Editor’s Note: The following letter is from Iran’s Attorney General, Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, to the country’s Minister of Intelligence, Muhseni-Azheh’i. The letter is undated, but since it was published online on 19 February 2009, it appears that it was dispatched around mid-February. Since this letter includes various instructions regarding the government’s treatment of the Baha’i community, a translation of the full text of this important letter is provided below by Iran Press Watch.
To honored Hojjato’l-Islam Muhseni-Azheh’i, the esteemed Minister of Intelligence!
With greetings and hopes that your prayers and meditations are accepted [by God] in this bountiful month!
Regarding the previous letter about the activities of the wayward Baha’i organization, it is necessary for me to point out the following:
A. Acceptance of multiplicity and diversity in a society is among its instruments of liberty – including freedom of thought and decision. It is an undeniable and established principle in any society of religious men, and is affirmed through the covenant of constitutional law. The Constitution is the foundation of societal order and is the final word on the governance and organization of the people. Specifically, Articles 26 and 27 [of IRI’s Constitution] recognizes freedom to form parties and associations – of course, not absolute liberty, but conditional.
On this basis, various [political] parties and groups may function legally as long as they do not violate the principles of independence, liberty, national unity, Islamic provisions, and the fundamental laws of the Islamic Republic. Of course, it is not necessary for the members of such assembled groups to believe in these principles, but it is necessary for them to adhere to these provisions.
The law governing the activities of parties and associations (established in 1360 Sh ) has provided a framework for the appearance and functioning of these organizations, and has outlined means for their growth and development. Therefore, associations that are without a constitution or by-laws approved by authorized governmental agencies are not permitted to function.
Religious minorities are defined and delineated in the luminous religious law [of the Shiites] and the nation’s Constitution, and except for those enumerated in Articles 12 and 13, no others are permitted to be active.
In accordance with Article 20 of the Constitution, every citizen is under the protection of the law, and the government is responsible to safeguard each person’s civil rights as a citizen. Moreover, in accordance with Article 23, no one may be opposed or questioned solely based on his beliefs. Based on this foundation, adherence to a principle or belief is free, but to openly express and proclaim it in order to cause deviation in the thoughts of others, to manipulate, pretend, disseminate [ideas] and otherwise attempt to deceive and confuse people are not permissible.
All citizens of Islamic Republic of Iran are under the protective umbrella of the government, and the regime is responsible to ensure their civil rights to their fullest measure. In accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution all citizens are safeguarded against censure, except in instances where they have strayed beyond the boundary of the law.
Fundamentally, individuals who have been given true and legal recognition in the Constitution and secondary edicts are free to undertake these aforementioned activities. However, should they attempt any activity, either individually, collectively or through their organization, which would threaten national security or the sovereignty of the nation, then it is obvious that the government will use its powers to establish the common good and the national benefit, and will confront the aggressor in an equivalent manner.
B. In consideration of the aforesaid, and the methods, history and record of the political-intelligence organization Baha’ism, they are not among the political parties or legal associations that are licensed for activity, nor are they listed among the divine religions, nor do they meet the definition of religious minorities.
The documents, evidence and oral testimony which have been gathered so far prove that the said organization [i.e. the Baha’i community] has been directly in touch with foreign enemies of the people of Iran, and they have long-established and firm connections with the Zionist regime [Israel]. Moreover, they have formed organizations and groups in Iran, and under various designations carry out propaganda, teaching, socio-economics, educational, and humanitarian activities, thereby collecting information, penetrating and undermining the foundations of the people’s beliefs.
Therefore, in accordance with policies and instructions previously issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Attorney General, and that period’s esteemed head of the judiciary branch which prohibited every form of activity by the aforementioned movement [i.e. the Baha’i Faith], once again the same prohibition is promulgated.
The administration of the wayward sect [i.e. the Baha’i community] is illegal and unsanctioned at every level. Moreover, their allegiance to Israel, their opposition to Islam and the Islamic regime, is clear, documented and affirmed, as is their threat to national security. Therefore, it is necessary to confront [the Baha’i community] in accordance with established policies and further to confront whatever organization they establish to shadow and replace the original one.
It is obvious that any disregard or negligence regarding this issue is against public welfare and our national interests, will aid the objectives of foreigners, Zionists and their agents, and will result in admonishment and regret before the Divine Court.
I beseech Almighty God to perpetually render that honored person victorious.
[Posted at http://www.yjc.ir/News/NewsDesc.aspx?newsid=150113. Translation by Iran Press Watch.]