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                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

News Jan 16

The tale of such outrageous conduct, such widespread suffering and loss, if properly expressed and broadcast, cannot fail in the end to arouse the conscience of civilized mankind, and thereby secure the much-needed relief for a long-suffering people. I would, therefore, renew my plea, and request you most earnestly to redouble your efforts in the wide field of publicity, to devise every possible means that will alleviate the fears and sorrows of the silent sufferers in that distracted country. Surely these vile wrong-doers cannot long remain unpunished … (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 107)

Samira Ebraahimi arrested, released on bail

HRANA, January 12, 2022. –

Samira Ebraahimi (سمیرا ابراهیمی) was arrested in Tehran on January 10, after answering a summons, and freed from Evin Prison on bail on January 11. Bail was unusually high, at 800 million tumans (165,000 euros ; $US 189,000). Mrs. Ebrahimi is the wife of Arsalan Yazdani (ارسلان یزدانی), who was arrested on September 1, 2021, in a raid on the family home. He was detained for 45 days, and then released on bail of one million tumans (200 euros ; $US 240).
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Saba Sefidi arrested in Tehran

HRANA, January 11, 2022. –

Saba Sefidi (صبا سفیدی), a Bahai from Tehran, was summoned to the court at Evin Prison on January 11, and arrested when she appeared there. No further details are available.
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Baha’i poet Naatoli Derakhshaan arrested in Sari City

HRANA (English), January 12, 2022. –

On January 11, Naatoli Derkshaan (ناتولی درخشان), a Bahai poet, was arrested by intelligence agents at his home in Sari City and transferred to an unidentified location. The reasons for this arrest, the charges against him and his whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing.

He was previously arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence on February 21, 2012, and released on bail of 200 million rials (13,000 euros, $US18,000) on March 27 that year. The charge against him was said to be “propaganda against the regime.” He had published an open letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, drawing attention to human rights violations against the Bahais and in Iran, the exclusion of Bahai youth from tertiary education, and the false denials of these facts by Iran’s representatives at the United Nations. Mr. Derakshaan himself is excluded from tertiary education because he is a Bahai. I have no record that he was tried in relation to the 2012 arrest.
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Behzaad Afshaar released, Jamaal Afshaar still held in Ahvaz

HRANA, January 15, 2022. –

Behzaad Afshaar, A Bahai from Mahshahr, in Southwest Iran, was released from Ahvaz prison on bail on January 14, while Jamaal Afshaar (جمال افشار) is still detained in Ahvaz. They were among seven Bahais arrested in home raids in Mahshahr on December 27. The other five were questioned and released after a few hours.
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Samira Ebraahimi summoned for questioning again

Iran Wire, January 5, 2022. –

Samira Ebraahimi (سمیرا ابراهیمی), the wife of Arsalan Yazdani (ارسلان یزدانی), has been summoned to the Tehran Revolutionary Court for questioning, for the second time in three weeks. She is due to report to the court on January 8. Her previous questioning was about December 21. Arsalan Yazdani was arrested on September 1, 2021, in a raid on the family home. He was detained for 45 days, and then released on bail of one million tumans (200 euros ; $US 240).
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Seven arrested in home raids in Mahshahr: two still held

HRANA, January 1, 2022. –

On December 27, seven Bahais were arrested in a raid on their home in Mahshahr, in the Southwest of Iran: five were questioned and released, and two have been taken to the city of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan Province. They are Jamaal Afshaar (جمال افشار) and Behzaad Afshaar (بهزاد افشار). The five who questioned and released a few hours later are Farideh Farzaaneh (فریده فرزانه), Mehraan Afshaar (مهران افشار), A`zam Afshaar (اعظم افشار), Kiomaarth Afshaar (کیومرث افشار) and Golnoush Afshaar (گلنوش افشار). During the raid, some personal effects were seized. Mehraan. A`zam and Golnoush Afshaar were also summoned to return to the Security Agency next day, when they were again questioned and released after a few hours.
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Egyptian court says no cemeteries to be provided for Bahais and some others

Mada Masr, December 30, 2021. –

A ruling by the Administrative Court of Alexandria this week exempted local authorities in Alexandria of the responsibility to provide Bahais with a space to bury their dead. The ruling also affects anyone in Egypt who has a dash mark (“-”) in the “religion” field of their national identity card. The dash indicates that they are not adherents of Islam, Christianity or Judaism.

Currently, a single cemetery space in Cairo’s Basatin neighborhood is available to the thousands of Egyptian Bahais. This has led to the depletion of the cemetery’s capacity and has required the families of deceased Bahais to transport the remains of their loved ones to Cairo from all across Egypt. Such long-distance transport is contrary to Bahai burial requirements.

In Alexandria and Borg al-Arab, where most Bahais in Egypt live, families have spent years submitting their requests to local councils for dedicated burial space, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights researcher Amr Ezzat told Mada Masr. However, government employees often refuse even to file the submitted requests.

In a legal suit submitted to the Administrative Court of Alexandria a year ago, EIPR lawyers sued to obligate Alexandria’s local governorate authorities to allocate cemetery space for them on behalf of dozens of Baha’i families.

On Monday, December 27, the court refused to oblige the governorate to take action, referring to a State Lawsuits Authority opinion advising the court to reject the case on the basis that only Islam, Christianity and Judaism are recognized as religions in Egypt and guaranteed the freedom and space to worship and practice their rites.

EIPR’s lawsuit argues that the government does recognize people of other faiths or of no faith, and points to the 2009 decision to allow for people who are not Muslim, Christian or Jewish to leave the field dedicated to religious affiliation in their national IDs blank, as an acknowledgement of a fourth category of religious identification.

Under a 1966 law on cemeteries, local councils are tasked with looking into how much space is needed by different religious sects, and with proposing potentially appropriate sites and spaces to the Governor, who is then responsible for making a decision.

EIPR intends to appeal the ruling before the Supreme Administrative Court.

The initiative’s statement noted that the governor of Alexandria had consulted with the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar regarding the lawsuit, who concluded that “it is not permissible to allocate a plot of land to bury the dead who bear the mark (-) [to denote religious affiliation on their IDs]… because it leads to discrimination and division, and tears the fabric of a unified society.”
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Home search and summons for the parents of Arsalaan Yazdaani

Iran Wire, December 19.* 2021. –

On the afternoon of December 15, eight security agents bearing a court order searched the Tehran home of the mother and father of Arsalan Yazdani (ارسلان یزدانی), and showed an old summons for Mrs Sa`ideh Khasousi (سعیده خضوعی): one to which she had already responded. At the time of the search, the family was in the midst of moving house, with many possessions packed in boxes. Their son Arsalaan was arrested on September 1, in a raid on the family home, and taken to Evin Prison. The agents also seized some personal effects. On September 30, the same eight agents raided his parents’ home and seized more personal belongings. This time, the agents were wearing body cameras. They were looking for the internal hard disks of the family computer and laptop, but those devices had already been confiscated by the agents, and the family had not been able to buy new ones, so there was nothing to confiscate. They had to be satisfied with some religious books and pictures, and Mrs. Khasousi’s new mobile phone.

Arsalaan was released on bail on October 16 after 45 days in detention.

*The date on this report is Sunday, December 16, 2021, but December 16 was a Thursday.
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Shiva Khalili sentenced to one year in prison

HRANA, December 18, 2021. –

Shiva Khalili (شیوا خلیلی) has been sentenced to one year in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Iran, for propaganda against the regime. The sentence also ordered the seizure of her mobile telephone as an “instrument of crime.” She was arrested in Babol on November 16, after answering a telephone summons to the office of the Revolutionary Prosecutor, and released on bail the following day.
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Mitra Amirabaadi and Heyva Yazdaan enter prison in Yazd

HRANA, December 14, 2021. –

Mitrabandi-Amirabaadi-Baaghi (میترا بندی امیرآبادی) and Heyva Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi (هیوا یزدان مهدی آبادی) were arrested on December 13, and taken to prison in Yazd to begin their 8-month sentences. They were convicted of “propaganda against the regime” because of their Bahai beliefs. They were arrested on May 30. In July 2021 the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, presided over by Judge Reza Javad Musavi (قاضی رضا جواد موسوی) sentenced them to two years and eight months in prison for membership of anti-regime groups, and to eight months in prison for propaganda against the regime. Only the propaganda accusation was upheld by the Provincial Review Court, in November this year.
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Death of Shapur Rasekh

Editorial, December 8, 2021. –

Dr. Shapur Rasekh, a well known educationalist, sociologist, scholar, author, and former member of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Iran and Switzerland and the Continental Board of Counselors for Europe, has died at the age of 97. His publications in the field of Bahai studies have been detailed and soundly based: he will be very much missed.
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Seizures of Bahai-owned farms in Kata

Bahai International Community, December 5, 2021. –

Thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Bahais in the village of Kata in Iran’s southwest have been advertised for sale by tender. The organization “Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order” – a parastatal agency controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that holds and sells assets seized from proscribed groups and individuals advertised the 13 land parcels on an auction website in mid-October, though Bahais have held the deeds to these properties for generations. Complaints by the Bahais – and even attempts to repurchase their own lands – have been rebuffed by the authorities. The Bahais were told that the auction was closed to Bahais, and also to any Muslims that had dealings with Bahais.

“This is yet another example of the Iranian Government’s increasingly callous program of targeted religious persecution against the Baha’i community” said Bani Dugal, Principal Representative to the UN for the Baha’i International Community. “This act inflicts an intolerable and brazen injustice upon an innocent, law-abiding community. Arbitrarily taking farmer’s livelihoods away from them and putting their land up for sale is an act which runs counter to every norm of human decency.”

“State confiscation of property and the denial of livelihoods are both violations of Iran’s human rights commitments under United Nations conventions,” said Ms. Dugal. “The incomes earned from these farms have sustained these families for over 100 years. This plunder, which is being called an auction, must be cancelled without delay.”

More than 400 Bahai families were displaced from Kata after the Revolution. Several hundred homes were torched by mobs, and the Kata Bahais had to live in a refugee camp. Court and official orders in 2002, 2008 and 2016 also confirm more recent attempts by the authorities to confiscate farmlands in and around Kata.

The last year has seen repeated seizures of Bahai properties by the Iranian authorities across the country. In August, after raids on Bahai homes during which security agents sought and confiscated property deeds, six plots in Semnan Province were taken; and in November farmlands were seized surrounding the village of Roshankooh, also in Mazandaran Province.

“How many times must we remind the Iranian authorities that lands owned by Baha’is are not theirs to do with as they please?” asked Ms. Dugal. “Iran’s government must acknowledge this fact today and return all these assets to their rightful Bahai owners.”
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Pedram `Abhar arrested in Shiraz

Radio Farda, November 22, 2021. –

Pedram `Abhar (پدرام عبهر), a 37-year-old Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested on November 21. He works as a private tutor of English. He was driving from Shiraz to Bushehr and stopped for a few minutes’ rest in Dast-e Arzhan (a village, but also the name of the area which is a bird sanctuary). As he was about to return to his car, he was surrounded by several unmarked cars, detained, and returned to his parents’ house in Shiraz, which was searched. He and his family were then interrogated (presumably in the house). The agents seized birth certificates, ID cards and passports, phones, laptops and several hard drives. He was formally arrested and taken away. He is the 18th Bahai arrested in Shiraz since April this year.
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Shiva Khalili arrested in Babol

HRANA, November 16, 2021. –

Shiva Khalili () was arrested in Babol on November 16, after answering a telephone summons to the office of the Revolutionary Prosecutor. There is no information about the reasons for the arrest.
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Six Bahai-run businesses sealed in Qaemshahr

HRANA, November 9, 2021. –

The workplaces of six Bahais in Qaemshahr were closed by the authorities on November 8, because the Bahais took free days to observe two Bahai holy days last week. The workplaces are identified as a doll and toy workship belonging to Nima No`khaah (نیما نوع‌خواه), a spectacles repair unit belong to Naabat Asadi (نابت اسدی), a unit making hygiene requirements belonging to Soheil Baabaa’i (سهیل بابایی), a shop servicing refrigeration and air conditioning units, belonging to Kourush Rezaa’i (کوروش رضایی), a paint and building supplies business run by Maazyaar `Abaasi (مازیار عباسی) and a welding and ironware unit run by Mr. Akbari (آقای اکبری). A number of Bahai-run businesses in Qaemshahr and elsewhere in Mazandaran Province were closed in 2015 for the same reason, and they have still not been allowed to reopen. Because Bahais are excluded from government employment and from employment in many sectors of the economy, a large portion of them run small shops, workshops and independent practices in professions such as optometry.
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Sentences reduced for four Bahais in Yazd

HRANA, November 8, 2021. –

The Court of Review for Yazd Province has reduced the sentences of Amin Dhulfaqaari (امین ذوالفقاری), Mahbubeh Mithaaqiyaan-Dehqaan (محبوبه میثاقیان دهقان) Mitra Bandi-Amirabaadi-Baaghi (میترا بندی امیرآبادی) and Heyva Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi-Bahifar (هیوا یزدان مهدی آبادی) to eight months. In July 2021 the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, presided over by Judge Reza Javad Musavi (قاضی رضا جواد موسوی) sentenced them to two years and eight months in prison for membership of anti-regime groups, and to eight months in prison for propaganda against the regime. Only the propaganda charge was upheld. The four cases were initially separate; the common element was only the involvement of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Amin Dhulfaqaari (امین ذوالفقاری) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 21 this year, and released on bail on June 23. He was accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. Mahbubeh Mithaaqiyaan-Dehqaan (محبوبه میثاقیان دهقان) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on June 1, and bailed on June 16, 2020. Mitra Bandi-Amirabaadi-Baaghi (میترا بندی امیرآبادی) and Heyva Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi-Bahifar (هیوا یزدان مهدی آبادی) were arrested on May 30, and released on bail on September 1 after three months of detention. Mrs. Bani-Mahdiabadi and Mrs Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi had also been arrested in late November, 2017, for teaching music to children. Both were given suspended sentences, which have expired.
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Seyaavash Sobhaaneyaan sentenced in Damavand County

HRANA, November 5, 2021. –

Seyaavash Sobhaaneyaan (سیاوش سبحانیان) has been sentenced to two years in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Damavand. Mr Sobhaaneyaan’s father died several years ago, and the family was refused permission to bury him in Rudehen (رودهن), a town halfway between the eastern edge of Tehran and the city of Damavand. They were told he must be buried at Khatunabad (خاتون آباد), about an hour and quarter’s drive to the south. It appears that the charge against Mr. Sobhaaneyaan relates to his following up the family’s request for a burial in Rudehen. He was charged with acting against national security by membership in and running an illegal Bahai organization. His sister, Parisa Sobhaaneyaan Najafaabaadi (پریسا سبحانیان نجف آبادی), was arrested on August 10, 2019, and her brother was told at that time that he should not leave town, and he was arrested a few days later (the present HRANA report says in the month of Mehr, beginning September 23).
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Six Bahais in Shiraz given 31-month sentences

HRANA, November 4, 2021. –

A revolutionary court in Shiraz has handed down sentences of 31 months and 16 days to Sadiqeh Aqdasi (صدیقه اقدسی), `Aliyyeh Farutan (عالیه فروتن), Siyaamak Honavar (سیامک هنرور), Qaasem Ma`sumi (قاسم معصومی), Sa`id Ettehaad (سعید اتحاد) and Behrouz Farzandi Ardakaani (بهروز فرزندی اردکانی). They were charged with membership of an anti-regime group. They were also sentenced to seven months and 16 days for propaganda against the regime, but this will be concurrent with the longer sentence. The trial was held on October 10. Mr. Ardakaani was arrested on April 5, and the others the following day, during raids on their homes. During the raids, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence seized their personal effects such as books and electronic devices. Mr. Ardakaani and Sadiqeh Aqdasi were freed on bail on May 3. I do not have a report of when the others were released pending trial.
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Manizheh A`zamiyaan’s 1-year sentence confirmed

HRANA, November 2, 2021. –

The Review Court for Mazandaran Province has confirmed the 1-year prison sentence of Manizheh A`zamiyaan (منیژه اعظمیان), a Bahai from Babol. She was charged with propaganda against the regime. She was arrested on April 13 this year. Next day, she was released on bail of 50 million tumans (10,000 euros ; $US 12,000). Four days before her arrest, security forces raided her home and seized some personal effects including mobile phones, computer hard drives, flash drives, and pictures, books and other printed matter relating to the Bahai Faith. After the morning search, the agents asked her to go to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Babol for interrogation. She did so, and was questioned for several hours. This was repeated several times in the days before her arrest. Mrs. A`zamiyaan is 52 years old. Intelligence agents also contacted several of her contacts, stored on her mobile phone, and summoned them for questioning about their contacts with Mrs. A`zamiyaan. I have no reports of the date of her trial in the Revolutionary Court in Babol.
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Four Bahais bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, October 26, 2021. –

Mo`in Mithaaqi (معین میثاقی), Negaareh Qaaderi (نگاره قادری), Haayedeh Forutan (هایده فروتن) and her son Mehran Mosallanezhad (مهران مصلی نژاد) were freed on bail on October 26. The first two were arrested in Shiraz on September 22, and Mrs. Mosallaneszhad and her son on October 27. They were taken to Facility 201 — run by the city Police, rather than the Ministry of Intelligence — and held in solitary confinement for their interrogations. Bail was set at 800 million tumans each, which (if it is not a mistake for rials) is unusually high: 164,000 euros or $US 190,000.
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Appeal of the Bahais of Ivel against expropriations rejected

HRANA, October 21, 2021. –

An appeal by the Bahais of the village of Ivel (ایول) against the state seizure of their lands and homes has been rejected, without a hearing or a reason. Mohammad-Hadi `Erfaaneyaan-Kaas (محمدهادی عرفانیان کاس), a lawyer for the judiciary, announced on September 21 that he had decided not to allow a retrial. A lawyer acting for the Bahais had lodged a request for a new hearing on Febraruy 23 this year.

The village has been the scene of severe anti-Bahaism. The Bahai population of the village was expelled after the 1979 revolution, and some at least of the properties were confiscated. Many of the Bahais fled to the city of Sari, but some continued to farm land and pick fruit, without living in the village. In 2010, about 50 Bahai-owned homes were demolished.
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Latest in a series of raids on Bahai homes in Shiraz

HRANA, October 18, 2021. –

On October 16, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz raided the home of Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی) and Nora Momtaaziyaan (نورا ممتازیان), their fourth raid on this home in the space of two years. Because of the previous raids, there was little to find in the house, but they took away Mrs. Momtaaziyaan’s mobile telephone and some pieces of paper. Mrs/ Momtaaziyaan has been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence’s Facility 100 for interrogation, on October 21. Mrs. Momtazian’s father, William Momtaaziyaan (ویلیام ممتازیان), lives in the same block of appartments. His apartment was searched on April 7 this year, when agents seized a computer hard drive, mobile telephones, electronic equipment and Bahai books. At around 10 am on October 16, agents rang his doorbell and were admitted to the lobby, but they went unannounced to the apartment of Mr Abaadi and Mrs Momtaaziyaan. Mr. Abaadi was not home, and the agents had no female officer with them, but they entered and searched the home, and gave Mrs. Momtaaziyaan a summons. Mr. Abaadi was arrested on October 21, 2019, and the home was searched at that time with the seizure of all electronic devices and some personal effects. He was arrested again on April 6, 2021, and books and electronic devices were again confiscated. He was released on bail on May 8 2021. I do not have a record of the fourth raid on this home that HRANA mentions: it may be the raid on the apartment of Mrs. Momtaaziyaan’s father, or perhaps my records are incomplete.
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Optician in Qaemshahr fired for Bahai beliefs

HRANA, October 17, 2021. –

Six years ago, the optician’s business of Soheil Haqdust (سهیل حقدوست) in Qaemshahr was closed down by the authorities because he had taken a free day to observe a Bahai Holy Day. He went to work in the office of an opthamologist in the city, but has now been fired becuase the Republican Guard put pressure on his employer. Then he was arrested, on the accusation that he had spread information about the closure of his shop, and the businesses of other Bahais in the Province of Mazandaran. After four days he was freed on bail, and the Revolutionary Court of Sari later sentenced him to one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime.” The Provincial Review Court reduced this to four months, but in February 2019 he was among those pardoned on the anniversary of the triumph of the 1979 Revolution.
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Arsalaan Yazdaani bailed in Tehran

HRANA, October 16, 2021. –

Arsalan Yazdani (ارسلان یزدانی), a Baha’i living in Tehran, was released on bail on October 16 after 45 days in detention. He was arrested on September 1, in a raid on the family home, and taken to Evin Prison. The agents also seized some personal effects. On September 30, agents raided his parents’ home and seized more personal belongings. On October 6, and order was issued for the return of some of the materials that had been seized, including their own and their childrens’ laptops and mobile phones.
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Shayda Taa’id released on bail

HRANA, October 2021. –

Shayda Taa’id (شیدا تایید), a Bahai from Qaemshahr, was released on bail on October 4. Bail was set at 900 million tumans (18,400 euros ; $US 21,400). She was arrested in her home on September 23 this year. Agents searched her home and seized her mobile phone, electronic devices, books, photographs and writings. She has been imprisoned for her faith before: on January 21, 2013 she was arrested, and three years later was sentenced to one year in prison. She served that sentence in Babol Prison. My information is that she was also arrested in 2010, when she was living in Sari (a short distance from Qaemshahr): I do not know what the outcome of that arrest was.
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Mo’in Mohammadi paroled

HRANA, October 15, 2021. –

Mo’in Mohammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai from Yazd, has been told he will serve the remainder of his sentence on parole. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9, 2019. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and was released on bail on April 10. In July, the Review Court for the Province of Yazd reduced his sentence, for “propaganda against the regime” to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He was required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works. The Prosecutor objected to the Review Court’s decision and the case was re-tried in Iran’s Supreme Court, which overturned the Review Court decision and returned the case to the Revolutionary Court where the Judge sentenced him to the maximum penalty for membership of groups opposed to the regime — 31 months and 16 days — but deducted the 12 months he wore an ankle bracelet to give a sentence of 19 months and 16 days. On May 6 this year he was summoned to the punishments implementation office and told he must report to prison within 10 days.
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16 Bahai students excluded, & a short history of discrimination

IranWire, September 30, 2021. –

IranWire has a short history of the various disguises used to exclude Bahai students from tertiary education in Iran. Since the results of the 2021 national entrance exams were announced in late September, Baha’i students who obtained passing grades and went to the education assessment site found they were under “General Disqualification.” Because of his or her faith, a Baha’i student does not meet one of the general conditions set out for the 2021 entrance exam. The first paragraph of these general conditions states that the student is required to follow Islam or one of the religions recognized in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. The report lists 16 Bahais known to have been barred from entering university in this way: Nora Motlagh, Leva Motlagh, Sepehr Nikki, Ava Shahriari, Nora Nabipour, Mesbah Misaghi, Foroutan Rahmani, Rosa Mokhlesi, Nasim Shahriari, Farhan Shizadi, Elena Qolizadeh Roshankoohi, Mahsa Forouhari, Forouzan Nikokar, Parsa Charkhand, Lena Kamjoo and Emilia Hakimian.
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Bahai students again barred from tertiary education in Iran

HRANA, September 26, 2021. –

HRANA reports the case of Nasim Shahyaari-Zavaareh (نسیم شهریاری زواره), an 18-year-old Bahai from Tehran who was successful in the University Entrance examinations, but has been barred from university because of her Bahai beliefs. On the web site of the National Assessments organisation, her profile has the word “rejected,” a shift from previous years when the words “file incomplete” were used. A number of other Bahai students have also received the message “rejected.” When Miss Shahyaari followed up on her rejection, she was told that the Ministry of Intelligence had tagged her. She was then asked about her beliefs and her family’s beliefs, and told, “I cannot do anything: if you insist you are a Bahai your problem probably cannot be solved.”
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Shayda Taa’id arrested in Qaemshahr

HRANA, September 25, 2021. –

Shayda Taa’id (شیدا تایید), a Bahai living in Qaemshahr, was arrested in her home on September 23. Agents searched her home and seized her mobile phone, electronic devices, books, photographs and writings. They initially put her elderly mother, Farideh Ta’ed (فریده تایید) in their vehicle as well, but then unloaded her in the middle of the road. It is not known where Mrs. Taa’id is being detained.
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Haayedeh Forutan (Mosallanezhad) and her son arrested in Shiraz

HRANA, September 24, 2021. –

Haayedeh Forutan (هایده فروتن ) and her son Mehran Mosallanezhad (مهران مصلی نژاد) were arrested in Shiraz on September 23, after responding to a summons to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence. On the previous day, agents raided the home Mo`in Mithaaqi (معین میثاقی ) and Negaareh Qaaderi (نگاره قادری،) and arrested them, and raided the home of Mrs Forutan and seized some personal effects, but they were unable to arrest her as she was not home.
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Two arrests in Shiraz, third is sought

HRANA, September 22, 2021. –

On September 22, security agents raided the home Mo`in Mithaaqi (معین میثاقی ) and Negaareh Qaaderi (نگاره قادری،) in Shiraz and arrested them. It is not known where they are being held. Agents also raided the home of Haayedeh Mosallanezhad (هایده مصلی نژاد) and seized some personal effects, but they were unable to arrest her as she was not home. Mr. Mithaaqi’s home was targetted in April, 2021, in a raid described as violent and discourteous. A bowl of soup was spilled on the feet of their two-year-old daughter, who suffered from the burns for some time.
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Kiaana Sho`aai and Soroush Abaadi sentenced in Shiraz

HRANA, September 21, 2021. –

Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی) and Kiana Sho`aai (کیانا شعاعی) have been sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz to 31 months and 16 days in prison and a 2-year ban on leaving the country. The Judge in that court is Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی). The trial was held on September 12. They were charged with “membership in anti-regime groups with the intention of undermining national security.” They were also given a concurrent sentence of 7 months and 16 days in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime in cyberspace.” In the case of Mrs. Sho`aai, 30 months of her sentence has been suspended for a period of five years, which probably means that — given the time already in detention — she will not have to go to prison, but will have to report to the Ministry of Intelligence every month for five years. Mrs. Sho`aai was first tried on My 15, 2021, but her case was referred back to the Prosecutor’s Office for revision.

Mr. Abaadi and Mrs. Sho`aai were arrested by Intelligence agents in Shiraz on October 21, 2019, along with Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی). The agents also searched their homes, along with the homes of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz, and seized personal effects such as computers, mobile phones and laptops. Mrs. Sho`aai was released on bail on November 6, 2020, and Mr Abaadi was bailed on December 1.

Soroush Abadi was initially detained by the Ministry of Intelligence at their ‘Facility 100’ interrogation unit, and then taken to the high-security block at Adelabad prison, and then moved to the prisoner of conscience block on May 5, 2021. was released on bail of 800 million tumans (156,000 euros ; $US 190,000) on May 8 this year.

Farzaan Ma`sumi was sentenced to five years in prison, reduced to two years by the Review Court.
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Bahai cemetery vandalized in the village of Kata

HRANA, September 2021. –

Buildings in the Bahai cemetery in the village of Kata, Dana County, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, have been vandalized. A video obtained by HRANA shows that the walls, bathroom and toilet were extensively damaged overnight. It is not clear from the video whether machinery was used to knock down the walls, or what has happened to the roof, if there was a roof.
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Arsalaan Yazdaani arrested in Tehran

Iran Wire, September 4, 2021. –

On Wednesday, September 1, Arsalan Yazdani (ارسلان یزدانی), a Baha’i living in Tehran, was arrested by security agents in a raid on the family home. His wife Samira Ebraahimi (سمیرا ابراهیمی) has recounted the events of the raid, and disputed a report on social media that the agents were armed. It is not known which security agency conducted the raid, or where Mr. Yazdani is being held. The full story in english on Iran Wire. The Persian report is here.
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One-year sentences confirmed for Ataa-ollah Zaffar and Abbaas Taa’ef in Tehran

HRANA, August 2021. –

The Review Court for Tehran Province has upheld the one-year sentences of Mr. Ataa-ollah Zaffar (عطاالله ظفر) and `Abbaas Taa’ef (عباس طائف). They were both arrested on September 27, 2019, following home raids by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. They were charged with undermining national security by leading and participating in the Bahai sect. It appears that the home raids, in Tehran and Karaj, related to Bahai burials in Tehran, where Mr. Zaffar was involved with a Bahai cemetery. Mr. Taa’ef was freed on bin on November 25, 2019; I do not know when Mr. Zaffar was bailed.

The Review Court judge was Seyyed Ahmad Zargar (قاضی سیداحمد زرگر), with Counsellor `Abbas`Ali Houzaan (عباسعلی حوزان).The verdict was dated July 6.
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`Ali Ahmadi begins prison term in Qaemshahr

Iran News Wire, August 28, 2021. –

On August 26, `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی) was arrested and transferred to Qaemshahr Prison to serve a one-year sentence. He was arrested on November 20, 2018, by agents who insulting his religious beliefs and calling him “unclean” and “Bahai dog.” They also seized some religious books mobile phone and computer. He was freed on bail on January 2, 2019, after posting bail of 150 million tumans (31,000 euros ; $US 35,000). He was sentenced to 11 years of prison for “spreading propaganda against the state and managing a Bahai organization.” The Review Court for Mazandaran Province reduced this to one year of prison.

He has been arrested several times in the past decade or so. On the first occasion he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and on the second occasion he was acquitted. In 2011 he was arrested with two others and charged with participation in Bahai activities. He suffers from diabetes, heart problems, and thyroid illnesses.
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Dorsa Dehqaani free on bail

Radio Farda, July 2, 2021. –

Dorsa Dehqaani (درسا دهقانی), who was arrested at Shiraz railway station on June 14, was released on bail on July 1. In 2014, when she was 19 years and had just been barred from tertiary education because of her Bahai beliefs, Miss Dehqaani wrote a letter to Saadeq Laarijaani (صادق لاریجانی), who was at that time the head of the Judiciary in Iran, protesting against the discrimination and oppression suffered by the Bahais in Iran.
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Saanaaz Notqi sentenced in Ahvaz

HRANA, August 2, 2021. –

Saanaaz Notqi (ساناز نطقی), a Bahai from Ahvaz, has been sentenced to five years in prison by a revolutionary court there. Her arrest and detention were not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. The 5-year sentence relates to the charge of “membership of the illegal Bahai organisation.” She also received a concurrent 8-month sentence for “propaganda against the regime.” The trial was held on July 17, 2021. I do not know the date of her arrest, or further details.
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Touraj Amini released from jail in Karaj

HRANA, July 28, 2021. –

Bahai researcher and author Touraj Amini ( تورج امینی) was released from Karaj Prison on July 28 after serving a six-month prison sentence. In June, 2020, he was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj to one year in prison and two years of exile from the city, but this was reduced to a six-month sentence by the Review Court. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime.”

On August 4, 2019, security forces searched his home, seizing books and notes and a laptop. Mr. Amini was previously detained for a short time, in March 2008. His books include one on the role of religious minorities in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911, “The Hidden Awakening” (رستاخیز پنهان), on the relationship between Iranians intellectuals and the Babi and Bahai Faiths, and a five-volume collection of source documents relating to the Bahais in Iran.
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Four Bahais sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Yazd

HRANA, July 2021. –

A Revolutionary Court in Yazd, presided over by Judge Reza Javad Musavi (قاضی رضا جواد موسوی) has sentenced four Bahais to two years and eight months in prison for membership of anti-regime groups, and to eight month in prison for propaganda against the regime. If the sentences are confirmed by the Review Court, they will serve only the longer sentence. The sentence was announced on July 13. The four cases were not initially related, except for the involvement of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Amin Dhulfaqaari (امین ذوالفقاری) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 21, and released on bail on June 23. He was accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. Mahbubeh Mithaaqiyaan-Dehqaan (محبوبه میثاقیان دهقان) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on June 1, and bailed on June 16, 2020. Mitra Bandi-Amirabaadi-Baaghi (میترا بندی امیرآبادی) and Heyva Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi-Bahifar (هیوا یزدان مهدی آبادی) were arrested on My 30, and released on bail on September 1 after three months of detention.

Mrs. Bani-Mahdiabadi and Mrs Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi were arrested in late November, 2017, for teaching music to children. The report says that both were given suspended sentences, which have expired, but does not indicate when this occurred.
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Sentences confirmed for three Bahais in Tehran

HRANA, July 18, 2021. –

The Review Court for Tehran Province has confirmed the sentences of Saeed Naasseri (سعید ناصری), his brother Hamid Naasseri ( حمید ناصری), and Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی), wife of Saeed Nasseri. In February this year, a Revolutionary Court under Judge Mohammad-Reza Amouzaad ( قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد ) sentenced Mrs. Emami to three years in prison, and the two brothers to two years in prison, for membership of an illegal group intended to undermine national security. The same court had previously handed down these sentences in absentia and without a hearing, and confirmed them after a hearing, as has the Review Court.

Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی) was arrested at her home on the evening of February 2, 2019. Agents searched her house thoroughly and confiscated her mobile phone, computer, books, and essays. Hamid Nasseri was arrested on the street in front of his business on March 11, 2019, and Saeed was arrested on the same day after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother and wife.

Afsaaneh Emaami was released on bail of 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ) on March 16, 2019, and Saeed and Hamid were released for the same bail amount on April 18 and 24, respectively.
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Sina Kamali Sarvestaani bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, July 11, 2021. –

Sina Kamali Sarvestaani (سینا کمالى سروستانی), who was arrested in Shiraz on June 15, was released on bail on July 11. After his arrest, he was taken first to a detention centre run by the intelligence arm of the Republican Guard. A short time later he was transferred to Adelabad prison. On July 3 he was permitted telephone contact with his family from Adelabad prison.
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Four Bahais released in Bushhehr

HRANA, July 4, 2021. –

Mrs. Minou Reyaazati (مینو ریاضتی), Ehteraam Shakhi(احترام شخی), Farideh Jaaberi (فریده جابری) and Mr. Asadollah Jaaberi (اسدالله جابری), Bahai prisoners in Bushehr prison, were recently given furlough and have now been told they will not be required to return to prison. They were among seven Bahais sentenced to three years in prison and a two-year ban on leaving the country by a Revolutionary Court in May 2019. These four Bahais began their sentences on January 25, 2020. They were charged with “membership in the Bahai group and sect with the intent of disrupting national security.”

All seven were arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 2018. They were released on bail six weeks later, and tried by the Revolutionary Court in May, 2019. Their sentences were confirmed by the Provincial Review Court in November, 2019.
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Shahrzaad Nazifi retried: 8-year sentence upheld

HRANA, June 29, 2021. –

On June 8 this year, HRANA reported that Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motorcross, had been sentenced to eight years in prison, banned from leaving Iran for two years, and sentenced to three month’s community service, four hours per day, providing services to the intellectually handicapped. She was tried in absentia in a Revolutionary Court by Judge Eymaan Afshaari (قاضی ایمان افشاری), and the sentence was communicated to her “defence” lawyer after the fact. That highly irregular trial has now been rerun by the same Judge with the same outcome. The ruling cited her “bad motives and desire to destroy the religious system.” It is not clear whether she was this time allowed to know the evidence and present a defence.
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Dorsa Dehqaani arrested in Shiraz

HRANA, June 14, 2021. –

Late in the day of June 14, security forces arrested Dorsa Dehqaani (درسا دهقانی) at Shiraz railway station. They took her to her home in Shiraz, which they searched. They seized some personal effects mobile phones and Bahai books, pictures and artifacts, and took her away. It is not known where she is being detained.

Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.


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Home raid and arrest in Shiraz

HRANA, June 14, 2021. –

On June 15, security forces arrested Sina Kamali Sarvestaani (سینا کمالى سروستانی) in front of his home in Shiraz. They searched his home and seized personal effects such as books, as well as all the electronic devices belonging to his family. It is not known where he is being detained.
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Shahrzaad Nazifi sentenced: 8 years

HRANA, June 8, 2021. – 

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motorcross, to eight years in prison. She was also banned from leaving Iran for two years, and sentenced to three month’s community service, four hours per day, providing services to the intellectually handicapped.  She was tried in absentia by Judge Eymaan Afshaari (قاضی ایمان افشاری). The trial was held recently and the sentence was communicated to her “defence” lawyer after the fact. The charge is said to be “managing illegal groups and gangs with the aim of disrupting national security.” The ruling cited her “bad motives and desire to destroy the religious system.” 

Her home was first raided on November 10, 2018. She was arrested at a motocross track on November 18, 2018. Security forces then raided her home again and siezed all the family’s awards, titles and prizes, as well as documents related to motorcycle races. They also seized mobile telephones, laptops and books. She was released on bail 15 days later. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 164,000). She and the other members of her family — who also participate in motorcross — have been banned from being present at motorcross tracks, participating in competitions, and practicing or teaching motorcross sport. Mrs. Nazifi and her husband Mehrshaad Naraqi (مهرشاد نراقی) and their two children Meraat (مرآت ) and Nora (نورا) have all been motorcross champions in Iran, and the mother and daughter are pioneers of women’s motor sports in Iran.
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Sa`id `Aabadi and Vahid Daana bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, June 2, 2021. –

Sa`id `Aabadi (سعید عابدی) and Vahid Daana (وحید دانا) were released on bail from Adelabad prison in Shiraz on June 1. They were arrested on April 28, during raids on their homes.
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Sentences confirmed for 4 Bahais from Varamin

HRANA, May 30, 2021. –

The Review Court for Tehran Province had confirmed the 3-year sentences of Mrs. Mona Mehraabi (مونا محرابی), Elhaam Karam-Pisheh (الهام کرم پیشه), Afsaaneh Yaadgaar-Ardestaani ( افسانه یادگار اردستانی) and Mr. Ehsaan-Allah Yaadgaar-Ardestaani (احسان الله یادگار اردستانی). They were charged with membership in an illegal organization with the aim of disrupting national security. The Judge of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran who handed down the 3-year sentences, Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad, said that the accused identified impoverished people and children who were abused or deprived of schooling, and gave them education, and that they made brochures for the Red Crescent (Red Cross) and International Children’s Day. Before the trial by Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad, in September or October 2018, they had been sentenced by a revolutionary court in Tehran in a secret trial without a hearing or defence, to five years in prison. Two other Bahais were sentenced to five years in the secret trial of 2018: Safa Forqani-Araani (صفا فرقانی ارانی) and Mehrdaad Forqani-Araani (مهرداد فرقانی ارانی). I have no information about what happened to them.

Mrs. Elhaam Karam-Pisheh and Mona Mehraabi were arrested on February 16, 2015, in a raid on a meeting in Tehran where six Bahais were present. All were separately interrogated in the house, and the two women were arrested in accordance with a warrant and taken away in a car from the Ministry of Intelligence. During the search, which lasted five hours, all the books, pictures and religious symbols of those present, as well as computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, were seized. One report adds that the officers demanded that those present should sign undertakings not to participate in Bahai meetings. Mr. Ehsaan Yaadgaar was arrested in a neighbouring home at the same time, and again religious materials were seized, along with some gold coins. He was told to present himself to the public prosecutor’s office in Varamin (the capital of Varamin County in Tehran Province). He did so, and was released after several hours. He was again arrested in early March, 2015, and taken to Evin Prison for questioning before being released. Mrs. Safa Forqani-Araani was arrested in a raid on her home [apparently in Tehran] on February 17, 2015, and her father Mehrdaad was arrested at his home in Varamin an hour later.
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Six Bahais sentenced in Borazjan: 10 years in prison

HRANA, May 26, 2021. –

A Revolutionary Court in Borazjan, the chief city of Dashtestan county, Bushehr Province, has sentenced Borhan Ismaa`ili (برهان اسماعیلی), Maryam Bashir (مریم بشیر), Faraanak Shaykhi (فرانک شیخی), Haayedeh Raam (هایده رام), Minu Bashir (مینو بشیر) and Darna Ismaa`ili (درنا اسماعیلی). The sentence was announced on May 19. The court theoretically imposed even longer sentences. Mr. Borhan Ismaa`ili was sentenced to eleven years on the charge of “propaganda against the regime by spreading the beliefs of the Bahai sect and acting against دشفهخدشم security by disseminating Bahai ideas.” The five women were sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison on the charge of “Supportion propaganda against the regime by spreading the beliefs of the Bahai sect, producing and publishing vulgar images in cyberspace and on social networks, and acting against the security of the country by publishing and propagating Bahai ideas.” All the Bahai materials seized in home raids in January 2017 were also ordered confiscated. The court findings cited the accused’s involvement with child education and membership of the counter-revolutionary web site, Facebook. If the Review Court upholds these sentences, the accused will serve ten years in prison.

The report says that the accused are from Shiraz and Borazjan, but does not explain further. My records indicate that Faraanak Shaykhi is the wife of Borhan Ismaa`ili, and that Darna Ismaa`ili is their daughter.
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Tehran review court confirms sentences of 3 years and 7 months

HRANA, May 2021. –

Mrs. Marvash `Adaalati `Ali-Abaadi (مهوش عدالتی علی آبادی), Mrs. Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاور) and Mr. Farid Ismaa`ili (فرید اسماعیلی) have been sentenced to three years and seven months in prison by the Review Court for Tehran Province. The were charged with “collusion intended to undermine national security by conducting Bahai activities.” The Revolutionary Court, under Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad (قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد), had also given them concurrent sentences of eight months in prison for “promoting the Bahai Faith.” The Review Court has not confirmed those sentences, but it makes no practical difference.
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Five more detainees bailed in Baharestan

HRANA, May 2021. –

Five more of the Bahai women recently arrested in, or in relation to, the city of Baharestan in Isfahan Province were bailed on May 22. They are Noushin Hemmat (نوشین همت), Shouraangiz Behaamin (شورانگیز بهامین), Saara Shakib (سارا شکیب), Azita Rezvaani ( آزیتا رضوانی) and Sho`lah Ashuri (شعله آشوری). Bail was set at 200 million tumans (39,000 euros ; $US 47,000). Previously, Saanaaz Raasteh (ساناز راسته) and Firouzeh Rastinejaad (فیروزه راستی نژاد) were bailed on May 20; Ruya Azaadkhush (رویا آزاد خوش)and Nasreen Khaademi (نسرین خادمی) were bailed on May 18, and Maryam Khursandi (مریم خورسندی) on May 17. All were released from Dawlatabad prison in Isfahan city. Mozhgaan Pourshafi` (مژگان پورشفیع) remains in detention. The arrests and home raids across Baharestan began on April 25.
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Eight Bahais return to prison in Bandar Abbas

HRANA, May 18, 2021. –

In Bandar Abbas, eight Bahai prisoners who were granted furlough on April 14 returned to prison on April 24. Previous reports did not indicate how long the furlough would be, but ten days is quite normal. The prisoners are Arash Raasekhi (آرش راسخی), Omid Afaaqi (امید آفاقی), Mehrollah Afshaar (مهرالله افشار), Nasim Qanawaateyaan (نسیم قنواتیان), Adib Haqq-pazhuh (ادیب حق پژوه), Farhaad Amri (فرهاد امری), Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی) and Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار). They began their one and two-year sentences in late February and early April, and the report does not indicate why they would be granted furlough so soon. A previous report on Sen’s Daily has details of their trials and sentences.
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Three detainees bailed in Baharestan cluster

HRANA, May 19, 2021. –

Roya Azaadkhoush (رویا آزادخوش) and Nasrin Khaademi (نسرین خادمی), Bahais from Baharestan, were bailed from Isfahan’s Dolatabad Prison on May 18. On May 17, Maryam Khorsandi (مریم خورسندی) was bailed. These three arrests were not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, although it was known that their homes were searched on April 25. They were arrested on the same day. HRANA has also raised the number of Bahai homes raided in Baharestan to 29, from its previous report of 28. Sho`lah Ashuri (شعله آشوری), a Bahai from Baharestan who was arrested in Hendijan, in Khuzestan Province, has been transferred to detention in Baharestan.
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Kiaana Sho`aari’s trial begins in Shiraz

HRANA, May 15, 2021. –

The trial of Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی), a Bahai from Shiraz, began today, May 15. She was notified of her impending trial yesterday. At the hearing, at a Revolutionary Court, her case was referred back to the Prosecutor’s Office for revision. On May 5 she was summoned to the court to hear that she would be tried for “forming dissident groups with the intention of disrupting national security, membership of dissident groups with the intention of disrupting security, and propaganda against the regime.”

She was arrested on October 21, 2019, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested her and two other Bahais in Shiraz : Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی) and Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی). The agents also searched their homes, along with the homes of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz, and seized personal effects such as computers, mobile phones and laptops. She was released on bail about two weeks later.
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Three detainees bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 7 and May 8, 2021. –

Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی), Siyaamak Honavar (سیامک هنرور) and Qaasem Ma`sumi (قاسم معصومی) have been freed on bail in Shiraz. They are among the Bahais arrested in Shiraz on April 6. Mr. Ma`sumi was released from Adelabad prison on the evening of May 6. Soroush Abadi was released on bail of 800 million tumans (156,000 euros ; $US 190,000) on May 8. He was initially detained by the Ministry of Intelligence at their ‘Facility 100’ interrogation unit, and then taken to the high-security block at Adelabad prison, and then moved to the prisoner of conscience block on May 5. Mr. Honavar was also bailed on May 8.
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Mo’in Mohammadi summoned to prison in Yazd

HRANA, May 7, 2021. –

On May 6, Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی) was summoned to the punishments implementation office and told he must report to prison within 10 days. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9, 2019. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and was released on bail on April 10. In July, the Review Court for the Province of Yazd reduced his sentence, for “propaganda against the regime” to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He was required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works.

The Prosecutor objected to the Review Court’s decision and the case was re-tried in Iran’s Supreme Court, which overturned the Review Court decision and returned the case to the Revolutionary Court where the Judge sentenced him to the maximum penalty for membership of groups opposed to the regime — 31 months and 16 days — but deducted the 12 months he wore an ankle bracelet to give a sentence of 19 months and 16 days.
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Sa`id Ettehaad bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 5, 2021. –

Sa`id Ettehaad (سعید اتحاد), one of the many Bahais arrested in Shiraz in April, was released on bail on May 5. He was arrested during the raids on Bahai homes in Shiraz on April 6.
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Another Bahai from Baharestan arrested, in Hendijan

HRANA, May 5, 2021. –

On May 5, agents from the security forces raided the home of Sho`lah Ashuri (شعله آشوری) in the city of Hendijan, in Iran’s Khuzestan Province, and arrested her. They also seized her mobile phone and a quantity of books, printed materials and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They gained entry by climbing over the wall, at a time when Mrs. Ashuri’s husband was not at home. Mrs. Ashuri is from Baharestan, in Isfahan Province, where ten Bahais have been arrested recently and numerous Bahai homes have been raided, including the home of her father. She moved to Hendijan two years ago.
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Shahnaaz Saabet released

HRANA, May 4, 2021. –

Shahnaaz Saabet (شهناز ثابت) was released from prison in Shiraz, where she was serving a two-year sentence. This follows the acceptance of her request for a new hearing. She began her sentence on October 6, 2020, so she has served seven months.

Mrs. Saabet was arrested in her home in Shiraz on September 1, 2019. She was initially sentenced to six years in prison, by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), on charges of “propaganda against the regime and membership in anti-regime group.” This was reduced to two years by the Review Court.
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Farzandi Ardakaani and Sadiqeh Aqdasi bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 3, 2021. –

Behrouz Farzandi Ardakaani (بهروز فرزندی اردکانی) and Sadiqeh Aqdasi (صدیقه اقدسی) were freed on bail on May 3. They were arrested on April 5 and 6 respectively, during a wave of home raids and arrests targetting the Bahai community in Shiraz. They were held in solitary confinement and under interrogation by the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence arm, and were then taken to the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Facility 100. Mr. Vahid Daana (وحید دانا) and Sa`id `Aabadi (سعید عابدی) are also being held in Facility 100, in solitary confinement. Their arrest in late April was reported previously.

Mr. Ardakaani’s name was previously reported as Farzandi Ardakaani (فرزندی اردکانی). He is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and was held as a prisoner of war, and suffers from neurological and hearing problems caused by blast waves, as well as a heart disorder.
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More homes searched, tenth Bahai woman arrested, in Baharestan cluster

HRANA, April 30, 2021. –

On April 30, Shouraangiz Behaamin (شورانگیز بهامین), a Bahai from Baharestan [NB there seems to be a typo in the HRANA report: ابن شهر must be این سهر, ] was arrested at her father’s house in the village of Garuzeh in the Province of Kohgilyeh and Boyer-Ahmad. Her home in Baharestan had been searched by security agents on April 25, and her husband Mehrdaad Azhir (مهرداد آژیر) was beaten, but Mrs Behaamin was not present.

HRANA has also confirmed the identities of 28 Bahais whose homes in Baharestan and Isfahan have been raided in recent days. Many personal effects were seized during the raids, including money, Bahai materials, passports and degrees and certificates.
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Sa`id `Aabadi and Vahid Daana again arrested in Shiraz

Iran Wire, April 29, 2021. –

On April 28, agents from the security forces raided the homes of Sa`id `Aabadi (سعید عابدی) and Vahid Daana (وحید دانا) and arrested them. Mr. Daana and Mr. `Ebadi, and other Bahais, were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. They were released on bail on September 28 and October 21, respectively. They were sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were tried in a closed court, and sentenced by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Neither the defendants nor their lawyers were informed of that trial. Their respective places of exile were Arsanjan and Darab. In December, 2018, the Review Court for Fars Province reduced those sentences to six months in prison. In February 2019, while they were waiting their turn for a place in prison, they were among the five Bahais from Shiraz who benefited from amnesties for prisoners of conscience marking February 11, the anniversary of the fall of the Pahlavi Monarchy. They were advised, via their lawyer, that they would not be required to serve their sentences.
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Ninth arrest in Baharestan cluster; Afshin Vajdani released

HRANA, April 26, 2021. –

Maryam Khorsandi (مریم خورسندی), a Bahai from Baharestan who has recently moved to Isfahan city, was arrested there on April 25. As previously reported, thirteen Bahai homes were raided, and eight Bahais were arrested, in Baharestan, Isfahan, on the morning of April 25. Agents entered the family home by climbing a wall, searched it and seized mobile telephones, laptops, and books and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They also seized 50,000 dollars [sic] in cash, belonging to Mrs. Khorsandi’s brother who had recently returned to Iran and intended to buy a home. Mrs. Khorsandi is in the midst of a course of chemotherapy, but when she was taken away, no medicines were taken with her.

Afshin Vajdaani (افشین وجدانی), one of the eight Bahais arrested in Baharestan, Isfahan Province on April 25, was released a few hours after his arrest. The families of the detainees have no information about the reasons for the arrests and where they are being held.
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Home searches and arrests in Baharestan, Isfahan Province

HRANA, April 25, 2021. –

Thirteen Bahai homes were raided, and eight Bahais were arrested, in Baharestan, Isfahan, on the morning of April 25. Those arrested are named as Saara Shakib (سارا شکیب), Firouzeh Rastinejaad (فیروزه راستی نژاد), Saanaaz Raasteh (ساناز راسته), Azita Rezvaani ( آزیتا رضوانی), Mozhgaan Pourshafi` (مژگان پورشفیع), Nasreen Khaademi (نسرین خادمی), Afshin Vajdaani (افشین وجدانی) and his wife Noushin Hemmat (نوشین همت). The names of those arrested have been confirmed, but HRANA is still fact-checking on the names of the home-owners who were targetted in the raid.

It is not known where these eight are being detained. During the home raids, agents seized laptops and cell phones and printed materials, some of them relating to the Bahai Faith. They also took family photographs and CDs. There was some violence during the raid on Saara Shakib’s house. The agents at her home also had a warrant for Samira Shakib (سمیرا شکیب). The other raids were also violent, and in one case a door was broken down because there was nobody home.

Saara Shakib’s brother, Sina Shakib (سینا شکیب), a fourth semester student of statistics and applications at the University of Isfahan, was recently expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. In 2016, Saara Shakib was a new student of Statistics and Applications at the Kashan campus of Iran’s National University. She was expelled first from the student accommodation, and then from the University, because of her Bahai beliefs. Another sister, Samira Shakib, was barred from enrolling in a tertiary institution, when her file was marked “incomplete.” The siblings’ mother was also barred from university.
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Authorities close Bahai cemetery in Tehran

Iran Press Watch, April 22, 2021. –

Iranian authorities have banned the Bahais of Tehran from burying their loved ones in a space previously allocated to them in Tehran’s Khavaran cemetery. After the 1979 Revolution, the Iranian government began to desecrate, and in some cases demolish, Bahai cemeteries in Tehran and all around the country.
In 1981, the central Bahai cemetery in Tehran was confiscated, and more than 15,000 graves were demolished. Later a parcel of land in this cemetery was assigned to the Bahais, but the government refused to sell the property to the Bahais and has since substantially increased the price of each burial plot.

The cemetery land assigned to the Bahais would have been sufficient for several decades. However, agents from the Security Office of the Behesht-e Zahra Organization, which manages Khavaran, have now banned the community from using these plots. The Security Officer reportedly issued threats against Bahais who were attempting to use the allocated land.

The Bahais are now being forced to choose between impossible options. One is to use the narrow gaps between existing graves to bury their loved ones, the other is to use a mass burial site authorities claim to have recently emptied. This site is known to be the burial place of thousands of political prisoners killed in early years of the Islamic revolution, and at least 50 martyred Bahais.

“Prohibiting individuals from burying their loved ones in a befitting manner, when they are already in grief, is beyond inhumane,” said Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva. “The Bahais respect the resting places of all and, given that over many decades the Bahai community has faced the desecration of its own cemeteries, they do not want anyone to experience the same pain by burying their dead where others [the political prisoners] recently lay.”
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Manizheh A`zamiyaan arrested and released in Babol

HRANA, April 19, 2021. –

On April 13, security forces in Babol, a city on the Caspian Coast, arrested Mrs. Manizheh A`zamiyaan (منیژه اعظمیان). Next day, she was released on bail of 50 million tumans (10,000 euros ; $US 12,000). Four days before her arrest, security forces raided her home and seized some personal effects including mobile phones, computer hard drives, flash drives, and pictures, books and other printed matter relating to the Bahai Faith. After the morning search, the agents asked her to go to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Babol for interrogation. She did so, and was questioned for several hours. This was repeated several times in the days before her arrest. Mrs. A`zamiyaan is 52 years old. Intelligence agents also contacted several of her contacts, stored on her mobile phone, and summoned them for questioning about their contacts with Mrs. A`zamiyaan.
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Murder of Ataa’ollah Rezvaani to be investigated

HRANA, April 19, 2021. –

Seven years and seven months after the murder of Ataa’ollah Rezvaani (طاالله رضوانی) in Bandar Abbas, the case has been referred to the Prosecutor for a new investigation. Mr. Rezvaani, a well-known member of the Bahai community in Bandar Abbas, was killed on August 24, 2013. He was shot in the head and the body was found in his car in a desert area. The police initially claimed this was suicide, but the weapon was not found, and his cell phone was also taken. He was lured from his home by a call to his cell phone. The case has languished since then in the hands of the court, who have shown no inclination to investigate, which suggests the involvement of a person or persons that the court regarded as untouchable.

Mr. Rezvani was well-known as a Bahai. For three years he was one of the three Bahais who served as local facilitators (Khademin) for the Bahais in the area, which would have involved interactions with local authorities on behalf of the Bahais, on matters such as burials. His life had previously been threatened by fanatical elements within the city administration, by the office of the Imam Jam`eh and by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was loved and respected by the people of Bandar Abbas for his honesty and helpfulness. As a young man, he was expelled from his engineering studies at university because he was a Bahai. He became an expert in water purification, and his work took him to other cities. In the period before his death, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence had been pressuring him to leave the city, and he was receiving menacing telephone calls from unknown persons.
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Mo’in Mohammadi again sentenced to prison

HRANA, April 2021. –

A Revolutionary Court in Yazd has sentenced Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی) to 19 months and 16 days in prison, based on a case file for which he has already been tried, sentenced, had his sentence reduced by the Review Court to electronic monitoring by wearing a tracking bracelet for one year, and has served out that penalty. The trial judge in the resentencing is Amir-Hossein Qarehqaani (قاضی امیرحسین قره قانی).

He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9, 2019. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and was released on bail on April 10. In July, the Review Court for the Province of Yazd reduced his sentence, for “propaganda against the regime” to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He was required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works. The Review Court acquitted him of another charge of membership of groups opposed to the regime.

The Prosecutor objected to the Review Court’s decision and the case was re-tried in Iran’s Supreme Court, which overturned the Review Court decision and returned the case to the Revolutionary Court where the Judge has sentenced him to the maximum penalty for membership of groups opposed to the regime — 31 months and 16 days — but has deducted the 12 months he wore an ankle bracelet to give a sentence of 19 months and 16 days. The Revolutionary Court also sentenced him to 7 months and 16 days for propaganda against the regime, but this time is not added to his sentence because the two sentences are concurrent, as usual under Iranian law. Mr. Mohammadi was not aware of the Prosecutor’s objection or the Supreme Court trial, and was therefore not represented or defended. The Supreme Court’s decision has not been formally notified, let alone explained.
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For older news, see the “old news” archive on Sen’s Daily blog.

 
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