Denied the Right to Learn

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[Posted by owen59 on May 27, 2011] The systematic denial of education to Baha’i students in Iran has been condemned by many Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), groups and individuals. A recent event at the University of Berkeley, in the United States, considered this denial in a conference under the title of “Educational Discrimination in Iran: Denied the Right to Learn.” The conference itself was not specific to the discrimination against Baha’is but also of Balaruch and Afghan minorities. Report here.

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, co-founder and Executive Director of United4Iran, spoke of the history of her organization and the student rights movement in Iran. Her work focuses on networking and movement building, collaborative leadership, and NGO management. She explained that 70% of the Iranian population is under 35, telling the audience, “the vast majority of the people are young: they do not see ethnic, religious, and geographic boundaries and they have a different vision.” Student protestors have been given long gaol sentences and tortured.

in the year 2006, the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology wrote a general letter to 81 universities in Iran officially expelling the Baha’is or denying them access to education. Some of the students who went to these universities asked what the legal justification was for this denial of education.  Some of the students were shown the actual letter:

Respectfully, we inform you that in accordance with decree number 1327/M/S, dated 6/12/69 [25 February 1991], issued by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council and the notificationof the responsible authorities of the Intelligence Office, if Bahá’í individuals, at the time of enrollment at university, or in the course of their studies, are identified as Bahá’ís, they must be expelled from university.  Therefore, it is necessary to take measures to prevent the further studies of the aforementioned individuals and forward a follow-up report to this Office.
Aṣghar Zári‘í [Asghar Zarei]
Director General of the Central Security Office



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