Top Ranking Baha’i Student in Mathematics Denied Access to Higher Education

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

The person holding rank 113 in the university entrance exam in the field of mathematics was prevented from selecting a major because she is a Baha’i.


(Do you believe the government has the right to keep some people from getting higher education because of their religious beliefs? What is the government’s reason for this sort of encounter with Baha’is?)

Shadan Shirazi, the young Baha’i woman who earned ranking number 113 in the university entrance exam in the field of mathematics and technology this year, entered her personal information on the website of the University Evaluation Board on September 8th to learn about her chosen major. However, she later received a message instructing her to visit the Board’s office on Karim Khan Zand Avenue in Tehran.

While visiting this organization today, she wrote a letter to the Student Selection Committee and emphasized that her university admission was denied due to her religious beliefs. This occurred even though she was never asked about her beliefs at any stage of her application process.

It is worth mentioning that this year Baha’is were prevented from entering universities just as they have been in previous years. Ruhieh Safajoo is another young Baha’i woman who was prevented from being given her rank from the very beginning; she was instructed to visit the office of the Evaluation Board in Karaj. Not only have her visits and inquiries to this office been left unanswered, but just like with the other Baha’i applicants, none of the visits have been recorded by employees of the Board.

This young Baha’i woman has turned her Facebook page to a virtual place to follow up on her right to education as well as that of her other Baha’i friends. After one of her fruitless trips to the Evaluation Board on August 17th, she wrote: “ I know that nothing will come from all my letters and my voice will not be heard…. However, I made a pact on my birthday, and I will stay true to it…. Please see me…. I am the one who has been deprived of education…. I am the one whose files were reviewed and written up during high school because I defended myself in face of profanity and humiliation…. I am the one whose father was imprisoned, charged with answering people’s questions about his religion…. I am the one whose brother was fired because he is a Baha’i…. Yes, I am the one whose mother was put in prison in her youth…. the one whose parents were deprived of education because they are Baha’is…. the one whose father had a hard time getting me a birth certificate because my name is the name of a historical Baha’i figure…. See me and hear my voice…. “


Prior to this, she had also written to Hassan Rohani and asked the president of the Islamic Republic to keep his promises: “ Dear Mr. Rohani, I am not asking you to allow my dismissed parents, brother, uncles, aunts and many cousins to return to universities. I am asking you only to allow me – out of my entire extended family – to earn a university education. This by itself would be enough for us to trust you and know that you are keeping your promise.”

It should be mentioned that the prohibition of the Baha’is from higher education is based on a February 25, 1991 ruling by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution that excludes Baha’is from higher education in addition to employment in government agencies.

According to Article Three of this ruling, not only should Baha’is be prevented from registering at universities, but they should also be dismissed if they are identified as Baha’is after registration and during the course of their university education.





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