Iran Targets Baha'is Again: Murder with Impunity


by bordbar

by Paul Marshall

The Iranian government is currently intensifying its persecution of its largest religious minority, the Baha'is. This reveals something of the government's nature, and also sheds light on the hotly debated question: Does the regime remain a revolutionary one, or has it become instead a "normal country," one that, despite its fervent rhetoric, aspires only to international acceptance and regional power?

The regime has always persecuted the Baha'is, of whom 300,000 (out of some 5 million worldwide) still live in Iran. The Baha'i religion was founded in Iran in the mid-1800s, and the regime demonizes its adherents as heretics or apostates from Islam, who therefore should have no legal status or protection and who should be eradicated. However, its program in the 1980s of murder and imprisonment drew too much international attention and condemnation. So the government decided to pursue a strategy of slow strangulation.

The current campaign has its specific roots in a confidential Iranian government document sent in 1991 to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by Muhammad Golpaygani, secretary of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council. Following Khamenei's "recent directives," and approved by then-President Rafsanjani, it outlined a plan gradually to choke the Baha'i community. They were not usually to be subject to further arrests or deportations from the country: Henceforth the government was to ensure that "their progress and development are blocked." They could be enrolled in schools but only if they "have not identified themselves as Baha'is." They were to be expelled from universities altogether. They could have jobs only on condition that they not "identify themselves as Baha'is," and, if employed, must have only "a modest livelihood" and be denied "any position of influence." Khamenei added a handwritten note to the directive expressing his approval, thus conferring on it the status of an official decree. (These and other documents have been made available by the Baha'i community--see

The regime continued to persecute the Baha'is, as well as other religious minorities, and parts of this plan were carried out--including their exclusion from universities and many jobs. But now the government's program has entered a more intensive and systematic phase. An October 29, 2005, confidential letter sent on Khamenei's instructions by Major General Hossein Firuzabadi, chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces, ordered the Ministry of Information, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Police Force to "acquire a comprehensive and complete report" to identify all Baha'is.

On August 19, 2006, Mohammad-Reza Mavvalizadeh, director of the Ministry of the Interior's Political Office, ordered provincial governors' security officers to monitor Baha'i "social activities" and sent out a questionnaire to collect details of Baha'i incomes and occupations, and even burial locations. At about the same time, referring to the 1991 plan, Asghar Zari'i, director general of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology's Central Security Office, ordered 81 universities to expel any Baha'i students and report back to confirm that they had done so.

On April 9, 2007, the province of Tehran's headquarters for intelligence and security sent a letter from Revolutionary Guard Colonel Husayni to provincial police forces telling them to review any Baha'i-held business licenses and exclude Baha'is from "high earning" and "sensitive" areas. With paranoid scope, "sensitive" areas include not only "newspaper and periodical shops," "publishing and bookselling," and "Internet cafes," but also "jewelry and watch making, coffee shops, gravures, the tourist industry, car rentals, hotel management, and tailoring and training institutes."

Because Baha'is are held, as apostates, to be religiously unclean, they were also to be banned from "catering at reception halls," restaurants and cafes, grocery stores, pastry, coffee, and kebab shops, and ice cream parlors. Finally, for reasons unclear, they must be excluded from "stamp making," "childcare," and "real estate," as well as cultural areas.

Baha'is are under other pressures. They are vilified in the media. Banks are closing their accounts and refusing loans. This summer in Kermanshah, according to an account on, "a 70-year-old man was sentenced to 70 lashes and a year in prison for 'propagating and spreading Bahaism and the defamation of the pure Imams.' In Mazandaran, a court has once again ruled against three women and a man who are charged with 'propagation on behalf of an organization which is anti-Islamic.'" On September 9 and 10, the government bulldozed one of their cemeteries near Isfahan, while in Yazd in July another was extensively damaged by earth-moving equipment.

In May 2006, 54 Baha'is were arrested in Shiraz, the largest roundup since the 1980s. Over the last two years, some 129 have been arrested, released on bail, and are now awaiting trial. In many cases, high bail demands have required Baha'is to hand over business or work licenses and deeds to property. There are also threats from vigilante groups such as the uneuphemistic "Association Hostile to Apostate Baha'is," which has threatened the life of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi for her defense of them.

These events clearly demonstrate that the Iranian regime is vicious even toward gentle, peaceful, and apolitical people. But they also show that the government remains afraid of international opprobrium on this and other points. The 2006 directive ordered security officials to proceed "cautiously and carefully" lest too much notice be taken. There are additional indications that the regime, rather than being proud of what it claims are "Islamic principles," seems determined to hide them.

When asked about Baha'is in his September 24 National Press Club speech, President Ahmadinejad said merely that Iran recognizes only four "divine religions." He declined to mention or defend either the government's recent actions or the regime's longstanding "Laws of Islamic Punishment" under which Baha'is fall in the category of "murder with impunity" so that, if they are murdered, the state will not punish their killers. (At Columbia University, he showed similar shame about his country's draconian penal code in deflecting a question about Iran's intolerance of gays by asserting that there are no homosexuals in Iran. While proclaiming the glories of the Iranian model, he hid the fact that Articles 109 and 110 of its legal code prescribe the death penalty for male homosexual acts, while Articles 129 and 131 specify 100 lashes for women, with death for the fourth offense.)

But Iran's growing systematic campaign against Baha'is suggests something more. These regulations and restrictions are not haphazard but are systematically structured and, as such, are remarkably reminiscent of the Nazi Nuremberg Laws imposed against Jews in the 1930s. They are steps toward the destruction of a religious community, and they require the international condemnation and pressure that the Nuremberg Laws did not receive.

Iran's actions are reminiscent of the Nazis in another way: Even while under great internal and external pressure, the regime is still committed to diverting resources to pursue an ideological and religious campaign that conforms to no realist evaluation of any national interest. The mullahs' Iran is not a normal country.

From The Weekly Standard11/05/2007, Volume 013, Issue 08.

Paul Marshall is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.


Recently by bordbarCommentsDate From Hazf to Hefz
Jul 09, 2012
I am the change that I want to see
May 31, 2012
There are no others
Jul 24, 2011
more from bordbar

It is your right to know!

by rights (not verified) on

It has been the right and responsibility of all religions to teach and spread the Holy Words and the glad tidings to the masses. this right and duty is not particular to any religion. with the exception of a handful of faiths that are exclusive and do not teach.
We owe much of the happiness of the world to those souls who sacrificed themselves and spread the Word of God.
It is also the right of an individual to hear the massage, pure from its source, and decide on their own whether they are inclined to the message or wish to reject it.
no one should decide this for an individual but him or herself.
good luck


Bahai's do not collaborate with anyone!

by Tahirih (not verified) on

To "Bahi_Bashid" we do not collaborate with any country and when Bahaullah was exilled out of Iran in 1860 by Naseraldin shah's government he was sent to Iraq then Turkey then Palestin.Israel was formed in 1948,so,it is a coincinence that bahai holly places are happen to be in Israel. clergy in Iran have been spreding this rumor.Imam Hossein's shrine is in Iraq does it mean iranians are spys for Arabs?
To answer "no Religion":
Bahai's teach the principales of bahai faith because if you or anybody else had the cure for cancer would wanted to informed people of it.We belive,that Bahai principals has the cure for the diseases of humanity ,so we want to help everyone.This does not make us a cult.Just the word of cult is invented by clergy in Iran to cover peoples eyes to this faith.
All the messengers of God have been treated harshly by the clergy of the previous dispensation .


Poetry - How can I ?

by Gilmar Batista de Souza(brazilian bahá'í) (not verified) on

How can my heart cry
thinking about all brothers
under another distant sky
feeling so poor theyr shoulders!
How can my pen correctly write
a protest against the ignorance
that insist in a good way to die
without go to the feast and dance!
How can my eyes see that news
passing through the video as a show
that we can never turn just a few
or put it in a place below!
How can I?


My Role model says: 1) The

by ManNaManam (not verified) on

My Role model says:

1) The life is: having a belief and striving for it;
2) If you do not believe in god, at least be a free man - Free of arrogance, hatred, bigotry, ignorance and greed;
3) Hypocricy is like a black ant on a black rock in a dark night;

Live, let live and Peace for all humanity!


to AS

by Mehran (not verified) on

As, how much does the IRI embassy pays you to be such a pig? What did it take for you to sell out your country to a bunch of murderers. Why in your eyes do the life of other human beings are less precious than your stinking life? Why don't you tell us more about what you are about?

From the quality of disgusting words that you have used, it is obvious that you have been living in North America for some time. Why is it then that you have not been touched by their civilization and illuminated by their principles of human right and freedom and liberty for all?


to retarded "as" or "a.s."

by zendegi on

Closure: FOUL LANGUANGE is the speech of BRAINLESS, MINDLESS people.. No brain, no expectation.. Now sit down and again curse the entire world with your idiotic empty brain!!



Why Bahai's collaborate with Zionists against iranian nation?

by Bahi_Bashid (not verified) on

Zionists are our enemies. Why do bahais collaborate with them?


to Tahirih

by no-religion (not verified) on

You wrote :
..."bahai's do not have clergy"... true, however worse than just having one clergy, every person that is a bahai, or converts to bahaism, has to actively pursue others to become bahai. I find the concept of a "religion" an offensive doctrine to inteliggent thinking, designed like a cult, to make people behave certain way, and become close-minded.


Religion = Opiate of the

by Shaashidam to I.R.I. (not verified) on

Religion = Opiate of the masses
Islam = Prescription to make the worst of the best

Say no to any and all religions

Death to Islam

Piss on the flag of I.R.I., everything and anything it stands for.

Shit on memory of Khomeini Khamenei Khatami and face of Ahmadinejad.


we do not have any clergy!

by Tahirih (not verified) on

To "where is justice"
To answer your question,I have to say that, bahai's do not have clergy and bahai faith is the first religion that everyone should investigate by him or herself.So there is no position of power for the clergy.That's why from the birth of bahai faith clergy have been poisening people's mind about bahai faith and oposing it with such vengence.They have been fired by God and they could not handle it!
To this day they are preventing people to see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears.


Thank you Bordbar for this

by Seagull (not verified) on

Thank you Bordbar for this article.
The question of the Bahais of Iran has great implications on the future of our beloved Iran and our Iranian brothers and sisters.
Respecting the right of Bahais in Iran forms the very core of tolerance and social maturity needed to demonstrate to the world that She'i Iran is a progressive, tolerant and a civil nation and will protect and respect its citizens regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender and so forth.
God willing those who resort to murder and persecution and terror soon will open their eyes and realize that these violent, inhumane methods will neither protect nor bring glory to the very faith they cherish. This is the cause of misery to all who reside in Iran. Persecuting the innocent and the peaceful instill fears in the heart of the whole nation and subject the people to live in the shadow of fear never to dare to dream freedom.


To my Bandari friend

by kurd kermashan (not verified) on

Thanks for sharing your memory with us. Hope, we all see that day coming soon.


A boy was executed on Wednesday

by jos (not verified) on

Read about Makwan Moludzadeh's execution. recommend this page to your foreign friends. let them know what is happening in Iran



To the retarded "as"..

by zendegi on

To the retarded "as".. from a Muslim.. if you are Muslim, I am ashamed of my religion.. YOU are the embarrassment to humanity.. no doubt, one of the dehumanized puppets of the current government.. shake yourself man.. open your blind eyes.. Human is human regardless of religion, believe, gender, ethnicity, or any background. All deserve same equal rights to live.. YOU are a dishonor, disgrace, and a shame to humanity!!



by as (not verified) on

let's kill all the fucking baha'is. women, children...all.
a good baha'i is a dead baha'i.


Tell Paul Marshall to come to Iran

by Parviz (not verified) on

Paul Marshall should come to Iran and see that many Baha'is are doing just fine.

Look at what IRI is doing to Muslims. I know some Bahai's who have various shops and I asked them about the problems mentioned in this article, they were not aware of them.


Baha'is have bigger mouth in Europe and the U.S., that is WHY we hear about their problems.


Muslim on Muslim love!

by Kouroush Sassanian (not verified) on

Why are you all so surprised!


my dear kurdish friend

by bandari (not verified) on

my dear kurdish friend,
reading your comment moved me to tell you my memory.
In summer of 1979 I travelled through kurdestan with my family and I vividly remember how poor some of the villages appeared to be, compared to many other parts of Iran. it was obvious that kurdestan was neglected even at the time of the Shah.

But we had such wonderful time due to kindness and generosity of kurdish people, we even got invited to a wedding in Sanandaj.

One of my saddest memories of revolution is seeing the photo of kurdish fighters being executed. in that photo as i remember at least two were injured, one so badly that was still on a stretcher.

During the same period in early 1980, Mr. Bahar Vojdani was excuted, a kurd and a Baha'i, I think he was the first Baha'i to be executed after revolution. he was called in to the revolutionary court to give evidence in front of Khalkhali and when he found that he was a Baha'i, he instead ordered his execution.
in the few minutes that he had, he wrote his farewell to his family on the back of a biscute box, there was no time for him to defend himself in a court, a fate shared with many of his many kurdish brothers and sisters.
I pary for a day that all Iranians can live in freedom that we deserve, God knows that we all have suffered.


Another cruel act by this apartheid regime.....

by kurd kermashan (not verified) on

Bahai's are not the only ones who are being prosecuted...Other minorities such Kurds, Balouchs, and Azeri’s are treated the same way. This regime needs to be stopped. I don't understand why some people (apologist) still believe in a reform from within. This regime won’t be stopped peacefully.



by where is justice (not verified) on

why Bahai get treated so badly? this is insane?