Questioning and Interrogation of Baha'is in Mashhad

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On Thursday, April 16, 2009, Iran Press News reported the following in Persian (http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/057579.htm) and a translation is provided by Iran Press Watch:

Despite dissolution of the unofficial Baha’i organization in Iran, the Ministry of Intelligence continues to summon a large number of Baha’is in various parts of the country for questioning.

In this regard, the following six (6) Baha’is were called in during the last week by the Information Office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Mashhad:  Rozita Vaseqi, Davar Nabilzadeh, Nura Nabilzadeh, Nasrin Nuzdahi, Nahid Nuzdahi and Sirous Zabihi.

Security agencies summon these Baha’is in order to receive written assurances that in no way they would be involved in their religious activities or would mention their faith.  However, the Baha’is continue to insist that such a demand is against their civil and human rights and refuse to comply.

Editor’s Note:  It should be mentioned that the Universal House of Justice, the worldwide governing body for the Baha’i community, has recently written the Baha’is of Iran and has urged them to refuse compliance with any request that infringes upon the practice of the Baha’i religion as individual.  Iran Press Watch intends to share that letter in translation in a near future.

Iran Press Watch was about to publish the above report when the following communication was received from Iran (offered below in translation):

In regard to the case of the summoned six Baha’is, the following details are shared:

  1. Sirous Zabihi was a former Baha’i leader (known as Khademin) in Mashhad.  He was called in by the Information Office of the said Ministry on March 16, 2009, in order to sign an assurance [that he not participate in Baha’i activities, such as, 19-day Feasts or devotional gatherings].  Like other Khademin of that city, he refused.
  2. From April 5 to April 12, some nine (9) Baha’is in Mashhad have been summoned at different times to the Revolutionary Court’s Office of Information.  These Baha’is include:  Nahid Qadiri, Nasrin Qadiri, Rozita Vaseqi, Human Bakhtavar, Davar Nabilzadeh, Nura Nabilzadeh, Kaviz Nuzdahi, Mahsa Aqdasizadeh, and Roya Rajabian.
  3. When these Baha’is presented themselves to the aforesaid office, they were asked to sign an assurance that they would not attend any Baha’i religious activity, such as, 19-day Feast.  None of the Baha’is complied with the request, even when they were threatened with imprisonment.

It is clear that such pressures on the Baha’i community clearly demonstrates the regime’s unfounded accusations against the Baha’is and is intended to further suppress and limit the Baha’i community.

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14 Responses

  1. Nima

    April 16, 2009 3:39 pm

    Oh the hypocricy has made itself manifest again! Muslim polemicists accuse and criticize the Bahai’s and early Babis of adopting and practicing Taqiyyah (dissimulation/concealment of one’s beliefs) and here we have Ministry officials forcing the interrogated Baha’is of Mashhad to OBSERVE the principles of Taqiyyah and not mention their faith in public.

    When will the hypocricy end?

    Reply
  2. Bill

    April 16, 2009 4:10 pm

    It is quite clear from the authorities’ attempt to get Baha’is to sign promises not to participate in basic spiritual duties such as feasts, holy days, and devotionals, that the intent all along has been to to stop the practice of the Baha’i Faith itself. The other accusations of spying and insulting religious sanctities are smokescreens for this fundamental intention of destroying all practice of and adherence to the Baha’i Faith.

    Reply
  3. Mark Obenauer

    April 16, 2009 9:41 pm

    I hope that this is not only the start in this pogram. I can’t see how it can continue without being stopped at some point. Pograms and holocausts have all ended one way or the other. We have no way of knowing what will happen here to the six Baha’i’s in Mashad, nor the others who are presently also imprisoned. Looking at the matter at this minute of time, the cessation of persecution doesn’t appear like it will end anytime soon.

    I have one question for the purpose of clarity: Six Baha’i’s were called into the Iranian Intelligence service this past week. In another section, it mentions that nine Bahai’s were called into the Revolutionary Court. So we have really a total of 15 Baha’i’s that are under arrest within past eleven days in Mashad. And something I don’t understand about the IRI government: what is the role of the Revolutionary Court, and the Intelligence Ministry? Are these one and the same or do they have different functions? I find this confusing. Are there other Courts and IRI affiliates that could be involved in the actions of holding Baha’i’s and is there the possibility that these departments’ actions are conducted in tandom, so that a person may have to go through three or four interrogations with a new group of interrogators for each interrogation? So for example the Intelligence ministry , the Revolutionary Court, and the Ayatollah so and so are interrogation prisoner X at the same time?

    Reply
  4. Marty F

    April 16, 2009 11:51 pm

    I saw a comment from the Prosecutor General last month, to the effect that the international outcry that has sprung up around the current wave of imprisonments is an ‘old and tired’ tactic. Oh, really? Then is not the imprisonment of people for their faith, then – an even older, more tired tactic? It is, in fact, ancient.

    Perhaps he should use the updated method – actually find out what the Baha’i Faith actually is – what he’s persecuting! He’d find that, every time this has been tried, more Baha’is are found – including himself!

    But I’m dreaming, aren’t I? Or, maybe praying …

    Reply
  5. Mark Obenauer

    April 17, 2009 12:53 am

    The mentioning of their Faith in public is not by the design of the arrested individuals. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding that taqiyyah is considered taboo by the Baha’i’ religious minority. The Iranian authorities are trying to get the members of the Baha’i’ Faith to repent of what they understand as misguided theology, and they earnestly believe they are doing what is right, and this honorable. Perhaps the Inquisitors will learn more about the Faith what they as they ruthlessly investigate the Faith in their interrogation of the the Baha’i’ prisoners. Perhaps as they investigate the Faith through reading Baha’i’ literature and through their interactions with Baha’i’ prisoners, they will be less ill-disposed towards the Baha’i’ Faith.

    Reply
  6. Irani

    April 17, 2009 8:55 am

    This wave of activity against the Bahai community is no doubt a political move from IRI. Looking at the facts: The IRI authorities know full well that Bahais are not spies they have monitored the Bahai activities and dealt with Bahai community (through Khademin/Yaran) for the past 30 years and they know full well that Bahais are not going to recant or hide their faith they learned this at the early stages of the so called Islamic revolution so there is no doubt they know Bahais and their principles. So the question is why go through this wave when they know the out come of the Bahai reaction full well? Whatever the real motives are, it must be political and I would like to know the view point of other readers on this.

    Reply
  7. Marty Flick

    April 18, 2009 10:31 pm

    Ali – that’s one we learned from the Trojans … but what aboug Geeks bearing .gifs?

    Nah – too silly!

    Reply
  8. Marty Flick

    April 18, 2009 10:35 pm

    Mark – yeah, but that’s been done before. Perhaps they could shortcut the whole process, saving time, money, blood and drain on their country’s intellectual capital by simply learning from their own history! MRF

    Reply
  9. Nima

    April 19, 2009 4:17 am

    The government of Iran is anything but Islamic. I see little difference in the tactics of Khomeini/Khamenei, Josef Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, or Fransisco Franco.

    Reply

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