Iranian Baha’i Educator Faran Hessami Released

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Faran Hessami, an Iranian Baha’i educator, has been released after four years in prison. Faran Hessami and her husband Kamran Rahimian were arrested along with dozens of teachers and administrators at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in 2012. Baha’is are the largest religious minority in Iran, but they are denied many rights, including the right to higher education. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Baha’is cannot teach or study in Iranian universities, so in 1986, they set up BIHE, an underground university. BIHE classes are held at people houses or online. Even though BIHE’s certificates are unofficial, dozens of prominent universities around the world accept BIHE graduates. The government of Iran raids BIHE classes regularly and arrests and jails its students, teachers and administrators. Faran Hessami’s brother-in-law, Kayvan Rahimian, is still in prison and is due for release in two years. Rahimian’s father was executed in the years following the Revolution, along with hundreds of other Baha’is.


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