Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported in Persian on Thursday, 11 December 2008, and this report appears below in translation:
Today (Thursday), the amphitheater of the Art Center of the Organization for the Propagation of Islam, located on Hafez Street, between Samieh and Taleqani Streets, suffered fire damage.
The present building is used as the Art Center and encompasses over 2,000 sq meter built in a traditional architectural style. Prior to the Revolution, this building was used as a Hadiratu’l-Quds or worship center by the Baha’is.
According to IRNA’s reporter, the firemen of fire station 108 in Tehran immediately arrived at the scene and after 30 minutes of combating the flames were able to extinguish the fire. This incident did not result in any loss of life.
The Hadiratu’l-Quds, meaning paradise, was the worship center for the Baha’is of Tehran. It was built as a magnificent edifice using Qajar style architecture, employing a considerable quantity of traditional mirrors and decorative tiles, and was raised in the midst of verdant orchards and gardens. The two-story building has a large amphitheatre with high ceilings, exquisite ornamental plaster.
After the Islamic Revolution, this building was confiscated. Through the work of revolutionary Islamic artists, such as Murteza Avini, Muhsen Makhmalbaf and many others, it has been transformed into a site for expressing Islamic revolutionary art.
The Baha’i Faith is a worldwide community with over eight million followers. The Baha’i Faith started in Iran; its founder is known as Baha’u’llah.
[The above report was posted in Persian on Thursday, 11 December 2008 at: http://www4.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=259463. However, when the same site was accessed a week later, a much smaller report appeared that had no reference to the Baha’i Faith at all. Translation by Ahang Rabbani.]