An Open Letter from Sadegh Zibakalam to Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani regarding the Harassment of the Gonabadi Dervishes and the Deprivation of Baha’i Students of Higher Education.



Translation by Iran Press Watch

Harassment of Gonabadi Dervishes and the deprivation of Baha’i students of higher education,

Sadegh Zibakalam

Dear Dr. Mohammad Javad Ardeshir Larijani, Secretary-General of the High Council for Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1):


At the beginning of the new academic year Baha’i students have been denied enrolment at universities around the country. The week before that, we also witnessed the harsh mistreatment of Gonabadi Dervishes and their families.

Dear Mr Larijani-

I am sure that if within the next few days Dr. [Ahmad] Shaheed (2) (United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran) files a report on the exclusion of Baha’i students from higher education and the mistreatment of Gonabadi Dervishes and their families, you will be the very first high ranking official of the Islamic republic who will criticise his report and insult him personally with foul language and perhaps as usual will proclaim “This [referring to Dr. Shaheed] mercenary clown this puppet is a toy of the hypocritical Western powers, who themselves are the biggest violators of human rights, and who merely exploit human rights issues as a political tool…He has once more merely pieced together fabricated lies against Iran, while anyone can easily compile similar reports by searching anti-revolutionary websites and foreign mercenary Persian language media. He is simply serving his hypocritical Western masters.”(3) (Unfortunately this is the exact wording used by Mr. Larijani in reaction to Dr. Shaheed’s previous report of serious violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic).

But your highness, dear Dr. Larijani (4), the name of the Baha’i students who have been denied admission and the name and address of the Dervishes who have been imprisoned is known and clear. And also just the other day thousands of the citizens of Tehran witnessed the mistreatment and harassment by the police of the families and children of Gonabadi Dervishes, who were simply protesting against their loved ones’ unlawful imprisonment.

However, it is not important if Dr. Shaheed is a “puppet of the West”; the real question is: in which one of the principles of our Constitution, or in which law of the legislation approved by the Majlis (Parliament), are Baha’i students denied higher education? It is not important if the West “exploits human rights issues as a political tool”; the real question is: according to what article of our Constitution or by which law of the legislation approved by our Majlis should the Gonabadi Dervishes be forced to leave behind their cherished beliefs and follow your or my religious beliefs?

(May the Days be in your favour) or (Regards)

Sadegh Zibakalam (5), 5th of Mehr 1393 – 27.09.2014


1. Mr. Larijani’s biography is available at

2. For a biography of Dr. Shaheed, see

3. Translation of the exact words used by Mr. Larijani on the 4th of February 2014 in response to the human rights report delivered by Mr. Shaheed to the UN.

4. This is intended ironically; as can be seen from Mr. Larijani’s biography, he did not complete his Ph.D. studies.

5. For a biography of Sadegh Zibakalam, see


2 Responses

  1. Harold Lane

    October 2, 2014 9:33 am

    It is well known how badly Baha’is are treated in Iran. It is inconceivable that they are denied university education. We know of Baha’is who suffer in this way. I find it so strange that this evil treatment is denied by the authorities. What are they trying to prove? Why not change your policies, and show respect for their rights. Harold F. Lane.

  2. Limang

    October 2, 2014 3:26 pm

    I thought Islam is a compassionate and peaceful religion I keep hearing about from my Muslim friends who try to convert me but from what I know and read, it seems to be the opposite, promoting hate, bigotry and oppression against those who have different beliefs. I am really confused. Can anyone enlighten me about the truth of Islam? Is it a peaceful religion or a violent one? Why are today’s mass killings, suicide bombings and troubles all done by Muslims and in the name of Islam?


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