Expulsion of Six Baha’i Students from Islamic Azad University of Roudehen

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Source: ‌BahaiNews1

Date: Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Translation by Iran Press Watch

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On 31 December 2016, six Baha’i citizens who were students at Islamic Azad University of Roudehen were expelled because of their belief in the Baha’i Faith.

Based on a report from BahaiNews, Sana Hourbakht, Jahangir Hedayati, and four other Baha’i citizens who did not want their names to be mentioned in social media were simultaneously expelled from university after they were identified and their personal pages on the university website were manipulated to convey that they had decided not to continue their education.

According to an informed source, after extended inquiries these students realized that their expulsions were directly connected to the Head of Security at Islamic Azad University of Roudehen.

One of the expelled students, Sana Hourbakht, participated in the national and open (Azad) university entrance exams in 2015. After her file was deemed incomplete in the national exam, she was able to start her studies in architecture in the Islamic Azad University. However, on 28 December she noticed that her student page, together with the pages of five other Baha’i citizens at that university, had been blocked, and they were not able to enter their student pages.

Jahangir Hedayati, another student prevented from higher education, was among Islamic Azad University of Roudehen’s top science students; he was expelled because of his belief in the Baha’i Faith. He had been recognized by the University President as one of the best science students two weeks before his expulsion, and had received a special commendation plaque in a special ceremony. Jahangir Hedayati was a junior studying computer science, and had faced an “incomplete file” excuse in both the open and national university exams previously, but had registered at the University as an unofficial student, without national entrance exam results.

After this incident, the expelled students went to the University President; they realized he was not aware of these expulsions, and were told that they should go to the Head of Security of the University. After the six expelled students went to the Head of Security their cell phones were confiscated, and the Head of Security told them only the following two sentences: “You should not come to the university anymore,” and “You know why you have been expelled.” Despite continued follow-up, the University’s Security Office kept repeating: “You know why you have been expelled.”

According to this informed source, after following up with University Administration Office, these students realized that Administration officials had no information about the reason for their expulsions. There was only a red star next to their names on the student list, which meant they had to go to the Security Office.

Four of the deprived individuals were undergraduate students and two were graduate students at Islamic Azad University of Roudehen.

In addition, within the past few days Dorna Esmaeili and Maedeh Sadat Hoseini were expelled from university because they are Baha’is.

In a letter to Hassan Rouhani published in BahaiNews, within the past few months more than two-thousand Baha’i citizens have requested an improvement in educational conditions for Baha’is in Iran. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, more than one hundred thousand Baha’is have been prevented from continuing their education to date.

The deprivation of Baha’is of higher education in Iranian universities takes place on the basis of the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council Directive issued on February 25 1991, which in addition to the exclusion of Baha’is from employment at government agencies, deprives them of college education as well.

According to the third clause of this bill, not only must officials prevent Baha’is from enrolment in universities, but also if the individual’s religion is established to be Baha’i, after registration and while studying, they should be deprived of education.

Exclusion of Baha’is from higher education in Iran has been systematically implemented since the Islamic Revolution and the Declaration of the Cultural Revolution.

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  1. BahaiNews is an independent non-Baha’i initiative, and is not affiliated with any Baha’i institutions.
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