews, has occured throughout Iran since Qajar times. On July 17, 2016, law enforcement agents in Kurdistan province demolished a Bahai cemetery there, uprooted over three hundred 20-year-old trees, and confiscated personal property from the mortuary. Some cities, notably Tabriz, refuse to allow the burial of Bahais. In Sanandaz, three successive Bahai cemeteries have been destroyed by government agents. 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.

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

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

June 23, 2016

Bahai shop-keeper protests in Urumeyyeh


Bazdasht, June 22, 2016.

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

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

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

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

June 20, 2016

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

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

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

Full translation at Iran Press Watch

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

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

June 1, 2016

Campaign against Bahai businesses in Mazandaran continues

Various sources, late May, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 24, 2016

28 Bahai businesses closed down in Urumiyyeh

Bahai News (Persian), May 24, 2016.

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

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

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.

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

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

August 23, 2015

Trees cut down in the Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh

HRANA, August 24, 2015.

A number of 20-year old trees in the Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh (Urmia) have been cut down with a chainsaw. The destruction apparently happened on July 25, 2015. This is the first time that this cemetery has been targetted by the vandals, although trees have been cut down in the Bahai cemeteries of Marvdasht, Sansgar and Isfahan. In Isfahan, some 2500 trees were cut down October 2008, and in Marvdasht, 1200 were cut down in April, 2011.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2q9

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

July 11, 2015

Fardin Aghsani released


Campaign against harassment of Bahais

Fardin Aghsani (فردین اغصانی), a Bahai war veteran who has been imprisoned in Urumiyyeh (Urmia), has been released from prison there. Mr Aghsani began serving his 3-year sentence on December 14, 2014. If, as reported, he has been released at the end of his sentence, the courts must have taken account of time in prison before he was sentenced, or his war record. He was a prisoner of war in Iraq for two and a half years. His wife Mrs. Farahnaz Moqadam (فرحناز مقدم) began her own three year sentence on December 10, 2014. The couple were among seven Bahais in Urumiyyeh who, in July 2014, were given sentences ranging from six months to six years for teaching the Bahai Faith and propaganda against the Islamic Republic through hosting regular teaching classes in their homes, teaching minors and attracting Muslims. They were also charged with assembly and collusion in the form of membership of a Bahai Assembly, and having links to the Universal House of Justice (the elected body that heads the international Bahai community).

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

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

December 15, 2014

Neda Farsatipour and Farahnaz Moqadam begin their prison sentences


HRANA, December 14, 2014.

On December 10, Mrs. Farahnaz Moqadam (فرحناز مقدم) responded to a summons to the Revolutionary Court in Urumiyyeh (Urmia) and was taken to the city’s central prison to begin serving her three-year sentence. On December 4, her husband Fardin Aghsani (فردین اغصانی) began serving his own three-year sentence.

Neda Farsatipour (ندا فرصتی‌پور), another Bahai from Urumiyyeh, also began her sentence in the past week. She has been sentenced to 6 months in prison. In all, six Bahais have begun serving their sentences in recent weeks.

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

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

December 4, 2014

Fardin Aghsani begins 3-year sentence


Campaign to stop harassment of Bahais (facebook), December 4, 2014.

Fardin Aghsani (فردین اغصانی), a Bahai from Urumiyyeh (Urmia) who was taken prisoner during the Iran-Iraq war, and held in Iraq for two and a half years, reported to the central prison in Urumiyyeh today to begin serving a 3-year sentence. His wife Farahnaz Moqadam (فرحناز مقدم), who has also been sentenced to three years in prison, is expected to begin her sentence in the next few days. The couple were among seven Bahais in Urumiyyeh who, in July this year, were given sentences ranging from six months to six years for teaching the Bahai Faith and propaganda against the Islamic Republic through hosting regular teaching classes in their homes, teaching minors and attracting Muslims. They were also charged with assembly and collusion in the form of membership of a Bahai Assembly, and having links to the Universal House of Justice (the elected body that heads the international Bahai community).

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

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

December 1, 2014

Soheila Aqdasi and Noushin Mithaqi begin 6-month sentences

HRANA, December 1, 2014.

On November 30th, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Noushin Mithaqi (نوشین میثاقی) and Soheila Aqdasi (سهیلا اقدسی), Bahai women living in Urumiyyeh (Urmia), in Iran’s Azerbaijan province, and took them to Urumiyyeh prison to begin their 6-month sentences. Ms. Mithaqi’s name has also been reported as Noushin Aqdasi (نوشین اقدسی). They were accused of “propaganda against the regime.” Not long ago they received telephone calls saying they should report to the prison, but did not do so as no official summons followed. They are among seven Bahais in Urumiyyeh who were sentenced early in July this year to terms ranging from six months to six years, on charges that included teaching the Bahai Faith, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, hosting teaching classes in their homes, teaching minors, attracting Muslims, membership of a Bahai Assembly, and having links to the Universal House of Justice (the elected body that heads the international Bahai community).

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

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

November 3, 2014

Amir Maboudi begins 6-month sentence in Urumiyyeh

HRANA, November 2, 2014.

Mr. Amir Maboudi (امیر معبودی) began serving a 6-month prison sentence in Urumiyyeh (Urmia) in Iran’s Azerbaijan province, on October 9. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime in the form of propagating the Bahai Faith.” Instead of summoning him to the prison to begin his sentence, the authorities informed the guarantor of his bail that he must go to prison. Mr. Maboudi and six other Bahais were sentenced in July this year, to terms ranging from six months to six years. Mr. Fardin A`za’i (Aghsani) and Mrs. Farahnaz Moqadam and Ms. Gisou Sheikh-Hasan-Abadi (فردین اعضایی (اغصانی)، فرحناز مقدم و گیسو شیخ‌حسن‌آبادی) were sentenced to six years in prison. They were sentenced to one year for teaching the Bahai Faith and propaganda against the Islamic Republic through hosting regular teaching classes in their homes, teaching minors and attracting Muslims, and to another five years for assembly and collusion in the form of membership of a Bahai Assembly, and having links to the Universal House of Justice (the elected body that heads the international Bahai community). Another four Bahais, including Mr. Maboudi, were sentenced to six months in prison.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-28Y

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

July 5, 2014

Seven Bahais sentenced in Urumiyyeh

Radio Zamaneh, July 4, 2014

The revolutionary court in Urumiyyeh (Urmia), in Iran’s Azerbaijan province, has handed down sentences ranging from six months to six years for seven Bahais. Mr. Fardin A`za’i (Aghsani) and Mrs. Farahnaz Moqadam and Ms. Gisou Sheikh-Hasan-Abadi (فردین اعضایی (اغصانی)، فرحناز مقدم و گیسو شیخ‌حسن‌آبادی) were sentenced to six years in prison. They were sentenced to one year for teaching the Bahai Faith and propaganda against the Islamic Republic through hosting regular teaching classes in their homes, teaching minors and attracting Muslims. They were also charged with assembly and collusion in the form of membership of a Bahai Assembly, and having links to the Universal House of Justice (the elected body that heads the international Bahai community), which is based in occupied Palestine. They were sentenced to five years in prison on this second charge. Another four Bahais were sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of propaganda in support of the Bahai Faith. They are Ms. Neda Farsatipour (ندا فرصتی‌پور), Mr Amir Maboudi (امیر معبودی), Ms. Noushin Mithaqi (نوشین میثاقی) and Ms. Soheila Aqdasi (سهیلا اقدسی).

Those sentenced have less than two weeks to prepare an appeal. Only Mr. A`za’i (Aghsani) and his wife Farahnaz Moqadam have thus far had access to a lawyer. The other defendants were given one notification [of their coming trial and a chance to meet a lawyer], but the notification did not reach them, so on the day of their trial they were summoned to the court by telephone, without an opportunity for professional legal assistance.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-226

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

February 18, 2013

Bahai couple arrested in Urmia

HRANA, February 9

On January 30, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Urmia went to the workplace of a Bahai, Fardin Aghsani ( فردین اغصانی ), searched it and arrested him. At the same time, agents from the Ministry went to his home and searched it thoroughly and seized books and images relating to the Bahai Faith, and arrested his wife Farhnaz Maqdam ( فرحناز مقدم ). They have had one telephone contact with their families since then.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-1E7

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


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