The Baha’i International Community has addressed a powerful letter to Iran’s Prosecutor General, Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi.
The letter refutes the spurious accusations and allegations that have been made in recent days against the Baha’is in Iran and particularly against the national leadership group, six of whom have been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison without charge since May 2008, the seventh member having been held since March 2008.
The Baha’i leaders have now been falsely accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic”. Shortly after the charges were announced, news reports from Iran indicated that the Prosecutor General had written to the Minister of Intelligence claiming that the existence of the informal national and local Baha’i coordinating groups in Iran was illegal.
This is arrant nonsense, and the letter explains why this is arrant nonsense (but in more respectful terms).
Baha’i leaders cease activity
The letter makes a poignant announcement:
The Yaran and the Khademin, the small groups that have been attending to the spiritual and social needs of the several hundred thousand Baha’is in Iran, the former at the national level and the latter at the local, have expressed their willingness to bring to a close their collective functioning.
This decision has been made for no other reason than to demonstrate yet again the goodwill that the Baha’is have consistently shown to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the past thirty years.
Praise for the people of Iran
The letter sets out the record of the Baha’i community as citizens of Iran who have always striven to be of service to their country. And it expresses gratitude for the “staunch commitment to justice” shown by Iranians, their courage and tenacity in defending their Baha’i neighbours and friends, and their epressions of sympathy and support for the beleaguered Baha’is.
What we cannot help noting, with much gratitude towards them in our hearts, is that a majority of those coming out in support of the beleaguered Baha’i community are themselves suffering similar oppression as students and academics, as journalists and social activists, as artists and poets, as progressive thinkers and proponents of women’s rights, and even as ordinary citizens.
Implications for freedom of conscience for all Iranian citizens
The letter concludes with a warning:
Your Honour, the decisions to be taken by the judiciary in Iran in the coming days will have implications that extend well beyond the Baha’i community in that land – what is at stake is the very cause of freedom of conscience for all the peoples of your nation. It is our hope that, for the sanctity of Islam and the honour of Iran, the judiciary will be fair in its judgment.