Sen's daily

March 30, 2019

22 Baha’is Began New Year in Prison

Iran Press Watch, March 28, 2019. –

The last month of the Persian year 1397 (corresponding to 2018-2019 in the Gregorian calendar) was an eventful month for Baha’i prisoners. On one hand, some of them were released; on the other hand, trials, indictments, arrests and searches of their homes continued for these citizens in various cities in Iran.

On February 11th, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, 17 prisoners who had less than a year remaining of their sentences were pardoned and released in Shiraz, Mashhad, Ghaemshahr, Isfahan, Sanandaj and Yazd.

Pouya Tebyaaniaan (پویا تبیانیان), one of the prisoners, was released from prison in Semnan, upon the completion of his seven-year sentence. Shayda Qodousi (شیدا قدوسی), a Baha’i prisoner in Gorgan, who had been sentenced to five years in prison, after serving one-third of her sentence was released on probation in the last days of the Persian year (which ended March 20). Maryam Ghaffaarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش) and Atosa Ahmaada’i (آتسا احمدائی) were also released from Evin prison, after serving respectively 6 months and 45 days of temporary detention.

As reported by Iranwire, on March 11 security agents in Tehran arrested two Baha’i brothers, Hamid Nasseri (حمید ناصری) and Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری). Hamid Nasseri was arrested on the street in front of his business, and Saeed after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother Hamid and of his wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری). At the time of Saeed’s arrest, 40 days had passed since the arrest of his wife, Afsaneh Emami. She was released on bail in the final days of the year, but Saeed and Hamid Nasseri still remain in detention.

The sentence against Ghazaaleh Baaqeri Taari (غزاله باقری طاری), a Baha’i from Tehran, who was tried in December 2018, was issued in February of this year. She has been sentenced to five years in prison for the crime of “activities against national security because of membership in the Baha’i administration”. She was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in September 2017, during a religious gathering at her home, and was released on bail three weeks later.

Kaaviz Nouzdahi (کاویز نوزدهی) is another Baha’i whose sentence was announced in February. A source with knowledge of the case told Iranwire: “The court hearing for Kaaviz Nouzdahi was held in late December 2018 in Branch 4 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, presided over by Judge Mansouri ( قاضی منصوری). However on the day of the hearing the judge was not present, and the hearing was conducted by the court counselor, Mr. Farhikhteh (آقای “فرهیخته). The charges against Mr. Nouzdahi were “cooperating with hostile foreign governments” and “membership in an anti-regime organization”. The judge did not permit the defendant’s attorney to be present in court or review the case file. Their excuse was that the attorney named by Mr. Nouzdahi was not on the judiciary’s list of approved attorneys, and the court hearing was conducted without the attorney present. Article 48 of the New Penal Code states that in crimes against domestic or international security as well as organized crime, in the preliminary investigation phase the parties in the case must select their attorney or attorneys from among those approved by the head of the judicial branch.

According to the verdict issued, Kaaviz Nouzdahi was acquitted of the charge of cooperation with foreign governments, and was convicted for the charge of membership in an anti-regime organization (i.e., membership in the Baha’i administration), and sentenced to four years in prison.

Another Baha’i citizen, Neda Mokhtaari (ندا مختاری), was also sentenced to four years in prison by the verdict of Branch 5 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad presided over by Judge Mazloumi ( قاضی مظلومی) for the crime of “teaching the Baha’i Faith”.

Twenty two Baha’i citizens began Naw-Ruz (the Persian New Year) 1398 on March 21, 2019, away from their homes and families in Iranian prisons. They were sentenced in Iranian courts to a total of 105 years of imprisonment. The verdicts against these Baha’is were issued based on articles 498, 499 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Article 498 of the code states: “Any person with any ideology who forms or leads a group, society or sub-group of more than two people, under any name or title, domestically or abroad, with the goal of disrupting national security, who is not considered a combatant, shall be sentenced to prison for two to ten years.”

According to article 499 of this law: “Any person holding a membership in one of the groups, societies or sub-groups mentioned in article 498 shall be sentenced to three months to five years in prison, unless it is proven that they were unaware of its goals.”

Article 500 also states: “Any person engaged in any way in propaganda activities against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or in favor of anti-regime groups and organizations, shall be sentenced to three months to one year in prison.”

The punishment for teaching the Baha’i Faith, membership and activity in this religious community is determined based on these articles of the law.

In Evin prison, four instructors of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) are currently serving sentences for the crime of teaching youth who were deprived of a university education; Hassan Momtaaz (حسن ممتاز), Peymaan Kooshkbaghi (پیمان کوشکباغی), and Negin Qedamiaan (نگین قدمیان), each with five year prison sentences, and Azita Rafizaadeh (آزیتا رفیع زاده) with a four year prison sentence, are currently in Evin prison. Peyman Kooshkbaghi and his wife Azita Rafizadeh are among the incarcerated married couples who spent the final days of the year away from each other and from their young child.

Adel Naimi (عادل نعیمی) with an 11-year sentence, Farhaad Fahandej (فرهاد فهندژ) with a 10 year sentence, Vaahed Kholousi (واحد خلوصی) with a 5 year sentence, and Afshin Seyyed Ahmad (افشین سید احمد) with a 3 year sentence, are the four Bahai prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. Shahnaam Jazbaani (شهنام جذبانی) is the only Baha’i prisoner in Gonbad-e-Kavoos in Golestan province. He has been sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Isfahan, with 13 Baha’i prisoners, has the highest number of Baha’i prisoners in Iran. Nine of these prisoners were transferred to the Isfahan prison from the town of Baharestan. Of the nine, Sepideh Rouhaani (سپیده روحانی), Bahaareh Zaini (بهاره زینی), Fouzjaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی), each with a 3 year sentence, are incarcerated in Dowlatabad prison in Isfahan. Anousheh Raeineh (انوش راینه), Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Milaad Daavardaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Ali Saani (علی ثانی), each with a six year sentence, and Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), with a 3 year sentence, are the other six prisoners from Baharestan who have been transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan to serve their sentences.

In addition, Sohraab Taqipour (سهراب نقی پور), with a 5 year sentence, and Manouchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Mohsen Mehregani (محسن مهرگانی) and Farzaad Homaayouni (فرزاد همایونی), each with a 20 month sentence, are four Baha’is from Isfahan who began the Persian New Year in that city’s central prison.

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

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March 1, 2019

Bahai scholar and translator Faruq Izadinia describes his own trial


Iran Press Watch, February 28, 2019. –

The court hearing for the charges against Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a scholar, translator and Bahai citizen of Tehran, was held last week in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The author, who is again free on bail, describes the process of his prosecution and last week’s court hearing in an open letter which Iran Press Watch has translated. He was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12, 2017. He has also been arrested previously for his religious beliefs, including being among those sentenced to death in the 1980’s, but this sentence was reversed and he was released after a five-year prison term. The full report and his description of his trial is on Iran Press Watch.

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

January 21, 2019

Sentences reduced for two Bahais in Yazd

Iran Press Watch, January 17, 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), both sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, have had their sentences reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They had in fact begun their 18-month sentences, in August 2018, but were released when the legality of their sentences was questioned.

A source close to the accused said: “Considering the fact that the maximum sentence for the charge of “propaganda against the Regime” is one year, these citizens had previously been sentenced to one and a half times that, meaning eighteen months in prison, owing to the fact that the charge had been made more than once. In addition to this, one year of internal exile to the cities of Divandarreh and Saravan had been added to their sentences as supplementary punishment. Since the prior charge had been made in August of 2012 and it has been subjected to the statute of limitation, according to Article 137 of the Islamic Penal Code, the law of a repeated offence should not be applicable. Consequently, after an appeal to the Supreme Court and the transfer of the case to an equal branch, the verdict was reduced to one year of prison for each of these citizens. The supplementary punishment internal exile was also overturned.”

They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017: one was exonerated and three were given suspended sentences, while Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی) was released on bail in March 2017, and I have no further information on her case.

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

January 17, 2019

Bahai-run business closed down in Birjand


Iran Press Watch, January 15, 2019. –

On the morning of Saturday, January 5, 2019, the business of Farshid Dimi (فرشید دیمی), a Bahai from Birjand, was sealed by order of judiciary officials. A source close to Mr. Dimi told HRANA, “Farshid Dimi’s store, where he sells computer accessories, has been in business for 20 years. Mr. Dimi’s business license renewal was denied by by authorities, who provided no specific reason. Mr. Dimi has paid his union dues [i.e., to the government-mandated industrial sector organisation] and his taxes throughout his years of operation. His business has been sealed by order of the judicial officials, and so far the only response from that body has been that the order has been issued by the high officials and nothing can be done by us.”

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

January 14, 2019

Interrogation of 32 Baha’is by Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, January 12, 2019. –

During last two weeks, at least 32 Bahais have been were summoned and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj. They were attending a lecture by another Bahai, Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی) who was visiting from Tehran. His presentation was interrupted when he was interrogated in class by security forces. An earlier report said that this gathering, on May 11, 2018, was at Baghestan or Fardis, both smaller towns near Karaj. He was released on August 11, 2018.

HRANA obtained the names of these people: Saied Vojdani, Tahereh Pashaie, Radm’an Forughi, Sheida Motlaq, Traneh Badie, Sepeher Furuhari, Masood Zakerian, Badiullah Tashakor, Farinaz Khoshfetrat, Tarannom Hashemi, Kambiz Safaie, Sarmad Sadeghian, Nahid Farhangi, Hasti Mandegari, Nasim Zabihi, Ruhhiyeh Anvari, Shoeleh Emamverdi, Shirin Khollas, Furutan Bayai, Armin Rowhani, Aydin Rowhani, Nazanin Sharifi, Nima Sharifi, Ramtin Monzavi, Parnian Badie, Mahsan Mokhtari, Arman Poormoradian, Mahmood Feshami, Samieh Ehsani, Pooya Eslami, Delkash Bebahani.
[سعید وجدانی، طاهره پاشائی، رادمان فروغی، شیدا مطلق، ترانه بدیعی، سپهر فروهری، مسعود ذاکریان، بدیع الله تشکر، پروین تشکر، فریناز خوش فطرت، ترنم هاشمی، کامبیز صفائی، سرمد صادقیان، ناهید فرهنگی، هستی ماندگاری، نسیم ذبیحی، روحیه انوری، شعله اماموردی، شیرین خلص، فروتن بیانی، آرمین روحانی، آیدین روحانی، نازنین شریفی، نیما شریفی، رامتین منزوی، پرنیان بدیعی ، مهسان مختاری، آرمان پورمرادیان، محمود فشامی، سمیعه احسانی، پویا اسلامی، دلکش بهبهانی]

A close source to these Bahais confirmed the above news and informed the HRANA reporter: “ When the security forces came to arrest Mehrdad Heyrani, all these citizens were attending his class. In addition, they were subsequently interrogated, and their mobile phones were confiscated.”

Since December 23, 2018, every week on Monday and Tuesday these individuals have been summoned and interrogated in the Office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj.”

The same source continued: “Security agents, after completing their interrogation, returned the mobile phones and informed them that the finalised report of their individual cases would be sent to the judiciary.

Mehrdad Heyrani now resides in Tehran; on 11 May 2018 he was arrested by security forces and imprisoned in Evin Prison. After spending three months of incarceration, on 11 August 2018, he was freed on bail of approximately US $15,000.00.

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

November 22, 2018

Business reclosed in Abadan


Iran Press Watch, November 18, 2018. –

On November 5th, the business of two Bahais in Abadan, Aaraam Aazaadi ( آرام آزادی) and Aarmaan Aazaadi (آرمان آزادی), was shut down and sealed by order of Judiciary Authorities, for the second time this year. This action coincides with important Bahai religious holidays, on which, based on their religious beliefs, Bahais close their place of business. Earlier this year, the business of these two Bahais was sealed for 15 days. A source close to the brothers told HRANA: “These citizens have been running this store for the last 38 years. Intelligence and Security officers seized their place of business and revoked their business license using unsubstantiated excuses.”

Based on their religious beliefs, Bahais close their businesses on their religious holidays. The authorities often close and seal their businesses in response. This contradicts the explicit legal and civil right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and manage their own businesses as they see fit. Article B, paragraph 28, of the Iranian economic sectors law states that owners of businesses may close their units without prior notice to the sector authority for up to 15 days a year.

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

November 20, 2018

Six Bahai-run businesses closed in Khorramshahr

Iran Press Watch, November 19. 2018. –

By the close of business on Thursday, November 15, 2018, the businesses of at least six Baha’i citizens of Khorramshahr were also sealed by the order of the judicial authorities. The business owners are identified by HRANA as the optician’s shops of Behrouz Habibi (بهروز حبیبی), Hossein-Ali Habibi (حسینعلی حبیبی), Behnaam Habibi (بهنام حبیبی) and Bahaador Ahmadi (بهادر احمدی); the sewing machine shop of Kaambiz Aazaadi (کامبیز آزادی), and the engine repair shop of Kouroush Jaaberi (کوروش جابری). This is in addition to the ten closures in Ahwaz that were previously reported. The sealing of businesses was ordered in response to the owners having closed their businesses for a day in observance of a Bahai holy day. By law, as cited in Item B of Article 28 of the Commercial Union Law, citizens are allowed to close their business up to 15 days a year without providing authorities any reason or informing the Union. However, this law is not extended to Bahai citizens and authorities routinely penalize Bahai business owners for observance of their Holy Days by sealing their businesses.

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

November 11, 2018

Body exhumed and dumped in Damavand


Iran Press Watch, November 10, 2018. –

Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian (شمسی اقدسی اعظمیان), a Bahai from Gilavand, a suburb of Damavand (in Tehran Province), was buried in Gilavand Bahai Cemetery on October 24. Four days later her body was exhumed by unknown individuals and abandoned in the deserts of Jaban in the suburbs of that city. No individual or institution has accepted responsibility, although security forces had told the Gilavand Bahais earlier that they had no right to bury their deceased member in Damavand and that they should perform burials only in Tehran. Gilavand Bahai Cemetery has been the Bahai burial place for many years.

Four days after the burial, in a phone call, police told Mrs. Azamian’s son that the body of his mother, had been found in deserts near Jaban in the Damavand district. A source close to the family said, “After the body of Mrs. Azamian was found, her son was told by security forces to transfer his mother’s body to Tehran. They then faced the son’s objection, since the distance between Gilavand and Tehran is more than an hour … according to Bahai law, the distance between the location of the death and the place of burial should not exceed one hour. As a result, two hours later, the agents carried away the body of Mrs. Azamian without the consent of the family to Tehran.”

A group of Iranian progressive intellectuals has issued a statement condemning this action.

This is not the first time Bahais in Iran have faced the demolition of Bahai cemeteries in various cities. HRANA earlier has reported on the destruction of graves and the closure of Bahai cemeteries by judicial and security authorities in the past several years.

Among Bahai cemeteries, one in the city of Kerman has been sealed since noon on March 15, 2018, by order of the Kerman judicial authorities, and the burial of deceased Bahais has been prevented.

Also, on July 14, 2016, Ghorveh Bahai cemetery, in the province of Kurdistan, was destroyed by government agents.

On December 12, 2013, after confirmation of a court order in Sanandaj and confiscation of the land belonging to the Bahais which had been used as a cemetery, the site was demolished by a bulldozer.

In March 2014, the Bahai cemetery in Ahwaz was closed, and the alley leading to it was blocked by heavy cement blocks. No organization has accepted responsibility for this action.

Also, in the middle of December 2012, Sangesar’s old Bahai cemetery was thoroughly covered in soil and rubble by bulldozers and trucks, and all the graves were covered by dirt and rocks, so that no more graves could be seen.

Since August 2011, the Bahai community of Tabriz has not been allowed to bury their dead in this city, and their bodies are being transferred by intelligence officers to the city of Miyandoab, in West Azerbaijan Province.

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

October 19, 2018

Under pressure from security forces, Samsung subsidiary fires a Bahai

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 Bahai 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 Bahai.”

In August of this year, HRANA reported on the sudden and permanent dismissal of Bahai 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.

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

May 11, 2018

Four homes searched, 3 arrested in Abadan (update)


Iran Press Watch, May 10, 2018.

According to Ostanwire (of iranwire.com), on Sunday morning of May 6, 2018, agents of the Ministry of Information of Abadan City in southwest Iran performed an orchestrated raid of the residences of four Bahais, during which three Bahais were arrested and taken to an unknown location.

Security forces in the border town of Abadan went to the homes of four Bahais; Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), and Ms. Mah-Monir Ehsani, and after thorough search of their homes confiscated all their mobiles, laptops, computers and religious books and arrested Ms. Sabeti, Ms. Afshar, and Ms. Farzaneh. In each case, the raids were conducted by six agents in possession of search warrants, while a few security forces remained on guard outside. Some reports specify that the agents came mainly from the Ministry of Intelligence in the provincial capital, Ahvaz, with one local agent from Abadan in each team, and that they briefly questioned all the family members present during the raids.

The arrest of Ms. Neda Sabeti was previously reported on Sen’s Daily, the widespread raids and two additional arrests were not. It is not known where the detainees are being held.

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

May 5, 2018

Bahai-run business in Tabriz to be sealed

Iran Press Watch, May 4, 2018. –

According to a report in Persian by the campaign of “No to Imprisonment and Persecution of Bahais”, a shop belonging to Ms. Shiva Isa-Khani (شیوا عیسی خانی), a Bahai in Tabriz, will be shut down and her business license is denied due to her belief in the Bahai Faith.

An informed source close to Ms. Sisa-Khani reported that she had applied for a business license after many years of hard work but at the end she received a final notice from judicial officials forcing her to close her shop. The same shop has been sealed twice in past 5 years, and on each occasion the authorities made it very difficult for her to re-open her shop.

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

April 16, 2018

Business sealed in Minushahr, family expelled

Iran Press Watch, April 16, 2018.

On March 20, 2018, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence closed down the sewing machine repair business of Na`im Ha’i (نعیم هائی), a Bahai living in Minushahr. Mr. Ha’i and his family were also told to leave the city as soon as possible.

Full translation at Iran Press Watch

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

April 3, 2018

Shahab Dehqani released after four years


Iran Press Watch, March 26, 2018.

Shahab Dehqani ( شهاب دهقانی), a Bahai from Tehran was released from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, upon the completion his four-year sentence. He was arrested in July 2012 during a massive security operation against Bahais. Nearly 20 Baha’is, in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz, were arrested in this operation. Mr. Dehqani was charged with propaganda against the regime and forming illegal assemblies, and sentenced to four years by the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the seven “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage. He reported to Evin Prison to serve his four-year on May 24, 2014. The next day, he was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. He was granted a 3-day prison furlough in June, 2015.

Mr. Dehghani’s wife, Shomais Mohajer (شمیس مهاجر) was arrested at the same time and sentenced to one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and illegal gathering. She was released on May 26, 2015.

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

April 1, 2018

Social media campaign in Yemen calls for extermination of Bahais

Iran Press Watch, April 1, 2018.

Dangerous Development Signaling a Sectarian Disaster

The Yemeni community has been shocked over the past two days [prior to March 26, when the Arabic report was published] by a fierce media campaign launched by the Ansarullah group (Houthis). The campaign incites hatred and sectarian hostility, opposes freedom of thought, and calls for acts of violence and murder against members of the Bahai Faith, as well as other against peaceful religious minorities.

“This is a devilish religion and we will exterminate every Bahai,” proclaimed Houthi activist Ahmad Ayed Ahmed in a public Tweet. This tweet was widely circulated by supporters of Ansarullah. Similar provocative Tweets by other activists and leaders have also been circulating.

The campaign coincided with the threats made by the leader of Ansaruallah, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, against the Bahais, Ahmadis, Christians and a number of Islamic sects during his Friday speech on the occasion of Rajab Friday. Al-Houthi used an explicit sectarian hostile language against several religions, sects, and ideologies in Yemen and intensively against the Bahais. He appealed to his followers, especially intellectuals, people in media, clergy and activists to launch a cultural, social, and intellectual war against these minorities.

This marks a clear call for a sectarian war against minorities and specifically Bahais, and parallels the already ongoing systematic attack against Bahais including arbitrary arrests, persecution, and torture.

Although the persecution of the Bahais is not new, Houthis had until now exercised a degree of “political dissimulation” to conceal their direct involvement. However, since al-Houthi’s public speech, Houthis are now openly spearheading as well as escalating the systematic persecution of Bahais.

A number of human rights organizations have expressed concern about this situation, it being a clear and disturbing indication of a transition to a more aggressive stage of persecution, targeting pluralism and freedoms, as well as the very foundation of coexistence in Yemen.

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

January 19, 2018

Arrest in Karaj for an unpaid fine


Iran Press Watch, January 18, 2018.

According to HRANA, on January 15, 2018, Faramarz (Hooshang) Sabet-Rasekhi {فرامرز (هوشنگ) ثابت راسخ}, a Bahai living in Karaj, was arrested and sent to prison by the Law Enforcement Office of the Governmental Sanctions Court of Alborz Province. The arrest occurred when Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi appeared at the court, with his business associates and attorney, to inquire about payment of a 50 million tuman fine ($15,000) which resulted following the unjustified forced closure and sealing of his place of business, in November 2016, by government officials. Upon his appearance, Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi was subjected to mistreatment by employees of the court and arrested.

Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi’s business has remained closed since November 2016; he and his business associates have not had the means to raise the funds to pay the fine.

A source informed of Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi’s situation, told the HRANA the following:

“In November 2016 ‘Negah Glasses’, the place of business of partners Iraj Sabet-Rasekhi (ایرج ثابت راسخی), Houshang Sabet-Rasekhi and Ashkan Yousefi (اشکان یوسفی
بعنوان شریک ), located on the Second Fardis Circle in Karaj, along with more than thirty other businesses belonging to other Bahais, was shut down by various governmental oversight officers with various excuses.”

“The business unit of Mr. Sabetrasekhi, with about 31 years of experience and a stellar reputation and no wrongdoing, was shut down and sealed in November of 2016, by the Office of Governmental Sanctions of Alborz Province. This, while Article 62, Paragraph A, B, and C of the Sanctions Law on smuggling of contraband states that the shutting down of the trade unit is illegal for the first offense and even for the second offense within a period of one year, even if the crime has been proven by the appropriate court, it is still illegal (to shut down the business). Considering that the (above) business unit was not a wholesale store, but was instead a retail business, and all of the goods at the place of business had a distinct price tag, and associated invoice from domestic suppliers, the incident of business closures are indicative of the existence of a setup.”

“Over the past year, invoices, which all were issued by domestic companies, were provided to the court. However, after about a year and a half of forced closure of the business with an inventory of 850 glasses frames, where all accompanying domestic purchasing receipts had already been provided (to the court), and although the owners were not even the importers of the goods, and contrary to Article 62, Paragraph C which states: ‘if the owner of the business unit has committed three violations within a year, only upon committing the third violation and after being proven guilty in the court, the place of business can be shut down for only 6 months’, the court unjustly ordered them to pay a fine of 50 million tumans. This verdict was confirmed in the Appeals Branch of the Sanctions Court of the Province of Alborz.”

Regarding the arrest of Mr. Sabetrasekhi, this source told HRANA, “Over the past year, Mr. Iraj Sabet-Rasekhi and Mr. Ashkan Yousefi, as business partners, have been in difficult economic situation along with their families, due to the closure of their business. The illegal nature of the court proceedings has been brought to the attention of the authorities of the Province and the country, but unfortunately no response has been issued. January 15, 2018, with only five more days until the due date of the imposed fine, Mr. Houshang Sabet-Rasekhi as the business manager, and Mr. Ashkan Yousefi as his business partner, along with their attorney went to the office of Implementation of governmental sanctions to inquire about the method of payments of the fine, where they encountered harsh behavior of the authorities, and Mr. Faramrz Sabet-Rasekhi was detained due to his inability to pay the heavy fine imposed by the court.”

It should be noted that Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi’s brother, uncle and brother-in-law were executed by the Iranian government during the early years of the 1979 revolution, due to their religious beliefs as Bahais. The family was then living in the village of Fereydoun in the vicinity of Isfahan. Because of their Bahai beliefs, all the family’s properties were confiscated by the government and Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi was ultimately forced to leave the area due to the threat to his life.

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

November 16, 2017

One arrest in Kermanshah


Iran Press Watch, November 16, 2017.

According to the “No to persecution and imprisonment of the Baha’i compatriots Campaign,” Peyman Qiami (پیمان قیامی), a resident of Kermanshah, has again been arrested in connection with his Bahai beliefs. He was arrested by the judicial authorities when he responded to a summons to the Prosecutor’s office. This report suggests that another unnamed Bahai has also been summoned or arrested with Mr. Qiami.

On October 18, 2017, nine Bahais were arrested in Kermanshah, and later bailed (see this report) but Peyman Qiami was not named among this group. His name has been reported elsewhere as Peyan Qavami (پیان قوامی)
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Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.

August 1, 2017

Threat to shut down a Bahai business in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, August 1, 2017.

Following the widespread closures of Bahai businesses in recent weeks, the Office of Public Property of Alborz Province has sent a letter to Mehran Naseri (مهران ناصری), a Bahai resident of Karaj, requesting the removal of his personal items.

According to the website of Human Rights in Iran, a letter sent to Mehran Naseri (مهران ناصری،) by the Alborz Provincial Office has warned this Bahai citizen to remove any perishables or personal items and leave his business within 10 days. He [also?] owns several commercial spaces which are rented by Muslims. According to Payam News, recently agents of the Office of Public Property have summoned those Muslims who rent business space from Bahais to the government sanctions office.

Recently at least 25 businesses in Urumiyeh and one business in Shahrud have been sealed because they were closed on a Bahai religious holiday. In addition, a number of Bahai business owners in Khorramshahr have also been summoned for questioning by the Office of Public Property of Khuzestan Province.

Over the past year, more than 300 Bahai businesses have suffered the closure of their businesses solely because they closed on Bahai religious holidays and for their belief in the Bahai Faith.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2W9

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

November 4, 2016

Over 90 Bahai businesses sealed by authorities

Iran Press Watch, November 4, 2016.

According to Bahai News (Persian) and Gold News, security agents and agents from the Office of Public Places raided and shut down eight Bahai-owned businesses in Karaj, 35 in Sari, seven in Nowshahr, 6 in Tonekabon, one each in Fereydunkenar and Amol, two in Bahnemir, three in Chalus, five in Bandar Abbas and 29 Bahai-owned businesses in Qaemshahr.

[The majority of the closures appear to relate to the observance of the Bahai holy days but the report includes the closure of eight Bahai-run optometry business in Karaj, which took place before the Holy Days.]

The names of the business owners along with the corresponding business are as follows:

Karaj

Mansour and Manouchehr Enayati — Zeis store
Farshid Azarshab — Eyeglasses store
Koursoh Sharifzadeh — Sam Optics
Shahriar Rabbani — Lathe workshop, Eyeglasses
Kourosh Laghayee — Glasses repair shop
Pejman Misaahi — Sina Glasses Repair Shop
Forouhari — Optometry
Mahtab — Optometry

Nowshahr

Bahman Rohani — Photography shop
Monib Mansour — Optometry
Raki Yousefi — Optometry
Arastou Aasadi — Welding business
Riazollah Heravi — Horology business
Arash Derakhshanian — Mechanic’s shop
Behshad Derakhshanian — Burglar alarm business

Bandar Abbas

Behzad Rasti — Gameron Glasses
Behram Heidarpour and Mr. Ataollah Rezvani’s family — Zeiss Eyeglasses Store
Mr. Sharafi — Arash Glasses Store
Behzad Heidarpour — Tamasha Eyeglasses Store
Mr. Shadpour — Shayan Optic (managed by Mr. Soleimani)

Qaemshahr

Zahra Golabian — Optometry
Sohrab Laghayee — Optometry
Nima Miri — Cosmetics
Fairborn Sabeti — Appliance repair
Farzad Sabeti — Car alignment and oil change
Changiz Derakhshanian and Nima Nokhah — Toy shop
Rezvaneh Samii — Garment store
Kourosh Ahmadzadegan — Security systems
Alaoddin Mirzayee — Security systems
Shayan Ghedami — Paint store
Hooman Rostami — Burglar alarm business
Shahram and Shahrouz Zamani — Auto parts
Soheil Haghdoost — Optometry
Bahaoddin Samimi — Stationery store
Jhobin Yousefi — Burglar alarm business
Behnam and Behdad Shirvani — Appliance repair
Noorollah Ataeeyan — Motor winding business
Bahram Safari — Electronics
Naim Samimi – Auto body shop
Fazel Asadi – Mobile repair
Zekrollah Akbari – Welding business
Shahin Akbari – Ironware
Fariborz Sanaee – Plastic ware
Zekrollah Babayee – Grocery
Atrollah Movafagh – Refrigerator repair
Shahrokh Asadi – Refrigerator repair
Daryoush Bakhtiari – Automobile studio
Saeed Asadi – Auto repair
Jalal Atayeean – Cosmetics

Sari

Mahyar Ghanbari — Security systems installation
Nima Mahinbakht — Security systems installation
Behzad Zabihi — Eyeglasses store
Kamaloddin Akbar — Woodturning
Ghavanoddin Sabetian — Carpentry
Ramin Moosavi — Building decoration
Naim Kamali — Appliance repair
Kourosh Ahmadi — Engine tuning
Zatollah Darabi — Carpentry
Sanaee — Cosmetics
Zia Khoshbin — Paint store (commercial)
Kourosh Moradi — Carpentry
Hossein Ahmadi — Carpentry
Jamal Movafaghi — Carpentry
Asghar Movafaghi — Carpentry
Ashkan Khalili — Motor winding
Shahrouz Zamani — Auto parts
Yaghoub Akbari — Appliance repair
Kamaloddin Akbari – Woodturning
Mahyar Ghanbari – Security systems installation
Ehsan Sanee – Cosmetics
Sohrab Zahedi – Stationery store
Nima Shabrokh – Cosmetics
Bahman Zabihi – Fabrics and crafts store
Shahriar Foroughian — Electric windings
Behrouz Yousefi – Home appliances repair
Vahid Golpour – Clothing
Jahanbakhsh Movafaghi – Woodturning
Saed Andokhs – Clothing
Akbar Hosseini – Wood shop
Hesam Yousefi – Carpentry
Arman Safaee – Stationery store
Zargham Zamani – Clothing
Shahram Nobakht – Appliances store
Pezhman Roshankoohi – Appliances store

Tonekabon

Misagh Esmaeil zadegan — Telephone repair
Noushin Masoudian — Clothing
Sirous Nasiri — Cabinet making
Saleh Eshkevarian — Home appliances
Sina Garshasbi — Home appliances
Naeim Khalaj Abadi — Furniture manufacturing

Fereydunkenar

Afshin Azadi — Clothing

Bahnemir

Ahmad Nikounejad — Gas appliances (sale and repair)
Feizollah Nikounejad — Bike repair

Amol

Serrollah Hekmatshoar

Chalus

Daryoush Talaee — Shoes store
Farshid Kian — Eyeglasses store
Afshin Sobati — Eyeglasses store

According to Bahai News, the reason for sealing these businesses has been the closure of these shops during the nine Bahai religious holidays. This is despite the fact that according to the Executive Regulations of Article Twenty-eight of the Trade Law, commercial units can keep their businesses closed for up to 15 days without providing prior notice to officials.

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

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.

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