A New Year and a New Trick

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[Human Rights Activists of Iran filed the following report (No. 87-1032) on Wednesday, 17 September 2008, at http://www.hrairan.com/Archive_87/1055.html. Ahang Rabbani, translator.]

After announcing the results of the national college entrance examination in 2008, many of the Baha’i applicants noticed that instead of their grades, the notation “incomplete file” was listed against their names. However, like the previous years, a few Baha’i students were missed by the system and were able to receive their grades and enroll [in universities] in their chosen major.

Since the academic years 2006 and 2007, a few Baha’i students continue to be enrolled in universities and are receiving education. Most of those that entered college during these years though have been expelled and their efforts to be reinstated remain fruitless to this day.

Similarly this year, after a limited number of Baha’i applicants received their grades, it was expected that at least a few of them would be able to enter universities.

However, this year the authorities thought of a new scheme to prevent the Baha’is from entering institutions of higher education. That is, they made the university registration only available through Internet and the form for registration was given a box for religion, which offered five choices: Shiite, Sunni, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Jewish. If the student did not select one of these options, the computer system did not allow him to complete the registration process.

However, this scheme is against clauses 14, 3 and 9 of Article 3 of the Constitution and also contradicts Articles 19, 14, 20 and 30 of the same Constitution. For instance, Article 20 of the Constitution states:

All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria.

However, under their new scheme, the phrase, “All citizens of the country, both men and women” means only those that believe in one of the five religions mentioned on the university registration forms; otherwise the rest have no right to education.

Under the principles and teachings of the Baha’i Faith, dissimulation of one’s belief is not permitted. Therefore, to ask the Baha’is to make such a selection compels them to contemplate an act that stands contrary to their religious provisions and convictions.

In the years past, since the registration form for universities was on paper and required to be completed by hand, the Baha’i students could leave blank the box for religion or put a line through it and thereby secure a seat in their chosen educational institution – though of course at later stages they would be expelled anyway.

However, this year, in a more iniquitous and unfair way, a large number of the nation’s talents will remain behind the closed doors of universities and like previous years, no agency, organization or ministry would be willing to explain and respond this illegal and appalling development.

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