On 24 May, agents of the Iranian government Public Places Supervision Office sealed eleven shops in the city of Sari. This followed a similar closure of eighty shops in Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft, in October 2014 and again a few last April.
The sole excuse for the shutting down of these businesses was that they had been closed during the Baha’i Holy Days. In fact, some of the owners were asked to sign a document stating that they will only close their stores on the recognized national holidays, otherwise their business licenses would be revoked and their stores closed permanently.
Asking for such an undertaking and making such a statement do not only violate the right to work and to an adequate standard of living enshrined in the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Iran is a party, it shows the extent to which the Iranian authorities are willing to go in order to weaken the resolve of the Baha’is and to undermine their determination to live and work in their native land.
In actual facts, the Iranian authorities are basically preventing a shop owner to close his business at any time he or she wishes. And thus, they are also showing the true face of their relentless persecution of the Baha’is: an irrational religious hatred where the mere closure of a shop for a day or two becomes intolerable.
Today, small enterprises are virtually the only means of economic subsistence for the majority of Iranians of this Faith because the Iranian government widespread plan for the economic deprivation of the Baha’i community has already banned them from all government employment and private sector businesses are frequently pressured to dismiss their Baha’i employees.
So the recent closure of shops is not just a violation of economic rights, it is yet another effort by the Iranian authorities to eradicate the Baha’i community as a viable entity in the place of its birth.
Leave a Reply