[iranwire.com, 3 Shahrivar, 1392] By Reza Haghigi
The news is short: “Ataollah Rezvani, a Baha’i from Bandar Abbas was kidnapped on Saturday night and murdered by a shot to the back of his head”. This short news has a long history; this is not the first time that the Baha’i community of Iran and Bandar Abbas has faced such a tragedy. Before this event Iraj Mehdi Nejad, a Baha’i from the same city, was murdered by means of a knife. Ataollah Rezvani was a small business owner.
Mr. Rezvani had been a mechanical engineering student at university, but was expelled [for being a Baha’i]; he was in a partnership with a Muslim from Bandar Abbas — they established a small business to sell water pumps. Mr. Rezvani was expelled from university during the Iranian Revolution, when Mr. Ahmadinejad and many of his friends were studying. In March of 2012 the media reported that the water and sewage department of the city of Bandar Abbas refused to accept Mr. Rezvani in their bidding process for any governmental contract; it stopped all of its business with him as a result of a request from the Ministry of Intelligence. Mr. Rezvani was a civil activist, and participated in philanthropic activities. He formed a three member committee called the [Baha’i] servants (Khadimin), and via this committee he organized civil activities. According to one of his close associates, his appearance in social activities brought him fame and respect.
This was not good news for the provincial officials, especially clerics, who were trying to destroyed the image of Baha’is. In the same way, some associates of the top cleric of the city — the “Imam Jomeh”, or Friday prayer leader in the city, treated Mr. Rezvani and other Baha’is with disdain, and asked them to leave town. Mr. Rezvani’s family was among those who have been involved in many adventures in recent years. Anisa Rezvani, his nice, has been imprisoned in the city of Semnan; Siamak Ighani, Anaisa’s husband, was just recently released from prison after being incarcerated for 3 years.
In addition to the Ministry of Intelligence, the office of Gholamali Naeimabadi, the Imam Jomeh, and the representative of Ali Khamenei in the province of Hourmozgan have been playing major roles in anti-Baha’i activities. In August of 2008, Naeimabadi, in a speech at the Friday prayer, in order to provoke people against Baha’is, described the Baha’i faith as an anti-Islamic organization which is under the protection of the United States and asked citizens to be careful. Two days after this speech some associate from his office attacked Dr. Meydani at his office, and wounded him with a knife; during the same period another Baha’i, Miaad Afshar, was attacked with a knife. One of the Media activists has compared this type of attacks and wounds to the attacks by Intelligence officials on Dariush Forouhar*. He also, mentions that in 1998, one year after election of Mohamad Khatami as president, Ruhollah Rouhani, another Iranian Baha’i, was murdered by fundamentalists**. Right wing fundamentalists in the Iranian Intelligence community are considered to be instigators and planners of such killings. He has emphasized that after the election of Hassan Rouhani [the newly-elected Iranian President] the pressure on the Baha’i community has not changed, and they are still under political, social and economic pressure.
Translation by Iran Press Watch,
* An opponent of the regime who was murdered in 1998. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dariush_Forouhar
** See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%ADs, in which is written “The most recent Bahá’í execution apparently occurred in 1998, when the Iranian government hanged Ruhollah Rohani in Mashad on the charge of converting a woman to the faith though she herself stated that she had been a lifelong Bahá’í. Newspaper accounts describe this as the first Bahá’í execution in six years.