Pressure Against Baha’i Business Owners to Obtain an Extrajudicial Pledge in Mazandaran Province

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Source: BahaiNews1

Translation by Iran Press Watch

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According to a BahaiNews report, following the repeated closure of Baha’i citizens’ businesses in recent months, the Office of Public Places in Mazandaran province has extrajudicially demanded that Baha’i shop owners of this region sign a pledge.

The BahaiNews report states that following the closure of Baha’i Citizens’ stores on November 1, 2016, in this province, agents of the Office of Public Places demanded a signed pledge to declare any closure as much as a week before any closing of business. Moreover, in case there is no advance report on closing of the shop, they will deal with them.

One shop owner in the province told the BahaiNews reporter; “this pledge is illegal, since people who require a business license to operate have already committed themselves to their Union. Additionally, this pledge states that we should confirm closures with the Office of Public Places, although we must coordinate everything with the Union by law, not with the Office of Public Places. This issue is not relevant to them, and some accidents are unexpected. How are we supposed to inform them a week in advance when it is not even clear what might take place today?”

Some informed sources have said: “these agents of the Office of Public Places have no respect for business regulations, in which Article 28, paragraph (b) refers to a 15-day closing of the shop without the need for coordination with the relevant trade union. This pledge indicates the closures of Baha’i businesses based on national holidays, and at the end of this statement, there is no mention of the law by which they will deal with violators. This pledge has left the Office of Public Places a free hand in dealing with this issue, when any approach should be based on business laws and regulations when dealing with business owners. It is very odd that this pledge has no seal or logo.”

Another owner of one of the closed shops in the province has told BahaiNews that the Provincial officials also know that this is arbitrary and extrajudicial, and the Governor does not respond to accept the requests of the Baha’is who come to visit him.

The demand for a pledge from Baha’i business owners already took place earlier in many provinces; despite the commitment and declaration of the closure of business on specified dates, agents of the Office of Public Places have sealed the premises. Also, BahaiNews reported earlier about the arrest of five Baha’is, later released on bail, at the Mazandaran Governorate.

In a report, this agency reported the closure of close to one hundred business premises in Mazandaran province.

BahaiNews announced that the reason for sealing off the Baha’i citizen’s shops is the opposition of security forces to Baha’is closing their stores on the nine Baha’i religious holidays. Also, Baha’is’ stores have been closed and Baha’is arrested in Iran after the observance of Baha’i holidays in the past. According to national trade laws licensed business owners may close their shops for 15 days; they only require informing the Office of Public Places of any closure of over 15 days.

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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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