Sen's daily

September 22, 2017

115 Bahai students barred from universities in Iran


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Payam News (Facebook), September 19, 2017.
Radio Farda, September 20, 2017

As the results of the annual University Entrance Examination come in, at least 115 Bahai students are known to have received the message “Dear applicant, there’s a flaw in your dossier. Please contact the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency.” The number actually excluded this year is thought to exceed 200 — some for the first time, some who have been excluded in the past and who have taken the examination again this year. Some of the names that have been checked by Payam News are shown on the right.

The number of Bahais excluded or expelled from tertiary education since the 1979 revolution is believed to exceed 100,000. Iran’s educational apartheid policy was formalised in a 1991 decree which also sets out other measures intended to block their “progress and development.”

Farzad Safaei, an Open University student in the southwest city of Ahvaz; Vafa Hovaidaei, an Amir Kabir University student in Tehran; and Vesal Laqaeifar (pictured), an Amir Kabir University student in Tafresh are three Bahais deprived of their rights for education in recent months.

This was the second year that Foad, a Baha’i applicant, received the message. “I have not yet visited the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency this year. However, last year I had a long discussion with one of the agency’s officials, who told me I was denied entry on the orders of security agents of the Intelligence [Ministry],” he told Radio Farda.

Foad quoted the official as saying, “Therefore, we cannot let you enter a university,” and added, “When I asked the reason behind it, the official said, ‘They have disqualified you because of your faith.’ ”

The answer was not good enough for Foad. “I asked the official to respond to my enquiry in writing. He wrote down my address and telephone number, saying, ‘We’ll send your request to the Intelligence [Ministry] and will let you know if we receive an answer.’ ”

“I never received any answer,” Foad added.

Another Iranian Bahai, Omid, who successfully participated in this year’s national university admission contest but was denied entering a university, told Radio Farda, “Yesterday, I went to the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency. They introduced me to an expert who was there exclusively for Bahai student cases. They didn’t respond to my enquiry in writing but told me I do not have the right to enter a university because of my belief in the Baha’i faith.”

A Bahai nicknamed Maryam, who used to study at Tehran’s Beheshti University, told Radio Farda, “They did not deliver me anything in writing. They simply closed down my site and, after two semesters, tried me in absentia and expelled me from the university. I called them to find out why I was deprived of continuing my studies. They did not tell me why.”

Maryam had no choice other than to visit the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency. “There, I discussed my case with the members of the Central Appraisal Board. They said, ‘You know that you are a Baha’i and Bahais do not have the right to education.’ I was deprived of further education solely because my school of thought is different. They insisted the only way for me to return to the university was to write a letter saying I had converted to Islam and rejected Baha’ism.”

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January 18, 2017

Six Bahai students expelled in Rudehen


Bahai News (Persian), January 17, 2017.

On December 31, 2016, six students were expelled from the Islamic Free University in Ruhdehen (Roodehen), because of their Bahai beliefs. After confirming their identity (as enrolled students), Sana Hourbakht (ثنا هوربخت), Janahgir Hedayati (جهانگیر هدایتی) and four others who have not given permission to use their names found they were blocked from the student’s part of the university web site and, after various efforts to follow up on this, found that their expulsion was directly related to the head of the University’s security department.

Sana Hourbakht sat the national University Entrance examination in the previous academic year, and was faced with the “incomplete file” excuse that is used to bar Bahai students from universities, but he was nevertheless able to enroll at the Free University to study architectural engineering. But on December 28 he, like the other five Bahai students at the university, found his personal page had been blocked and that he no longer had user access as a student.

Janahgir Hedayati was in his fifth semester of a degree in Computers and Applications, and just two weeks before his expulsion the Chancellor of the Free University had awarded him a wall plaque (pictured above) in recognition of his academic excellence. He too sat the national University Entrance examinations and received only the result “file incomplete,” but was able to enroll at the university as a “free” student, without UE results.

The other expelled students likewise had given their religion as “Bahai” on enrolling, and found they were expelled when they were blocked from the university web site. There is no evidence of who took the decision or blocked their accounts, but only university officials have that access to the web site. When they followed up, the Chancellor’s office told them to go to the Security Department [which is an arm of the Ministry of Intelligence, not controlled by the University ~ Sen]. when they went to the Security Department, their mobile phones were confiscated [to prevent them recording the interview ?] and the Head of Security told them “do not come to the University, you know why you have been expelled.” From the University Administration they learned that the officials there had no idea why they had been expelled, only that there was a red star beside their names in the list of students. The officials said to ask the Security Office what it meant.

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

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

January 17, 2017

Bahai student expelled in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), January 15, 2017.

Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیلی), a student in the 7th semester of a degree in Graphic Design at the Eram non-profit private university in Shiraz, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. On January 8, during the end of term examinations, an examination official contacted her to say that the National Organisation for Educational Testing had said she was not eligible for examinations. When she asked the reason, she was told to contact Mr. Nourbaksh (آقاي نور بخش), at the head office of NOET in Tehran. When she asked the Chancellor of the University why she was expelled, he said she contact NOET. She did so, travelling to Tehran to see Mr. Nourbaksh, he said he had been contacted by the Ministry of Intelligence, and was not responsible for the decision.

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

January 15, 2017

Bahai student expelled in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian), January 16, 2017.

Ma’ideh As-sadat Hosseini-rad (مایده السادات حسینی راد), a Bahai from Isfahan, has been expelled from university because of her Bahai beliefs. She was not given any documentation of her expulsion, or evidence of the grades she had achieved.

Following the national university entrance examinations she was excluded from study, with the excuse of “incomplete file,” but she was able to resolve that issue (the details are not specified) through contact with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, allowing her to enrol at the Technical University of Isfahan to study mathematics and statistics. But following the examinations at the end of the first semester she was excluded from the University’s web site and contacted to say that the National Organisation had not confirmed her eligibility to enrol, and she should go to the Organisation with any questions. When she did go to the Organisation, accompanied by her mother, for an interview with the head of student selections. He said the issue was a long-standing one, and that he was a supporter of the Bahais, to which Miss Hosseini-rad replied that there had been no improvement in the situation for Bahais over the years. He said the fault lay with the Ministry of Intelligence, not the Ministry of Science and Technology.

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

January 12, 2017

Another student expelled in Shiraz


HRANA, January 12, 2017.

Nazanin Niku-seresht ( نازنین نیکو سرشت), a student of English Literature at the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Shiraz University, has been expelled after two and a half months of study because of her Bahai beliefs. On December 28, 2016, when she checked the University web site to see her grades, she found the list was blank. When she enquired at the Faculty, she was told the University’s central administration had sent a letter saying her university studies had been stopped. The letter was signed by Dr. Muhammad-`Ali Masnadi Shiraz (محمدعلی مسندی شیراز), the head of educational affairs at the University. University officials said the decision was made by the Lecturer and Student Selection Committee in Tehran on December 12, and covered the expulsion of six students [for various reasons]. She was told she would have to contact the Committee for further details, but was not allowed a copy of the letter.

Mrs. Niku-seresht was one of the 129 Bahai university applicants who were rejected this academic year, with the excuse “incomplete file.” But she enquired about the nature of the “incomplete file,” and in the meantime was able to enroll and begin studies. Her further enquiries to the national body responsible for the university entrance requirements received not answer. But when she looked at Shiraz University, where she had applied, she found her name on the list of new students. She chose her courses and was given a student number and ID card.

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

December 28, 2016

Bahai student expelled in Yazd


Iran Press Watch, November 29, 2016.

Raha Sedaqat (رها صداقت), a Bahai from Yazd, has been expelled from university because of her religion.

According to reports and Raha herself: “After participating in my college entry exam, I was told my academic record had deficiencies, like other Bahai students. However, a few days later, I received a message from the State University of Yazd to register, and so I began my studies at Yazd University, until the day I went for my midterm exams and was unable to find my name or seat number in the student roster. The next day, when I inquired about this, I was told that they had received an urgent and confidential letter from the national University Assessment authorities for my immediate expulsion, as well as three other students. At the end of the meeting, they took my student ID and expelled me.”

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

Expulsion of Bahai High School student


Iran Press Watch, December 5, 2016.

Bardia Rouhu’l-Fada (بردیا روح الفدا), a 15-year-old Bahai boy, has been expelled from Komayl boys high school in Rasht because of his belief in the Bahai Faith. [It would appear that this happened early in September, during the re-enrollment process. Secondary education in Iran is divided into 3 years of lower secondary school followed by up to 3 years of upper secondary schooling, beginning at about 15 years. The school (incorrectly identified in one report) appears to be an orthodox religious school, the Dabirestan Shahid Komayl ~Sen] Two other high schools in Rasht also refused to register him. He is currently being home-schooled.

A source close to his family stated that: “Bardia’s father was asked by the Principal of the high school to fill out the registration form again. When he came to the religion section of the form, the Principal asked him not to mention that he is a Bahai, although Bardia’s father had previously mentioned that his son is a Bahai. The Principal told him that this high school is one of the exemplary public schools, and so he had to expel his son.”

His father then went to the Education Department, but officials there refused to give him a document that would state that being a Bahai was the reason for his son’s expulsion. According to this source, “Sanayeh Poushesh High School told his father that they did not have room for his son; Mulla Sadra and Shahid Raja’i High Schools recommended that his father not state that he is a Bahai. Contesting this, Bardia’s father said, “You mean I have to lie?” And they replied, “Yes, you have to lie. Otherwise, your son cannot continue his education.”

After Bardia was expelled from high school, his classmates were upset about his expulsion, and they gave him a standing ovation as he was leaving the school.

Within the past month, more than two thousand Bahai citizens have written to Hasan Rohani, and have asked for the improvement of educational conditions for the Bahais in Iran. From the Islamic Revolution in Iran to date, more than one hundred thousand Bahais have been prevented from continuing their education in Universities and Technical Institutes (Tertiary education). In recent years, a number of Bahais or those born into Bahai families have also been denied education in elementary, middle school and high school. This has been based on a Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution dated February 25, 1991, under which Bahais are excluded from tertiary education or employment in government bodies. According to this text, “The government’s dealings with them must be such that their progress and development are blocked.” “They can be enrolled in schools provided they have not identified themselves as Bahais. Preferably, they should be enrolled in schools which have a strong and imposing religious ideology.

The last two clauses are contradictory: Bahai children are required to identify themselves so that they can be directed to enrol especially in schools that emphasise religious orthodoxy, but having identified themselves as Bahais they should be excluded from school! This appears to be the issue here: in accordance with government policy the Bahai family has registered with an orthodox religious school, but these are just the schools that do not want Bahai students.

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

December 27, 2016

Student couple expelled from university for Bahai beliefs


Bahai News (Persian), December 23, 2016.

Azadeh Dhulfaqari (آزاده ذوالفقاری) and Masoud Qadirzadeh (مسعود قدیرزاده), a young Bahai couple studying in Yazd, have been expelled from the Payam-e Nour University because of their religious beliefs. On November 14, 2016, they enrolled in courses on medical engineering and accounting. Some time later, after they had chosen their units and paid the fees, it was noticed that the registration form, which they had not filled in themselves, said that they were Muslims. When they went to the University Rector [to correct this], the Rector consulted with the University’s security department [answering to the Ministry of Intelligence], and they were expelled.

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

November 15, 2016

Bahai student Danial Kheradmand expelled from university


Iran Press Watch, November 12, 2016.

Danial Kheradmand (دانیال خردمند), a Bahai from Tehran, secured admission to the University of Sari on 10 September 2016 to study accounting. Classes began on the first of October. In the first week of November his name was removed from the student list because of his Bahai beliefs. After following up the case with the university administration, he was told that the university was asked to stop cooperating with him.

During the current year at least 129 Bahai students, after successfully passing the University Entrance Exam (Concours) in 2016, were prevented from continuing their education because they believe in the Bahai Faith. Some were allowed to commence their studies, but after being identified as Bahais they were expelled from their universities. [I have been unable to keep pace, on Sen’s Daily, with the reports of these expulsions and exclusions.]

The exclusion of Bahais from higher education is based on a document, dated the 2nd of February 1991, approved by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. This document states that Bahais are not permitted to work in any government establishment, or to continue their education in higher institutions of learning.

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

October 11, 2016

129 Bahai students barred from higher education

Iran Press Watch, October 9, 2016.

In a continuation of the pattern of previous years, at least 129 Bahai students (as of September 18) have been denied the right to register at a university in Iran using the excuse of “incomplete file”. These are students who have gained adequate grades in the national University Entrance examination; it does not include those barred from sitting the examination, for example by not sending them exam registration cards, or who were given no grades when they did sit. It includes Bahai students who have been excluded in previous years, and sit the examination again. (Because of this, the figure cannot be used to guess the size of the Bahai community in Iran ~Sen) The Iran Press Watch article includes a review of the ways Bahais have been excluded from Higher Education since 1979.

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

May 20, 2016

Two Bahai students expelled and two businesses closed in Kashan

Bahai News (Persian), May 18, 2016.

Mahsa Elahian (مهسا الهیان), a Bahai student in the third semester of a degree in English language and literature, has been expelled from the Payem-e Nour University in Kashan. University officials asked her why she had listed her religion as “other” in the application forms, to which she replied that her religion was not one of those mentioned in the form. She was then expelled.

On April 25, another Bahai student, Laden Foroughi (لادن فروغی) was also expelled because of his religious beliefs. He was expelled from the Payam-e Nour campus at Natanz, about an hour south of Kashan, where he was studying Accounting.

On May 10, the optician’s shop of Behman Elahian (بهمن الهیان) in Kashan was closed by local authorities, because he had no business licence and was a Bahai. The optician’s shop of Arash Dhabiheyan (آرش ذبیحیان) was closed for the same reasons on May 17.

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

February 25, 2016

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.

 

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

 

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

 

December 31, 2015

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

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

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

May 15, 2015

Another Bahai student expelled from university


Farzan Faramarzi blog, May 14, 2015.

Samim Dukuhaki (صمیم دوکوهکی), a Bahai student of music at the Beyda campus of the Azad University, was expelled from the University on March 1, 2015 because of his religious beliefs. He had completed one semester of study. The campus is in Fars Province.

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

February 11, 2015

Court rejects complaint of several Bahai students

HRANA, February 10, 2015.

Following the announcement of results from Iran’s national secondary school graduation exam for this academic year, many Bahai youth who achieved good marks, sufficient for entry even to the best of the state-controlled universities, found they were rejected from university due to “defects in the file.” Some of these students filed a legal complaint, which after overcoming various obstacles was actually received and considered by Branch One of the Administrative Court. This court deals with complaints, grievances and protests lodged against officers or government entities, or challenges to government regulations. The Bahai students’ complaint was however rejected. The court, which is reported to have been headed by the President of the Administrative Courts for all of Iran, based its ruling on a decree of the Council for the Cultural Revolution, issued shortly after the 1979 Revolution, which bars Bahais from higher education in government-run institutions. The court did not provide any written decision to the students or their lawyer, and the court records do not contain any mention of the fact that the complainants were Bahais, but rather refer to the general conditions of admission.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, has publicly stated that “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Bahai Faith merely based on being Bahais, as they believe that based on the Iranian Constitution every individual has the same rights and cannot be deprived of constitutional rights.” Nevertheless, hundreds of Bahai students have been barred from entering universities in Iran, or expelled from university when their religious beliefs became known. Moreover the Bahai Open University (BIHE), established to offer education to those excluded from government-supervised institutions, has been raided and closed down, and its administrators and teachers have been imprisoned.

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

January 19, 2015

Bahai student expelled from Technical University in Ramsar

Fariba Kamalabadi” (public figure Facebook page), January 19, 2015.

On January 11, Bahrad Adhargan (بهراد آذرگان), a student of Electrical Engineering at the Mulla Sadra Technical University in Ramsar, in the Mazandaran province of Iran, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. However he was able to study for five semesters. Apparently it took this long for the university administration to notice that in his application form, following the question “Religion?” he had written “Of course.” The university then summoned him to the office of the Chancellor, to ask what he meant, and what religion he followed. Mr Adhargan said that he was a Bahai. They were surprised, and within the hour Mr. Adhargan had been expelled, without any documentation of the reason, or any academic records showing his results over five semesters.

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

January 12, 2015

Bahai student expelled from the University of Mazandaran

HRANA, January 12, 2015.

Noura Mesami (نورا مسمی), a Bahai student of software engineering at the University of Mazandaran, has been expelled from the university at the end of her first semester of studies. She had honestly stated her religion as “Bahai” in her application, and was excluded from the end of term examinations.

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

January 3, 2015

Several Bahais arrested in Abadeh

HRANA, January 2, 2015.

On December 29, 2014, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Farshid Rastegar (فرشید رستگار) and a number of Bahai students who had gathered in his home in Abadeh, a town approximately halfway between Isfahan and Shiraz. As in other recent cases, the agents posed as postmen to gain entry to the house, and they did not have a search warrant or arrest warrants. They searched the house, and arrested Mr. Rastegar and the others present, who were all students of the Bahai Open University (BIHE). Mr. Rastegar has been helping students in the Abadeh area who are studying at the Bahai Open University, an institution designed to offer tertiary courses in certain subject to students who are excluded from licenced universities in Iran because of their religious beliefs. The youth who were arrested on December 29 were released next day, but Mr. Rastegar was held for two days, and was questioned mainly about the Bahai Open University.

Abadeh was the scene of large-scale raids on Bahai homes, and threats to the safety of Bahais, reported on this blog in October 2013.

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

November 8, 2014

Bahai student expelled in Miandoab

Jabari-Adhar
Campaign to stop harassment of Bahai citizens (facebook), November 9, 2014,

On October 7, a Bahai student whose name is variously given as Faran or Farab Jabari Adhar (فاراب( فاران) جباری آذر) was told verbally that he had been expelled from the Miandoab campus of the Payam-e Nour University because of his Bahai beliefs. He had completed four semesters of a degree in hydraulic and soil engineering. His family’s efforts to obtain written evidence of his expulsion have been fruitless, although there was a verbal announcement that his expulsion was on account of his being a Bahai.

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

September 25, 2014

Iranian MP abuses a group of Bahai students


Taghato, September 24, 2014.

Ali Reza Mahjoub (علی‌رضا محجوب)[*], an Iranian Member of Parliament who has been reelected several terms for the ‘reformist’ faction, insulted a number of the Bahai students who have been excluded from tertiary education, who were visiting him in his office. He called them terrorists and gunmen and expelled them from his office. One of the students, the 18-year-old Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh (روحیه صفاجو), described the meeting on her facebook page on September 23. She writes that as the meeting began, one of the eight Bahai students greeted Mr. Mahjoub, saying “Salam.” He did not respond with Salam [as both social norms and religious teachings require], but rather asked “Has Bahaism become a religion?” [In this context, ‘Bahaism’ is not intentionally insulting ~Sen]
Mrs. Sefajuh responded on behalf of the eight students, “We are not talking about religion, we have come to say that we are Iranians and we have a right to education. I was expelled, and now my daughter is not even accepted at university.”
Mr. Mahjoub, who had closed his eyes, answered, “Don’t change the subject. Give me an answer. Is Bahaism a religion?”
Mrs. Sefajuh replied, “Yes, Bahaism is a religion.”
Mr. Mahjoub raised his voice and began insulting the things Bahais hold dear, and would not allow any of those present to speak. However Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh asked quietly if she could speak for a few moments, which only elicited a louder and even more angry reaction. Mr. Mahjoub said “All you try to achieve is terrorism [the word is also used in Iran for assassins], you’re all getting your pistols.” To Miss Sefajuh he shouted, “Get out, get out!”
Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh replied, “I won’t go. My own father has not shouted at me, these eighteen years. What right do you have to shout at me?”
Mrs. Sefajuh continued her account of the meeting, writing that ‘Mr. Mahjoub began shouting again, saying “What business do you have with me? What is it you want ?” I said very quickly, “This does have to do with you. You expelled my father, my mother was not even allowed to sit [the University Entrance exam], so here I am.” Mr. Mahjoub shouted, “Is that my fault? Get out!”
Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh began to cry, and they left Mr. Mahjoub’s office.

About two weeks ago, 360 Bahais who were excluded from tertiary education in previous years wrote an open letter to President Rouhani, reminding him of his campaign promises regarding civil rights, and said that the way examination results had been withheld from a large number of Bahai university candidates was a sign of his reluctance to admit Bahai students to universities.

[* Mr. Mahjoub was the only reformist MP to be relected in the Tehran district in the 2012 elections, when there was a strong swing to conservative candidates. He is active in labour market affairs and heads the “Worker’s House.” He has opposed subsidy reforms.]

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


September 13, 2014

Numerous excluded students give the lie to Larijani

MJLarijani
Editorial, September 13, 2014.

This year, as in previous years, Bahai high school graduates who have achieved the necessary passes in Iran’s nationwide university entrance examinations are being refused entry to universities across the country because of their religious beliefs. However this year they are being excluded without documentation: their educational records have the message “write to PO Box so-and-so” or “refer to PO Box so-and-so” in place of examination grades. This phrase, inserted in their educational records, amounts to a coded message for educational institution, which will be understood as saying, “this is a Bahai, do not admit him or her.” An example of this was given on this blog on August 4. A similar procedure has been followed where a student who is already enrolled becomes a Bahai or is discovered to be a Bahai: they are told to make enquiries at an office, where they are informed verbally that they have been expelled because they are Bahais. The example of Yalda Na’imeyan ( یلدا نعیمیان) was reported on this blog on September 7

Another innovation this year is that Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, has publicly stated that “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Baha’i faith merely based on being Bahais, as they believe that based on the Iranian Constitution every individual has the same rights and cannot be deprived of constitutional rights.” “Those who claim to have been deprived of studying at university due to being a Bahai” should “send your documentation for follow-up.” (Translated by Iran Press Watch) Any Bahai who did have such documentation, from previous years when expulsions were sometimes announced in writing, would be very foolish to send it to the “Human Rights Council.” That would be inviting a prison term. Resilient as always, the Bahai students and human rights organisations have been documenting and publishing the stories of individual Bahai students, providing irrefutable evidence for those able to access human rights web sites that Mr. Larijani is lying. They may not say “lying” in as many words (Bahais generally are polite to a fault), but that’s what it amounts to. There are too many stories for me to translate them all, but I am collecting the names and photographs below: click on the photograph for the source in Persian.

Anahita Etahadi
(آناهیتا اتحادی)

Noura Sabet
(نورا ثابت)

Tara Houshmand
(تارا هوشمند)

Shadi Shirazi
(شادان شیرازی)

Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh (روحیه صفاجو)

Ruhiyyeh Sefajuh
(روحیه صفاجو)


Dorsa Dehqani (درسا دهقانی)

Dorsa Dehqani
(درسا دهقانی)

Nilofar Mazidi( نیلوفر مزیدی)

Nilofar Mazidi
( نیلوفر مزیدی)

Sarmad Shadabi
(سرمد شادابی)

 

Dr. Mohammad Maleki (محمد ملکی), former president of the University of Tehran, and Muhammad Nourizad (seated) meet some of the excluded students (photo Radio Yek Jahan)

Dr. Mohammad Maleki (محمد ملکی), former President of the University of Tehran, and Muhammad Nourizad (محمد نوری‌زاد, seated 3rd from right) meet some of the excluded students (photo Radio Yek Jahan)

 

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

September 6, 2014

Bahai student expelled from university in Miandoab


PCED (facebook page), September 7, 2014.

Yalda Na’imeyan ( یلدا نعیمیان), a student at the Payam-e Nur University in Miandoab, has been expelled from the university after five semesters of study because of her Bahai beliefs. Her expulsion took place on May 17, 2014, but has only just been reported. Her efforts to obtain a written statement of the reasons for her expulsion have been fruitless. The University branch in Miandoab referred her to the head office in Tehran. She could not obtain a written statement there either. However a worker at the head office in Tehran told her that the head of the Payame-e Nur University of Azarbayjan province expelled her because of her Bahai beliefs.

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


August 18, 2014

Bahai war veteran unable to enrol children at school in Shiraz

Martyr-Khonsari-Shiraz
HRANA, August 18, 2014.

The administration at the government-run Martyr Khonsari secondary school in Shiraz has refused to enrol the children of Behrouz Farzandi Ardekani (بهروز فرزندی اردکانی) because the family are Bahais. Mr. Ardekani is a war veteran who has been classified as having more than 25% disability. Their actions are in contravention of explicit legislation regarding civil rights, the right to education and the ban on investigating people’s religious beliefs.

Moreover, Mr. Ardekani provided a copy of an official letter stating that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa stating the Bahai ex-POWs and disabled veterans are entitled to the rights of other veterans and ex-POWs. Nevertheless, the school administration and the Department of Education have continued to refuse to enrol the children of this Bahai family. Numerous Bahai youth have also been denied entry to tertiary education in Iran, or have been expelled when their religious beliefs were discovered.

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


August 5, 2014

Bahai university candidates again denied results

HRANA, August 4, 2014.

As in previous years, numerous Bahais who sat Iran’s university entrance examinations this year have been denied their examination results, and are therefore excluded from tertiary education. In previous years, Bahai school-leavers have found the cryptic “application incomplete” on their university entrance results. This year, the Bahai students have received the message “write to PO Box so-and-so” or “refer to PO Box so-and-so” in place of examination grades. This phrase, inserted in their educational records, amounts to a coded message for educational institution, which will be understood as saying, “this is a Bahai, do not admit him or her.”

click the pen

See also:
A note from the heart … translation by Iran Press Watch


Although President Rouhani of Iran promised, before his election, to address the exclusion of some citizens from tertiary education, there are no signs of any progress. It should be borne in mind that many of the senior staff at the Ministry of Science and the Organisation for Educational Assessment were appointed under President Ahmadinejad.

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


August 3, 2014

Iqan Shahidi granted a 6-day furlough


HRANA, July 29, 2014.

Iqan Shahidi ( ایقان شهیدی ), a Bahai active in the struggle for equal educational opportunities who is serving a 5-year sentence as a prisoner of conscience in Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran, has been granted six days of leave from prison, beginning on July 28.

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


June 24, 2014

Leva Khanjani free


HRANA, June 24, 2014

Leva Khanjani ( لواء خانجانی ), a Bahai excluded from tertiary education, has been freed from Evin prison after serving most of a two-year sentence. She was arrested on January 3, 2010, along with her husband Babak Mobasher, on the pretext that they had participated in street protests following the 2009 elections. She began serving her sentence in Evin Prison, in Tehran, on August 25, 2012. Leva Khanjani is granddaughter of Jamaleddin Khanjani (جمالدین خانجانی), one of seven Bahai facilitators (Yaran) who were sentenced to 20 years in prison after their May 2008 arrest. Her brother Fu’ad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی) was sentenced to four years in prison by Tehran Revolutionary Court on January 17, 2012. Both Jamaleddin and Fu’ad Khanjani are now serving their sentences inside Raja’i Shahr Prison.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21H

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


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