Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – The place of business of Baha’i citizen Na’im Ha’i in Minushahr was sealed on March 20, 2018.
A source close to the family of Na’im Ha’i told the HRANA reporter, “Mr. Ha’i’s place of business in Minushahr has been sealed since March 20, 2018. The sealing of Mr. Ha’i’s business was due to his belief in the Baha’i Faith. Mr. Ha’i and his wife were interrogated by and intelligence forces in Khorramshahr. After confiscating his and his wife’s identification documents, they told him to immediately leave the city.” This source further added, “Mr. Ha’i’s occupation is sewing machine repair. After being told to leave by the intelligence agents in Khorramshahr, the security agents in Minushahr have been going to their home and pressuring them every other day.”
In the past year, the economic repression of Baha’is has been increasingly employed as leverage by the security forces in the organized oppression of the followers of this minority religion.
Baha’i citizens, in accordance with their religious beliefs, close their place of business in observance of Baha’i Holy Days. Despite specific legal and civil rights of individual citizens to practice their religious beliefs, and Item B of article 28 of Commercial Union Law, which states that business owners may close their place of business for up to 15 days a year without informing the union, security forces routinely seal businesses of owners who close shop on Baha’i Holy Days.
Shahindokht Molaverdi, Special Assistant to the President for civil rights issues, speaking to the media on December 3, 2017 said, “Regarding the sealing of businesses and the economic repression of the Baha’is, there have been inquiries to the President’s legal deputy, and we are pursuing this discussion through legal avenues to find a solution for this issue.” Despite her statement, the sealing of the Baha’i-owned businesses continues without relief.
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Baha’i citizens in Iran have been denied freedom of religion. This systematic deprivation continues despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which state that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
According to unofficial sources, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran. Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. This has been the basis on which the rights of Bahai’s are systematically violated.