Translation by Iran Press Watch
According to information received by Iran International, on December 15th and October 18th, memorial services for two departed Baha’i citizens, Noura Imani and Golchehreh Nobakht (Darabi), were canceled at a restaurant in the city of Sari. The owners of the restaurant informed the relatives of the departed that, by the order of the Public Places Supervision Office, they were not permitted to serve food to the Baha’is.
A source close to the family of these Baha’i citizens told Iran International the following: “On Friday, December 15th, the grieving family of Noura Imani went to the restaurant to host the memorial service for the departed; however, despite prior coordination, when the owner of the restaurant was informed of their religious belief, he refused to serve them. According to this informed source, this happened while the majority of those invited were Muslim relatives of the Imani family.”
The informed source told Iran International: “On October 18th of this year, the relatives of Golchehreh Nobakht (Darabi) coordinated a memorial service for this deceased Baha’i with the restaurant and even prepaid the cost based on the number of invited guests, but the restaurant refused to let the guests in when they arrived.” This informed source said: “The restaurant owners said that their action was legal, and the Public Places Supervision Office had told them not to serve the Baha’is, and if they had initially known we were Baha’is, they would have told us.
Two Baha’i citizens were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence Office in Ghaemshahr
Meanwhile, according to reports received by Iran International, Foad Laghaie and Kioumars Akbari, two Baha’i citizens residing in Ghaemshahr, were summoned to the Intelligence Office of that city through telephone calls.
During these calls, Laghaie and Akbari told the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence that they needed to receive a written summons from the judicial authorities, and even in that case, they would only appear at the court and would not go to the intelligence offices without a written summons.
In this regard, a source close to these Baha’i citizens told Iran International: “In response, the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence threatened them and said that if they did not appear at the Intelligence Office, they would be treated more harshly.”
These two Baha’i citizens are among eleven Baha’i citizens whom Branch six of the inspection office of the Prosecutor’s Office of this city has opened cases against in recent days.
On October 16, 2023, the homes of these Baha’i citizens were searched following a raid by security agents, and the agents confiscated a number of their personal belongings, including books and their mobile phones.
During the past months, security and judicial institutions have intensified pressure on the Baha’i citizens. In a statement issued on December 4th related to this, the Baha’i International Community described “the new and more violent methods” the Islamic Republic is using to “suppress the Baha’is”.
Unofficial sources report that more than 300 thousand Baha’is live in Iran; however, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism as religions. Baha’is are the largest non-Muslim minority in Iran who have been systematically persecuted since the 1979 revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic.