Shima Fattahi Prevented from Continuing Education Because of Belief in the Baha’i Faith

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

HRANA: Shima Fattahi Mirshekarloo, a Baha’i citizen, received a message on the website of the Urmia Azad University on Sunday, January 17th, 2021 informing her that she had been barred from defending her dissertation and continuing her postgraduate studies due to her belief in the Baha’i Faith. The text of this message refers to a letter dated December 29th, 2009 regarding the ban on the education of Baha’i students, and to the expulsion of this citizen from the university.

According to the HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists in Iran, today, Sunday, January 17th, 2021, Shima Fattahi Mirshekarloo, a Baha’i citizen, was deprived of further education. Ms. Fattahi, who entered the master’s degree program in International Law at Urmia Azad University in 2018, was informed that she had been prevented from continuing her studies by receiving a message from university security today. In this message, the reason given for Shima Fattahi’s expulsion is her belief in the Baha’i faith. The expulsion of this citizen from the university took place as she was preparing to defend her dissertation.

The text of this message refers to a letter dated December 29th, 2019 regarding the ban on Baha’i students, and is stated as the reason for the expulsion of this citizen.

Yesterday, HRANA reported on the deprivation of education of Mahsa Forouhari, a Baha’i citizen living in Karaj.

Despite the explicit wording of the law, according to a confidential decree of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution of Iran, Baha’is are barred from university education in addition to being barred from government employment. Despite the ban on Baha’i citizens in university education, some of these citizens have occasionally been able to enter university and after some time have been barred from continuing their education by the authorities under various pretexts.

Every year many reports are published about the deprivation of Baha’i citizens from education in Iran’s universities. Even Baha’i students who are on the verge of graduation find themselves suddenly banned from continuing their studies.

Throughout the existence of the current Iranian regime, United Nations rapporteurs on human rights in Iran have repeatedly denounced the persecution of the Baha’i community, in particular the denial of the right to education for Baha’i students, considering it a blatant example of the Iranian government’s disregard for human rights treaties.

Baha’is in Iran are denied freedom of religion, a systematic exclusion, in contravention of article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to both of which Iran is a signatory, which state that everyone has a right to freedom of religion and to religious conversion based on personal belief, as well as the freedom to express it individually or collectively, in public or in private.

According to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is; however, the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith. For this reason, Baha’i rights in Iran have been systematically violated for a number of years.


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