Afagh Rahimian, the wife of Rahim Rahimian, a Baha’i executed in 1983, and mother to Keyvan and Kamran, passed away this week in Iran.
Rahimian’s life was marked by the repeated persecution of members of her family, from her husband Rahim to her two sons, Keyvan and Kamran, and who as a result faced profound challenges and sacrifices over the course of her life. Afagh Rahimian played a crucial role in these tragedies – including caring for grandchildren as her sons spent years in Iranian prisons.
After Rahim Rahimian’s execution in 1983, the family’s home and personal property was confiscation and Afagh Rahimian, along with her two children, was sent to live with friends with just one suitcase of belongings.
In 2014, Keyvan Rahimian, along with his brother Kamran and Kamran’s wife Faran Hesami, was arrested for teaching at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), resulting in five-year prison sentences.
Keyvan, an educational psychologist, as well as a scholar of the Baha’i faith and translator, and now aged 58, was arrested again in July 2023 and remains in Evin Prison today.
Keyvan made a recent request for prison leave to visit his mother, which was denied. Afagh Rahimian’s last days – spent without one of her sons, and under intensive care in a hospital – was marked by this final injustice by the Iranian authorities.
The story of the Rahimian family was a central feature in IranWire founder and editor-in-chief Maziar Bahari’s 2014 film To Light a Candle about the persecution of Baha’is in Iran and the community’s efforts to pursue higher education despite being banned from Iranian universities.