Translation by Iran Press Watch
According to a report from the No to the Harassment and Imprisonment of Baha’is in Iran Campaign, at noon on April 28, 2016, the agents of the Office of Public Places shut down and sealed two Baha’i-owned businesses without a court order during Baha’i holidays.
According to these reports, two home-goods businesses belonging to Mr. Mehryar Lotfi and Soroush Garshasbi were sealed by authorities of the city of Tonekabon in Mazandaran in Northern Iran.
Sixteen other Baha’i businesses were sealed in Qaemshahr at the same time.
According to the Clause “B” of Article 28 of the Iranian National Business Law, business owners may close their business for up to fifteen days without prior notice to authorities.
These Baha’i businesses in Qaemshahr are subject to Article 28 of the Iranian National Business Law, because none of their closures caused any hardship to society at large. Clause “B” of Article 28 states: ”Based on the assessment of the Supreme Supervisory Board, businesses may close for up to 15 days without a justified excuse unless this closure would cause hardship to consumers.” In that case, it would result in them being shut down.
These closings are taking place even though recently 54 international renowned businessmen and scholar economists in a signed statement asked Ayatollah Khamenei to stop harassing Baha’i business owners in Iran.
According to reports received by the No to the Harassment and Imprisonment of Baha’is Campaign, agents of the Office of Public Places went to three Baha’i shops owned by Yaghoub Akbari, Anbar Aghaie, and Payam Taghavi in Sari in northern Iran and closed their places of business at noon on Tuesday, June 30th.
The same morning other agents of the same office shut down the business of Mr. Mahin Bakhtroo, a Baha’i from Sari, for the second time, because of his religious beliefs.
That brought the total number of business closures due to religious issues on that day to four, counting the morning incident.
In the current year, the economic pressure on Baha’is in Iran has grown considerably. In the past few months, the Office of Public Places of Sari, after closing three Baha’i businesses due to the observation of the Ridvan holiday, shut down eleven more shops of Baha’is in Sari in subsequent days to increase the economic pressure on these citizens of that city.
The recent punitive closure of Baha’i-owned shops by authorities of the Islamic Republic has gained momentum. In recent weeks, twelve Baha’i business owners in Rafsanjan in southern Iran faced closure of their shops by judicial authorities for closing their shops in observance of Baha’i Ridvan holidays.