A Business is closed Because the Owner is Baha'i

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Translated by Ahang Rabbani

Mr. Husayn Derakhshan had repeatedly visited Isfahan’s Trade Union for Interior Designs which grants permits for various construction works in hope of securing a license for his company “Derakhshan Interior Design”. For this purpose he had completed all administrative and legal steps pertaining to such an enterprise and received a positive response. The only remaining legal hurdle was for the Security Office for Public Spheres to issue consent for this application.

On 24 June 2007, the Security Office for Public Sphere contacted Mr. Derakhshan and requested an in-person meeting. When Derakhshan arrived at their office, he was asked to sign a pledge – a copy is attached. In this documented pledge, he was asked by signing to commit to observe all moral, legal and principles of the Revolution, as well as Islamic precepts. Furthermore, the handwritten lines are noteworthy, inasmuch as by signing this document, he would guaranteeing that he would be at his place of business during all working hours of the interior design company, and that none of his family members would be allowed to run the business during his absence.

Mr. Derakhshan did not sign this pledge, and after a few days, on 25 June 2007, he received a notice that his application for business license was denied and he had to close shop effective immediately. On 7 July, his place of business was officially closed and sealed by the municipality.

After many letters and much follow up, finally on 25 August 2007, Mr. Derakhshan was able to meet with Colonel ‘Asemi, the head of Isfahan’s Security Office. In this meeting, Colonel ‘Asemi stated that Derakhshan’s business was illegal, since he had indicated his religion to be Baha’i in the application form.

It should be noted that the places of business of a number of other Baha’is in Baharestan (a town 20 kilometers southeast of Isfahan) have also been closed. After these Baha’is repeatedly complained about these closures, their licenses were renewed, while Mr. Derakhshan’s license application has not been approved despite his repeated attempts and many letters.

On 12 May 2008, the city’s Trade Union for Interior Designs Office advised Derakhshan, “A business license will not be given to you until you leave this city.”

It should be noted that during the past 30 years, Baha’is have been barred from working in governmental offices and from holding any important position. Now, solely for the reason of being Baha’is, they are being deprived of the right to privately held businesses.

[The following report was posted on Thursday, 27 November 2008 at the online site of Human Rights Activists of Iran: http://www.hrairan.org/Archive_87/1233.html and it was also reported by Iran Press News on the same day at http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/050103.htm and appears above in translation.]


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