The following piece was written by an Iranian citizen journalist on the ground inside the country, who writes under a pseudonym to protect his identity.
I am a third-year high school student. My grades are excellent. My teachers hope that in the next year’s college entrance exams my name would be in the top ranks. But I know that even if I am at the very top, there will be no place for me in Iranian universities, like my sister who was a student of architecture at Beheshti University and was expelled in her second year.
On Monday December 15, the academic Ayatollah Moussavi Bojnourdi clearly talked about denying the basic civil rights of the Baha’is. “We have never said that the Baha’is have the right to education,” he told Fars news agency. “They don’t have any civil rights. Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians have civil and human rights because these are Abrahamic religions.”
I had an idea. I said to myself, when they themselves tell us we have no rights, whom can we protest to? We do not have a representative in the parliament to whom we can turn. Then I decided to call a few members of the parliamentary Education Commission and ask them, as a Baha’i student, to follow up on my rights as an Iranian citizen. All three of them represent Tehran, have doctorates and teach at universities or research centers.
Zohreh Tabib-Zadeh Nuri: “Convert to Islam and your problem will be solved.”
Zohreh Tabib-Zadeh Nuri is a dentist from Shahid Beheshti University and a member of its scientific board. She was one of the MPs who questioned the former Science Minister Reza Faraji Dana about the return of Baha’i students to the universities.
Hello Ms. Tabib-Zadeh. I have a problem and I wanted to have a short talk with you.
Please, but make it short because I must attend a meeting right now.
I am an Iranian student and all my teachers hope that I will be in the top ranks of next year’s entrance exams. But there is no guarantee that I can go to university.
Because I am a Baha’i.
How did you get my number?
I got your number from a friend who’s a reporter. I was told that you would do whatever you can.
Look, my daughter. You Baha’is are hostile to Islam and we cannot allow the enemies of Islam into Islamic universities. You get into universities and start to try to convert others. Right now as a result of carelessness by the former management team of the Science Ministry a number of Baha’i students have gotten into universities and Baha’i promotional booklets have been distributed. Of course the Muslims would not be deceived by these booklets, and Baha’is know it too, but they do such things because of their animosity towards Islam.
You mean you cannot do anything?
Look my dear. Go and study the Koran and learn more about Islam and try to decide for yourself. I promise you that if you study it carefully and decide with wisdom you will choose the religion of Islam and your problems would go away by themselves. If you need resources to study you can contact my office. Write down the number for my office and call me. God be with you. I have to go my meeting.
Mehdi Koochek-Zadeh: “Leave Iran.”
Mehdi Koochek-Zadeh has a Ph.D. in water engineering from Modarres University and is a member of its scientific board. He is a hardliner MP and a member of the Endurance Front. After two hours of calling his office and coordinating with his secretary, I was finally allowed to talk to him because I insisted that I could only explain my problem directly to the MP.
Hello, Mr. Koochek-Zadeh. I am a good student and my teachers hope that in the next year’s entrance exams I will pass near the top of the rankings.
Well, God willing. What can I do for you?
I can’t get into college because I am a Baha’i.
[Laughs.] You don’t need our universities. You have your own university and organization and what not. Go to your own secret university and don’t waste our time.
Mr. Koochek-Zadeh, whatever my religion, I am an Iranian and you represent all Iranian people. Is that your only answer?
You can do something else. You can go to America or Israel and appeal to them. Tell them you are one of them and you can easily get into college and get a degree. Why do you stay here and create problems both for yourself and for us?
But I want to live in my own country.
Then obey the law. [His mobile rings.] I have no more time for this discussion.
Mohammad Nabavian: “Universities are not for the Baha’is.”
Mohammad Nabavian is a cleric and has a Ph.D. in comparative philosophy. He is an assistant professor at Imam Khomeini Education and Research Center. He was a student of the hardliner Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and has talked many times about making universities more Islamic.
Mr. Nabavian, I am denied a college education. My friends suggested that I should contact you and tell you about my problem.
Why have you been denied? Have they expelled you from the university? Did you have a moral problem?
No, I have not been to university. But I believe I am denied higher education because I am a Baha’i. Is this correct?
Yes, correct; universities are not for the Baha’is. Universities in Islamic countries must be Islamic.
But there are students who are of a different religion. Yes?
Religions, yes. But Baha’ism is not a religion. It is a sect. A made-up sect.
But whatever my religion, I am an Iranian and you represent all Iranians.
No. I am not your representative. I represent the Muslim people of Iran.
By Raha Bushehri – citizen journalist
December 18, 2014 5:43 pm
All Iranian students, sponsored by the Iranian government, should be banned from studying anywhere outside of Iran. All existing students studying in universities across N. America, Europe, Australia, and Asia should be sent home until the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) changes its stupid , hypocritical, and racist policies towards its minority citizens. Unless you treat them with harsh measures these guys will use and abuse the kindness the rest of the world offers them.
I know Muslim Iranian professors, teaching in Canadian universities, that threatened Baha’i students in their class to drop the course or receive a low or failing mark in the final exam. These fanatics will never ever stop at their mad mission, on bringing misery to earth.
December 18, 2014 5:52 pm
The PhD in their certificates stands for:
Philosopher of Hate and Destruction,
Pathetic Hypocrite Dual-personality,
Party of Hezbollah Diehards,
Paid to Hate and Destroy.
December 18, 2014 9:46 pm
I have an idea. We should take careful note of these individuals. When they go abroad for some conference show up and ask embarrassing questions about their support for this policy of discrimination.
December 19, 2014 1:26 am
It simply shows lack of maturity, loss of intellectual capacity, dearth of knowledge, constipated ideas, far of truth on their part. ignorance is not blissful. it even goes against the grain of all religions.
it is obvious that they fear losing their authority, power, influence over the masses if the truth is allowed to surface and prevail; hence the onslaught continues…
December 19, 2014 8:00 am
Whether they are denied education or not they will still have an equal opportunity in the Kingdom of God. It only shows how the government of Iran is bias to its people. The world has changed a great deal while they still leave in centuries ago.
December 20, 2014 7:11 pm
Yes,Tom! They are living in centuries of inquisition.
December 21, 2014 10:22 am
O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence.
O God! Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all, conferrest life upon all. Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy.
O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.
O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.
O God! Establish the Most Great Peace.
Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.
O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence.
Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind.
December 21, 2014 10:04 pm
“The Chart of Human Rights” and the right of knowledge is the result of thousand years of human progress and ethics. God is one, Mankind is one, Religion is one and in progress by the Manifestations of God.
December 24, 2014 8:26 pm
It is amazing to me that barbarism is so alive and well in this new century. These patterns have been going on for millenia, but the majority of the world has outgrown such antiquated and destructive, insular practices. These last few hold outs like Iran and North Korea, are the thorn in the side of humanity.
It’s also amazing to me that they cannot see the patterns…that no such governing body has ever survived…eventually they all crumble and fail. It is just a matter of time.
Nazi Germany is a perfect example. Their prejudicial policies against the jews, caused that country’s greatest brain drain ever, with the mass exodus of many of the country’s most influential thinkers, and highly educated population. And when it got truly destructive, they were made to pay for their crimes.
In today’s Iran, there are over 300,000 Baha’is’. All law abiding, non-destructive people who have been mandated by their very beliefs, to be thus. And those are just the ones who have stayed behind. Many more have been forced to flee the country, causing Iran a loss of some of its most valued, and honest citizens.
Many Baha’is’ and the family members have actually been killed over there in recent times…for no other reason than the fact that they are Baha’i. Many that have not been killed have been imprisoned, brutalized, tortured, and have had their properties, jobs, bank accounts, and rights removed by the Iranian government.
The only reason the rest of the world hasn’t moved in to eliminate the corrupt regime is because thus far they have done little more than threaten, and provide support to other bad folk. Same goes with North Korea.
But sadly, the barbaric practices continue…the country continues to move backwards, and everything and everyone they influence does the same. In the process, so many potential contributors to their countries advancement, maturity, and growth…to the emergence into the age of light…are suppressed and persecuted; are not allowed to reach their potential,, and contribute. It’s a sad testament to the state of the world, that such things are still allowed to continue under our very noses…that the rest of the world cannot find a way of shutting such regimes down.
Just my thoughts.
January 15, 2015 7:33 pm
It is sad to see this still happening. Thank you for bringing awareness. I will pray for the Baha’is in Iran.
January 30, 2015 12:57 am
This is the Islamic regime’s cunning plan, to force the Baha’is to leave Iran.