Sen's daily

May 5, 2016

Summary of new businesses closures in Mazandaran province

Bahai News (Persian), May 2, 2016.

Five Bahai-run businesses in the city of Babolsar, on the Caspian coast in Iran’s Mazandaran Province, were shut down by the local authorities on May 1. Seven other Bahai-run businesses in neighbouring areas were also closed. In Babolsar the Office of Public Places closed five Bahai businesses: an optician’s workshop belonging to Farshid Hekmat Sho`ar (فرشيد حكمت شعار), a computer workshop run by Karen Momtazeyan (كارن ممتازيان), a tailor’s shop run by `Erfan Ma`sumeyan (عرفان معصوميان), a tailor’s shop run by Afshin Azadi (افشين آزادي), and a photography studio run by Shahin Sana`i (شاهين سنائي). In the district of Bahnamir, a little inland of Babolsar, they closed another two businesses: a bicycle assembly shop belonging to Faizullah Nikunejad (فيض الله نيكونژاد) and a household appliance workshop run by Ahmad Nikunejad (احمد نيكونژاد). In Fereydunkenar, a coastal place near Babolsar, they closed an optician’s workshop belonging to Babak Wada`i (بابك وداعي). None of these closures have been previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

In Tonekabon, another coastal city 3 hours West of Babolsar, authorities closed five Bahai-run businesses: a security alarm system run by Omid Qaderi (امید قادری), a home appliances shop run by Armin Esma`ilpour (آرمین اسماعیل پور), an airconditioning service shop run by Ruhollah Eqani (روح الله ایقانی) and a refrigerator shop run by Michelle Esma`ilpour (میشل اسماعیل پو). The recent closure of two other Bahai-run businesses in Tonekabon, both home appliance shops, run by Mr. Mehryar Lotfi (مهریار لطفی) and Mr. Soroush Garshasbi (سروش گرشاسبی), has already been reported here.

In Babol, which lies half an hour inland of Babolsar, authorities closed two Bahai-run businesses: a staionary shop run by Baha’addin Samimi (بهاءالدین صمیمی) and a security alarm business run by Arash Keyan (آرش کیان). They were given a few days to close their businesses.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2C3

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

May 4, 2016

Another Bahai business closed down in Bandar Abbas

Bahai News (Persian), May 3, 2016.

On April 27, the Supervisors of Public Places in Bandar Abbas went to all the Bahai-run businesses still operating in the city and told them they must not close on the coming Holy Days for the Bahai festival of Ridvan. On the same day they told Mr. [?] Gamrun (گامرون), who runs an optician’s shop, that the shop would be closed. Three other Bahai-run optician shops in Bandar Abbas have been closed in recent months.

The shutting of Bahai optician’s shops probably relates to a common superstition in Iran, that Bahais are “unclean,” and must therefore be excluded from providing personal services. However authorities in Bandar Abbas have also shut down some elevator installation and service companies belonging to Bahais.

Reports indicate that most of the anti-Bahai activity in Bandar Abbas is initiated by a Captain Hassan Zand (سروان حسن زند) who heads the Office of Public Places, with the support of the Ministry of Intelligence. Beginning some years ago, he has been investigating the religious beliefs and personal lives of the Bahais, with the purpose of persuading them to leave Iran. He was one of those who, in past years, focussed on the business activities of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), who was martyred in Bandar Abbas two years ago. On several occasions he threatened to close Mr. Rezvani’s business and inhibit his business activities, and did indeed stop the family’s business activities for a period after the killing. One of the optician’s shops that has been closed down was run by Mr. Reavani’s son.

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

April 30, 2016

Two Bahai businesses closed in Tonekabon

Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, April 30, 2016.

On April 28, local authorities in Tonekabon acting on a court order closed two Baha-run businesses because they had not opened for business on the Bahai Holy Day. The two shops, both selling home appliances, were run by Mr. Mehryar Lotfi (مهریار لطفی) and Mr. Soroush Garshasbi (سروش گرشاسبی).

April 25, 2016

Kamran Morteza’i released from prison


Bahai News (Persian), April 24, 2016.

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

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

April 22, 2016

Two Bahai-run businesses closed in Babol

Human Rights in Iran, April 22, 2016.

Two Bahai-run businesses in Babol were closed by the authorities on April 20. And in Qaem-Shahr, the number of Bahai-run businesses closed by authorities on the same day, previously reported at 15, has been corrected to 16. The closures apparently relate to the observance of a Bahai Holy day on April 20.

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

April 20, 2016

Fifteen Bahai businesses closed in Qa’em Shahr

Bahai News, April 20, 2016.

Fifteen Bahai-run businesses in Qaem Shahr have been shut down by the authorities because they were closed for the Bahai holy day of the first day of Ridvan. 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.”

The owners of these shops are named as Shahin Senasi ( شاهین سنایی), Sohrab Leqa’i (سهراب لقایی), Changiz Derakshani (چنگیز درخشانیان), Bijan Now`khah  (بیژن نوع خواه), Nima Miri (نیما میری), Sahil Haqqdust (سهیل حق دوست), Baha’ul-din Samimi (بهاءالدین صمیمی), Behnam Mirza’i (بهنام میرزایی), Kurosh Ahmadzadegam (کورش احمدزادگام), Adel Atta’eyan (عادل عطائیان), Kurosh Reza’i (کورش رضایی), Fariborz Sana’i (فریبرز سنایی), Rezvan Golpour (رضوان گلپور), Shahin Akbari (شاهین اکبری) and Farzad Sabeti (فرزاد ثابتی).

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

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

 

April 19, 2016

Bahai student expelled from university in Kashan


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

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

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

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

April 15, 2016

BIHE teacher Faran Hesami released after 4-year sentence


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

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

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

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

April 12, 2016

Ramin Aidalkhani’s exile ends


Bahai News Today (Persian), April 11, 2016.

The internal exile of Ramin Aidalkhani ( رامین ایدلخانی ), a Bahai from the city of Parsabad in Ardabil province (the extreme northern tip of Iran, on the Azerbaijan border), ended on April 11. Mr Aidalkhani and his wife `Ahdieh Rashediyyehrad, ( عهدیه راشدی راد ) were arrested in Parsabad on May 11, 2010. Mrs. Rashediyyehrad was released on bail 10 days later, and was eventually tried and acquitted. Mr. Aidalkhani was sentenced in Ardabil on September 20, 2011, to two years in prison, on charges of propaganda against the regime and insulting the Supreme Leader, to be followed by a 5-year exile from Ardabil province. He began his sentence on August 21, 2012. In June 2013 he was transferred unexpectedly from Parsabad prison to Meshginshahr prison, in a town some 200 kilometres south of Parsabad but still within Ardabil province. During his time in prison, his sentence was reduced to one year in prison. It would appear that his term of exile was also reduced, from 60 months to 32 months. When his prison term ended, security officers took him in a vehicle and left him on the side of the road, leaving him to make his own way to the city of Ahar in Eastern Azerbaijan. It is approximately 70 kilometers from Meshginshahr to Ahar, and the provincial boundary is about halfway along this road.

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

April 10, 2016

Soroush Shadabi free on bail


Bahai News (Persian), April 10, 2016.

Soroush Shadabi (سروش شادابی), a Bahai from Karaj, near Tehran, has been released on bail. His arrest on March 11, and the closure of his business, is assumed to be related to the arrest on March 8 of three young Bahais who have been excluded from tertiary education. They were held in Evin Prison, and released on bail on March 15. The report does not indicate where Mr. Shadabi was detained: in the circumstances it is very likely to have been Evin Prison.

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

April 8, 2016

Behzad Dhabihi summoned again


HRANA, April 6, 2016.

On April 4, Behzad Dhabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی), a Bahai from Sari, was summoned to the police station and interrogated in relation to a new accusation that is being developed against him. Mr. Dhabihi has been arrested four times in the past five years, and shops he ran have been shut down three times in the same period. This time, the case is said to have been initiated by a complaint from the electricity supply authority. His most recent arrest was on March 8, 2016, when he was held for 7 days before being released on bail. At the time of his arrest, he was charged with “propaganda against the regime” but at the court sitting the charges were presented as “propaganda against Islam and the Quran.” On February 22 this year, his shop in Sari was closed by the authorities, and remains closed despite efforts to reopen it.

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

April 5, 2016

Two students expelled from Urumiyyeh University for Bahai beliefs


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

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

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

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

March 27, 2016

Sarmad Shadabi, Tara Houshmand and Rouhiyyeh Safajou bailed


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

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

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

March 16, 2016

Mehran Eslami released in Yazd


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), March 15, 2016.

Mehran Eslami (مهران اسلامی) has been released from prison in Yazd, having completed his one-year sentence. He is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012: 10 in Yazd and Isfahan and 10 others in towns and cities such as Shahin Shahr, Vila Shahr, Arak and Kerman. He began his sentence on April 4, 2015, and was released on March 14, 2016.

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

March 15, 2016

Behzad Dhabihi still in solitary, despite bail


Human Rights in Iran, March 14, 2016.

Behzad Dhabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی) is still being held in solitary confinement in the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Sari, although bail has been granted and paid. He was arrested on February 22, and detained by the Ministry in solitary confinement, although bail of 50 million tumans (31,000 euros, $41,000 US) has been posted, apparently because of administrative delays in registering the collateral. At the time of his arrest his home was searched and his place of business closed down, for the third time in recent years. On January 30, 2011, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched his home and business, seized some personal effects and closed his business. He is also reported to have been arrested in March 2011 and April 2012, and released on bail after a period in detention. Because Bahais are barred from most professions and from regular employment in most economic sectors in Iran, a large portion run small businesses, which are subject to arbitrary closure by the authorities.

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

March 14, 2016

Three Bahai students held in Evin prison to be tried


Bahai News, March 15, 2016.

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

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

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

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

 

March 13, 2016

Shahram Eshraqi ill in prison in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), March 14, 2016.

Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی), a Bahai who is serving a 3-year sentence in Block 3 of Isfahan Prison, has been denied medical treatment although he suffers from a serious respiratory illness. He is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, and served in the front lines. This is the fourth time he has gone to prison for his Bahai beliefs. He is one of 20 Bahais who were sentenced to a total of 78 years in prison by a court in Yazd in April, 2014, and began his sentence in Isfahan on October 11, 2015. He has had health problems because of prison conditions, and his health deteriorated after he was transferred to Block 3, where conditions are particularly bad. He began to suffer from fluid in the lungs and a constant fever. In addition to being refused treatment in prison, he has been denied leave for the Naw Ruz holiday, on the grounds that he was charged with a “security” offence.

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

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

March 12, 2016

Another arrest in Karaj


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), March 11, 2016.

Soroush Shadabi (سروش شادابی), a Bahai from Karaj, near Tehran, was arrested on March 11, and his business was shut down. This follows the arrest of three young Bahais who have been excluded from tertiary education on March 8, in Tehran and Karaj, and the new arrest is assumed to be related. One of those arrested on March 8 was Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی). All three are being detained in Evin Prison in Tehran.

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

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

March 11, 2016

Four more Bahais arrested in Iran


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), March 10, 2016.

On March 8, four more Bahais were arrested simultaneously in Tehran, Karaj and Sari. Their names are given as Tara Houshmand (تارا هوشمند), Rouhiyyeh Safajou (روحیه صفاجو) and Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی), in Tehran and the nearby city of Karaj, and Behzad Dhabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی) in Sari. It is not known where they are being detained.

Tara Houshmand (pictured top right) was arrested by security agents in her home in Tehran, which was searched. Her personal effects including a computer, a mobile phone and books were seized. She was one of a group of Bahais excluded from education who responded to a claim made in 2014, by Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, that Iranian authorities do not discriminate against Bahais, and challenging the Bahais excluded from education to send documentation. The Bahai students took their documentation to the authorities as requested, thus exposing Mr. Larijani’s lie. The story is detailed here.

Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (pictured top left) was arrested at the Roudehen campus of the Islamic Free University, near Tehran. He was a signatory of a letter about the breaches of Bahais’ civil rights, written to a Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights. An interview with him, about his expulsion from University, was cited on the BBC Persian service.

Rouhiyyeh Safajou (pictured bottom right) was arrested by 8 security agents posing as workers from the gas supply company. When she opened the door to them, they entered and searched her home, and took her away. She is also a student excluded from education. She was one of a group of Bahai students excluded from tertiary education who met with Ali Reza Mahjoub (علی‌رضا محجوب), a reformist Member of Parliament, to argue for the right of education. The meeting was reported on this blog in September 2014.

No details are available on the arrest of Behzad Dhabihi in Sari, but it appears to be unrelated to the arrest of the three students. Mr Dhabihi, who name was spelled Zabihi in a previous Iran Wire report, managed one of the three Bahai-run optometry businesses in Sari which were closed in November, 2015. At that time the Bureau of Public Places in the Province of Mazandaran shut down 23 businesses belonging to Bahais in the cities of Sari, Qa`em Shahr, Tenakbon and Babolsar.

Update, March 14: Human Rights in Iran reports that Rouhiyyeh Safajou is being held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, and has had contact by telephone with her family, in which she said that she is well.

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

 

February 28, 2016

Peyman Koushk-Baghi arrested in Tehran

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

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

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

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

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

February 25, 2016

Farhnaz Mithaqian released in Yazd


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 26, 2016.

Farhnaz Mithaqian (فرحناز میثاقیان), a Bahai from Yazd, was released from prison in the city on February 25, at the end of a one-year sentence (with an additional one-year suspended sentence). She is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012, and began her sentence on April 6, 2015.

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

Another Bahai student expelled in Miandoab


Bahai News, February 24, 2016.

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

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

 

February 17, 2016

Seven Bahais in Isfahan ‘tried’ without their knowledge

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Human Rights in Iran, February 16, 2016.

Seven Bahais from Isfahan who were among those arrested in raids in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, 2015, have been “tried” in Isfahan, without their knowledge, without legal representation, and apparently without charges. evidence or defence. It would appear they have been found guilty. The lawyer acting for one of the Bahais went to the court, and was told that the trial had already been held and the sentences of the seven Bahais would be announced within the next few days.

Those arrested in Isfahan in November 2015 are Yeganeh Agahi (یگانه آگاهی), Adib Janamian (ادیب جانمیان), Keyvan Nik-A’in (کیوان نیک آیین), Parvin Nik-A’in(پروین نیک آیین), Vahid Karami (وحید کرمی), `Arsheya Rouhani (عرشیا روحانی) and Zarin Aqa-Baba’i (زرین آقابابایی). It is not certain that the present report relates to exactly the same seven persons.

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

 

Sina Ravankard released from Yasouj prison


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 16, 2016.

Sina Ravankard (سینا روانکرد), a Bahai who has been serving a three-month sentence in Yasouj prison, was released on February 15 or 16. He was one of seven Bahais arrested in various cities of Iran on July 26, 2011. He began his sentence on January 13, 2016. His release after just over one month presumably takes account of the time he was held during interrogations, since he and the other seven Bahais arrested with him was at first sent to Evin Prison, where he was held for two months before being released on bail pending his trial. The other Bahais arrested with him were acquitted (an event almost unheard-of in Iran, before or after the Revolution), while Mr. Ravankard was sentenced to one year in prison, later reduced to three months, and fined approximately $300.

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

February 16, 2016

Bahai-run optometry business closed in Isfahan

Bahai News (facebook, Persian), February 7, 2016.

An optometry business in Isfahan, run by two Bahais, was shut down by agents from the Ministry of the Interior on February 6 or 7. The business, run by Mehrdad Haqiqi (مهرداد حقیقی) and Kouroush Pirjamali (کوروش پیرجمالی), provided sales and service for lenses. The agents showed a warrant from the Isfahan Provincial Prosecutor, but did not provide a copy. The two Bahais had previously been interrogated twice by security agents, and their premises were searched and their personal property, books and pictures related to the Bahai community were seized.

In the past few days, the Vice President of the Iranian Optometry Association announced that Bahais are involved in manufacturing and importing glasses, and have an active presence in this industry. However there is no direct linkage between this announcement and the closing of the business in Isfahan. Under Iran’s apartheid policy, Bahais are banned from government jobs and numerous industries, but the list of sectors from which Bahais are banned is formally a secret, and the list changes from time to time. On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned (by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete). It 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 refers to the widespread Iranian 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. At some stage optometry was apparently added to the list, without distinguishing between import and manufacture on the one hand, and prescription and retail sales on the other hand. The latter involves personal contact and might logically be out of bounds for the “unclean” Bahais (according to this superstition), but from the description of this
business in Isfahan, it would appear the two Bahais were merely grinding lenses.

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

February 13, 2016

Saba Golshan returned to Isfahan prison


Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, February 8, 2016.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ), a Bahai from Isfahan who is serving a 3-year sentence for his Bahai beliefs, has been taken from hospital to prison although his treatment was not complete. He has been granted a 2-month medical furlough for surgery and other treatment, and a request to extend this leave was refused.

On August 1, 2011, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided many Bahai homes in the cities of Yazd , Isfahan, Kerman and Arak, and arrested 17 Bahais. Two weeks later, three more Bahais were arrested in Yazd. These 20 Bahais have been given sentences totaling 58 years (or 78 years, of which 20 years are suspended sentences). Mr. Golshan’s sentence is 4 years, of which one year is suspended. He began his sentence on August 12, 2015. His name is reported by “Campaign” as Sahba Golshan (صهبا گلشن).

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January 31, 2016

Khosro Dehqani released early in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 1, 2016.

In the latest of a series of early releases of Bahai prisoners, Khosro Dehqani (خسرو دهقانی ) has been released in Isfahan, after serving less than a year of a three-year sentence. He began his sentence on March 3, 2015. He is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012, and given sentences ranging from one to 4 years by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai community activities. Two of this group, Shahram Falah (شهرام فلاح) and Navid Haqiqi Najafabadi (نوید حقیقی نجف آبادی) were released in January 2017, although they had served less than one year of their 3-year sentences.

It is not clear that the early releases indicate a change in policy regarding the oppression of the Bahais in Iran. It could also be due to overcrowding in the jail in Isfahan, or the need to empty prisons in preparation for the coming elections, or that the policy is to cap the number of imprisoned Bahais at about 150 nationwide, and the recent sentencing of 24 Bahais in Gorgan requires some early releases.

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January 28, 2016

Tahereh Reza’i released from prison


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), January 25, 2016.

Mrs. Tahereh Reza’i ( طاهره رضایی ) was freed from prison in Isfahan on January 25 under parole regulations. She is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran August 2012: 10 in Yazd and Isfahan and 10 others in towns and cities such as Shahin Shahr, Vila Shahr, Arak and Kerman. They received prison sentences ranging from one year to four years. Mrs. Reza’i began her sentence, of one year in prison plus a one-year suspended sentence, on October 19, 2015, when she was arrested in front of her home in Isfahan and taken to prison in Yazd. She was recently transferred from Yazd to Isfahan. It is not clear why the parole regulations would be invoked so early in her sentence.

In recent months some other Bahai prisoners have been released on parole quite early in their sentences: Navid Haqiqi Najafabadi (نوید حقیقی نجف آبادی) in Arak, and Mr. Sasan Haqiri (ساسان حقیری) in Isfahan are examples. It is tempting to see a change in policy on the length of prison terms Bahais should serve, either because of the damage the persecution of Bahais does to Iran’s image in the world, or because of the need to empty prisons in preparation for the coming elections. However the long prison terms recently given to the Bahais in Gorgan suggest there is no new policy at the national level. Public Prosecutors in the regions have varying priorities, some emphasizing criminal behaviour, others concentrating on ideological purity or the suppression of religious minorities.

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Another Bahai student expelled in Tehran


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

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

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January 27, 2016

Sina Ravankard begins 3-month prison sentence


Iran Press Watch, January 23, 2016.

According to Baha’i News (Persian) and sources close to Sina Ravankard (سینا روانکرد), the Revolutionary Court of Yasouj had summoned Mr. Ravankard on multiple occasions, over the past year. He was able to reduce his one-year sentence to three months. On January 13, 2016, he was transferred to Yasouj prison to begin his sentence. According to the sources, he has been fined approximately $300, as well. He was one of seven Bahais arrested in various cities of Iran on July 26, 2011. His arrest and trial was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

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Afif Na`imi again denied medical treatment, returned to prison


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 27, 2016.

Prison authorities have again refused to extend the medical treatment of Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), a Bahai prisoner of conscience held in Raja’i Shahr prison, and one of the seven Yaran (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran). On January 24 he was taken from the hospital in Tehran to prison, although his medical treatment is incomplete. On several occasions now, he has been taken from prison to a heart disease hospital in Tehran for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner has determined that he is not fit for prison because of his failing health. His case has gone three times to medical boards supervised by the Medical Examiner and the Public Prosecutor, and these have found him unfit for prison. In view of his chronic bad health, the Public Prosecutor’s office has given the prison authorities permission to take Mr. Na`imi to hospital when necessary, without prior permission from the Public Prosecutor.

Mr. Na`imi was arrested in May 2008 together with six other “Yaran.” They were charged with “formation of the Baha’i sect” and “spying for Israel,” and given 20-year prison sentences, recently reduced to 10 years, although it is inherently improbable that the Israeli security services would recruit the seven most high-profile Bahais as spies (Bahais are under constant surveillance, and are excluded from work in the civil services, armed forces and many other sectors), and no evidence of this “spying” was produced.

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January 25, 2016

Bahai shop windows broken in Aq Qala city


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

In the early hours of January 21, unknown people broke the show windows of a Bahai-run shop selling wedding dress accessories in the town of Aq Qala, about 15 kilometers from Gorgan, in Golestan province. The shop has previously been closed by the local authorities several times because its owner, Neda `Abdeyan (ندا عبدیان) is a Bahai. Because Bahais are considered “unclean” they are bared from working in a variable list of economic sectors. Mrs `Abdeyan previously ran the same shop as a beauty salon, and when the local authorities decided that a Bahai could not work in that sector, she changed her line of business and re-opened the shop.

On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned (by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete). It 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 refers to the widespread Iranian 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.

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January 23, 2016

Bahai burial again impeded in Tabriz


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 18, 2016.

Officials at the public cemetery in Tabriz, the Wadi-ye Rahmat cemetery, have impeded the burial of Mrs. Afruz Bakhshi (افروز بخشی), who died on Friday, January 15. Siamak Shafi`i (سیامک شفیعی), the son of Mrs. Bakhshi, who is at present in Washington, told Bahai News that officials at the cemetery in Tabriz had been refusing to bury Bahais since 2012. In September 2015, a national policy was announced, that Bahais may only be buried in one designated cemetery in each province.

After the death of his mother, his father washed the body in his own home. Washing the body in a prescribed manner is part of both the Bahai and the Muslim burial rites, and is normally done in a separate washing facility on the cemetery land. Mr. Shafi`i said that he knew it was not appropriate to wash the body in the home, for psychological and health reasons, but his father and the family had no choice, as they did not wish her to be buried according to Islamic rites.

The body was then wrapped in a shroud and placed in a coffin, and the Bahai burial prayer was recited. The use of a coffin in addition to a shroud is part of the Bahai ritual, whereas in Islamic customs the coffin is used only to transport the body, which is buried in a shroud only. Next morning he went to the cemetery to bury her in the Bahai way — in a coffin — but officials at the cemetery said they could not allow a burial in a coffin,
or the performance of Bahai rituals, so the family should bury her according to Islamic rites, without the coffin. Alternatively, they could take the body to the Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh (aka Urmia or Orumiyeh). This isolated cemetery was vandalised in August, 2015, and it is two hour’s travel from Tabriz. The Bahai practice is to bury a body within one hour’s travel of the place of death. The officials also suggested taking the body to Miandoab, which is two and a half hours by car from Tabriz. The cemetery officials also offered to conduct the burial themselves (i.e., according to Islamic rites). The body was placed in the morgue. Mrs. Bakhshi’s husband approached various local authorities in Tabriz, but was told that the policy comes from “higher up.” When he returned empty-handed to the cemetery in Tabriz, the cemetery officials said that they would take the body to a cemetery site specifically for Bahais in Miandoab on Monday, January 18. Mr. Siamak Shafi`i said that the “Miandoab” cemetery is actually closer to Mahabad, which is three hours from Tabriz, and is a rocky place, so that a bulldozer is required to dig a grave, and the Bahais would have to travel more than two hours to take each body. The Bahais were allocated a separate cemetery so that Muslims would not be buried alongside Bahais [and also to remove the Bahai presence from a public space ~Sen]. Mr. Shafi`i said that when the bodies of deceased Bahais are taken to the “Miandoab” cemetery by city officials, their families are told they have been buried, and in some cases the Bahais know that the deceased were buried with Islamic rites. He said that officials had been doing this for more than four years now, and 47 Bahais have been buried in this way. Five years previously, his wife’s grandmother died, and become the Bahai to be excluded from the cemetery in Tabriz.

In past years [when the Bahai community in Iran was allowed to organise its affairs], his father was one of those responsible for washing and burying deceased Bahais. After the 1979 revolution in Iran, and especially in 1987, the family, who were then living in Ilkchi, suffered attacks by ‘extremist forces’ and their possessions, land and house were expropriated.

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January 21, 2016

Three more Bahai students expelled


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

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

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

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

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

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Shahram Falah released in Kerman


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), January 21, 2016.

Shahram Falah (شهرام فلاح) has been released from prison in Kerman, after serving one year of a 3-year sentence for his Bahai beliefs. He began his sentence on January 31, 2015, and was released on January 20, 2016. Navid Haqiqi Najafabadi (نوید حقیقی نجف آبادی), another Bahai prisoner who began a 3-year sentence on the same day, was released on (or about) January 10, 2016. They were among 20 Bahais were arrested in central Iran in August, 2012. Mr. Haqiqi and Mr. Falah were the first two of these 20 to begin their sentences.

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January 19, 2016

Puya Tabayaniyan in solitary confinement in Semnan


Bahai News, January 18, 2016.

Reports indicate that Mr. Puya Tabayaniyan (پویا تبیانیان), a Bahai who began as sentence of six and a half years in the Central Prison of Semnan on December 22, 2012, is being held in solitary confinement. The information apparently came to light after the release of Afshin Eqani (افشین ایقانی), another Bahai prisoner in Semnan, on December 25, 2015.

Mr. Tabayaniyan was arrested on March 8, 2009 and held in solitary confinement for two months, during which he was interrogated by Judge Dowlat-Khah (قاضی دولت خواه). He was sentenced to two years in prison (this report says, 2 years and 6 months), and was granted a conditional release on April 29, 2010. He was one of four Bahais who were arrested in Semnan on March 12, 2011. He released on bail on April 3, and re-arrested on June 11. This was apparently for further interrogation, as reports from that time indicate that he released ten days later, on June 21, 2011. He was charged with undermining national security and propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to six and a half years in prison by Judge `Eyn al-Kamaal (قاضی عین الکمال).

The report does not indicate why he would be held in solitary confinement, or when this began.

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January 12, 2016

Another Bahai student expelled in Tehran


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

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

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

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

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Four Bahai students expelled from Iran’s universities


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

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


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

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

Shamim Ruhani begins his prison sentence


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 11, 2015.

Shamim Ruhani ( شمیم روحانی ), a Bahai from Ahvaz (a city in Khuzestan Province, in the Iranian part of the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates), has been taken to prison to begin his sentence. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on November 5, 2013, along with a number of Bahais who were present in his home. The agents seized his religious books, documents, personal effects, mobile telephone and computer. All the detainees except for Mr. Ruhani were released three days later. Mr. Ruhani was held for several months before being released on bail. He was charged with propaganda against the regime and membership in Bahai organisations, and sentenced to one year in prison followed by banishment from the Province of Khuzestan for two years.

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Navid Haqiqi Najafabadi released early


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

Navid Haqiqi Najafabadi (نوید حقیقی نجف آبادی), a Bahai who has served almost one year of a 3-year sentence in Arak prison, has been released on parole. He began his sentence on January 31, 2015. The report gives no reason for his early release, but he was granted an unusually long 10-day leave from prison, which began on October 31, 2015. He is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012, and who have been given sentences ranging from one year to three years plus a one year suspended sentence. His father, Majid Enayatu’lah Najafabadi (مجید عنایت الله نجف آبادی) was martyred for his Bahai beliefs.

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January 8, 2016

Nakisa Hajipour released


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), January 8, 2015.

Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور), a Bahai from Mashhad, was released from Vakil Abad prison on January 7. Mrs. Hajipour was one of 20 Bahais arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, 2015. It appears she has been released on bail pending her trial.

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January 7, 2016

Tahereh Reza’i transferred to prison in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), January 8, 2016.

Mrs. Tahereh Reza’i ( طاهره رضایی ), a Bahai from Isfahan, has been transferred from Yazd prison to Dowlat Abad prison in Yazd. She is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran August 2012: 10 in Yazd and Isfahan and 10 others in towns and cities such as Shahin Shahr, Vila Shahr, Arak and Kerman. They received prison sentences ranging from one year to four years. Mrs. Reza’i began her sentence, of one year in prison plus a one-year suspended sentence, on October 19, 2015, when she was arrested in front of her home in Isfahan and taken to prison in Yazd. It would appear that the authorities in Isfahan arrested her at the request of the Provincial authorities in Yazd.

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January 4, 2016

Final trial of the Gorgan Bahais

HRANA, January 3, 2016.

On December 27, 2015, the Revolutionary Court in Gorgan, in Iran’s Golestan Province, held the eighth and last in a series of trials of the Bahais who were arrested in the Province in October, 2012, and later released on bail. The trials are being conducted by Judge Qanbari (قاضی قنبری). On this ocassion the Bahais on trial were Puna Sana’i ( پونه ثنایی), Sheyda Qadusi (شیدا قدوسی) and Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ). As in the seventh trial, on November 18, 2015, the defendants were not summoned and were not present at the closed trial, but they and their lawyers had been given an opportunity to present a defence [in writing]. In the seventh trial, which was not reported on Sen’s Daily, the accused were Meriam Dehqan (مریم دهقان), Houshmand Dehqan (هوشمند دهقان) and Kamelia Bideli (کاملیا بیدلی). In the past year about 20 Bahais from Gorgan have been tried, two or three at a time, on charges such as propaganda against the regime, undermining national security, and membership and participation in Bahai religious activities. The sentences have not been announced [a ‘guilty’ verdict may be assumed, as Bahais are never “not guilty” in Iranian courts].

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January 2, 2016

Gudarz Bidaqi completes his third prison term


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), January 2, 2016.

Gudarz Bidaqi (گودرز بیدقی), a Bahai from Mehdishahr in Iran’s Semnan Province, was released from the Central Prison in Semnan on January 1, at the end of a four-month sentence. His imprisonment was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. This is the third prison sentence he has served because of his Bahai beliefs. From July 2012 to May 2013, he and his daughter Roufiya Bidaqi ( روفیا بیدقی ) were imprisoned in Semnan on charges of propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai activities. The family’s business was closed by the authorities in March 2011. Mr. Bidaqi’s first imprisonment followed the 1979 revolution. He is now over 64 years old.

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December 31, 2015

Parvaneh Rahmani free on bail


Bahai News(Persian, facebook), January 1, 2016.

Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی), a Bahai from Sanandaj, has been released on bail. She was arrested in her home on December 19, 2015, when her home was also searched.

On September 8, 2015, her husband Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, and their home was searched. He is also free on bail, but after his release some of his non-Bahai contacts were detained and lodged personal complaints against him. One of these contacts 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 (full report here).

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Fu’ad Moqaddam transferred to hospital


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

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

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

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Elham Faramani spends her 7-day furlough visiting prison


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

Mrs. Elham Faramani (الهام فراهانی) has returned to Evin Prison in Tehran, after a seven-day furlough which she spent in visiting Raja’i Shahr prison, about 50 kilometers west of Evin Prison. Her husband `Adel Na`imi (عادل نعیمی) is serving a 10-year sentence there, and her son Shamim Na’imi ( شمیم نعیمی) is serving a 3-year sentence. She was able to meet both of them in a room reserved for face-to-face meetings. Elham Faramani and her son began their sentences on May 11, 2014, while `Adel Na`imi appears to have been held continuously since his first arrest (along with his wife) during wide-spread raids on July 10, 2012. His younger brother `Afif ( نعیمی ), one of the seven Bahai ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators), is serving a 10-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison.

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December 29, 2015

Shahram Najaf-Tumara’i free on bail


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), December 29, 2015.

Shahram Najaf-Tumara’i (شهرام نجف تومرائي) has been released on bail in Tehran. Mr. Najaf-Tumara’i previously served as one of the Khademin (area facilitators) for the Bahais in District 7 in Tehran. He was arrested by the security forces on November 27 and taken to Evin Prison. Web sites linked to the Iranian regime have accused him of espionage. The charge is patently ridiculous: Bahais in Iran are subject to close surveillance, and their homes are frequently searched and their computers seized. This is especially true of prominent Bahais such as Mr. Najaf-Tumara’i. They are also banned from the military, civil service, universities and sensitive economic sectors such as ice-cream manufacture. Therefore no spy in Iran would pose as a Bahai, no Bahai would chose espionage as a career, and no secret service recruiting spies in Iran would consider a known Bahai.

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December 28, 2015

Hamid Azizi released


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 28, 2015.

Hamid Azizi (حمید عزیزی), a Bahai from Hamadan, was released from the city’s prison on December 27. He has served almost 7 months of a 1-year sentence. Mr. Azizi was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who came to his home on October 21, 2014. They searched his home for several hours and seized a computer, a laptop computer, and Bahai books and pamphlets. He was released pending his trial, and was charged with propaganda against the regime in the form of supporting opposition groups. He began his sentence on June 11 this year.

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December 27, 2015

Navid Aqdasi released


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 28, 2015.

Navid Aqdasi has been released on bail from Evin prison in Tehran. Bail was set at one billion rials (30,000 euros, $US 33,000). He was arrested on November 15, and held in solitary confinement for five weeks.

Mr. Aqdasi is a cousin of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), who was murdered two years ago in the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. He has actively pursued his cousin’s case and has been threatened by the security forces a number of times. On two occasions, graffiti insulting the Bahai Faith has been sprayed on the walls of his home in Tehran.

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December 25, 2015

Sanandaj Ministry of Intelligence applies a new tactic


HRANA, December 24, 2015.

The Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj has detained a number of persons who have contact with a Bahai family, and has pressured them to submit private complaints against the family, which would accuse them of teaching the Bahai Faith or leading people astray. According to the HRANA report, this took place in August and September this year.

On September 8 the 66-year-old father of the family, Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, along with a number of non-Bahais. Four agents raided his home and seized CD’s, books, pictures and other items relating to the Bahai Faith. He later told a HRANA reporter that his own interrogation was “good,” but after his release some of his non-Bahai contacts were detained and lodged personal complaints against him for no apparent reason.

One of these contacts, Mr. Muhammad Salahaddin Rashidiyan (محمدصلاح الدین رشیدیان) has 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).

Mr. Ra’ufi said that they did not know exactly what had happened, but they had good relations with these people until they were arrested and released. Later, two or three of them came to apologise, saying they were forced to lodge a complaint. One even brought a signed letter saying he had been forced to complain. One of the complainants came to the Ra’ufi home in the middle of the night, shouting that they had made his wife and children happy [ شما باعث شدی زن و بچه مرا بگیرند — a better translation would be welcome ~Sen].

Mr. Rashidiyan, who is now free on bail, said “I asked the interrogator what I could complain about, since they had not prosyletized or done anything, and he replied, ‘just make a complaint, we already have a promise from them saying that even if someone asked them about the Bahai Faith, they would not answer.'”

Mr. Ra’ufi was arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime, followed by 6 months in exile (other reports say he was sentenced to 6 month in prison in the town of Tuyserkan, in Hamadan). 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. Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی), who was arrested on December 19, 2015, is the wife of Mr. Ra’ufi. It appears that she is still being detained.

If the Ministry of Intelligence’s tactic is successful, it will enable the regime to persecute the Bahais under the guise of private legal proceedings, and to enforce social isolation.

Afshin Iqani released


Bahai News (Facebook, Persian), December 25, 2015.

Afshin Iqani (افشین ایقانی), a Bahai shop keeper from Semnan, has been released from prison at the end of a sentence of 4 years and 3 months and one day (elsewhere reported as 4 years and 6 months and one day), on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the regime. His case began on March 11, 2009, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided his shop and seized half of his stock, demanding that he sell the remainder before March 20. He was arrested on January 5, 2010, and began his sentence on September 12, 2011.

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December 24, 2015

Sahba Farnoush freed on bail


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 24.

Sahba Farnoush (صهبا فرنوش), a Bahai from Tehran who was arrested on XX, has been freed on bail from Evin Prison. Bail was set at two million rials (60,000 euros, $US 66,000). Mr. Farnoush is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, two of whom were released within a few hours.

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December 22, 2015

Conditional release of 9 Bahais in Marvdasht

Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 22, 2015.

Nine Bahais who were detained during two house raids in Marvdasht on December 19 have been released after undertaking not to meet one another at night or have dinner parties.

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December 21, 2015

One arrest in Sanandaj


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 22, 2015.

Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی), a Bahai from Sanandaj, was arrested in her home on December 19, and there is still no word from her. Her home was also searched.

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Navid Aqdasi moved from interrogation to detention section


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 21, 2015.

After over a month of solitary detention for interrogation purposes, Navid Aqdasi (نوید اقدسی) was moved to a general section of Evin prison in Tehran. From there, he was able to contact his family on December 20. Mr. Aqdas is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, two of whom were released within a few hours.

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December 20, 2015

Two house raids and nine arrests in Marvdasht

Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 20, 2015.

On the night of December 19, Iranian security forces arrested nine Bahais in the city of Marvdasht, in the Province of Shiraz. They arrived with 8 police officers, video cameras and a fingerprinting device. The raids began with the home of Mr. Nowdhar Falah (نوذر فلاح), where agents questioned all the guests who were present and arrested members of the family. After searching the house, they took one of the guests, Mr. Saraj Kazemi (سراج کاظمی) with them, using his own car, and went to his home and searched it. They seized some books and CDs. On the morning of December 20, the nine arrested Bahais were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence offices, and were not released. The nine Bahais arrested are members of the two households, and three of their guests. Their names are Nowdhar Falah, Sawadbeh Ha’eri (ثوادبه حائری) and the 18-year-old Negin Falah (نگین فلاح), who are members of the Falah family, Mr. Saraj Kazemi, Farhnaz Ashna’i (فرحناز آشنایی) and 18-year-old Elhan Kazemi (الحان کاظمی), in the second family, and from among the guests Jahanbaksh Pazerafkon (جهانبخش بذرافکن), Faribah Falah (فریبافلاح), and Delir Adzideh (دلیر آژیده). Thus far there has been no indication of the reasons for the raid and arrests, except that the gathering was considered an illegal meeting.

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December 19, 2015

Three detainees released on bail in Tehran

Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 20, 2015.

Nava Monjazeb (نوا منجذب), Negar Baqeri (نگار باقری) and Yavar Haqiqat (یاور حقیقت) have been freed on bail in Tehran. Bail was set at 100 million tumans (31,000 euros, $US 33,000). They were among 20 Bahais arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, two of whom were released within a few hours.

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December 15, 2015

Faraneh Daneshgari released on bail

faraneh_daneshgari
Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), December 16, 2015.

Faraneh Daneshgari (فرانه دانشگری), one of the Bahais arrested in widespread raids across Iran on November 15, was released on bail in Mashhad on the evening of December 15.

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Sanaz Es’haqi released in Mashhad


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), December 15, 2015.

Sanaz Es’haqi (ساناز اسحاقی), one of the Bahais arrested in widespread raids across Iran on November 15, was released in Mashhad yesterday.

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Foad Khanjani released from prison


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), December 15, 2015.

Foad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی), a former student of industrial management at Isfahan University who was expelled because of his Bahai beliefs, has been released at the end of his four-year sentence. He was arrested in Tehran on March 2, 2010, and taken to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence, released and rearrested, and arrested for the third time on April 27, 2010, when he was sent to Evin Prison. His arrests followed the widespread unrest in Iran following the announcement of national election results. Authorities initially tried to claim that Bahais had a hand in stirring up the protests. His sister Leva Khanjani ( لوا خانجانی ), another student excluded from education for being a Bahai, was also arrested after the election unrest, along with her husband Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر). She was arrested on January 3, 2010, and sentenced to two years in prison. She was released on June 24, 2014.

Mr. Khanjani was released on bail on May 8, pending his trial which was conducted on December 11, 2010. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison, by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه), and this sentence was confirmed in the review court by Judge Mouhed (قاضی موحد). His lawyer attempted to appeal this sentence to the Supreme Court, but the lawyer was confronted with threats from the Ministry of Intelligence. Mr. Khanjani began his sentence in Evin Prison on January 17, 2012, but on August 5 of that year he was transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison. From late September that year he was in need of urgent hospital treatment for a cyst in the abdomen, which was denied until early November. On March 2, 2013, he was denied family visits for refusing to wear prison uniform.

Foad Khanjani’s father, Ala’eddin Khanjani (علاءالدین خانجانی), known as Niki, was also arrested following the election protests, and again in August 2014, apparently because he was running an optician’s shop, and such businesses had been added — unannounced — to the list of sectors in which Bahais are forbidden to work. He was summoned to appear at Bench 5 of the court at Evin Prison in Tehran on August 10, 2015. Bench 5 has specialised in the persecution of Bahais. So far as I know, his sentence has not yet been announced.

Niki Khanjani’s father Jamalledin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی) is one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (Bahai national facilitators) who are now in the eighth year of 10-year sentences for their services to the Bahai community.

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December 13, 2015

Message to the Bahais in Iran, on behalf of the House of Justice

A’en-e Baha’i, December 13 (?), 2015.

The Secretariat at the Bahai World Centre has published a letter in Persian that is of interest to the Bahais in Iran. It responds to a number of questions about collective efforts and teaching the Faith in Iran, and advises the questioner that the answers will be found through consultation with the local friends. It also urges the friends not to be critical of one-another, but to support and encourage one another, most especially during the difficult period when the Bahai Administration is not operating in Iran. I have placed the Persian text in the “Documents Archive” of my Bahai Studies blog.

December 11, 2015

Ministry of Intelligence in Kermanshah seeks to isolate Bahais

MAF News, December 10, 2015.

In the past week, at least 15 Muslims in Kermanshah have been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and questioned and threatened because they have associated with Bahai families in the province. They were told they should not have any links to any Bahais. In the city of Sanandaj, capital of the neighbouring province of Kurdistan, officials refused to register the marriage of a Bahai woman with a non-Bahai man.

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December 9, 2015

Saba Golshan given extended medical leave


Bahai News (Persian), December 9, 2015.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ), a Bahai from Isfahan who is serving a 3-year sentence for his Bahai beliefs, has been granted a 2-month medical furlough for surgery and other treatment. His sentence is in fact 4 years, of which one year is suspended. He began his sentence on August 12 (not October 11, as in the Bahai News report ~Sen) this year. On August 1, 2011, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided many Bahai homes in the cities of Yazd , Isfahan, Kerman and Arak, and arrested 17 Bahais. Two weeks later, three more Bahais were arrested in Yazd. These 20 Bahais have been given sentences totaling 78 years.

December 4, 2015

`Afif Na`imi (corrected report)


December 4, 2015.

The item published under this heading today was incorrect, and has been withdrawn. It referred to the return of ‘Afif Na’imi to prison, which actually happened in early September (one report is dated September 8), but as previously reported here, he was taken back to hospital on taken to hospital on October 20, 2015. So far as I know he is still receiving treatment. My apologies to readers and especially to the family and friends of Mr. Na’imi. ~ Sen.

November 30, 2015

Navid Aqdasi accused of drug-making


Katayoon Taghizadeh (Facebook), November 30, 2015.

Navid Aqdasi (نوید اقدسی), a Bahai arrested in Tehran on November 15, was transferred to Evin prison on November 29 and charged with making synthetic drugs. The charge could lead to the death penalty. Mr. Aqdasi is a cousin of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), who was murdered two years ago in the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. Navid Aqdasi has actively pursued his cousin’s case and talked to the media about it. As a result, he has been threatened a number of times, including in recent months, when vandals have posted threatening graffiti on the walls of his house. On the first day after his arrest, he was able to contact his family, but there has been no further information about him, and he has not been able to meet his family.

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November 29, 2015

Prison sentence of Navid Khanjani reduced


Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, November 29, 2015.

The prison sentence of Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی) has been reduced from 12 years to five years. He has already served more than three years in prison. Mr. Khanjani is a Bahai student who has been barred from university, and a human rights and minority rights activist. He is a member of the central committee of the CHRR (Committee of Human Rights Reporters) and a founding member of the PCED (Campaign against Educational Discrimination). He was arrested in Isfahan on March 2, 2010, and sentenced to 12 years in prison early in 2011. He was charged with making false statements, propaganda against the regime, teaching minority groups, and membership of the banned Human Rights Committee. While he was free on bail he was again arrested, on August 22, 2012, as a member of a group of activists who were assisting victims of a devastating earthquake. He was sentenced to an additional five months for failure to obey instructions given by the police, but in September 2013 he was acquitted of this charge. He began his 12-year sentence on September 9, 2012, and has been hospitalized at least twice since then due to heart and respiratory problems.

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Bahai home searched in Isfahan

Bahai News, November 29, 2015.

The family home of Mr. Muhammadreza Thabet-Raseskh (محمدرضا ثابت راسخ) was searched by security forces early this morning, and a large number of CDs, books and personal effects were seized. Mr. Thabet-Rasekh was not present. However on a previous occasion he was detained for some time, and accused of propaganda against the regime. He was freed on bail after pledging his home as collateral. It is not clear whether this search is related to the recent wave of arrests of Bahais in in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad.

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November 28, 2015

Student expelled from Shiraz University for Bahai beliefs

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook)

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

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November 26, 2015

One new arrest in Tehran


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), November 27, 2015.

Shahram Najaf-Tumara’i (شهرام نجف تومرائي), a Bahai who previously served as one of the Khademin (area facilitators) for the Bahais in District 7 in Tehran, was arrested by the security forces early this morning, and taken to Evin Prison. The police knocked on his door and said there had been an accident with his parked car, and demanded ‘compensation.’ When he came out of his house, he was taken to prison. Seven officers then searched his home.

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November 22, 2015

Shahram Chiniyan Miandoab released from prison

Bahai News (Persian), November 23, 2015.

Shahram Chiniyan Miandoab (میاندوآب شهرام چینیان ), a Bahai shopkeeper from Tehran who has been serving an 8-year sentence, was released from Raja`i Shahr prison on November 21. Mr. Chiniyan was first arrested in March 2009 and released on March 3, 2010, after using his business license as bail. He was sentenced to 70 lashes and 8 years in prison on a charge of insulting Islam, and began serving his sentence, first in Evin prison in Tehran and then in Raja’i Shahr prison, early in March, 2012. On May 28, 2014, he was transferred to section 1 of Raja’i Shahr, where dangerous criminals are kept. He was punished with one week in solitary from June 25 to July 1, and four days in solitary on August 20, following his first beating by prison guards. On September 20, 2014, Shahram Chiniyan Miandoab was again beaten by guards because he refused to wear the standard prison uniform when being taken to see a judge. On February 21, 2015 he was again beaten by prison guards and some prisoners from the criminal section of the prison. This followed a letter he wrote to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamene’i, complaining about prison conditions.

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November 21, 2015

Six recent detainees freed

Bahai News (Persian, facebook), November 22, 2105.

Bahai News is reporting that five Bahais who were arrested recently in Isfahan have been freed on bail, and in a separate report, that Helia Moshtaq (هلیا مشتاق) has been freed on bail in Tehran. Those freed in Isfahan are Parvin Nik-A’in(پروین نیک آیین), Keyvan Nik-A’in (کیوان نیک آیین), Zarin Aqa-Baba’i (زرین آقابابایی), Yeganeh Agahi (یگانه آگاهی) and Vahid Karami (وحید کرمی).

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Two Bahai businesses shut down in Bandar Abbas

Iran Press Watch, November 21, 2015.

Two optometry shops run by Bahais have been closed down by authorities in the city of Bandar Abbas. The closures are still in effect in spite of extensive appeals by the shop’s owners, Mr Heidarpour (حیدرپور) and Mr. Rasti (راستی). On November 15, security forces also raided and searched the business of Mr. Navid Hemmat (نوید همت) and confiscated some of his property.

Within the past few days, dozens of Bahai-run businesses in Rafsanjan, Kerman, Tanekabon, Qa`em Shahr, Tehran and Karaj have been closed and sealed by government authorities.

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November 19, 2015

Four more business closures reported from Salmanshahr

Raja Harmeet Singh (facebook), November 17, 2015.

Reports indicate that four Bahai-run businesses in the Caspian coast town of Salmanshahr were closed by the Bureau of Public Places on the morning of November 14. These reports have not been confirmed by the sources I usually rely on, but they are consistent with other activity in Mazandaran province and appear credible. the businesses are named as the footwear and handbag shop of Farhad Shahidi (فرهاد شهيدي), a clothing shop run by Farshad Shahidi (فرشاد شهيدي), the photography business of Aziz Azemayan (عزيز اعظميان) and the refrigerator repair business of Dariush Ahmadpour (داريوش احمد پور).

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November 18, 2015

Prison sentences of seven “Yaran” reduced to 10 years


Bahai News (Persian), November 18, 2015.

The prison sentences of the seven ‘Yaran’, who served as national facilitators assisting the Bahais of Iran in their dealings with government organs until their arrest and imprisonment, have been reduced from 20 years to 10 years in prison. They have already served more then seven years.

Background:

On 5 March 2008, one of the Yaran, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) – a schoolteacher and mother of two – was arrested having been summoned to the Iranian city of Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahai burial. Two months later, on 14 May, the other six Yaran were arrested in raids of their homes. The names of these six are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi (فریبا کمال آبادی), Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), Behrouz Tavakkoli (بهروز توکلی), and Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم).

After twenty months in prison without charge, a trial began on January 12, 2010. Throughout their long wait for justice, the seven had received barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel, and suffered appalling treatment and deprivations, including psychological and physical hardship. They were charged with espionage, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants. The trial of the seven accused ended on 14 June 2010 after six brief sessions, characterized by their lack of due legal process.

The initial sentence of 20 years imprisonment for each of the defendants, met with outrage and condemnation throughout the world. One month later, the appeal court revoked three of the charges and reduced their sentence to 10-year jail terms. In March 2011, the prisoners were informed that their original 20-year sentences were reinstated. Notwithstanding repeated requests, neither the prisoners nor their attorneys have ever received official copies of the original verdict or the ruling on appeal.

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November 16, 2015

Iranian authorities launch widespread crackdown: Bahais arrested, businesses closed


Iran Wire (English), November 16, 2015.

On the morning of Sunday, November 15, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents arrested 20 Bahais in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad. They also closed down Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Mazandaran.

Among those detained was Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور), who was detained at Mashhad railway station after Intelligence Ministry agents arrived at her home with an arrest warrant and were told she was traveling. According to an informed source who spoke to IranWire, she was prevented from boarding the train and arrested. Also arrested in Mashhad were Nika Pakzadan (نیکا پاکزادان), Faraneh Daneshgari (فرانه دانشگری), Sanaz Es’haqi (ساناز اسحاقی) and Naghmeh Dhabihayan (نغمه ذبیحیان). They were all arrested at their homes.

In Isfahan, agents arrested Yeganeh Agahi (یگانه آگاهی), Adib Janamian (ادیب جانمیان), Keyvan Nik-A’in (کیوان نیک آیین), Parvin Nik-A’in(پروین نیک آیین), Vahid Karami (وحید کرمی), `Arsheya Rouhani (عرشیا روحانی) and Zarin Aqa-Baba’i (زرین آقابابایی). They also arrested Sahab Rouhani (سحاب روحانی) and Matin Janameyan (متین جانمیان), but released them after several hours. In Tehran, agents arrested Helia Moshtaq (هلیا مشتاق), Negar Baqeri-Tari (نگار باقری طاری), Sahba Farnoush (صهبا فرنوش), Nava Monjazeb (نوا منجذب), Yavar Haqiqat (یاور حقیقت) and Navid Aqdasi (نوید اقدسی).

Navid Aqdasi is a cousin Mr. Ataollah Rezvani ( عطاءالله رضوانی ), murdered two years ago in the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. Navid Aqdasi has actively pursued his cousin’s case and talked to the media about it. As a result, he has been threatened a number of times, including in recent months, when vandals have posted threatening graffiti on the walls of his house.

So far, no information has been made available about the charges against the Bahais. Their families have not been informed of their whereabouts. According to reports, it is likely that the prisoners have been taken to detention centers run by the Intelligence Ministry in their respective cities.

On the same day of the arrests took place, the Bureau of Public Places in the province of Mazandaran sealed and shut down 23 businesses belonging to Bahais in the cities of Sari, Qa`em Shahr, Tenakbon and Babolsar. This followed the businesses being closed on Saturday, November 14, a religious holiday for Bahais. Authorities have in the past objected to Bahai businesses observing holy days, threatening them with closure if they failed to keep the same business hours as non-Bahai shops and services.

Two days prior to the closure of Bahai businesses in Mazandaran, authorities also closed all Bahai businesses in the city of Rafsanjan in the southeastern province of Kerman. Among the businesses closed were shops selling cosmetics, health products, musical instruments, eyeglasses, clothes, tires and toys, and businesses offering refrigerator maintenance, photography and photocopier services. Bahais in Iran are barred from employment in most public sector jobs and many private sector jobs, with the result that many depend on small shops and workshops.

Shop and office owners were given no notice of the closure. In some cases, they were not even aware of the operation until some hours later. The town of Babolsar was the only exception. [That is, notice of closure was given in Babolsar. The ٍEnglish report on Iran Wire is incorrect on this point ~Sen]. The nature of the simultaneous arrests and closure suggests a planned operation, ordered and organized by the Intelligence Ministry.

According to reports, Bahai businesses shut down include those belonging to the following individuals:

Sari: Three optician’s shops run by Dhekrollah Rahimeyan (ذکرالله رحیمیان), Farid Alavi (فرید علوی), Behzad Zabihi (بهزاد ذبیحی) and Bozorgmehr Hor (بزرگمهر حر), the cosmetics shop of Ehsanollah Sana’i (احسان الله سنایی), and the clothing shops of Aramesh Zohouri (آرامش ظهوری) and Houshmand Goli (هوشمند گلی).

Qa`em Shahr: cosmetics and health products workshops run by Nima Miri (نیما میری) and Changiz Darakhshanian (چنگیز درخشانیان), a toyshop run by Bijan Nokhah (بیژن نوع خواه), a grocery operated by Dhekrollah Baba’i (ذکرالله بابایی), the optician’s shops of Soheil Haqdoost (سهیل حق دوست) and Zahra Golabian (زهرا گلابیان), the tire (or appliance?) business of Farzad Sabeti (فرزاد ثابتی) and a photocopy shop belonging to Shahin Sana’i (شاهین سنایی).

Tenakbon: The home security workhops of Omid Qaderi (امید قادری), the air conditioning workshops of Farhad Taqipour (فرهاد تقی پور) and of Michele and Armin Esma`ilpour (میشل و آرمین اسماعیل پور) and the refrigeration service business of Ruhollah Iqani (روح الله ایقانی).

Babolsar: The musical supplies business of Mithaq Leqa’i (میثاق لقایی), the photography business of Nasser Mir-Mohammadi (ناصر میرمحمدی) and the toyshop of Barzu Raf`ati (برزو رفعتی).

Persian source at Iran Wire
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Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.

November 14, 2015

Bahai killed in Shiraz in obscure circumstances


Bahai News (Persian), November 13, 2015.

Koroush Rouhi (کوروش روحی), a Bahai man from Shiraz, was stabbed to death in the parking area of his home on Fazilat Avenue (خیابان فضیلت) yesterday. The circumstances and motives have not been clarified, but there is no indication that he was killed for religious reasons.

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November 12, 2015

Further details on three house raids in Yazd

Iran Press Watch, November 10, 2015.

According to the “No to the Persecution and Imprisonment of Bahai Citizens” campaign, the recently reported raid on the home of three Bahais in Yazd was in fact three raids.

The first home to be raided belonged to Mr. Sahand Dhakeripour (سهند ذاکری پور). Around eight o’clock in the morning, five men in the guise of “postmen” knocked on his door. On opening it, he recognised them as security officers because they had been present at the arrest and interrogation of other Bahaism including Nasser Baqeri (ناصر باقری). After they searched his house, Mr. Dhakeripour was handcuffed and taken to a security office for nearly three hours of interrogation. During the interrogation, the security officers demanded that Mr. Dhakeripour should become their informant, which he refused to do. Finally they asked him not to respond to any inquiries from websites or reporters with respect to this incident. He responded that it was not possible to say nothing to anyone and keep quiet. They said that they knew that very soon that many people on social networks would know about the interrogation, but if anyone asked questions, he should say that it was about banal issues and that their questions were related only to simple religious matters.

The other two recent searches were conducted in one afternoon at around 12 o’clock, first at the house of Mohsen Qane` (محسن قانع) and then at the house of Seyyed Habib’ullah Dehqan (سید حبیب الله دهقان). In all these searches, security officers confiscated mobile phones, computers, tablets, satellite devices and Bahai literature. In all these searches security officers disguised themselves as postmen. When they planned to search Mr. Qane`s house, they first called him, asking for his address in order to deliver a package.

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November 10, 2015

Faran Hessami returns to prison


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

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

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November 9, 2015

Stock seized from a workshop belonging to a Bahai in Semnan

HRANA, November 8, 2015.

On November 1, judicial officers went to the cut-glass manufacturing shop belonging to Afrasiab Khanjani (افراسیاب خانجانی), a Bahai from Semnan, and seized his entire stock. In 2012, a lens-making workshop belonging to Mr. Khanjani was closed, and his trading licence was revoked.

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November 7, 2015

Hassan Badhrafkan and Vahid Taqvaju released

Bahai News (Persian), November 5, 2105.

Hassan Badhrafkan ( حسن بذرافکن ) and Vahid Taqvaju ( وحید تقواجو ) have been released from prison in Shiraz at the end of their one-year sentences. Mr. Taqvaju was released 15 days ago, and Mr. Badhrafkan apparently in the past few days. On September 11, 2013, security forces searched their home and seized computers and books relating to the Bahai Faith. They detained these two men as well as five others, who were released soon after.

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November 4, 2015

Faran Hessami granted compassionate leave


HRANA, November 3, 2015.

Mrs. Faran Hessami ( فاران حسامی ), who is in Evin prison serving a four-year sentence for educational activities with the Bahai Open University (BIHE), has been granted a furlough to enable her to be with her son Artin who requires surgery. She was released today. Her husband Kamran Rahimiyan (کامران رحیمیان) was released from Raja’i Shahr prison in mid-August this year after serving a four-year sentence for educational activities.

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November 3, 2015

Bahai home raided in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), November 4, 2015.

This morning, security forces raided a Bahai home in Yazd belonging to three Bahai men, Mohsen Qan`e, Habib’ullah Dehqan and Wahid Dhakera’i (محسن قانع، حبیب الله دهقان و وحید ذاکرای), seizing some of their belongings. They also arrested Mr. Sahand Dhakera’i (سهند ذاکری), but he was released a short time later.

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Susan Tabyaniyan released from prison


HRANA, November 3, 2015.

Susan Tabyaniyan (سوسن تبیانیان), a Bahai from Semnan who has been serving a one-year sentence in Isfahan prison, was released from prison on November 2. She was charged with propaganda against the regime, opposition to the regime and propaganda in support of opposition groups, in the form of giving interviews to foreign media about the economic situation of the Bahais in Iran, and began her sentence on December 24, 2014. This was her second prison sentence: in May 2010 she was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership of a Bahai organisation. After serving almost 14 months in Evin prison, she was one of the prisoners granted clemency to mark Eid al-Fitr, on August 27, 2011. She was arrested again on May 31, 2014, released on bail on July 15, and sentenced to one year in prison on September 11. She has two children.

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October 29, 2015

Amanullah Mostaqim released from prison

Bahai News (Persian), October 28, 2015.

Amanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ) one of the imprisoned staff members of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, was released from Raja’i Shahr prison today. He was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in educating students who, under the Iranian regime’s apartheid policy, should not be educated. He began serving his prison term in Tehran’s Evin Prison in May, 2013, but has been released early because of a heart condition. He had heart surgery just before his arrest on May 22, 2011, when premises and homes relating to the BIHE were raided by security forces. During his time in prison he has been hospitalized outside the prison several times, and was returned to prison. although doctors had said he needed treatment for blocked arteries and was unfit for life in prison.

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October 24, 2015

Shahram Eshraqi begins a 3-year sentence in Isfahan

Iran Press Watch, October 23, 2015.

Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی), one of 20 Bahais who were sentenced to a total of 78 years in prison by a court in Yazd in April, 2014, began his 3-year sentence on October 11.

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October 23, 2015

Keyvan Rahimiyan receives medical care


HRANA, October 20, 2015.

Keyvan Rahimiyan ( کیوان رحیمیان), a Bahai from Tehran and one of the imprisoned teachers at the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, was recently taken from Raja’i Shahr Prison to hospital, for treatment and a checkup relating to problems with his eyes and ears. He was then returned to prison. He has been imprisoned for more than three years, without any prison furlough. He was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of 97 million rials (6,300 euro, 7,900 US dollars) on charges of collaborating with the Bahai Open University. He is due for release in September, 2017.

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Three more Bahais tried in Gorgan

HRANA, October 21, 2015.

On October 12 a court in Gorgan, in Iran’s Golestan Province, held the sixth in a series of trials of the Bahais who were arrested in the Province in October, 2012, and later released on bail. The accused at this trial were Mitra Nouri (میترا نوری) and Shiva Rouhani (شیوا روحانی), both from Gorgan city, and Navid Moalemi (نوید معلمی) from Gonbad-e Qabus. They were charged with “propaganda against the regime.” There was no Prosecutor present, and the defendants were summoned orally. In September this year the court tried Soudabeh Mehdinezhad ( سودابه مهدی نژاد ), Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), who was also reported to have been tried on July 3, and Nazi Tahqiqi (نازی تحقیقی).

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`Afif Na`imi returned to hospital


HRANA, October 21, 2015.

`Afif Na`imi ( عفیف نعیمی ), a Bahai prisoner of conscience held in Raja’i Shahr prison, and one of the seven Yaran (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), was taken to hospital on October 20. He is to receive treatment for blood clotting problems and fainting, and his existing medications will be adjusted. It was also reported that he has suffered from acute irritation and swelling of the lymph glands, exacerbated by lack of treatment. He is 52 years old, and suffers from blood clots which require carefully controlled doses of Warfarin. He received treatment in Tehran’s Heart Center for nine months in 2013 and 2014, but on August 9, 2014, he was taken back to Raja’i Shahr prison, only to be returned to the Tehran Heart Center in early June this year.

Mr. Na`imi was arrested in May 2008 together with six other “Yaran.” They were charged with “formation of the Baha’i sect” and “spying for Israel,” and given 20-year prison sentences, although it is inherently improbable that the Israeli security services would recruit the seven most high-profile Bahais as spies (Bahais are under constant surveillance, and are excluded from work in the civil services, armed forces and many other sectors), no proof of this “spying” was given, and in any case the maximum penalty for spying for foreign powers in Iran is 10 years in prison.

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October 21, 2015

Tahereh Reza’i begins a one-year sentence

Bahai News (Persian), October 19, 2015.

Mrs. Tahereh Reza’i ( طاهره رضایی ), a Bahai from Isfahan, was arrested in front of her home on October 19 and taken to prison in Yazd. She is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran August 2012: 10 in Yazd and Isfahan and 10 others in towns and cities such as Shahin Shahr, Vila Shahr, Arak and Kerman. [The report does not indicate Mrs. Reza’i’s sentence, but it would appear this is the same person as Tahereh Rouhani (طاهره روحانی), arrested on July 31, 2012, who was sentenced to two years in prison, of which one year is suspended. ~Sen]

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October 20, 2015

Agricultural land confiscated in Semnan


HRANA, October 17, 2015.

Fifty hectares of land and the livestock on it, belonging to Zia’ullah Muta`arifi (ضیاء الله متعارفی), a 65-year-old Bahai from Semnan, was confiscated on October 15. The decision was made at a court hearing in Semnan, attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture in Semnan, the Public Prosecutor, and representatives of the security forces. Mr. Muta`arifi has been working this land since 1982, and purchased it in 1999, paying in installments. He was told his title would be confirmed once he paid a fee to confirm the area and improvements, and this last cheque had been cleared. But afterwards, the sellers denied having sold the land. A lower court decided against Mr. Muta`arifi, and the case was referred to the Provincial court of review. According to Mr. Muta`arifi, the review court judge initially overturned the lower court ruling, but later said that this was a mistake and referred the case to another court, which ruled that the land should be confiscated. Mr. Muta`arifi has been allowed to retain 3552 square meters, which he says is not suitable for use due to its location. The confiscated land had 17,000 mature trees and vines: pistachio nuts, olives, pine trees, grapes, pomegranates and others. Mr. Muta`arifi was not permitted to remove his belongings and implements from the land.

Mr. Muta`arifi had also written to an advisor to the President, who passed his letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, who said that this was a political case, and they could not interfere.

Mr. Muta`arifi introduced the first pressurized irrigation system in the province, and planted the first olive trees. He has received several awards from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Development, and a recognition from the international Food and Agriculture Organisation. According to another report, by the Campaign against the harassment of Bahais, the farm employed about seven staff, some of whom lived on the land with their families.

Mr. Muta`arifi said that his only concern was to serve the people of Iran, and his only fear was that the trees would be left to dry out and die. In January, 2010, Mr. Muta`arifi’s license to run an animal husbandry unit was revoked by the Department of Agricultural Development, who levelled accusations which Mr. Muta`arifi denied.

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October 17, 2015

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

Iran Press Watch, October 16, 2015.

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

Persian report (Bahai News)
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October 7, 2015

Baha’i child expelled from a private school in Karaj


Iran Press Watch, October 1, 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 10, 2015

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


HRANA, September 10, 2015.

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

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

September 9, 2015

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi arrested again in Sanandaj


HRANA, September 9, 2015.

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 66-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 8. Four agents raided his home and seized CD’s, books, pictures and other items relating to the Bahai Faith.

On 12 July 2015, a Baha’i, Mrs. Baji Muhammadifard passed away and her family sought a burial permit to inter her body in the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. This was refused, with the officials insisting that Mrs. Muhammadifar’s body be laid to rest in the Baha’i cemetery in Qorveh, a town located 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. During and after the difficulties with burying Mrs. Muhammadifar, Bahais in Sanandaj approached a number of officials such as the Friday Prayer Leader and the Public Prosecutor, regarding the burial, and it is thought that the latest arrest may be intended to stifle protests regarding the burial.

Mr. Ra’ufi was arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime [followed according to my information by 6 months in exile ~Sen]. 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.

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September 5, 2015

Three Bahais tried in Golestan Province

Bahai News (Facebook), September 3, 2015.

A court in Golestan Province (Northern Mazandaran region, capital city Gorgan) has tried three Bahais on charges of “propaganda against the regime.” Their names are given as Soudabeh Mehdinezhad ( سودابه مهدی نژاد ), Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), who was also reported to have been tried on July 3, and Nazi Tahqiqi (نازی تحقیقی). They are among 20 Bahais who were arrested in the Province in October, 2012, and later released on bail.

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August 27, 2015

Officials shut off ‘Bahai’ water supply to Dazgareh township

Filed under: Bahai rights — Sen @ 10:12
Tags: , , , , ,

Iran Press Watch, August 26, 2015.

On Monday 24 August, officials shut off the water supply for residents of the small town of Dazgareh in Semnan province. The water comes from a well dug with a legal permit 25 years ago, and given to the town by the Khanjani Family. The family are Bahais. The police, Revolutionary Guards Corps, and Intelligence and Security agents of the water authority and other officials, including Mr. Ehsani, head of the Intelligence service, were in attendance. They had a special expedited order to destroy the well, and used heavy construction machinery. Work continued to 2:00 am in the morning.

Several members of the Khanjani family have been imprisoned for their Bahai beliefs, their property has been confiscated and factories and businesses belonging to family members have been closed down. Intelligence and Security agents had previously destroyed a dirt dam built with a legal permit for the purpose of generating electricity, cutting electric power to the area. One piece of land that was given to one of the members of this family thirty years ago was unjustly seized and given to the Revolutionary Guards. Officials have also destroyed their home, and the executive committee has issued an order to confiscate their lands and farms. The Municipal Security Council of the province, in the presence of the Governor Vakili, appointed by the Rouhani administration of “Prudence and Hope,” have declared the entire area in which the family’s ancestors have lived for generations a military zone. Revolutionary Guard monitors criss-cross the area, and only particular individuals may visit the family property and stay a few hours, or at most a few days. The pressures started during the Ahmadinejad government and continue to the present.

Full translation at Iran Press Watch
Persian report at Campaign against harassment of Bahais

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August 20, 2015

Details of Bahai businesses closed in Kerman province


Bahai News (Persian), August 15, 2015.

Bahai News reports on a number of Bahai businesses in the Province of Kerman that have been shut down by authorities because they were closed on Bahai Holy Days. In November 2014, when Bahais in Iran were celebrating the Birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, close to 90 Bahai-run businesses in Vila Shahr, Nashtarud, and the southern region of Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft were closed by the authorities. No dates are given in the latest report, but these closures appear to be in addition to those previously reported, and are certainly in addition to the 12 closures in Rafsanjan — also in Kerman Province — that were reported on May 1, 2015. The new report gives a picture of how the Bahais in Iran try to make a living, given that they are excluded from government service, most professions, and work in many economic sectors (see the summary of the apartheid rules for Bahais here.) The latest report lists premises for construction pipe sales, car radiator sales or repair, an automobile workshop, and curtain and clothing production, which have been closed by the office of commercial and public places for Kerman Province. The Office has asked the Bahais to sign an undertaking [not to close on Bahai Holy days] for which there is no legal basis. The report states that one of the purposes of the closures is to prevent the businesses developing their customer base, and “to create divisions among the Bahais.” [sic ]

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August 19, 2015

Amanullah Mostaqim’s medical furlough ends: back to Raja’i Shahr prison


Bahai News (Persian), August 18. 2015.

Amanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ) one of the imprisoned staff members of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, was returned to Raja’i Shahr prison on the morning of August 18. Mr. Mostaqim, a Bahai from Shiraz, is serving a 5-year sentence for educational activities. He had been free on medical leave since late April, 2015, as he suffers from diabetes and heart disease. Prison doctors have determined that prison and other stressful circumstances are a danger for him. He began serving his sentence on May 20, 2013, but he has had a number of periods in hospital during his time at Raja’i Shahr prison. Until this morning, it had been expected that his medical leave would be transformed into conditional release.

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