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                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

News Apr. 22

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)

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On April 21, Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was informed that the charges against her — for which she served five months of a 30-month sentence — have been dismissed by the Court of Review. She is already free, having been provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9, pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she served five months of her sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and no reason is given in this report. It is possible that it relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime” and is not a crime.
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Mohsen Mehrgaani freed in Isfahan

HRANA, April 21, 2019. –

Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی) was released from Isfahan prison on April 20. This is a conditional early release. He has served one third of his sentence, beginning on January 5, 2019. Alhough his sentence was 20 months, the three months he spent under interrogation and in prison between his arrest on January 24, 2017, and his release on bail in late April or early May, 2017, have been taken into account, giving a total of over six months served.
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Saeed Nasseri bailed in Tehran

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, April 19, 2019. –

Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری), who was arrested in Tehran on March 11, was released on bail on April 18. Bail was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ). He was arrested after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother Hamid (حمید ناصری), arrested on the same day, and of his wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری), arrested 40 days earlier. She has since been released, also on bail of 500 million tumans, but Hamid Nasseri remains in prison.
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Dhabihullah Ra’ufi begins internal exile; Parvaneh Rahmani acquitted

HRANA, April 15, 2019. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 70-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, has set out from his home to serve his sentence of one year in internal exile in Minab, a town in Hormozgan Province which is 1700 kilometers from his home. He was also sentenced to one year in prison, but after serving just over four months of this sentence he was freed on March 12, under a prison amnesty marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran. Last week he received a summons to appear at a court in Minab.

He was charged with “propaganda against the regime,” which apparently related to follow-up actions he took following the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. His wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی) was also sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but (contrary to my previous report) this sentence was nullified by the Review Court on September 3, 2018.

Mr. Ra’ufi was previously arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime, followed by 6 months in exile in Tuyserkan. He also served his six-month prison term in Tuyserkan. And in June, 2011, the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj conducted mass interrogations of the Bahais there, seeking information on how Sanandaj’s Bahai community is managed. One of those questioned was Dhabihullah Ra’ufi.
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Mo’in Muhammadi bailed in Yazd

HRANA, April 11, 2019. –

Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai living in Yazd, was released on bail on April 10. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9 this year. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and has apparently remained in detention since his trial — presumably because it has taken this long to arrange bail. Bahais sentenced to prison in Iran often wait some years before there is a place for them in prison. Mr. Muhammadi has been involved in environmental issues, but the charges against him have not been specified.
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Sentences reduced for three Bahai men in Shiraz

Voice of America (Persian), April 8, 2019. –

The Provincial Review Court has reduced the one-year sentences of Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejman Mehryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Kurush Ruhaani (کوروش روحانی). Mr. Habibi and Mr. Ruhaani have been sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” while Mr Merhyaari has been sentenced to three months and one day, on the same charge. They were informed of the reduced sentences on April 7.
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Six Bahai businesses reopen in Khorramshahr

HRANA, April 6, 2019. –

On November 15, 2018, the businesses of at least six Baha’i citizens of Khorramshahr were sealed by the order of the judicial authorities. In the five months since then, they have been allowed to reopen, one by one. On April 6, the sewing machine shop of Kaambiz Aazaadi (کامبیز آزادی) reopened. In late March and early April the optician’s shops of Hossein-Ali Habibi (حسینعلی حبیبی)and Behnaam Habibi (بهنام حبیبی)and the engine repair shop of Kouroush Jaaberi (کوروش جابری) reopened. The optician’s shops of Behrouz Habibi (بهروز حبیبی), and Bahaador Ahmadi (بهادر احمدی) were apparently allowed to reopen in early January, although this was not reported at the time.

The sealing of businesses was ordered in response to the owners having closed their businesses for a day in observance of a Bahai holy day. By law, as cited in Item B of Article 28 of the Commercial Union Law, citizens are allowed to close their business up to 15 days a year without providing authorities any reason or informing the Association for their industry. However, this legal provision is not extended to cover Bahais, and authorities routinely penalize Bahai business owners for observance of their Holy Days, by sealing their businesses.
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Mo’in Muhammadi sentenced to 6 years, in Yazd

HRANA, March 31, 2019. –

Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai living in Yazd, has been sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9 this year. The agents then searched his father’s home and seized a laptop, books and a mobile phone. He has been involved in environmental issues, but the charges against him have not been specified.
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Zhinous Sobhani arrested in Tehran

HRANA, March 31, 2019. –

Zhinous Sobhani ( ژینوس سبحانی ), a Bahai human rights activist who has been arrested and sentenced previously, was arrested at her home in Tehran on March 31. Security agents searched her home and seized a laptop and telephone. The reasons for her arrest and the place of detention is not known. Ms. Sobhani, a former secretary of the Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights, and a member of the Organisation for Mine Clearance, was arrested on January 15, 2000, and bailed on March 11 of that year. She was arrested again in January, 2010. On October 13, 2010 she was sentenced to two years in prison. It is possible that her arrest yesterday was to begin serving her sentence — but the usual procedure is to issue a summons, in person or via the bail agent.
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22 Baha’is began New Year in Prison

Iran Press Watch, March 28, 2019. –

The last month of the Persian year 1397 (corresponding to 2018-2019 in the Gregorian calendar) was an eventful month for Baha’i prisoners. On one hand, some of them were released; on the other hand, trials, indictments, arrests and searches of their homes continued for these citizens in various cities in Iran.

On February 11th, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, 17 prisoners who had less than a year remaining of their sentences were pardoned and released in Shiraz, Mashhad, Ghaemshahr, Isfahan, Sanandaj and Yazd.

Pouya Tebyaaniaan (پویا تبیانیان), one of the prisoners, was released from prison in Semnan, upon the completion of his seven-year sentence. Shayda Qodousi (شیدا قدوسی), a Baha’i prisoner in Gorgan, who had been sentenced to five years in prison, after serving one-third of her sentence was released on probation in the last days of the Persian year (which ended March 20). Maryam Ghaffaarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش) and Atosa Ahmaada’i (آتسا احمدائی) were also released from Evin prison, after serving respectively 6 months and 45 days of temporary detention.

As reported by Iranwire, on March 11 security agents in Tehran arrested two Baha’i brothers, Hamid Nasseri (حمید ناصری) and Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری). Hamid Nasseri was arrested on the street in front of his business, and Saeed after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother Hamid and of his wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری). At the time of Saeed’s arrest, 40 days had passed since the arrest of his wife, Afsaneh Emami. She was released on bail in the final days of the year, but Saeed and Hamid Nasseri still remain in detention.

The sentence against Ghazaaleh Baaqeri Taari (غزاله باقری طاری), a Baha’i from Tehran, who was tried in December 2018, was issued in February of this year. She has been sentenced to five years in prison for the crime of “activities against national security because of membership in the Baha’i administration”. She was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in September 2017, during a religious gathering at her home, and was released on bail three weeks later.

Kaaviz Nouzdahi (کاویز نوزدهی) is another Baha’i whose sentence was announced in February. A source with knowledge of the case told Iranwire: “The court hearing for Kaaviz Nouzdahi was held in late December 2018 in Branch 4 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, presided over by Judge Mansouri ( قاضی منصوری). However on the day of the hearing the judge was not present, and the hearing was conducted by the court counselor, Mr. Farhikhteh (آقای “فرهیخته). The charges against Mr. Nouzdahi were “cooperating with hostile foreign governments” and “membership in an anti-regime organization”. The judge did not permit the defendant’s attorney to be present in court or review the case file. Their excuse was that the attorney named by Mr. Nouzdahi was not on the judiciary’s list of approved attorneys, and the court hearing was conducted without the attorney present. Article 48 of the New Penal Code states that in crimes against domestic or international security as well as organized crime, in the preliminary investigation phase the parties in the case must select their attorney or attorneys from among those approved by the head of the judicial branch.

According to the verdict issued, Kaaviz Nouzdahi was acquitted of the charge of cooperation with foreign governments, and was convicted for the charge of membership in an anti-regime organization (i.e., membership in the Baha’i administration), and sentenced to four years in prison.

Another Baha’i citizen, Neda Mokhtaari (ندا مختاری), was also sentenced to four years in prison by the verdict of Branch 5 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad presided over by Judge Mazloumi ( قاضی مظلومی) for the crime of “teaching the Baha’i Faith”.

Twenty two Baha’i citizens began Naw-Ruz (the Persian New Year) 1398 on March 21, 2019, away from their homes and families in Iranian prisons. They were sentenced in Iranian courts to a total of 105 years of imprisonment. The verdicts against these Baha’is were issued based on articles 498, 499 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Article 498 of the code states: “Any person with any ideology who forms or leads a group, society or sub-group of more than two people, under any name or title, domestically or abroad, with the goal of disrupting national security, who is not considered a combatant, shall be sentenced to prison for two to ten years.”

According to article 499 of this law: “Any person holding a membership in one of the groups, societies or sub-groups mentioned in article 498 shall be sentenced to three months to five years in prison, unless it is proven that they were unaware of its goals.”

Article 500 also states: “Any person engaged in any way in propaganda activities against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or in favor of anti-regime groups and organizations, shall be sentenced to three months to one year in prison.”

The punishment for teaching the Baha’i Faith, membership and activity in this religious community is determined based on these articles of the law.

In Evin prison, four instructors of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) are currently serving sentences for the crime of teaching youth who were deprived of a university education; Hassan Momtaaz (حسن ممتاز), Peymaan Kooshkbaghi (پیمان کوشکباغی), and Negin Qedamiaan (نگین قدمیان), each with five year prison sentences, and Azita Rafizaadeh (آزیتا رفیع زاده) with a four year prison sentence, are currently in Evin prison. Peyman Kooshkbaghi and his wife Azita Rafizadeh are among the incarcerated married couples who spent the final days of the year away from each other and from their young child.

Adel Naimi (عادل نعیمی) with an 11-year sentence, Farhaad Fahandej (فرهاد فهندژ) with a 10 year sentence, Vaahed Kholousi (واحد خلوصی) with a 5 year sentence, and Afshin Seyyed Ahmad (افشین سید احمد) with a 3 year sentence, are the four Bahai prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. Shahnaam Jazbaani (شهنام جذبانی) is the only Baha’i prisoner in Gonbad-e-Kavoos in Golestan province. He has been sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Isfahan, with 13 Baha’i prisoners, has the highest number of Baha’i prisoners in Iran. Nine of these prisoners were transferred to the Isfahan prison from the town of Baharestan. Of the nine, Sepideh Rouhaani (سپیده روحانی), Bahaareh Zaini (بهاره زینی), Fouzjaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی), each with a 3 year sentence, are incarcerated in Dowlatabad prison in Isfahan. Anousheh Raeineh (انوش راینه), Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Milaad Daavardaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Ali Saani (علی ثانی), each with a six year sentence, and Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), with a 3 year sentence, are the other six prisoners from Baharestan who have been transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan to serve their sentences.

In addition, Sohraab Taqipour (سهراب نقی پور), with a 5 year sentence, and Manouchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Mohsen Mehregani (محسن مهرگانی) and Farzaad Homaayouni (فرزاد همایونی), each with a 20 month sentence, are four Baha’is from Isfahan who began the Persian New Year in that city’s central prison.
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Publication: 175 Years of Persecution

Editorial, March 24, 2019. –

One World publisher has announced a well-documented and gripping account of the persecution of the Babi and Baha’i communities in Iran from its origin to the present time, by my dear friend Fereydun Vahman, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. From the genocidal pogroms of the Qajar era, to the improved, but precarious situation during the Pahlavi years, and the re-emergence of the severe persecutions since the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Bahai community has been consistently disparaged, as foreign spies, devil-worshippers and enemies of Iran and Islam. The book also shows the resilience of the Baha’i community in the face of hatred and violence. Available as a hard cover and e-book, see https://oneworld-publications.com/175-years-of-persecution-hb.html.
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Sheida Qoddusi granted conditional release in Gorgan

HRANA, March 18, 2019. –

Sheida Qoddusi (شیدا قدوسی), who began her 5-year sentence in Gorgan prison on June 13, 2017, has been granted conditional release after serving one third of that sentence. She was one of 14 Bahais arrested in Gorgan in mid-October, 2012. A number of other Bahais were arrested at the same time elsewhere in Golestan Province. They were tried in their absence by Judge Qanbari (قاضی قنبری). Mrs Qoddusi was initially sentenced to 11 years in prison, reduced to five years by the review court. She has two children. She was granted a ten-day furlough from June 27, 2018.
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Maryam Ghafarmanesh bailed from Evin Prison

HRANA, March 17, 2019. –

Maryam Ghafarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش) was released on bail from Evin Prison on March 17, after six months of detention without trial. She was one of five Bahais arrested at a meeting for environmental education in Karaj on September 16, 2018. About 20 hours after her arrest, Mrs. Ghafarmanesh reported in a telephone conversation that her bail had been set at 300 million tumans (61,000 euros; $US 71,000), but she was not released at that time. She was kept under interrogation and in solitary confinement for two months, in the section of the prison run by the Ministry of Information, and was transferred to the general women’s block on November 14, 2018.
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Afsaaneh Emaami bailed, her husband Sa`id Naaseri arrested, in Tehran

HRANA, March 14, 2018.

Sa`id Naaseri (سعید ناصری) was arrested in Tehran at about 11 a.m. on March 11, after reporting to the Public Prosecutor’s office at Evin Prison. He was allowed a telephone call to tell family that he had been arrested. He had gone to Evin Prison to inquire about his wife, Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی), who was arrested on February 2, and also about his brother, Hamid Naasseri (حمید ناصری), who had been arrested a few hours previously, on the morning of March 11.

A separate report indicates that Afsaaneh Emaami was released on bail on March 16. Bail was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros ; $US 120,000 [or one tenth as much, if the bail was actually in Rials]). Curiously, she was not released from the prison gates, where her family had gone to meet her: rather the family were first sent away, and then she was dropped at a metro station. [The authorities presumably sought to prevent the family photograph in front of the prison gates which is almost customary when Bahai prisoners are released. ~Sen]
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Dhabihullah Ra’ufi released in Sanandaj

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, March 13, 2019. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 70-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, was released from prison on March 12. He has served just over four months of a one year sentence, but has been freed under a prison amnesty marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime,” and his one-year sentence was to be followed by one year in internal exile in Minab, 1700 kilometers from his home. The sentence apparently related to follow-up actions he took following the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. His wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی) has also been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but has not yet begun her sentence (according to my partial information).
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One arrest in Tehran

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, March 11, 2019. –

On the morning of March 11, security forces arrested Hamid Naasari (حمید ناصری), a Bahai living in Tehran at his work. It is assumed that he has been taken to Evin Prison.
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Ruhiyyeh Narimaan released in Shiraz: a reason for hope?

HRANA, March 10, 2019, with editorial commentary. –

Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9. Her sentence has been put in abeyance pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she has served only five months of her 30-month sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution.

Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and the re-review of a sentence already determined by the Review Court is highly unusual. I speculate — optimistically — that her release relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime.” Mrs. Enayati was acquitted and released. Part of the verdict issued by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court, headed by Judge Ali Badri (قاضی علی بدری), states: “The propagation of the Bahaism does not constitute propaganda against the regime. Basically, in the law, belief in Bahai Faith has not been criminalized so as to be able to prosecute or punish anyone under this charge…” Another part of the proceedings states: “Basically religious propagation, which is not considered to be against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty, is not considered a crime; [considering it a crime] is contrary to the Constitutional rights of citizenship.”
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Atosa Ahmadaa’i bailed in Tehran

HRANA, March 6, 2019. –

Atosa Ahmadaa’i Rafsanjaani ( آتسا احمدآئی رفسنجانی) was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran on March 6. She was arrested in a raid on her home in Tehran on January 20, 2019, has held incommunicado in Evin prison for 38 days before being transferred to a general section of the prison. She was allowed contact with her family on March 2. She has been charged with “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against the security of the country.”
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Puya Tabayaniyan released early in Semnan

HRANA, March 2, 2019. –

Mr. Puya Tabayaniyan (پویا تبیانیان), a Bahai who began as sentence of seven years in the Central Prison of Semnan on December 22, 2012, has been released unexpectedly after six years and two months. While prisoners in Iran generally are granted early release for good behaviour, this provision does not usually apply to Bahais. He was granted prison furlough for a few days, and when he returned to prison on March 2, he was told that he was free to go.

Mr. Tabayaniyan was first arrested on March 8, 2009 and held in solitary confinement for two months, during which he was interrogated by Judge Dowlat-Khah (قاضی دولت خواه). He was sentenced to two years in prison, and was granted a conditional release on April 29, 2010, with a six-month suspended sentence.

Then he was one of four Bahais who were arrested in Semnan on March 12, 2011. He was released on bail on April 3, and re-arrested on June 11. This was apparently for further interrogation, as reports from that time indicate that he released ten days later, on June 21, 2011. He was charged with undermining national security and propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to six and a half years in prison by Judge `Eyn al-Kamaal (قاضی عین الکمال). The six month suspended sentence was added to this.

In January, 2016, another prisoner released from the Central Prison of Semnan reported that Mr. Tabayaniyan was in solitary confinement in the prison. The reason and duration of this are not reported.
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Hassan Momtaaz transferred, from Shiraz to Evin Prison

HRANA, March 1, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestani (حسن ممتاز سروستانی), serving a five-year sentence in Adel Abaad prison in Shiraz, was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26. It appears that this is so that he can receive medical treatment outside prison. Mr. Sarvestani was a teacher of Persian literature for the Bahai Open University (BIHE). He was first arrested in 2011, and was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, and confirmed by the review court. He was arrested to begin serving his sentence in Shiraz on November 15, 2017, although this HRANA report says he actually began his sentence on December 28, 2017.
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Bahai scholar and translator Faruq Izadinia describes his own trial

Iran Press Watch, February 28, 2019. –

The court hearing for the charges against Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a scholar, translator and Bahai citizen of Tehran, was held last week in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The author, who is again free on bail, describes the process of his prosecution and last week’s court hearing in an open letter which Iran Press Watch has translated. He was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12, 2017. He has also been arrested previously for his religious beliefs, including being among those sentenced to death in the 1980’s, but this sentence was reversed and he was released after a five-year prison term. The full report and his description of his trial is on Iran Press Watch.
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Bahai woman sentenced to five years for celebrating prophet’s birth

HRANA, February 27, 2019. –

Ghazaaleh Baaqeri-Taari (غزاله باقری طاری), a Bahai from Tehran whose 2017 arrest was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, was informed this week that she has been sentenced to five years in prison. She was arrested on October 21, 2017, during a devotional meeting in her home to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Bahai religion who was born in Tehran in 1817. The security agents who raided her home and seized Bahai books and other personal effects demanded that all her guests should sign a pledge that they would not participate in Bahai activities. Over three weeks later, she was released on bail of 200 million tumans (41,000 euros ; $US 47,000). Her trial was held in a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on December 18, 2018. She was charged with “acting against national security through membership and administration of Bahai activities.”
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Atosa Ahmadaa’i moved from solitary confinement

HRANA, February 28, 2019. –

Atosa Ahmadaa’i Rafsanjani ( آتسا احمدآئی رفسنجانی), who was arrested in a raid on her home in Tehran on January 20, 2019, has been held incommunicado in Evin prison for 38 days. Today her family had the first news of her: she has been transferred from solitary confinement in a section of Evin Prison run by the Judiciary’s intelligence agency to a general section of the same prison. Seh has been denied access to her family since the time of her arrest, and Evin prison authorities refused to accept any personal belongings, health, money or clothing for her. Her family have now been told that they will be able to visit her from March 2. Her first name was previously reported on this blog as Atusa (آتوسا). There are no indications yet of the charges or reason for her arrest.
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Four Bahai prisoners released in Mashhad, no releases in Tehran (updated)

HRANA, February 19, 2019. –

Three Bahai women, Dori Amri (دری امری), Saaqi Fedaa’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) have been granted early release from prison in Mashhad. A few hours later, Mr. Shaayaan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی) was also released. The four were arrested in a raid on a Bahai religious meeting in Saqi Feda’i’s home on June 1, 2014. During the raid some religious books were seized. All four were charged with propaganda against the regime and sentenced to one year in prison by Judge Soltani ( قاضی سلطانی) in February 2018, and the sentenced were confirmed by the Review Court, but they did not begin their sentences until November 1 and (in the case of Shaayaan Tafazolli) November 28, 2018.

Thus far, the amnesty has brought freedom to 36 prisoners of conscience in Iran, but has not yet included any of the many prisoners of conscience held in and around Tehran.
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Fataaneh Nabilzaadeh released in Mashhad

HRANA, February 17, 2019. –

On February 16, Fataaneh Nabilzaadeh (فتانه نبیل‌زاده), who began her one-year sentence on July 16, 2018, was released from prison in Mashhad under an amnesty for prisoners of conscience with short sentences. She was sentenced for her association with the Bahai University (BIHE), a distance-learning institute that offers education to Bahais, who are excluded from both state and private tertiary institutions under Iran’s form of apartheid. On August 13, 2013, as part of a series of raids on the BIHE across Iran, security forces raided her home, searched it, and arrested her, along with two students who were taking an exam: her son Peyman Saraf (پیمان صراف) and Dayan Teymouri (دایان تیموری). The two students were bailed three weeks later, but Mrs. Nabilzadeh was held for two months before being released on bail. In January 2018 she was sentenced to one year in prison for her educational activities.
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Two Bahai prisoners in Yazd released in amnesty

HRANA, February 16, 2019. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), who began their one-year sentences February 2 this year, have been released in an amnesty for prisoners of conscience with confirmed sentences of less than one year. The amnesty marks the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah. It is said that some 50,000 prisoners of conscience in Iran meet the requirement, which indicates how many prisoners of conscience are being held. These two Bahais were initially sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, but this was reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017.
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Five Bahais in Shiraz benefit from amnesty

HRANA, February 14, 2019. –

Five Bahais in Shiraz have benefited from amnesties for prisoners of conscience marking February 11, the anniversary of the fall of the Pahlavi Monarchy. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id `Aabadi ( سعید عابدی) and Adib Haqqpazhouh were initially sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile, which the Review Court reduced to six months in prison on December 31, 2018. They had not yet begun their sentences (there is a waiting list for places in the sections of Iran’s jails reserved for prisoners of conscience). They have been advised, via their lawyer, that they will not be required to serve their sentences. As previously reported, Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام), who has served four and a half months of his one-year sentence in Shiraz, has been released under the same amnesty.
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Farzaad Delaaraam released in Shiraz

HRANA, February 14, 2019. –

Among a number of prisoners of conscience granted early release in Iran in recent days is Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام), serving a one-year sentence in Shiraz. Mr. Delaaraam and his wife Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so Mr. Delaaraam has served only four and a half months of his sentence. His early release will be especially welcome since the couple have two children, one being a child, the other a teenager. The early releases of prisoners of conscience in recent days presumably relates to the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
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One Arrest in Manjil, Gilan Province

HRANA, February 6, 2019. –

Ruya Hossein-zaadeh (رویا حسین زاده) was arrested at her home in Manjil, Gilan Province, on February 2, and taken to the Laakaan Prison in Rasht. She was released two days later, on bail of 50 million tumans ( 10,500 euros ; $US 12,000).
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Mehdi Haajati resumes his seat on Shiraz city council

HRANA, February 3, 2019.

Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) a Shiraz city Councillor, who made efforts on behalf of unfairly arrested Bahais and was himself arrested and — once bailed ten days later — banned from his seat on the city council, has now been allowed to resume his seat. The Councillor made efforts for the release of Navid Bazmaandegaan and Bahaareh Qaaderi, and was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27, 2018, and accused of defending the “false Bahai Faith.” He had twittered that “our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice.” The Public Prosecutor’s office then issued an indefinite ban on his attending meetings of the Council. This ban has now been overturned. On resuming his seat, he said that the case against him would continue and would be decided by the judiciary (that is, not by the Ministry of Intelligence or the Public Prosecutor’s office). Abdel-Rezaaq Mousavi (عبدالرزاق موسوی), the Head of the Legal Commission and Supreme Supervisory Council of the Provinces [a body I have never heard of ~ Sen] has stated that the ban has been overturned. Curiously, the state-sponsored media in Iran have reported the return of Mr. Haajati to the Council, but without mentioning that he was banned for advocating civil rights for Bahais!
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Muhammad-Reza Teyfouri begins one-year sentence in Isfahan

HRANA, Febraury 4, 2019. –

Muhammad-Reza Teyfouri, known as Kasra Teyfouri (محمدرضا (کسری) طیفوری), began a one-year sentence in Isfahan prison on December 28, 2018. Sen’s Daily has not previously reported his arrest in February 2016, release on bail two weeks later, trial and sentencing. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison by the Revolutionary Court, on a charge of “propaganda against the regime by supporting the Bahai Faith” and copying CDs of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 2012 film ‘The Gardener,’ which has information about the Bahai Faith. The Review Court reduced this to a one-year sentence. Mr. Teyfouri’s business is described as a shop for cultural products.
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New arrest in Tehran

HRANA, February 3, 2019. –

Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی), a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested at her home on the evening of February 2. A source close to Emami said that the agents searched her house thoroughly and confiscated her mobile phone, computer, books, and essays and took her to an undisclosed location.
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Sentenced reduced to 6 months for five Bahais in Shiraz

HRANA, February 2, 2019. –

The Review Court for Fars Province has reduced the sentences of five Bahais, previously sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile, to six months in prison. x
Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی) and Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) were charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were initially tried in a closed court, in September 2018, and sentenced by the notorious human rights abuser Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Neither the defendants nor their lawyers were informed of that trial. The Review Court sat on December 31, 2018.

Mr. Dana, Mr. Haqqpazhouh, Mr. `Ebadi, and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (یهیه معنویپور) were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. Mr. Mansour and Mr. Sarafraz were arrested on September 1. Mrs. Ma`navipour was released on bail on September 18 and Mr. Dana on September 28, 2014. On October 21, Mr. Sarafraz, `Ebadi, Mansour and Haqqpazhouh were released on bail.
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Student expelled for Bahai beliefs in Kashan

HRANA, February 2, 2018. –

Sepehr Shahidi-Qamsari (سپهر شهیدی قمصری), who was in the fifth semester of a degree in civil engineering at the Sina Institute in Kashan, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. On December 18, 2018, he found that his page on the Institute’s site had been closed, and on following up on that, University officials told him that two weeks early inspectors from the Universities of Isfahan and Kashan had come to the Institute wanting to check the “religion” box in his student file, and had determined that he should be expelled because of his Bahai beliefs, without being given any certificate or statement of the grades he had achieved.
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Mehran Bandi Amirabadi summoned to begin sentence in Yazd

HRANA, February 1, 2019. –

On February 1, security agents went to the workplace of Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) in Yazd, but did not find him there. He was later informed by telephone that he should present himself to prison to begin his 12-month sentence. Neither he nor his lawyer had been informed that he was due to serve his sentence. Mehran Bandi Amirabadi and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), who were initially sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, recently had their sentences reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017.
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Soroush Agaahi released on bail pending trial

HRANA, January 31, 2019. –

Soroush Agaahi (سروش آگاهی) was released on bail from Tehran’s Evin Prison on January 31. Mr. Agaahi was arrested in Andisheh, near Tehran, on November 28. Neda Shabaani (ندا شبانی (بیوک آقایی)) was arrested at the same time, and was also bailed on November 28.
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Neda Shabaani bailed in Andisheh

HRANA, January 28, 2019. –

Neda Shabaani who was arrested in Andisheh, a “new city” development near Tehran and Karaj, on November 28, has been freed on bail of 300 million tumans (62,000 euros ; $US 71,000). Soroush Aagaahi (سروش آگاهی), who was arrested on the same day, is still being detained.
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Farzaad Rouhaani Manshaadi arrested in Yazd

HRANA, January 28, 2019. –

Farzaad Rouhaani Manshaadi (فرزاد روحانی منشادی), a Bahai from Yazd whose one-year sentence was commuted to a 3-year suspended sentence in July 2018, was arrested while taking his son to school on January 28. The arresting agents also searched his house, without a search warrant, and seized some personal effects. He was one of those arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, 2017, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers.
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Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani released on bail

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, January 24, 2019. –

Kimia Mostafavi ( کیمیا مصطفوی) and Kiaana Rezvaani ( کیانا رضوانی) who were arrested in Kerman on Saturday, January 19, have been released on bail.
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Qaemshahr: sentence of Sohayl Haqqdous reduced to 4 months

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, January 23, 2019. –

The Review Court has reduced the sentence of Sohayl Haqqdoust (سهیل حق دوست) to four months. Mr. Haqqdoust, a Bahai from Qaemshahr xx was originally sentenced to 12 months in prison. He was arrested on July 25, 2017, for “media reports about the closure of his business.” The agents were accompanied by officials known as the Ansar Hosseini (انصار حسینی), charged with religious affairs in the Province of Mazandaran. Mr Haqqdoust was released on bail on July 29, 2017. His lawyer, Amir Saalaar Daavudi ( امیر سالار داوودی) has been under interrogation in Evin Prison for the past two months.

In April, 2016, 15 Bahai-run businesses in Qaemshahr were shut down by the authorities because they were closed for the Bahai holy day of the first day of Ridvan. One of these businesses was an optician’s shop belonging to Mr. Haqqdoust. On the morning of November 8, 2016, he was one of five Bahais from Qaemshahr who were arrested at the Mazandaran Provincial Governor’s Office, where Bahais had gathered to seek interaction with public officials regarding the closure of Bahai businesses.
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New arrest in Tehran

HRANA, January 20, 2019. –

On January 20, a team of eight agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, including one woman, raided the home of Atusa Ahmadaa’i Khorrami (آتوسا احمدآئی (خرمی)) in Tehran, where they seized laptops, books and religious items before taking her away. The agents did not tell her family where they were taking her, but said “we will be in touch.” They said she was suspected of activities against national security. Mrs. Ahmadaa’i and her family are at present caring for her elderly father, who has suffered a stroke.
Update: she was taken to Evin Prison in Tehran.
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Three Bahai men in Shiraz sentenced

HRANA, January 21, 2019. –

The Revolutionary Court in Shiraz announced one-year sentences for Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejman Mehryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Kurush Ruhaani (کوروش روحانی), on charges of “propaganda against the regime.” They are at present free on bail. They were among six Bahais arrested at a meeting in a private garden (belonging to Kurush Ruhaani) on August 16, 2018. Another six Bahais were arrested in Shiraz three weeks earlier, on September 15.

The sentencing judge was Judge Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی), who in 2016 gave a five-year sentence to Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتا فهندژسعدی), and in October 2017 gave five year sentences to Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), and in September 2018 gave five Bahais sentences of one year in prison and one year in exile, on charges of propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. The Revolutionary Courts in Iran are responsible for charges such as blasphemy, espionage, terrorism and seeking to overthrow the government. The trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the case. Sentences are however reviewed by the Provincial Review Court.
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Two arrests in Kerman

HRANA (Facebook), January 20, 2019. –

Two Bahai women, Kimia Mostafavi ( کیمیا مصطفوی) and Kiaana Rezvaani ( کیانا رضوانی) from Kerman, were arrested on Saturday, January 19, by security forces. No information is available on their fate and whereabouts. Kiaana Rezvaani had been excluded from tertiary education because of her religious beliefs. After participating in the National University Entrance Exam, her file was marked “file incomplete” on the National Organization for Educational Testing website. This tag is used to prevent Bahais enrolling in colleges and universities.
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Sentences reduced for two Bahais in Yazd

Iran Press Watch, January 17, 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), both sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, have had their sentences reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They had in fact begun their 18-month sentences, in August 2018, but were released when the legality of their sentences was questioned.

A source close to the accused said: “Considering the fact that the maximum sentence for the charge of “propaganda against the Regime” is one year, these citizens had previously been sentenced to one and a half times that, meaning eighteen months in prison, owing to the fact that the charge had been made more than once. In addition to this, one year of internal exile to the cities of Divandarreh and Saravan had been added to their sentences as supplementary punishment. Since the prior charge had been made in August of 2012 and it has been subjected to the statute of limitation, according to Article 137 of the Islamic Penal Code, the law of a repeated offence should not be applicable. Consequently, after an appeal to the Supreme Court and the transfer of the case to an equal branch, the verdict was reduced to one year of prison for each of these citizens. The supplementary punishment internal exile was also overturned.”

They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017: one was exonerated and three were given suspended sentences, while Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی) was released on bail in March 2017, and I have no further information on her case.
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Mariya Kothari acquitted by Review Court

HRANA, January 13, 2019. –

The Review Court for Kurdistan Province has acquitted Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری), a Bahai from Qorveh, who had been sentenced to one year in prison, a fine of five million [tumans], and two years in internal exile in the town of Torbat Heydarieh. Mrs. Kothari was accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. The court said that there was no evidence to justify the accusation. Dr, Kothari was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 4, 2016. She has been free on bail since October 18, 2016. After her arrest in Qorveh she was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities first in Qorveh and then in Sanandaj. Mrs. Kothari’s husband and son do not have Iranian nationality and have been required to leave Iran. Her husband lives in Ecuador and her son in Australia.
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Bahai-run business closed down in Birjand

Iran Press Watch, January 15, 2019. –

On the morning of Saturday, January 5, 2019, the business of Farshid Dimi (فرشید دیمی), a Bahai from Birjand, was sealed by order of judiciary officials. A source close to Mr. Dimi told HRANA, “Farshid Dimi’s store, where he sells computer accessories, has been in business for 20 years. Mr. Dimi’s business license renewal was denied by by authorities, who provided no specific reason. Mr. Dimi has paid his union dues [i.e., to the government-mandated industrial sector organisation] and his taxes throughout his years of operation. His business has been sealed by order of the judicial officials, and so far the only response from that body has been that the order has been issued by the high officials and nothing can be done by us.”
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Three Bahai students expelled at end of semester

HRANA, January 10, 2019. –

On January 9, Badi Safaajou (بدیع صفاجو), a Bahai from Karaj who was in his seventh semester of a degree in chemical engineering at the Azad University, was expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He was called out while sitting one of the term examinations and told of his expulsion. The head of his department told him this was because he was a Bahai. He had achieved an average grade of 19.7.

In a separate report, HRANA notes the expulsion of Shirin Beninezhaad (شیرین بنی نژاد), who was in the fifth semester of a course in applied computer science at the Sama College branch of the Azad University, in Andisheh New Town (between Karaj and Tehran). On January 9, she was summoned to the University and told that she had been expelled one month earlier. At that point she had completed the classes for the course and one of the examinations. She had another three examinations to sit in order to complete her degree. The head of the College told her and her family that they (the University authorities) had no role in her expulsion, and she should take any questions to the Ministry of Intelligence.

Shaayaan Ma`navi (شایان معنوی), a Bahai student in the third semester of a degree in civil engineering at the Qods City campus of the Azad University was also expelled recently. On December 17, 2018, he found his access to the University web site was blocked, and on January 10, after numerous enquiries, he was told he had been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs.
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Interrogation of 32 Baha’is by Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, January 12, 2019. –

During last two weeks, at least 32 Bahais have been were summoned and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj. They were attending a lecture by another Bahai, Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی) who was visiting from Tehran. His presentation was interrupted when he was interrogated in class by security forces. An earlier report said that this gathering, on May 11, 2018, was at Baghestan or Fardis, both smaller towns near Karaj. He was released on August 11, 2018.

HRANA obtained the names of these people: Saied Vojdani, Tahereh Pashaie, Radm’an Forughi, Sheida Motlaq, Traneh Badie, Sepeher Furuhari, Masood Zakerian, Badiullah Tashakor, Farinaz Khoshfetrat, Tarannom Hashemi, Kambiz Safaie, Sarmad Sadeghian, Nahid Farhangi, Hasti Mandegari, Nasim Zabihi, Ruhhiyeh Anvari, Shoeleh Emamverdi, Shirin Khollas, Furutan Bayai, Armin Rowhani, Aydin Rowhani, Nazanin Sharifi, Nima Sharifi, Ramtin Monzavi, Parnian Badie, Mahsan Mokhtari, Arman Poormoradian, Mahmood Feshami, Samieh Ehsani, Pooya Eslami, Delkash Bebahani.
[سعید وجدانی، طاهره پاشائی، رادمان فروغی، شیدا مطلق، ترانه بدیعی، سپهر فروهری، مسعود ذاکریان، بدیع الله تشکر، پروین تشکر، فریناز خوش فطرت، ترنم هاشمی، کامبیز صفائی، سرمد صادقیان، ناهید فرهنگی، هستی ماندگاری، نسیم ذبیحی، روحیه انوری، شعله اماموردی، شیرین خلص، فروتن بیانی، آرمین روحانی، آیدین روحانی، نازنین شریفی، نیما شریفی، رامتین منزوی، پرنیان بدیعی ، مهسان مختاری، آرمان پورمرادیان، محمود فشامی، سمیعه احسانی، پویا اسلامی، دلکش بهبهانی]

A close source to these Bahais confirmed the above news and informed the HRANA reporter: “ When the security forces came to arrest Mehrdad Heyrani, all these citizens were attending his class. In addition, they were subsequently interrogated, and their mobile phones were confiscated.”

Since December 23, 2018, every week on Monday and Tuesday these individuals have been summoned and interrogated in the Office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj.”

The same source continued: “Security agents, after completing their interrogation, returned the mobile phones and informed them that the finalised report of their individual cases would be sent to the judiciary.

Mehrdad Heyrani now resides in Tehran; on 11 May 2018 he was arrested by security forces and imprisoned in Evin Prison. After spending three months of incarceration, on 11 August 2018, he was freed on bail of approximately US $15,000.00.
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Provincial review court rules “teaching the Bahai Faith” is not a crime

Iran Press Watch, January 13, 2019. –

Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court has dismissed the charges brought against Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی). The court found that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime.” [Some hundreds of Iran’s Bahai population have served many years in prison on the suppositions that having a Bahai book or image in one’s home is equivalent to propaganda against the regime. ~ Sen] Ms. Tebyanian,
a Bahai resident of Karaj in Alborz Province, was arrested by security officers on March 16, 2017. Six security officers entered her home with a warrant, and after searching it and confiscating her personal property, including religious and non-religious books; laptops and so forth, arrested her. In August 2018, a lower court sentenced her to 7 months imprisonment for propaganda against the regime. Her sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

Part of the verdict issued by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court, headed by Judge Ali Badri (قاضی علی بدری), states: “The propagation of the Bahaism does not constitute propaganda against the regime. Basically, in the law, belief in Bahai Faith has not been criminalized so as to be able to prosecute or punish anyone under this charge…”

Another part of the proceedings states: “Basically religious propagation, which is not considered to be against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty, is not considered a crime; [considering it a crime] is contrary to the Constitutional rights of citizenship.”
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Bahai student expelled in Shahryar

HRANA, January 7, 2019. –

On January 5, Sama Nazifi (سما نظیفی), a student of architecture at the Shahryar campus of the Azad University, was expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. In the previous year, she had earned a commendation from the University.
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22 Bahai-run businesses to reopen in Urmia, after 18-month struggle

HRANA, January 5, 2019. –

The West Azerbaijan Provincial authorities have given permission for the re-opening to 22 Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), closed by the local authorities 18 months ago. The businesses were closed by local authorities because they closed for business on Bahai Holy Days. There are nine days each year that Bahais take free from work (with logical exceptions). The law in Iran allows any business to shut for up to 15 days each year, without special permission from the authorities, but the Bahais are apparently being denied this normal right, as they are denied many other civil rights. The owners of these businesses pursued numerous channels with various government bodies, but only the local government’s Office of Public Places has responded, saying that they would not be allowed to reopen unless they signed a pledge not to close on the Bahai Holy Days. The owners rejected this as legally invalid and discriminatory. They took a case to the Supreme Administrative Court, which rejected the case without a hearing. The court’s decision was announced on August 16, 2018, one year after the closures. The businesses are largely retail and repair shops
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Four arrests in Isfahan

HRANA, January 5, 2019. –

On January five, security forces arrested four Bahai men in Isfahan. Manuchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Farzaad Hamaayuni ( فرزاد همایونی) and Sohraab Naqipur (سهراب نقی پور) were arrested early in the morning, and Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی) some hours later. Their place of detention and the reasons for the arrests are not known.

It is likely that all four were free on bail, due to arrests in 2017. Mr. Mehrgaani and Mr. Rahmaani were previously arrested on January 24, 2017, and I have reported that Mr. Mehrgaani was freed on bail on May 16 that year. Mr. Hamaayuni and Sohraab Naqipur were among five Bahais arrested in Isfahan on March 28, 2017: their release on bail and that of Mr. Rahmaani has not been reported here, but if they had not been bailed their long detention would have been reported.
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`Ali Ahmadi bailed in Qaemshahr

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, January 2, 2019. –

Mr. `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی), a Bahai from Qaemshahr, was freed on bail on January 2, after posting bail of 150 million tumans (31,000 euros ; $US 35,000). 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 is charged with “propaganda against the regime.” This is the fifth time he has been arrested in the past ten years: 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.
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Sentences confirmed for eight Bahais from Baharestan

Iran International, January 2, 2019. –

The Review Court for Isfahan Province has confirmed six-year sentences of Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), Milaad Daavardaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhaang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Anush Raayneh (انوش راینه) and four-year sentences for Bahaareh Dhini-Sobhaaniaan (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی) and Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) have been given four-year sentences. A ninth Bahai sentenced in the same case, `Ali Thani (علی ثانی), received a five year sentence (plus one year concurrently on another charge), but he is not mentioned in this announcement from the Review Court. The nine Bahais were arrested Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence.
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Six Bahais in Sistan and Baluchistan sentenced to 6 months, not 3 years

Radio Farhang, January 1, 2019. –

The court of review for the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan has reduced the 3-year prison sentences for six Bahais to six months each. They were initially charged with acting against national security through membership of an illegal organisation, but this has been changed to “propaganda against the regime.” They are (right to left in the photo): Bahaadar Kaamju (بهادر کامجو) from Chabahar (whose optician’s shop was closed in January 2018, Manouchihr Barqi (منوچهر بارقی) from Chabahar, Fahimeyyeh As-haq Nurabadi (فهیمه اسحاق نور آبادی) from Chabahar, whose name is reported as Fahemiyyeh As-haqi (فهمیه اسحاقی), Bijan Eslami-Mahdiabadi (بیژن اسلامی مهدی آبادی) of Khash, Ali Anvari (علی انوری) from Iranshahr and Houshang Mokhtari (هوشنگ مختاری) from Saravan.
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Graduate denied his diploma

HRANA, December 23, 2018. –

Three months ago, Behrouz Farzandi (بهروز فرزندی), a Bahai from Shiraz, completed a graduate degree in business studies at the Payam-e Nour university, but has not been issued his diploma because of his religious beliefs. Mr. Farzandi is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and spent two years in a prisoner of war camp. He has a 25% disability because of his war injuries. The University has claimed that it has lost his file, but it the “security office” (an on-campus branch of the Ministry of Intelligence) that is handling the case. He has had contact with the security office and the head of security has told him “we will call you,” but after three months he is still in limbo. He has completed all the degree requirements: he needs only a single signature from a university official. During his studies he was harassed several times, with diverse excuses, summoned to the security office and threatened with expulsion. His Bahai identity must have been known to the security office when he enrolled, since in August 2014 his family was in the national news when the administration at the government-run Martyr Khonsari secondary school in Shiraz refused to enrol his children, because the family are Bahais. This was in contravention of explicit legislation regarding civil rights, the right to education and the ban on investigating people’s religious beliefs. Moreover, Mr. Ardekani provided a copy of an official letter stating that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa stating the Bahai ex-prisoners of war and disabled veterans are entitled to the rights of other veterans and ex-POWs.
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Afif Na`imi is finally free

Editorial, December 21, 2018.

Numerous reports and photographs from the Bahais in the Tehran region attest that Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj at the end of a ten-year sentence. He is the last of the Yaran to be released, because during his sentence he was granted two medical furloughs of several months, and had several periods of hospitalisation. He suffers serious heart problems, blood clots, lymph node problems and acute swelling of the throat. On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner determined that he was not fit for prison. His sentence was due to be fully served (i.e., without the usual early release provisions) on February 27, 2018, but the authorities decided he should serve another 10 months, apparently because his sentence was suspended on two occasions.

Background
The seven ‘Yaran’ served as national facilitators assisting the Bahais of Iran in their dealings with government organs until their arrest and imprisonment. They were appointed following the disappearance and execution of the elected leadership of the Bahais in Iran in 1980, and again in 1981. The elected leaders in many cities were also executed at that time, notably in Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd and Hamadan, where a total of 33 members of the local Bahai “Assemblies” were executed, in addition to the 18 members of two successive national “Assemblies” and two appointed “assistants.” In August 1983, the government declared the elected assemblies illegal. In accordance with the principle of obedience to government, the Bahais then dissolved all elected bodies. Nevertheless, seven former members of the national Assembly were arrested and executed. (see this Wikipedia article).

National and local facilitators were later appointed, principally because government bodies needed to have a Bahai representative to discuss necessary matters and to transmit government instructions to the Bahais, which were not publicised in the media. One of the most important tasks of the facilitators was to arrange for Bahai burials, as Bahais are often barred from burial in public cemeteries, and Bahai practice requires a coffin, which is not allowed in many public cemeteries.

On 5 March 2008, one of the Yaran, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) – a schoolteacher and mother of two – was arrested having been summoned to the Iranian city of Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahai burial. Two months later, on 14 May, the other six Yaran were arrested in raids of their homes. Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi was one of these, the others being Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), Behrouz Tavakkoli (بهروز توکلی), and Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم).

After twenty months in prison without charge, a trial began on January 12, 2010, under Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Throughout their long wait for justice, the seven had received barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel, and suffered appalling treatment and deprivations, including psychological and physical hardship. They were charged with spying for Israel, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants. According to the defence lawyer, the charge of spying for Israel was based only on the fact that the Bahai properties in Israel are tax exempt. However Bahai properties are tax exempt in almost every country, and Islamic holy sites in Israel are also tax exempt! The trial of the seven accused ended on 14 June 2010 after six brief sessions, characterized by their lack of due legal process.

The initial sentence of 20 years imprisonment for each of the defendants, met with outrage and condemnation throughout the world. One month later, the appeal court revoked three of the charges, including that of spying for Israel, and reduced their sentence to 10-year jail terms. In March 2011, the prisoners were informed that their original 20-year sentences were reinstated. In November, 2015, the 20-year sentences were again reduced to ten years. Despite repeated requests, neither the prisoners nor their attorneys have ever received official copies of the original verdict or the ruling on appeal.
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Seven detainees bailed, in Karaj and Tabriz

Radio Farda, December 18, 2018. –

Mr. Parvan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی) and Mrs. Ilham Salmanzadeh (الهام سلمانزاده) have been released on bail on i Karaj, after two months in detention. Monika Alizaadeh (مونیکا علیزاده), Mrs. Shabnam Issakhaani ( شبنم عیسی‌خانی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه), Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی) and Khayrullah Bakhsi (خیرالله بخشی) have been bailed in Tabriz, after one month in detention.
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Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi sentenced to 11 years

Iran Human Rights Monitor, December 16, 2018.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, has sentenced to 11 years prison. The verdict was issued by the Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. She was expelled from the Shiraz Payam Noor University in 2012, for her religious beliefs. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. The Ministry of Intelligence was not satisfied, and has now obtained an eleven-year sentence from another revolutionary court in Shiraz.
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Sepideh Keshaavarz bailed in Tehran

HRANA, December 5, 2018. –

As previously reported, on November 20, the home of Mrs. Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاورز) was searched, some books and electronic devices were seized, and she was arrested. She was detained in Evin Prison for interrogation, and was released on bail on December 4. Bail was set at 500 million tumans (105,000 euros ; $US 119,000).
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Ten Bahai-run businesses closed in Omidiyeh

HRANA, December 4, 2018. –

Ten Bahai-run business in Omidiyeh have had their doors sealed under a judicial order because they had closed for a Bahai religious observance. They are:
– an electric motor winding workshop belonging to Sa`id Afshaar (سعید افشار) and Behman Afshaar (بهمن افشار), an electronics business run by Farhad Afshaar (فرهاد افشار), an aluminium workshop run by Mohammad Afshaar (محمد افشار), a washing machine repair shop run by Kamaal Afshaar (کمال افشاری), a motor tuning shop run by `Ali-Reza Afshaar (علیرضا افشار), a waterproofing service run by Shokrollah Azizi (شکرالله عزیزی), a refrigeration parts shop run by Mostafa Ebaadi (مصطفی عبادی), an MDF workshop run by Arsalaan Farzaaneh (ارسلان فرزانه), and a refrigeration service business run by Jahaan Behbehaani (جهان بهبهانی). These closures mean that the total of recent closures in Khuzestan Province has reached 23. As previously reported, on November 15 the businesses of at least six Bahais in Khorramshahr were also sealed by order of the judicial authorities. Two were closed in Abadan, and five (not 10) were closed in Ahvaz, but allowed to reopen two weeks later.
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Shahrzaad Nazifi free on bail

HRANA, December 4, 2018. –

Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known champion and trainer in women’s motocross who was arrested by security forces on November 18, was freed on bail on December 3. She had been detained at Evin Prison in Tehran. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 167,000 ). She was arrested on a motocross track, and taken to her home which was searched for about five hours. The agents seized books, mobile phones and laptops. They had already searched the house once, in a previous raid lasting several hours on November 10. Mrs. Nazifi, her husband Mehrshaad Naraaqi (مهرشاد نراقی) and their daughter Noura Naraaqi (نورا نراقی) are prominent in motocross sport in Iran, and women’s participation in particular.
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Amir Saalaar-Daavudi, human rights lawyer, arrested

Radio Zamaneh, November 29, 2018. –

Amir Saalaar-Daavudi (امیرسالار داوودی), a lawyer who has acted for many prisoners of conscience, was arrested on November 20, and there is still no information about him. Security agents searched his home and workplace and seized both personal effects and his files about legal cases. It is thought that he is being held in a section of Evin Prison that is directly controlled by the judiciary’s Intelligence Arm, which supervises the work of judges and court staff. Many lawyers who act in human rights cases in Iran have themselves been punished for their work.
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Mahvash `Adaalati free bailed in Tehran

HRANA, November 29, 2018. –

Mrs Mahvash `Adaalati-Za’iri (مهوش عدالتی (زائری)) was released on bail in Tehran on November 29. Her home was searched for three hours on November 20, with the seizure of Bahai books and other personal effects, and she was summoned to Evin Prison for interrogation on November 26, and arrested after two hours of interrogation. Interrogations continued in the following days.
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Two arrests in Andisheh

HRANA, November 28, 2018. –

On November 28, security forces arrested two Bahais in Andisheh, a “new city” development near Tehran and Karaj. Their names are given as Neda Shabaani (ندا شبانی (بیوک آقایی)) and Soroush Aagaahi (سروش آگاهی). It is not known where they are being detained.
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Five businesses reopen in Ahwaz

HRANA, November 27, 2018. –

On the morning of November 27, officials in Ahwaz allowed the reopening of five Bahai-run businesses that they closed down on November 12. It was previously reported that ten Bahai-run businesses in Ahwaz were closed on November 12, but the current report implies that all the businesses closed that day have now been allowed to reopen, and identifies five by name.
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Shaayaan Tafazoli begins a one-year sentence

HRANA, November 26, 2018. –

Shaayaan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی) began his one-year sentence in Mashhad prison on November 26. He is one of four Bahais from Mashhad who were sentenced to one year in prison by Judge Soltani ( قاضی سلطانی) in February this year. They were arrested in were arrested on July 8, 2014, following a raid on a Bahai religious meeting. The other three detainees in that case are Dori Amri (دری امری), Saaqi Fedaa’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی). They were charged with propaganda against the regime.
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Ninth Bahai sentenced in Baharestan

HRANA, November 22, 2018. –

Readers may have noticed that a November 23 summary of events in Iran, from the Bahai International Community, refers to nine Bahais being sentenced in Baharestan, while the post on Sen’s Daily mentioned only eight names. HRANA has identified the ninth Bahai as `Ali Thani (علی ثانی), whose arrest and trial were not previously noted on Sen’s Daily. He was sentenced to five years in prison for “participating in illegal Bahai activities” and one year in prison for propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith.
the court documents list him as “a Muslim who has been attracted to the Bahai Faith.” In addition to the six year sentence, he was sentenced to five years [concurrently] on a charge of selling cultural products. He was a seller of cultural products before being arrested. [Presumably, the Court considers that Bahais are banned from selling cultural products, so he should have abandoned his business when he became a Bahai ~ Sen].
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Home raid and summons in Tehran

HRANA, November 22, 2018. –

On November 20, security agents raided the home of Farid Ismaa`ili (فرید اسماعیلی), seizing mobile telephone, laptops and books and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They left a summons requiring him to report to Evin Prison in Tehran.
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One arrest in Qaemshahr

HRANA, November 22, 2018. –

On November 20, Mr. `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی) was arrested by seven agents from the security forces and taken to the solitary confinement section of Kashui prison in Sari. It is reported that he will be charged with “propaganda against the regime,” but at the time of the report he had not had any contact with his family. This is the fifth time he has been arrested in the past ten years: 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. One report says that he is also known as Cheragh-`Ali (چراغعلی) Ahmadi.
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Two arrests and a summons in Tehran

HRANA, November 21, 2018. –

HRANA is reporting three apparently unrelated cases relating to Bahais in Tehran. The first concerns Mrs Mahvash `Adaalati-Za’iri (مهوش عدالتی (زائری)), whose home was searched for three hours on November 20. The security agents seized some Bahai books and other personal effects, and issued a summons to attend for interrogation, on an unspecified date. Also on November 20, the home of Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاورز) was searched, some books and electronic devices were seized, and he was arrested: his whereabouts are unknown. On November 18, security forces arrested Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motorcross.
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Three Bahais arrested, bailed in Isfahan

HRANA, November 19, 2018. –

Three Bahais from Isfahan, Farid Amini (فرید امینی), Nasrin Khwaajeh (“نسرین خواجه) and Mozhgaan Khoushhaal (مژگان خوشحال), were arrested along with 15 other persons attending a health class on November 15. They were released on bail on November 19. The other 15 persons arrested were apparently not Bahais. The report does not say anything about them, but they would presumably have been released when the authorities discovered they were not Bahais.
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Eight Bahais sentenced in Baharestan, near Isfahan

HRANA, November 21, 2018. –

Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), Milaad Daavadaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhaang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Anush Raayneh (انوش راینه) have been sentenced to six years in prison for their Bahai beliefs, while Bahaareh Dhini-Sobhaaniaan (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی) and Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) have been given four-year sentences. They were arrested Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. The specific charges against them are not known, and this report does not say which court handed down the sentence (probably the Revolutionary Court in Isfahan ~~Sen).
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Business reclosed in Abadan

Iran Press Watch, November 18, 2018. –

On November 5th, the business of two Bahais in Abadan, Aaraam Aazaadi ( آرام آزادی) and Aarmaan Aazaadi (آرمان آزادی), was shut down and sealed by order of Judiciary Authorities, for the second time this year. This action coincides with important Bahai religious holidays, on which, based on their religious beliefs, Bahais close their place of business. Earlier this year, the business of these two Bahais was sealed for 15 days. A source close to the brothers told HRANA: “These citizens have been running this store for the last 38 years. Intelligence and Security officers seized their place of business and revoked their business license using unsubstantiated excuses.”
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Three more arrests in Tabriz

HRANA, November 20, 2018. –

As previously reported, on November 16, Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه) and Farzaad Bahaardori ( فرزاد بهادری), Bahais living in Tabriz, were arrested by security forces. On November 18, Khayrullah Bakhsi (خیرالله بخشی) and Monika Alizaadeh (مونیکا علیزاده) were likewise arrested. Today, November 20, security agents went to the home of Mrs. Shabnam Issakhaani ( شبنم عیسی‌خانی). Finding her not at home, they searched the house and told her family she should report to the Ministry of Intelligence in the morning. Mrs Issakhaani was one of six Bahais arrested following a raid on the Bahadori home in Tabriz on July 12, 2014, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who seized all the Bahai books and other materials they could find. They were all sentenced to one year in prison, but the Court of Final Review later acquitted all six. Farzaad Bahaardori was another of these six.
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Mitra Zahdi and Farajollah Bengaaleh sentenced to 5 years in prison

HRANA, November 20, 2018. –

The Revolutoionary Court in Ahwaz has sentenced Mrs. Mitra Badrnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی) and Mr. Farajollah Bengaaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله) to five years in jail. Mitra Zahdi was arrested in Ahwaz on March 3 this year, and Farajollah Bengaaleh was arrested on March 28 in Shiraz and later transferred by the Ministry of Intelligence to Ahwaz. On May 14 they were both released on bail of 200 million tumans each (40,000 euros ; $US 47,500). In both cases, their houses were searched at the time of their arrests, and religious items were seized. The sentences are still subject to review.
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Six Bahai-run businesses closed in Khorramshahr

Iran Press Watch, November 19. 2018. –

By the close of business on Thursday, November 15, 2018, the businesses of at least six Baha’i citizens of Khorramshahr were also sealed by the order of the judicial authorities. The business owners are identified by HRANA as the optician’s shops of Behrouz Habibi (بهروز حبیبی), Hossein-Ali Habibi (حسینعلی حبیبی), Behnaam Habibi (بهنام حبیبی) and Bahaador Ahmadi (بهادر احمدی); the sewing machine shop of Kaambiz Aazaadi (کامبیز آزادی), and the engine repair shop of Kouroush Jaaberi (کوروش جابری). This is in addition to the ten closures in Ahwaz that were previously reported. The sealing of businesses was ordered in response to the owners having closed their businesses for a day in observance of a Bahai holy day. By law, as cited in Item B of Article 28 of the Commercial Union Law, citizens are allowed to close their business up to 15 days a year without providing authorities any reason or informing the Union. However, this law is not extended to Bahai citizens and authorities routinely penalize Bahai business owners for observance of their Holy Days by sealing their businesses.
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Three arrests in Tabriz; three sentenced announced in Yazd

VOA News, November 18, 2018.

On November 16, Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه) and Farzaad Bahaardori ( فرزاد بهادری), Bahais living in Tabriz, were arrested by security forces. In June 2016, the Court of Final Review acquitted Mr. Farzaad Bahadori and five other Bahais from Tabriz who were arrested following a raid on the Bahadori home in Tabriz on July 12, 2014. Businesses run by Kaambiz Mithaaqi and Shahryaar Khodaapenaah were among about 90 Bahai-run businesses in East Azerbaijan Province that were closed by the authorities in December 2017.

Three Bahais from Yazd have also been informed of their sentences. Naaaser Baaqeri ( ناصر باقری) and his son Faa`iz Baaqeri (فائز باقری) were sentenced to nine months and three years in prison, respectively. Mrs. Rouhaa Emaani (روحا ایمانی), from Kerman, was sentenced to nine months in prison. Mrs. Emaani was arrested in Yazd during a raid on her home on May 12, 2015. Faa’iz Baaqeri and his father were arrested in their home on February 28, 2015. All three were released on bail in July, 2015.
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Ten Bahai businesses closed in Ahwaz

Keyhan Novin, November 12, 2018. –

On November 12, officials acting on a court order closed ten businesses in Ahwaz that were run by Bahais. Some of them were also closed down by officials last year, and later allowed to reopen.
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Music schools shut down for allowing Bahais to teach

Ettelaat, November 10, 2018. –

Two childrens’ music schools in Shiraz have been shut down by the judicial authorities for allowing (employing?) Bahais to teach. The schools were not owned or run by Bahais, but Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده), two Bahai women who were arrested in Shiraz in mid-September and freed on bail in mid-October, taught music to children there.
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Body exhumed and dumped in Damavand

Iran Press Watch, November 10, 2018. –

Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian (شمسی اقدسی اعظمیان), a Bahai from Gilavand, a suburb of Damavand (in Tehran Province), was buried in Gilavand Bahai Cemetery on October 24. Four days later her body was exhumed by unknown individuals and abandoned in the deserts of Jaban in the suburbs of that city. No individual or institution has accepted responsibility for this action, although security forces had told the Gilavand Bahais earlier that they had no right to bury their deceased member in Damavand and that they should perform burials only in Tehran. Gilavand Bahai Cemetery has been the Bahai burial place for many years.

Four days after the burial, in a phone call, police told Mrs. Azamian’s son that the body of his mother, had been found in deserts near Jaban in the Damavand district. A source close to the family said, “After the body of Mrs. Azamian was found, her son was told by security forces to transfer his mother’s body to Tehran. They then faced the son’s objection, since the distance between Gilavand and Tehran is more than an hour … according to Bahai law, the distance between the location of the death and the place of burial should not exceed one hour. As a result, two hours later, the agents carried away the body of Mrs. Azamian without the consent of the family to Tehran.”

A group of Iranian progressive intellectuals has issued a statement condemning this action.

This is not the first time Bahais in Iran have faced the demolition of Bahai cemeteries in various cities. HRANA earlier has reported on the destruction of graves and the closure of Bahai cemeteries by judicial and security authorities in the past several years.

Among Bahai cemeteries, one in the city of Kerman has been sealed since noon on March 15, 2018, by order of the Kerman judicial authorities, and the burial of deceased Bahais has been prevented.

Also, on July 14, 2016, Ghorveh Bahai cemetery, in the province of Kurdistan, was destroyed by government agents.

On December 12, 2013, after confirmation of a court order in Sanandaj and confiscation of the land belonging to the Bahais which had been used as a cemetery, the site was demolished by a bulldozer.

In March 2014, the Bahai cemetery in Ahwaz was closed, and the alley leading to it was blocked by heavy cement blocks. No organization has accepted responsibility for this action.

Also, in the middle of December 2012, Sangesar’s old Bahai cemetery was thoroughly covered in soil and rubble by bulldozers and trucks, and all the graves were covered by dirt and rocks, so that no more graves could be seen.

Since August 2011, the Bahai community of Tabriz has not been allowed to bury their dead in this city, and their bodies are being transferred by intelligence officers to the city of Miyandoab, in West Azerbaijan province.

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For older news, see the “old news” archive on Sen’s Daily blog.

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