[The following is a translation of a letter by Hulaku Rahmanian. This letter is on file at the office of Human Rights Activists of Iran and was published on Thursday, 4 September 2008, on the online site of Akhbar-Rooz: http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/news.jsp?essayId=16967. Ahang Rabbani, translator.]
I am Hulaku Rahmanian, a 19 year old Baha’i youth. During the academic year 2006-07, I majored in mathematics and physics in pre-university classes and intensely prepared myself for the upcoming national college entrance examination. I passed all the prerequisites with remarkable success and was hoping to receive an excellent ranking in the national exam.
I participated in the national exam of 2007. When preliminary results were announced, I learned that I had the 54th highest score in the province and the 76th in the nation. I was certain that with such a score I would be able to gain admittance into any field in any university in Iran. For this purpose, I marked 26 different preferences on my application form.
Completely unexpectedly, though, when the final results were announced on the official site of the Organization for Assessments, I noticed that the phrase “failed” was placed against my name.
Immediately I went to the Organization’s offices in Tehran and then in Karaj. In both places, I was told bluntly that the reason for my failure was my religion – being a Baha’i. However, they attributed this decision to other authorities without naming them. And finally when they named the deciding authorities and I went to their offices, they denied any responsibility and referred me back to the Organization for Assessments.
In this manner, I could find no one willing to accept responsibility for this decision. So simply, I was stripped of my natural right to enter a university despite the fact that I had more than adequately proven my capability and had placed exceptionally high on the ranking ladder.
A little while later, I went to the Organization for Assessments to receive my ranking certificate in mathematics and physics exams. The appropriate person said that within a week the certificate would be mailed to my house. Three weeks went by and no certificate was received. I returned to the same office and once again filled in the request form. Once again a long while passed and no certificate was received.
I returned to the same office, and this time the responsible person gave me a phone number, and said that I should call that number and inquire about my situation.
I called the number and found out that the person at the other end was very familiar with my request and file. He asked about my religion. When I told him I was a Baha’i, he immediately announced that I had “failed” in all my entrance exams.
In such manner, not only I was deprived of my right to enter a university, I was also robbed of my ranking in the exams.
Towards the end of 2007, I registered for the 2008 national exam. Once again, I studied hard to be ready in all subjects and took the exam.
However, this time, instead of posting the preliminary results, the official site of the Organization for Assessments posted a notice: “Due to incomplete application, write to the National Organization for Assessment in Karaj at Post Office Box 31535-3166.”
I immediately went to the Organization’s office in Karaj and once again, the same exact discussion as last year’s took place, and I was told that while my application has no shortcomings, since I was a Baha’i it prevented further processing of the application. Nevertheless, they referred me to the Section for Selection of Instructors and Students, located at the Tehran office of the Organization.
Together with a few other Baha’i friends who also had suffered the same discrimination, we went to the office of this Section. At first, they said we must return to the Karaj office. However, by our insistence we were able to meet with the official in charge of the Section. He claimed that for several years now, he had been trying to secure the right of the Baha’is to enter universities. But when we asked him to name some of the things he had tried so that we could also try the same avenues, he refused to answer, and was unable to say which governmental agencies he had approached.
At the end, after an hour of discussion, without any written commitment and without even receiving our written missives, he dismissed us by saying, “Leave here, as you are wasting my time.”
So I continue to have no recourse for earning a seat in an institution of higher education merely on the grounds of my religion, the Baha’i Faith.
It should be highlighted that various provisions and articles of the Islamic Republic’s constitution advocate equality and equity, such as:
* Article 3: “free education and physical training for everyone at all levels … the abolition of all forms of undesirable discrimination and the provision of equitable opportunities for all”
* Article 14: “the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and all Muslims are duty-bound to treat non-Muslims in conformity with ethical norms and the principles of Islamic justice and equity, and to respect their human rights.”
* Article 19: “All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language, and the like do not bestow any privilege.”
* Article 23: “The investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”
Despite all the above provisions, I have no agency and nobody to turn to for appeal or protest.
Given current circumstances, it appears that this will be yet another year in which I will not be admitted to any university.