Translation by Iran Press Watch
According to HRANA, the news wing of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, the Kashan Office of Properties refused to issue a business permit for optician shop of Javad Zabihian, due to his Baha’i Faith. The Office of Properties then shut down and sealed Mr. Zabihian’s business on July 28, 2018, and it has remained closed since.
An informed source told HRANA, “Mr. Javad Zabihian is a Baha’i from city of Kashan, whose optician shop has been sealed shut by the officials of the Kashan Office of Properties since July 28. The reason for closure is not having a business permit, and despite taking steps to obtain a business permit, the Office of Properties refused to issue a permit simply because of them being Baha’is.”
Mr. Zabihian’s business was previously shut down and sealed in May of 2016 for two weeks, at the behest of the head of the Kashan Chamber of Commerce. The seal was only removed after Mr. Zabihian was forced to sign a commitment to obtain a business permit.
Forced closure and seal of Baha’i businesses has been an ongoing method of pressuring the Baha’i Community. HRANA has previously reported about the Administrative Supreme Court’s rejection of an official request by 22 Baha’i residents of Orumiyeh, whose businesses had been closed and sealed for over one year. The forced closure of their places of business had solely been due to the closure of their place of business, for a short timeframe, in observance of Baha’i religious holidays.
Authorities forced closure of Baha’i businesses in Iran continues while Shahindokht Molavardi, a special assistant to the president on civil rights issues, said in a statement to the media, on December 3 of last year, that she “has made some inquiries, from the President’s Legal Assistant, about the closure and the blocking of the Baha’i commercial activities. There were attempts made to move this conversation forward through legislation until a solution to this issue is found.”
UN human rights reporters on Iran have repeatedly objected to the systematic antagonism towards Baha’is under the Iranian regime and consider it as a sign and clear indication of Iran’s neglect of human rights accords.
Baha’i citizens in Iran are systematically deprived of freedoms related to religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation is in direct contradiction to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Iran is signatory, “all persons have the right to religious freedom, the right to change their religion or belief, and the freedom to express their belief individually or collectively in public or private.”
According to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith, therefore, over the past years, Baha’i rights have been systematically violated in Iran.