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                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

News May 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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Bahai in Mashhad said to be linked to Mujahedin

Damavand News, May 22, 2018.

Hasan Heidari (حسن حیدری), Deputy Prosecutor of Khorasan Razavi Province has claimed in an interview with the local website of Mashhad (capital of the Province) that an unnamed Bahai has been arrested in Mashhad by the Ministry of Intelligence, under a special judicial order referring to the “arrest of the leadership of the hypocrite terrorist organisation.” The term is usually Iranian code for the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MKO), which has advocated revolution and violence. Mr. Heidari said that the Bahai had been accused of collaborating with a political organization, and that “this individual had sought to provide broader grounds for activities to undermine security, by promulgating and misusing the demands of the industry guilds that are part of the Iranian system.” In other words, he was a worker’s rights activist. Iran has seen widespread worker protests, strikes and market shut-downs in recent weeks, and the tactic of connecting these to an external terrorist organisation and/or the Bahais may be a device to divert attention from the grievances of workers and small shop-keepers (who close their shops as a form of protest).

Damavand News, which reports this interview, expresses reservations that it has the whole picture, and the story as reported raises a number of questions. In the first place, did the Deputy Prosecutor intend to refer to the Mujahedin or to the Green Movement? The accusation of links to a political group seems unusually mild if the Mujahedin was intended. In the second place, the only Bahai known to have been arrested in Mashhad recently is Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), arrested on May 2. Damavand News cites a source saying that, given the timing, the reference can only be to Mr. Nuzdehi. But another possibility is that the Deputy Prosecutor did not have any specific Bahai in mind. Claims that a group of Bahais have been arrested for this an that – without names or specifics – are sometimes made by officials seeking to assure the public that they are doing their jobs by keeping the Bahais under pressure. Generally speaking, no specifics or trials follow from such claims. News of the actual persecution of Bahais always comes from family members and associates, not from official reports, and contain names, dates and other specifics that can be checked.

Ministry of Intelligence bars Baku Bahai from keeping bees

HRANA, May 21, 2018. –

The Ministry of Intelligence in Baku has told Shahin Dehqan ( شاهین دهقان), a Bahai who has been working as a beekeeper for the past 17 years, that he must sell his hives within ten days, or he will be jailed and his hives will be confiscated. Bahais are barred from working in many sectors of Iran’s economy, but the rules are not published and new sectors are barred to Bahais periodically, giving the economic apartheid system in Iran the appearance of arbitrary oppression.

Pakistan announces a welfare grant and scholarships for Bahais

The News, May 19, 2018.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, has announced a grant of Rs500,000 (3600 euros ; $US 4300) for the welfare of the Bahai community, as well as offering scholarships to its students. He was speaking at a celebration of the Bahai festival of Ridvan, and expressed joy at the presence there of prominent personalities from other communities, including Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Parsi (Indian Zoroastrians).

While Bahai teachings do not allow the Bahai communities to apply external donations to their own religious activities, such funds can be used by the Bahai community for charitable purposes. The report does not explain whether scholarships are being offered specifically to Bahai students, or the Bahai community is being included among the eligible religious minorities. The state (not federal) minorities scholarships I researched are all income-tested as well as being targeted for minorities.

Three Bahai women in Ahvaz re-arrested

Hamid Rezataghipour, May 14, 2018. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), who were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in raids on their homes on May 6, and released on May 12, were summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on May 13 and arrested again.

Mitra Zahdi and Farajollah Bengaleh bailed in Ahvaz

Shahrevandyar, May 14, 2018. –

Mrs. Mitra Barnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی), who was arrested in Ahvaz on March 3, and Mr. Farajollah Bengaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله), who was arrested on March 28 in Shiraz and later transferred by the Ministry of Intelligence to Ahvaz, have both been released on bail of 200 million tumans each (40,000 euros ; $US 47,500). It appears that no charges have been laid. In both cases, their houses were searched at the time of their arrests, and religious items were seized.

Three Bahai detainees released in Ahvaz

HRANA, May 13, 2018. –

Three young Bahai women who were arrested in Ahvaz on May 6 were released from Ahvaz prison on May 12. They are Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ). During the week that they were detained, their families went to the prison and were told that their children were not there [probably because they were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen]. The families went to the cities of Abadan and Khoramshahr to look for their children, and while they were there, Ahvaz Prison contacted them to say their children had been released.

One new arrest in Tehran

HRANA, May 12, 2018. –

Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی), a Bahai living in Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 11, and taken to an unknown place. The agents came to his home, but he was at a friend’s house in Fardis, 45 km West of Tehran. The agents went there and arrested him and took him with them to his own home. They searched it and seized a computer, some religious books and other personal effects.

One arrest in Kermanshah

Hengaw News, May 12, 2018. –

Mr. Khodadaad Miri (خداداد میری), a Bahai living in Kermanshah, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 6. As of May 12, there is still no news of his whereabouts, despite efforts by his family. Mr. Miri is from Mazandaran, where he owned a bookstore, but he was forced by the authorities to sell it a few years ago, and then took his family to Kermanshah.

Anti-bahaism on show at Tehran international book fair

Hamid Rezatghipour, May 7, 2018.

A few days after the start of the Tehran international book fair, the showing of anti-Bahai books with titles such as “the deviant sect of Bahais” has increased dramatically. The Centre for the Documentation of the Islamic Revolution has a series of books on “identifying the various aspects of the Bahai sect,” while the Centre for Bahai Studies has taken two booths at the exhibition to display almost all the anti-Bahai literature it has published. The anti-Bahai literature appears to be more visible than in previous years. The publishers receive subsidies or are funded by Iran’s government or religious institutions. The publication of Bahai literature, or responses to the accusations, is not permitted.

Mahsa Mahdavi released from prison

Radio Zamaneh (web site), May 11, 2018.

Mahsa Mahdavi (مهسا مهدوی) was released from Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad on May 10, after serving an 8-month sentence for her Bahai beliefs. She was one of four Bahais arrested in Mashhad in September, 2012, who were sentenced in May, 2013: her sentence was the shortest. They were accused of teaching the Bahai Faith, propaganda against the regime and membership of Bahai organisations.

Four homes searched, 3 arrested in Abadan (update)

Iran Press Watch, May 10, 2018.

According to Ostanwire (of, on Sunday morning of May 6, 2018, agents of the Ministry of Information of Abadan City in southwest Iran performed an orchestrated raid of the residences of four Bahais, during which three Bahais were arrested and taken to an unknown location.

Security forces in the border town of Abadan went to the homes of four Bahais; Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), and Ms. Mah-Monir Ehsani, and after thorough search of their homes confiscated all their mobiles, laptops, computers and religious books and arrested Ms. Sabeti, Ms. Afshar, and Ms. Farzaneh. In each case, the raids were conducted by six agents in possession of search warrants, while a few security forces remained on guard outside. Some reports specify that the agents came mainly from the Ministry of Intelligence in the provincial capital, Ahvaz, with one local agent from Abadan in each team, and that they briefly questioned all the family members present during the raids.

The arrest of Ms. Neda Sabeti was previously reported on Sen’s Daily, the widespread raids and two additional arrests were not. It is not known where the detainees are being held.

Navid Khanjani released after 6 years in prison

VOA, May 7, 2018.

Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی) has been released from Rajai Shahr prison, near Tehran.

Mr. Khanjani’s original 12-year sentence was due to his peaceful activities in defending human rights and the right to education. With the implementation of Article 134 of the Penal Code, the diverse charges against him were integrated, and he was sentenced to five years in prison with a release date on June 6, 2017. At the last moment he was informed that his one-year sentence from a different case was being implemented immediately and he would remain in prison.

Mr. Khanjani was arrested the first time on March 1, 2010, by the Ministry of Intelligence and was released on bail after about two months of interrogation and solitary confinement. On December 20, 2010, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Yahya PirAbassi (قاضی یحیی پیرعباسی), sentenced him on the following charges:

+ Spreading false news,
+ Disturbing public opinion,
+ Propaganda against the Islamic Republic through disseminating news reports,
+ Appearing in interviews with foreign TV and radio stations,
+ Membership of the Central Council of the Human rights Reporters Committee,
+ Establishing the “Deprived of Education” group

An informed source at the time of sentencing (February 2011) said that “During the trial, the lawyer’s defense was basically not considered.” Mr. Khanjani, has not been allowed any furlough since his detention in August 2012.

Mr. Khanjani’s one-year sentence, now completed, is due to the “Sarand Camp Case.” He was one of 35 civil society activists who had gone to Varzaghan in East Azarbaijan on August 11, 2012 to help the earthquake victims. They were arrested by the police and their camp was shut down. Most of the activists were released, but due to his existing sentence of 12 years, Mr. Khanjani remained in custody.

Mr. Khanjani, now aged 31, is a former member of the “Human Rights Activists,” “Human Rights Reporters Committee,” and founder of ” The Association Opposing Educational Discrimination.”

New arrest in Abadan: Neda Sana’i

Sky Farsi News, May 6, 2018.

Early in the morning of May 6, seven security agents — one of them a woman — arrested Mrs. Neda Sana’i-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی) at her home in Abadan. The agents searched the family’s home and car thoroughly, and seized all the religious books, a laptop, computer and some story books (the couple have children). As they left, they told her husband, Kambiz Azadi (کامبیز آزادی) to do nothing and have patience. Mrs. Sana’i was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence offices.

Bahai home searched in Isfahan

HRANA, May 6, 2018.

On April 30, 2018, six security agents with a search warrant came to the apartment of the father of Mrs. Anisa Motahar (انیسا مطهر) in Isfahan. The warrant was dated April 3, 2018. They gained access to the building using force and threats against another resident there, and entered the home without permission. Mrs. Motahar was in the shower at the time, and her father was also in the apartment. Mrs. Motahar repeatedly objected to the seizure of books, images and CDs relating to the Bahai Faith, and non-religious items relating to her parents, but her objections were ignored by the agents, who were abusive. After seizing everything that could be evidence of the family’s Bahai beliefs, and other items of value such as mobile phones and laptops, the agents showed a summons to appear in court on May 8, the precise address being communicated to Mrs. Motahar’s father later, by telephone. They did not leave a copy of this summons or a receipt for the goods they had seized, as required by law.

Mrs. Motahar now lives in Tehran, and was visiting her parents in Isfahan. In 2010 she was one of the Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Isfahan, when she was detained for 73 days before being freed by the Review Court.

Bahai-run business in Tabriz to be sealed

Iran Press Watch, May 4, 2018. –

According to a report in Persian by the campaign of “No to Imprisonment and Persecution of Bahais”, a shop belonging to Ms. Shiva Isa-Khani (شیوا عیسی خانی), a Bahai in Tabriz, will be shut down and her business license is denied due to her belief in the Bahai Faith.

An informed source close to Ms. SIsa-Khani reported that she had applied for a business license after many years of hard work but at the end she received a final notice from judicial officials forcing her to close her shop. The same shop has been sealed twice in past 5 years, and on each occasion the authorities made it very difficult for her to re-open her shop.

Kaviz Nuzdehi arrested in Mashhad

Hamid Rezatipour, May 2, 2018.

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, was arrested on May 2. He has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012. That time, the charges against him were propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, advocating contact with foreigners after traveling outside the country, participating in illegal organisations, and producing and distributing Bahai CDs and books.

Kaviz Nuzdehi arrested in Mashhad

Hamid Rezatipour, May 2, 2018.

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, was arrested on May 2. He has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012. That time, the charges against him were propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, advocating contact with foreigners after traveling outside the country, participating in illegal organisations, and producing and distributing Bahai CDs and books.

Saba Golshan released in Isfahan

Hamid Rezataghipour, May 2, 2018.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ) has been granted contitional released from prison in Isfahan, after two and a half years in detention. As I reported yesterday, he was released with Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی) on April 30, and recalled to prison a few hours later. After spending one more night in prison, he has been granted conditional release.

Shahram Eshraqi released in Isfahan; Saba Golshan released and re-arrested

HRANA, May 1, 2018.

Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی) was released from Isfahan Prison on April 30, after two and half years’ detention. he began his on October 11, 2015, and was granted a one-month furlough for medical treatment in February-March 2017. He suffers from a respiratory ailment, and is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, when he served in the front lines. This is the fourth time he has gone to prison for his Bahai beliefs. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on July 31, 2012, along with four other Bahais. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a one-year suspended sentence, in a mass trial of Bahais held in a court in Yazd. His mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law were among the Bahais executed in Shiraz in 1983.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ), a Bahai who was arrested and tried in the same process as Mr. Eshraqi, was released along with Mr. Eshraqi, but an hour later was summoned to return to prison. There has been no further explanation. He is serving a three-year prison term, plus one year suspended. he suffers from severe cardio-pulmonary disease, and has been granted medical furloughs of at least two months, for surgery and other treatment, during his time in prison.

Bahai student expelled in Gorgan

Bahai Campaign, April 29, 2018.

Kiana Sana’i (کیانا ثنایی), who has completed two semesters of undergraduate study in architecture at the private non-profit Mir-Damand Institute of Higher Education in Gorgan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. The expulsion was initiated by the national “Educational Appraisals Agency.”

Bahai student expelled in Rasht

Didgaheno, April 27, 2018.

Seyyed Arash-Razavian-e Rudbardeh (سید آرش‌رضویان رودبرده), who was in his fourth semester of studies in Physics, has been expelled from Gilan University in Rasht because of his Bahai beliefs. On March 18, before the New Year break, he was told to got the University, where he was informed that he had been expelled, and if he wanted more information he should go to the National Examinations organisation. After the holidays he did so, and was told that he had been expelled because he was not a follower of one of the four recognized religions. He asked that the reason should be put in writing, which he received, but it said only that his general qualifications were not accepted and he did not qualify for university education. This is remarkable, since Bahai students are usually given no document at all to indicate that they have been students, or have been expelled. When he asked for clarification, he received a prompt reply saying that, in accordance with a decree from the Cultural Council, he has no right to tertiary education. This is a reference to a confidential memorandum from the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council, dated February 1991, which states that Bahais must be expelled from Universities, and the progress and development of Bahais should in general be blocked. This reply also said that the “Police 10+” organization had been informed of his expulsion, in relation to his compulsory military service. This letter was signed by the Director of Educational Services at the University of Gilan.

Father and daughter in Shiraz sentenced to 5 years

HRANA, April 25, 2018.

On April 24, Nazanin Bangaleh (نازنین بنگاله) and her father Na`imatullah Bangaleh (نعمت الله بنگاله) were sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz to five years in prison. They were arrested following a destructive raid on their home in Shiraz on August 27, 2016. A table was smashed and seats were pulled apart. A few months earlier, goods belonging to Mr. Bankagleh were seized at customs.

Ms. Bangaleh was released on September 11, after posting bail of 175 million tumans ($US 56,000; 50,000 euros). On November 1, 2016, Mr. Bangaleh was also released on bail, which was set at 550 million tumans ($US 176,000; 157,000 euros).

Afif Na`imi returns to prison

HRANA, April 23, 2018.

Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran) returned to Raja’i Shahr prison on April 23, at the end of his furlough for medical treatment. 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 has determined that he is not fit for prison because of his failing health. In 2016 he was granted a furlough for medical treatment which eventually extended to five months, returning to Rajai Shahr prison on January 28 this year. His sentence was due to be fully served (i.e., without the usual early release provisions) on February 27, 2018, but the authorities have said he must serve another 10 months, apparently because his sentence was suspended on two occasions.

Business sealed in Minushahr, family expelled

Iran Press Watch, April 16, 2018.

On March 20, 2018, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence closed down the sewing machine repair business of Na`im Ha’i (نعیم هائی), a Bahai living in Minushahr. Mr. Ha’i and his family were also told to leave the city as soon as possible.

Full translation at Iran Press Watch

Shahab Dehqani released after four years

Iran Press Watch, March 26, 2018.

Shahab Dehqani ( شهاب دهقانی), a Bahai from Tehran was released from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, upon the completion his four-year sentence. He was arrested in July 2012 during a massive security operation against Bahais. Nearly 20 Baha’is, in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz, were arrested in this operation. Mr. Dehqani was charged with propaganda against the regime and forming illegal assemblies, and sentenced to four years by the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the seven “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage. He reported to Evin Prison to serve his four-year on May 24, 2014. The next day, he was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. He was granted a 3-day prison furlough in June, 2015.

Mr. Dehghani’s wife, Shomais Mohajer (شمیس مهاجر) was arrested at the same time and sentenced to one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and illegal gathering. She was released on May 26, 2015.

Nasim Baqeri released after 4 years

HRANA, March 29, 2018.

Nasim Baqeri (نسیم باقری), one of 10 Bahais associated with the Bahai Open University (BIHE) who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013, has been released from Tehran’s Evin Prison at the end of her 4-year sentence. The Judge who sentenced her is the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the seven “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage.

Social media campaign in Yemen calls for extermination of Bahais

Iran Press Watch, April 1, 2018.

Dangerous Development Signaling a Sectarian Disaster

The Yemeni community has been shocked over the past two days [prior to March 26, when the Arabic report was published] by a fierce media campaign launched by the Ansarullah group (Houthis). The campaign incites hatred and sectarian hostility, opposes freedom of thought, and calls for acts of violence and murder against members of the Bahai Faith, as well as other against peaceful religious minorities.

“This is a devilish religion and we will exterminate every Bahai,” proclaimed Houthi activist Ahmad Ayed Ahmed in a public Tweet. This tweet was widely circulated by supporters of Ansarullah. Similar provocative Tweets by other activists and leaders have also been circulating.

The campaign coincided with the threats made by the leader of Ansaruallah, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, against the Bahais, Ahmadis, Christians and a number of Islamic sects during his Friday speech on the occasion of Rajab Friday. Al-Houthi used an explicit sectarian hostile language against several religions, sects, and ideologies in Yemen and intensively against the Bahais. He appealed to his followers, especially intellectuals, people in media, clergy and activists to launch a cultural, social, and intellectual war against these minorities.

This marks a clear call for a sectarian war against minorities and specifically Bahais, and parallels the already ongoing systematic attack against Bahais including arbitrary arrests, persecution, and torture.

Although the persecution of the Bahais is not new, Houthis had until now exercised a degree of “political dissimulation” to conceal their direct involvement. However, since al-Houthi’s public speech, Houthis are now openly spearheading as well as escalating the systematic persecution of Bahais.

A number of human rights organizations have expressed concern about this situation, it being a clear and disturbing indication of a transition to a more aggressive stage of persecution, targeting pluralism and freedoms, as well as the very foundation of coexistence in Yemen.

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


Two homes searched and one arrest in Shiraz

Iran Press Watch (Persian), March 28, 2018.

On March 28, security forces arrested Mr. Farajollah Bengaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله) in his home in Shiraz. They arrived about 2pm and searched his home thoroughly and seized personal and religious items including books, a laptop and a mobile telephone. He was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100. They then went to the appartment of Mr. Payam Partovi (پیام پرتوی ), on the second floor of Mr. Bangaleh’s home, and searched it although they had no search warrant. They seized two laptops, some flash drives and religious books and other items.

Vahid Tizfahm released after 10 years in prison

HRANA, March 19, 2018.

Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He has served a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. Six of the seven Yaran have now been released after completing their sentences, while Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی) has been free on medical furlough since late October, 2017.

Bahai cemetery in Kerman closed by authorities

HRANA, March 16, 2018.

The ‘Golestan Javid’ (Bahai cemetery) in Kerman has been closed by the judicial authorities, preventing both visits to the graves and new burials. This goes against a national policy announced in September 2015, that Bahais may only be buried in one designated cemetery in each province. On the morning of March 16, a number of Bahais from Kerman arriving at the cemetery found the gates shut and a large banner from the Municipal authorities spread across the gateway, saying “In accordance with the order of the honorable judiciary, based on Article 688 of the Islamic Penal Code. and due to sanitation issues and problems, and in accordance with Paragraph 6, Article 96 of the city and municipality laws, the burial of of the deceased in this place is prohibited from March 16, 2018.”

The closure, destruction and vandalization of Bahai cemeteries has become common in Iran: many recent examples can be found on this blog by typing “cemetery” in the search box. For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran (2012).

Jamaloddin Khanjani released after 10 years in prison

Morteza Esmailpour (Facebook), March 17, 2018.

Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He is 84 years old, and has served a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran.

Bahai student expelled in Rasht

HRANA, March 15, 2018.

Wasal Heravi (وصال هروی) has been barred from beginning the fourth semester of his studies in psychology at the Sima-ye Danesh University in Rashht because of his Bahai beliefs. The University President told him verbally that the Qualifications Agency has not accepted his qualifications. His enquiries to the Qualifications Agency and other educational authorities were fruitless, except that he was told verbally that his expulsion was ordered by the Ministry of Intelligence. He began his studies in 2016/17, and became aware of his expulsion when the code for a unit he had enrolled in was disabled [on his university web page].

Five detainees bailed in Bushehr

HRANA, March 14, 2018.

Five of the seven Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 13 were released on bail on March 13. Bail was set at 250 million tumans (53,000 euros ; $US 66,000). Those released on March 13 are Minou Reyazati (مینو ریاضتی), Asadollah Jaberi (اسدالله جابری) and his wife Ehteram Shakhi(احترام شخی), Leqa Faramarzi (لقا فرامرزی). Emad Jaberi (عماد جابری) and Puneh Nashari (پونه ناشری) were bailed a week earlier.

Bahai couple in Shiraz sentenced to 5 years in prison

Morteza Esmailpour (Facebook), March 9, 2018.

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) have been sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but have only now been told of their sentences. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

Puneh Nashari and Emad Jaberi bailed in Bushehr

HRANA, March 7, 2018.

Emad Jaberi (عماد جابری) and Puneh Nashari (پونه ناشری), two of the seven Bahais arrested in coordinated raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 13, have been released on bail. Bail was set at 50 million tumans (10,700 euros; $US 13,300). Mrs. Nasheri has two children, aged 2 and 7, who have been affected by the absence of their mother. A source close to the arrestees said that, since their arrest, all seven have moved back and forth between the prison and the interrogation facilities of the Ministry of Intelligence. It appears that the judiciary have no information on the reasons for their detention.

One new arrest in Ahvaz

HRANA, March 5, 2018.

Mitra Barnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی)was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in her home in the city of Ahvaz on March 3. The agents searched her house thoroughly and seized books and a laptop. The agents said they had an arrest warrant from the Revolutionary Court, and the arrest is presumed to relate to her Bahai beliefs.

Five Bahais sentenced in Mashhad: one year in prison

HRANA, February 28, 2018.

One-year sentences have been announced in four cases dating back to late 2014, involving Bahais in Mashhad. Dari Amri (دری امری), Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی), Saqi Feda’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) were sentenced by Judge Soltani ( قاضی سلطانی). They were charged with propaganda against the regime. A month ago, Fataneh Nabilzadeh (فتانه نبیل‌زاده) was also sentenced to one year in prison in Mashhad: her arrest and sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

The four who are most recently sentenced were arrested on July 8, 2014, following a raid on a Bahai religious meeting in the home of Saqi Feda’i on June 1. They were held by the Ministry of Intelligence until early August, before being taken to prison and eventually released on bail. They were tried on December 17, 2014, but the sentences have only now been announced.

Jamaloddin Khanjani returned to prison

Human Rights in Iran, February 23, 2018.

On February 22, Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), was returned to Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He is 84 years old (not 86 as previously reported) and was taken to a hospital cardiac care unit following a recent heart attack in prison. He is reported to have undergone surgery in hospital. Doctors have warned that he should be under constant care and that prison conditions are not suitable for him. However he has not even been granted the normal right to prison furlough during his time in prison. He is nearing the end of a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. The sentencing judge was the notorious human rights abuser, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه). Mr. Khanjani had had heart surgery before entering prison, and suffered a previous heart attack in prison, in January 2014, when he was taken to Pars Hospital in Tehran for treatment.

Sa`id Reza’i released after 10 years in prison

Fariba Kamalabadi (Facebook), February 17, 2018.

Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی) one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison at the end of a ten year sentence for his activities in service of the Bahais of Iran.

Mr. Reza’i (link opens in PDF format), now aged 60, is an agricultural engineer who ran a successful farming equipment business in Fars Province. He is also known for his extensive scholarship on Bahai topics, and is the author of several books and has served as an academic adviser to Bahai students. He taught Bahai children’s classes for many years, and served the Baha’i Education and Baha’i Life Institutes. He was also a member of the National Education Institute.

During the early 1980s, when persecution of Bahais was particularly intense and widespread, Mr. Rezaie moved to northern Iran and worked as a farming manager for a time. Later he moved to Kerman and worked as a carpenter and at other odd jobs in part because of the difficulties Bahais faced in finding formal employment or operating businesses. In 1985, he opened an agricultural equipment company with a Baha’i friend in Fars Province. That company prospered and won wide respect among farmers in the region.

He has experienced various forms of persecution for his Baha’i belief, including an arrest and detention in 2006 that led to 40 days in solitary confinement.
His two daughters were among 54 Baha’i youth who were arrested in Shiraz in May 2006 while engaged in a humanitarian project aimed at helping underprivileged young people. They were later released but three of their colleagues were sentenced to four years in prison on false charges and are currently incarcerated in Shiraz.

In August 2013 he was hospitalized due to a gastrointestinal disorder, and was transferred back to Rajai Shahr prison on August 7. During his treatment, tests revealed that he also has a 70% blockage in his coronary artery. He underwent emergency heart surgery. Doctors ordered one month of after care in a quiet and suitable location. Ignoring the doctor’s orders for post-op care, officials returned him to Raja’i Shahr prison.

Jamaloddin Khanjani transferred to hospital; Sa`id Reza’i due for release

Bazdasht, February 16, 2018.

Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been taken from Rajai Shahr prison to a cardiac care unit in hospital. It appears he suffered a heart attack in prison. He is now aged 86. He is nearing the end of a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. He had had heart surgery before entering prison, and suffered a heart attack in prison, in January 2014, when he was taken to Pars Hospital in Tehran for treatment.

Another of the Yaran, Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), is expected to be released on February 17.

Seven new arrests in Bushehr

HRANA, February 13, 2018.

At 7.30 in the morning of February 13, security forces staged coordinated raids on the homes of Bahais in the Province of Bushehr and arrested at least seven Bahais. Those arrested are named as Minou Reyazati (مینو ریاضتی), Asadollah Jaberi (اسدالله جابری) and his wife Ehteram Shakhi(احترام شخی), Emad Jaberi (عماد جابری), Leqa Faramarzi (لقا فرامرزی) and Puneh Nashari (پونه ناشری). Their homes were thoroughly searched, and personal effects such as laptops, books, flash drives, external hard drives, and family photograph albums were seized. Mr. Jaberi and his wife were detained at their workplace. No information on the reasons for the raids or where the Bahais are being detained is available thus far.

Elham Faramani released after 4 years in prison

Human Rights in Iran, February 12, 2018.

Mrs. Elham Faramani (الهام فراهانی) was released from Evin prison on February 11, at the end of a four-year sentence. Her son Shamim Na’imi ( شمیم نعیمی) was released in March 2017, at the end of a three-year sentence, while her husband `Adel Na`imi (عادل نعیمی), is still in Raja’i Shahr prison, serving a 10-year sentence for his Bahai beliefs.

Mrs. Farahani was arrested by security agents on July 10, 2012, along with her husband. Their son Shamim was arrested a few days after his parents. After two months of interrogation in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, she was released on bail of 100 million tumans (equivalent then to 66,500 euro; 81,600 US dollars). She was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court. She and her son began their sentences on May 11, 2014.

In December, 2015, Mrs. Farahani was allowed a 7 day prison furlough and was able to meet her husband and son in Rajai Shahr Prison. In December 2016, Mrs. Farahani was transferred to hospital and operated upon, after she lost her balance, fell and broke her right elbow. She suffers from severe arthritis in the arms and neck.

Hana Kushkabaghi granted conditional release

HRANA, February 6, 2018.

Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ) from Gonbad-e Kabus, was released from the “integrated prison’ there On February 5, after serving one third of her sentence of one year and nine months. Her release is conditional. She began her sentence on October 11, 2017, but the time she was detained before her trial would also be counted.

She was one of 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012. They were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism) in Golestan Province. She was originally sentenced to 9 years, but this was reduced by the Review Court.

Eyman Rashidi released after his three-year imprisonment in Yazd

Human Rights in Iran, February 2, 2018.

Mr. Eyman Rashidi (ایمان رشیدی) was released from prison in Yazd on February 2. He and his wife Shabnam Motahed (شبنم متحد) were among a large number of Bahais who were arrested on July 31, 2012, as part of a wave of arrests in Isfahan, Shahin Shahr (a city in Isfahan province), Vila Shahr (on the outskirts of Najafabad, also in Isfahan province) and in Yazd. They were released on bail on August 27 that year and tried in Yazd on August 24, 2013. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and acting against national security
through the establishment and membership of the secret organization (the Bahai community). Mr. Rashidi was sentenced to three years in prison and a one year suspended sentence, while his wife received a sentence of two years and one year suspended. These sentences were confirmed in late April, 2014. Both entered prison on March 18, 2015. Mrs. Motahed completed her sentence on January 24, 2017.

Sima Kiani begins her one-year sentence in Shahr-e Rey

Iran Press Watch, February 1, 2018.

On January 27, 2018, Sima Kiani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai resident of Shahr-e Rey, was tried and convicted on the charge of propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to one year in prison by the Shahr-e Rey Revolutionary Court. A source close to Ms. Kiani’s family reported, “At noon yesterday, Sima was sentenced to one year in prison at the Shahr-e Rey revolutionary court. After the end of the session, Sima was arrested and transferred to jail.”

Ms. Kiani was arrested by Security Forces for the first time on March 8, 2017 and had been out on bail of 200 million Tomans (equal to $45,000) since early April 2017. It is said that at the time of her arrest. all of Ms. Kiani’s books, articles, CDs, as well as her personal computer, were confiscated by Security Forces.

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

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