The Epic, Secret Struggle to Educate Iran's Bahais
The Chronicle of Higher Education / Sohrab Ahmari

The Salvadoran jurist Reynaldo Galindo Pohl died this year at age 93. A former education minister and president of El Salvador's National Constitutional Assembly, Pohl spent much of his career pressing for human rights, first as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and later as his country's ambassador to the United Nations. News of his death barely registered outside Latin American diplomatic circles. But the more than seven million global adherents of the Bahai faith marked it with deep sadness. They remembered Pohl as the tireless diplomat who shed light on the persecution of their co-religionists in the Islamic Republic of Iran at a time when few others were paying attention.

From 1986 to 1994, Pohl served as the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special representative on Iran. The Iranian regime, he found, was subjecting its largest non-Muslim religious minority to a systematic campaign of cultural eradication. In 1993, Pohl disclosed a chilling memorandum written by Seyyed Mohammad Golpaygani, then secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. The Golpaygani memorandum, as it came to be known, set out a national policy for dealing with the "Bahai question." The Iranian government, Golpaygani forthrightly recommended, must ensure that "progress and development are blocked" for Bahais.

The centerpiece of the policy was an express ban on Bahais' obtaining postsecondary education. They "must... >>>

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