Shahindokht Molaverdi: There Have Been Written Communications Regarding the Forced Closure Baha’i-Owned Businesses

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

Shahindokht Molaverdi, Special Assistant to the Iranian President for Civil Rights, has reported that there have been written communications with the related authorities regarding the sealing of Bahá’í owned businesses.

Based on a report by Ilna News Agency, at a meeting on Saturday 2 December 2017 in Tehran, titled “Exploring the Realization of Civil Rights”, Mrs. Molaverdi stated, “Inquiries have been made from the president’s legal deputy in relation to the sealing of business premises and the prohibition of the activities of Bahá’ís. We will continue this discussion through legal means until we find a solution for the matter.”

Referring to the fact, that there have been written communications by the President’s legal deputy with the “related authorities”, Shahindokht Molaverdi also said, “I believe we will have results soon.”

Mrs. Molaverdi has not mentioned the names of the referenced institutions, and has only said she is waiting for their response.

In the last four decades adherents of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran have faced severe oppression. In addition to repeated summons and arrests, as well as deprivation from higher education, many Baha’i business owners’ have had their businesses closed and sealed by the Public Places Supervision Office in various cities.

In his first election campaign in 2013, President Hasan Rohani began using slogans related to supporting “civil rights.”  In a ceremony on December 19, 2016, President Rouhani signed a charter titled “Declaration of Civil Rights.” Despite this, criticisms about non-implementation of this declaration have surfaced in recent months.

Shahindokht Molaverdi, who was appointed as Special Assistant to the Iranian President for Civil Rights approximately four months ago, said in her talk on Saturday that many “legal rights of the nation” which have been mentioned in the third chapter of the Constitution, “have been merely written, but not yet implemented”. She added, “The implementation of 22 rights within the Declaration of Civil Rights is a public demand.”

The oppression of Bahá’ís in Iran has been continuously criticized by international organizations. In the most recent case, Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Affairs in Iran, criticized “the harassment and oppression of Bahá’ís in Iran” in her report to the United Nation’s General Assembly, and recognized their deprivation from education as a “violation of human rights”.

In addition to the Bahá’ís, other religious minorities in Iran, including the Sunnis and newly-converted Christians have also been faced with numerous pressures.  In its latest annual report on religious freedom in the world, the U.S. State Department criticized this action of the Islamic Republic’s authorities.  In addition, the third Committee of the United Nation’s General Assembly expressed concern over the continuing violation of the freedom of religious minorities through approval of a resolution.

In her talk on Saturday, Shahin Molaverdi has said that, since her appointment to the new post, “many have contacted her regarding the rights of minorities and their appointment to government jobs”.


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