BWNS and the Universal House of Justice, and private Persian sources, August 27, 2013 [Updated August 31]
A well-known member of the Iranian Baha’i community, Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), was killed in a religiously-motivated attack in Bandar Abbas, in Southern Iran on August 24. His body was found in his car near the railway station on the outskirts of the city: he had been shot in the back of the head. It appears that his assailants may have forced him to drive to the place he was shot. They did not steal his wallet, car, or anything of value aside from his cellphone. An acquaintance who was the last person to see him said he had been talking on his phone for half an hour.
Mr. Rezvani was well-known as a Baha’i. For three years he was one of the three Bahais who served as local facilitators (Khademin) for the Bahais in the area, which would have involved interactions with local authorities on behalf of the Bahais. His life had previously been threatened by fanatical elements within the city administration, by the office of the Imam Jam`eh and by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was loved and respected by the people of Bandar Abbas for his honesty and helpfulness. As a young man, he was expelled from his engineering studies at university because he was a Baha’i. He nonetheless came to be regarded as an expert in water purification, and his work took him to other cities. Recently, owing to pressure and threats from agents of the Ministry of Intelligence, he was dismissed from his work and had to resort to selling water purification equipment. These agents had also been bringing pressure to bear on him to leave the city. More recently, he had begun receiving menacing telephone calls from unknown persons. On several occasions in the past few years senior local clerics have attempted to incite the population through incendiary sermons against the Bahais of the city. Some years ago, two Bahai men, Mi`ad Afshar and Dr. Meydani ( میعاد افشار و دکتر میدانی ) were stabbed by ‘enforcers’ retained by the Imam Jam`eh, and on an earlier incident, Mr. Iraj Mahdinezhad (ایرج مهدی نژاد) was stabbed by what is described in my sources as “a Muslim mob” [with apologies to true Muslims who will rightly consider this a misuse of the term Muslim ~ Sen.]
In a message dated August 27, the Universal House of Justice, the international head of the Bahai community, writes, “he gave up his life and quaffed the cup of martyrdom.”
Mr. Rezvani’s sister, Sahba Rezvani ( صهبا رضوانی ), has served three and a half years in prison in Semnan and Tehran.
Iran Press Watch has an interview with a son and cousin of Mr. Rezvani, which contains further details (Sept. 8).
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