Iran and Baha’i, the Policy of Distrust

ByMohammed Alsulami

Iran’s ethnic minorities share a widespread sense of discrimination and deprivation toward Tehran government. The Language of distrust, charges of abroad espionage and threat of the national security have prevailed in the official and semi-official speeches of the Iranian regime in dealing with the ethnic and religious minorities in the country, who make up the bulk rate of the country’s population against the descendants of the Persian race.
The political and security obsession of these mosaic components has controlled the imagination of the ruling class in Tehran, even though they tried to hide that behind a variety of different names. However, this nightmare soon comes out to the forefront at the first unrest in any of the provinces and border areas, or linked to a figure or group belonging to the “second-class citizens” in the classification of the Iranian regime.
Perhaps, the most recent event is what Tehran witnessed last month, when Faiza, the daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the Iranian regime pillars and symbols – despite of the attempts of omission and trim of his authority, visited a Baha’i belonging family. Consequently, Faiza and her father received sharp criticisms from the fundamentalist media and Hawza symbols.
Baha’i community has received continuous criticism and accusation. Aljom’a Imam in Tehran; Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani said that “Baha’i is a misguided and dirty group. It is similar to Israel, was created by colonialism in the region”. Nasser Makarem Shirazi said in Aa’zam Qum mosque “We have heard about the daughter of a well-known political figure went to meet one of the stray group leaders, appreciated him, and took pictures with symbols of this misguided group.” On the other hand, the head of the judiciary in Iran, “Amali Larijani” made a tough statement against the Baha’i saying, “there is no meaning of defending them”. He stressed that the judiciary would firmly confront anyone might hurt the national security of the country. He also wondered, “is cooperation with Baha’i not considered a threat to the national security of the country?”
On media, the Iranian site “Young Journalists” published a report on Baha’i. It mentioned the segregation and political conspiracies Baha’i sought against the country. The report added a number of fatwas by religious references about the Baha’i, including Khamenei’s fatwa who described the Baha’i followers as “impure, and must take into account purity if touched by them.” The Federation of Islamic Associations of Independent Students in Iran sent a message to Hashemi Rafsanjani, attacking his family by stating: “Iran is still suffering betrayals of Hashemi’s family toward the revolution, considering what happened as “no longer a political issue but an Islamic and legitimacy issue”.
Perhaps, the most important question here is why provoking the file of this minority at this particular time? Was Faiza’s visit only part of a plan? Were Baha’is to receive all the charges of distrust and espionage had this ominous visit not taken place? The answer to all these questions might need a series of articles, but the bottom line is that “The nature of the relationship with the West is directly or indirectly linked to the provocation of this file, taking into consideration some of the conflicts between the political trends in Iran. The investment opportunity in Faiza’s visit, which we don’t know whether it was her first visit to this sect or not, played a major role in provoking this file to eliminate the remaining of the political power and ideological weight of Rafsanjani. But Rafsanjani was cautious to that and immediately denied what his daughter had done to cut the road off his rivals in Qum and Tehran. Nevertheless, this condemnation hadn’t finally closed the door to criticism toward him and his family.
Away from the consequences of this file, and the snowball that started to grow up against the Baha’i, the ethnic and religious minorities in Iran received little attention in the regional and international media and by human rights organizations. Those ethnic groups suffered linguistic, political, cultural, and religious discrimination. There was a call for restrictions on their access to education and livelihood in order to ensure that their progress and development shall be blocked. While the Iranian regime claims defending oppressed people in the world, it is practicing kinds of injustice and oppression against the various components inside its boarders which needs more attention and awareness by the world. The international community and human rights organizations must take urgent steps to end human rights crisis and oppression against the various ethnic groups in Iran.

Translated Article: Alwatan Newspaper

Mohammed Alsulami
Mohammed Alsulami
Founder and President of Rasanah