Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – Behrouz Farzandi, a Baha’i residing in Shiraz, who was imprisoned for more than 2 years during the war and was 25% injured[i], after more than three months from graduating with a degree in business administration from Payam-e-Noor University in Shiraz, has been denied a degree because of his religious beliefs due to the intervention of university security under the pretext of the loss of his dossier. Even though Baha’i students have been denied access to universities, some of these citizens sometimes managed to enter university. After some time, usually after they have been identified as Baha’is, they are denied access to education or to receiving a degree by the authorities under various pretexts.
According to HRANA News Agency, the human rights activists news organization in Iran, Behrouz Farzandi, a Baha’i living in Shiraz, has been prevented from receiving his university degree because he is a Baha’i, and has faced difficulties in completing the administrative portion of his graduation.
A source close to this Baha’i citizen told a HRANA Reporter, “Mr. Behrouz Farzandi, a graduate student of business administration at Payam-e-Noor University in Shiraz, has been facing problems with the administrative process of finishing his education more than 3 months after completing his studies. Mr. Farzandi completed the entire administrative process to enable him to receive a degree, and only one other signature remains, which the official in charge refuses to do on the pretext of the missing dossier.”
He added: “During his follow-ups, it became evident that the case was in the hands of university security. He spoke with the security officer, who completely denied any knowledge of the case and said something contradictory. Eventually, Mr. Farzandi, during his many visits, received a “we will call you” response from the head of security.
Behrouz Farzandi is a Baha’i citizen who was 25% injured, who was missing in action and a captive for more than two years and two months during the Iran-Iraq war. Earlier, Mr. Farzani had been threatened under different pretexts during his studies at this university that he would be denied education at various times, and was summoned to the university’s Security Office each time.
This Baha’i citizen wrote a letter the full text of which has been published by HRANA explaining the existing problems and barriers in his last semester at Payam-e-Noor University of Shiraz in the previous year.
Despite their explicit right under law, according to the Supreme Council of the Iranian Cultural Revolution, Baha’is, in addition to being prevented from being employed in government offices, are to be prevented from university studies.
Every year there are reports of the prevention of Baha’i citizens from continuing education at Iranian universities, even including those who are on the verge of graduation.
UN human rights reporters in Iranian affairs have repeatedly, during the existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, challenged oppression against Baha’is. In particular, they have challenged the deprivation of the Baha’i students of their right to higher education, as a clear indication of Iran’s negligence regarding human rights treaties.
On November 19 this year, HRANA published a detailed report of the pressure on the Baha’i community and the arrest of citizen believers of the religion. According to the report, Baha’i citizens in different cities of the country have faced a new wave of human rights violations since the beginning of the year. The prevention of at least 58 Baha’i students from continuing their education through the current National University Entrance Exam, the expulsion of at least 11 Baha’i students at different levels from universities, the prohibition of economic activity, the dismissal of at least 6 Baha’i citizens from their own workplace or private companies, the arrest of 72 Baha’i citizens by security forces, the conviction of 24 Baha’i citizens and their sentences to a total of 46 years of imprisonment and 9 years of exile, the provision of extensive so-called cultural and media products promoting oppression against Baha’is, the plundering and the continuating to seal many Baha’i citizens’ businesses, the destruction of graves And preventing the burial of Baha’i citizens in Baha’i cemeteries in different cities, have only been part of the increase in pressure on the citizens of this community from March 21 until the 19th of November of this year.
It should be recalled that Baha’i citizens in Iran are denied their freedom of religious belief, a systematic exclusion, while under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both signed by the Government of Iran, everyone has the right to freedom of religion and religious conversion as a result of their convictions, and the freedom to express it individually or collectively and in public or in private.
It should be noted that according to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism; it does not recognize Baha’ism, and so, for the past nearly 40 years, Baha’is rights have been systematically violated.
[i] Percentage of injury endured during the war for the purpose of service exemption privileges http://vazifeh.police.ir