Translated by Ahang Rabbani
On the morning of Saturday, 22 November 2008, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence arrived at the home of Mrs. Soheila Motallebi. After searching the house, confiscating all religious books and destroying all pictures related to the Baha’i Faith, they arrested Mrs. Motllabi and took her to the prison building of the town’s Intelligence Ministry.
In the current year, many similar instances occurred, instigated by a man who calls himself “Movahhed” who says that he is the chief of the Intelligence Ministry of the province of Mazandaran.
Prior to this latest incident, he had arrested and imprisoned the following Baha’is: Mrs. Simin Gorji, Mr. ‘Ali Ahmadi, Mr. Changiz Derakhshanian, Mr. Masoud Ataian, Mr. Siyamak Ibrahimi-Nia, and Mr. and Mrs. Allah-Vardi. Also, through his instigation, the Baha’i cemetery of this town located in Darzikola has been attacked several times, and the Baha’i graves there have been thoroughly demolished.
It should be noted that confiscation of religious books from Baha’i homes, and particularly destruction of their sacred religious pictures, are matters which completely contravene the civil rights of every citizen.
Mrs. Soheila Motallebi is a well-known figure in traditional music circles in Iran. She presently remains in the custody of the security and intelligence agencies without charges having been filed against her.
It is noteworthy that in recent months, after the arrest of the 7 prominent Baha’is who served as the coordinating committee for the Baha’is of Iran, there have been new and widespread waves of persecution and harassment of Baha’is throughout the entire country. These include the closure of Baha’i businesses, unwarranted and unfounded summonses to the offices of Ministry of Intelligence, desecration of Baha’i cemeteries, repeated threats against those involved in coordinating activities of the Baha’i community in various cities including the province of Mazandaran, and insults and abuse against Baha’i children and students everywhere – these are only a few examples of the many forms of discrimination and continuous aggravations.
[On Monday, 24 November 2008, Human Rights Activists of Iran posted the above report at http://www.hrairan.org/Archive_87/1216.html and appears here in translation. The Persian version of the same report was also published by Iran Press News at http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/049919.htm. It should be noted that private channels in Iran have informed Iran Press Watch that another Baha’i by the name of Anvar Moslemi was arrested a few days ago in Sari as well.]