HUMAN RIGHTS YEAR
HRANA – April 9, 2014
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, a journalist and a political prisoner in Rejai Shahr Prison, Karaj, writes, “Let us designate 2014-15 (1) Human Rights Year, and let each of us try in every possible way to expose the laws, policies and activities of the regime that conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the constitutional rights of every Iranian citizen regardless of gender, class, race or ideology.”
Full text of the letter obtained by HRANA:
Iranian political prisoners have designated 2014-15 Human Rights Year in order to raise awareness for Iranian people’s constitutional rights, and to draw the attention of international organizations to this critical issue. On their side, Rouhani’s government has made vociferous and futile assertions regarding citizens’ rights. Now, based on one of the rulings of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, marked “Confidential” but leaked on some websites, I will show to what extent this so-called Islamic regime has violated the rights of its citizens and, unfortunately, systematically continues to do so. The document is a letter sent in February 1991 by Dr. Seyed Mohammad Reza Hashemi Golpayegani, then Supreme Council secretary, to Hujjat al-Islam Mohammadi Golpayegani, chief of staff of the Supreme Leader regarding the rights of Baha’is, in reference to the Council’s directives approved at their meetings on 5 and 9 February 1991 (2).
The secretary of the Council writes, “With reference to letter no. S1/782S, dated 31 December 1990, regarding the communication of the Supreme Leader’s [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s] orders to the President concerning Baha’i matters, please note that the matter was put on the agenda for meetings 138 and 139 held on 5 and 9 February 1991. Based on deliberations that took place on August 11, 1987 at meeting 132 of the Supreme Council under the auspices of the Supreme Leader, then chairman of the Supreme Council, the recent directives of the Supreme Leader regarding Baha’is were communicated to the Supreme Council. Taking into consideration the principles of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the country’s religious, legal and general policies, with particular attention to the wishes of the Supreme Leader that there should be a clear policy on what can and cannot be done, the chairman of the Supreme Council and the President approved that the proposed recommendations be forwarded to the Supreme Leader for review and further instructions.”
According to the first section of this letter, which reports on the progress of the assignment, Mr. Khamenei took various actions against Baha’is during his presidency and while chairman of the Supreme Council, and has since followed up on these activities through the Council. Thus, during the presidency of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani and in accordance with Mr. Khamenei’s wishes, the Supreme Council submits a report to him on the results of their deliberations. In response to this report Mr. Khamenei writes, “In the Name of God. The rulings of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution seem satisfactory. We thank the Council for their consideration and efforts. Sayyid Ali Khamenei.”
Now, let us consider these Council rulings that were sanctioned by Rafsanjani and approved by Mr. Khamenei.
Paragraph 1: “They will not be expelled from the country without reason.” In other words, putting pressure on them to leave their country is a defensible act?! The question is, which article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or even of the present Constitution sanctions forcing a citizen to leave his country because of his beliefs?
Paragraph 2: “They will not be arrested, imprisoned and punished for no reason.” Seeing that these statements refer to the followers of a specific faith or religion rather than offenders in general, these gentlemen consider being a Baha’i an offense in itself. It is important to note that thousands of Baha’is have been tortured or executed.
Paragraph 3: “The System must ensure that they do not prosper and become successful.” One must ask Messrs. Khamenei and Rafsanjani which article of the Constitution gives them the right to prevent some citizens from prospering? What right do they and their cohorts have to trample on the Constitution for which, according to them, thousands were martyred, and to enact laws which are in total contradiction to its principles? Exile, incarceration, execution, torture, oppression: by what legal right?!
Section B, paragraph 1 of the same document, referring to the educational status of Baha’is, states, “They may register in schools, provided they do not declare themselves to be Baha’is.” Does the Constitution sanction losing the right to education because of one’s religion? Doesn’t the Universal Declaration of Human Rights repudiate any kind of discrimination based on religion? Why has Mr. Khamenei, whose responsibility as a leader was to uphold this very Constitution, disregarded it? Is this not clear evidence of dishonesty or abuse of power?
Paragraph 3 continues, “On registration and during attendance at university, if it becomes known that they are Baha’i, they must be expelled.” Does the Constitution allow the Supreme Council and Mr. Rafsanjani as then President to deprive some citizens from education solely because of their beliefs? Did Khamenei consider himself so much above the Constitution as to patently disregard it? Since the enactment of this ruling in 1991, thousands of Baha’is have been deprived of higher education. An educational genocide has taken place. Who other than Khamenei is responsible for this crime against humanity? Does Rouhani, who claims to uphold citizens’ rights, have the courage to revoke this tyrannical ruling that is against the Constitution and contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Never! His authority does not reach that far!
Paragraph 4: “Their political (espionage) activities…” According to which law did Khamenei and Rafsanjani, acting as Supreme Leader and President, convict the political activities of a large group of Iranians as espionage without recourse to justice and due legal process? Does this not exhibit disregard for the Constitution, and represent a callous judgment of thousands of men and women whom they have never met? Is not such a pitiless ruling the epitome of abuse of power and disregard for the law, and suggest the law of the jungle? What kind of logic and what sort of government allows those who are supposed to uphold the law to break it by enacting such rules, and thus promoting a culture of anarchy and inhumanity? Equating the political activities of a group with espionage is a crime in itself.
Section J, paragraph 3, concerning the legal and social status of Baha’is: “If they identify themselves as Baha’is, they must not be hired.”
Same section, paragraph 4: “They should not be given jobs in sensitive areas (such as scientific…).” This ruling, which is against basic individual rights, the present Constitution and especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, blatantly and shamelessly puts a stamp of legitimacy on systematic religious and ideological persecution.
I do not believe that any group other than the Hojjatieh Society (3), its leaders and ideologues and their supporters would so doggedly insist on trivializing the Constitution and citizens’ rights in order to deprive a group of their right to work, teach or be employed by the government, and to convict them solely because of their beliefs.
Let us designate 2014-15 as Human Rights Year, and let each of us try in every possible way to expose the laws, policies and activities of the regime that conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the constitutional rights of every Iranian citizen, regardless of gender, class, race or religion.
I began this campaign by defending the constitutional rights of my Baha’i compatriots, because I consider them to have suffered more injustice than others, and because in the past I lacked the sensitivity to come to their defense. May this make up for some of the failings of the past.
Rejai Shahr Prison
1. Based on the Persian year 1393, which runs from March 21, 2014 to March 20, 2015.
2. The full text of the letter can be found at http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/education/feature-articles/secret-blueprint
3. For information on the Hojjatieh Society, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hojjatieh
Translation by Iran Press Watch
Source : http://tinyurl.com/k58py6y