Baha’is of Tehran to Iran’s Attorney General


Editor’s Note:  As various ad hoc Baha’i coordinating bodies in Iran end their activities in conformity with the wishes of the Yaran [“Friends”] as confirmed by the Universal House of Justice, some are writing to the Iranian authorities expressing their obedience and other sentiments (for one example see  Iran Press Watch is pleased to share another such historic letter in translation.

To the Attorney General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Qorban-Ali Dorri Najafabadi:

With respect,

In your letter to the Minister of Intelligence in February of this year, in addition to accusing Baha’i organizations of espionage for Israel, Your Excellency also demanded that local Baha’i entities which administer the affairs of the Baha’i community – known as Khademin [“Servants”] — cease their activities. (see

Unfortunately, the accusation of espionage for Israel is a theme which has been evoked to confront and persecute followers of the Baha’i Faith for the past 30 years.  According to their religious teachings, Baha’is are explicitly and firmly prohibited from participating in political affairs, and they consider themselves to be obedient to the government.  For this reason, as citizens of Iran we consider ourselves responsible regarding matters related to this land, and consider ourselves duty-bound to join our countrymen in their faithful and sincerely endeavors to develop and advance our nation.

The idea that because Baha’i holy places are located in today’s Israel that this is a proof for our espionage for that country is a most baseless accusation.  You should note that in addition to the Baha’i holy sites, sacred places associated with other religions [including Islam] are also located in that country.

Moreover, Your Excellency is surely aware that some 80 years before the formation of the State of Israel Baha’u’llah was compelled into exile in that region by two Islamic governments of the time” namely, the Qajar Empire and the Ottoman Empire.  In this regard, He was given no choice whatsoever.

Therefore, in the strongest possible way we reject the accusation of espionage for Israel, which would be an act against the interests of our nation, and therefore an impossible undertaking for any Baha’i.

Regarding Baha’i administration, surely you are aware that in 1984, after the Attorney General of that time announced [the illegality of Baha’i administration], all Baha’i institutions, which had been elected based on the provisions of the Baha’i administrative order, were shut down, and all local and national Spiritual Assemblies announced the termination of their operation.  From that time until the present, groups of Khademin have discharged a limited supervisory role in regard to the spiritual and social activities of the Baha’i community, particularly in relation to personal status, education of children and so on.  These activities have taken place with the complete awareness of the official authorities of the nation.  In fact, when it did not conflict with the principles of Baha’i belief, Khademin have had meetings and collaborated with the country’s officials and authorities.

The understanding of the Baha’i community during the last 24 years has been that the nation’s authorities were completely aware of these activities and, recognizing that they offered no threat whatsoever to the regime, they did not hinder them.

Now that the esteemed Attorney General has officially announced the termination of these activities, and the Universal House of Justice and the Yaran in Iran have agreed to it: from this date forward, the group known as Khademin of section 4 of Tehran will end its activities, will have no responsibility, and its members will conduct themselves like any other individual members of the community.

It is hoped that this development will establish the positive intentions of the Baha’i community and will dispel any existing misunderstanding.  God willing, it will pave the way for the end of discrimination and limitations on the rights of the followers of the Baha’i religion as rightful citizens of Iran.

Respectfully yours,

Nosratu’llah Amini

Emilia Shaydan-Shaydi

Afrasiyab Firouzian

cc:  The Minister of Intelligence

Download the original Persian letter


7 Responses

  1. Mark Obenauer

    March 27, 2009 4:10 am

    These people are doing what would astound people who know very little about the Baha’i’ Faith: they are being obedient to their government, except when it means that they are denying their Faith. Some of the persecutors must certainly be astounded by such good, steadfast character. It is the same astonishment that persecutors felt towards early Christian martyrs. Only these are living martyrs. Surely a persecutor with a heart will be much affected by such good intentions on the part of the persecuted and perhaps their ill-disposition towards the Faith will change.

    Also the reaction of the Baha’i’s is unlike those of previous wronged people. They are not retaliating. If this world ever has peace it starts with a person not retaliating and breaking that cycle of violence that wracks broad swaths across this earth’s landscape. We just have to look at Ruwanda or the former Yugoslavia, to see the dangers of ethnic violence. And the situation isn’t improved by the endless cycle of retaliation of one wronged side against the other wronged side.

  2. sb

    March 27, 2009 12:39 pm

    This is more than a fairminded and balanced statement of the truth. Thank you, dear brothers and sister in faith, for leading the way with light-filled steps. Your unified example of peaceful cooperation, even to the point of self-sacrifice, is a lesson to all of us who follow your situation with interest.


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