May 12, 2017
Translation by Iran Press Watch
A group of Noshahr shopkeepers, in protest to the closure of Baha’i businesses in this city, have written to the governor of Noshahr demanding the reversal of the seals placed on these business units. Six months have passed since the closure of these units, with no investigation having been performed during that time.
The shopkeepers, signatories of the letter to the Governor (cc: to the Prosecutor) of Noshahr, have written that according to Paragraph One of the Trade Union’s Guidelines, and Article 28 of the Executive Regulations, any trade unit closed without investigation, should be reopened after six months, until the necessary investigation can be conducted.
On this basis, they have requested an investigation into this matter.
Also cited in this letter is Article 14 of the Islamic Republic Constitution, which cites the principle communicated by a verse from the Quran, the Muslim Holy Book, and states that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Muslims are obliged to treat non-Muslims in conformity with ethical norms and Islamic justice, and respect their human rights. (This pertains to all who have not acted or conspired against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran).
Accordingly, the signatories of the letter to the prosecutor of Noshahr, who have introduced themselves as the business owners and residents of the city of Noshahr, have criticized the more than six months closure of the religious minority (Baha’is) businesses, and indicated that this act “causes skepticism towards Islamic practices and leads to economic downturn in the city”.
According to news reports, the subject businesses of seven Baha’is in the city of Noshahr in Mazandaran province were sealed by Law Enforcement Forces of the Office of Properties on the morning of 01 November 2016. A related news item, released by BahaiNews on the same date, reports the photography business of Bahman Rouhani, optical business of Monib Mansour, optical business of Rocky Yousefi, welding business of Arsout Asadi, watchmaking business of Riazollah Heravi, mechanic shop of Arash Derakhshanian, and car alarm sales business of Behshad Derakhshanian were shut down. These shops were shut sealed by Iranian authorities because the owners had temporarily closed businesses during observance of Baha’i Holy Days.
In recent years, The Office of Public Properties, along with enforcement of Ministry of Intelligence in Iran, routinely shut down the businesses of Baha’is who close their units on the Baha’i religious holidays. This has consistently taken place over the years in various cities around the country.
According to the Iranian Trade Law, those with business licenses are allowed, by law, to close their units for 15 days out of a year, and should there be a need to close their unit more than 15 days in one year, they are to inform the Office of Properties.
The enforced economic inequality of the Baha’is in Iran is deliberate policy of the Islamic Republic. Since the 1979 Revolution, the Iranian Baha’i Community has continuously been the target of severe economic oppression. The election of Hassan Rouhani has not provided any change in this situation.
The Baha’i International Community, via an open letter, dated 6 September 2016, addressed to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, citing the economic apartheid against the Baha’is in Iran, and demanding the Islamic Republic authorities end their systematic discrimination against the Baha’is.