“Moderate” Iranian Government Arrests Baha’i Students
Once again, let’s give a cheer for the new, improved, more moderate Iranian regime. It appears that four young Baha’i Iranians, Rouhie Safajoo, Sarmad Shadabi, Tara Houshmand, and Behzad Zabihi, have been arrested for the crime of seeking to attend university. IranWire reports:
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, authorities banned Baha’is from studying at universities. Nevertheless, many Baha’is participate in university entrance exams every year. Those who pass the exams are either prevented from registering at university, or are expelled afterwards.
The four Baha’is arrested on March 8 took part in the 2015 Iranian Universities’ Entrance Exams, but authorities refused to release their results. The four sought to redress the matter through official channels. They appealed to the National Testing Organization that runs the exams, and to the Ministry of Science. They filed complaints with the Supreme Administrative Court and the parliament’s Article 90 Committee, which pursues constitutional issues. They had no success. They then wrote their stories on social networks. Now they are under arrest, and their families have not been allowed to visit them.
“They demanded their rights and used peaceful methods to get them,” says Maryam Safajoo, Rouhie’s sister. “But [the authorities] have no tolerance for peaceful methods and letters of grievance.”
While her sister is being held in Evin prison, unable to contact the family, Maryam Safajoo told IranWire that the situation for the Baha’is in Iran is getting more dangerous every day. Safajoo’s assessment is consistent with the under-reported findings of the the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, released earlier this month. According to the Baha’i International Community Representative Offices, the Special Rapporteur’s report “express[ed] particular concern over discrimination against Baha’is, noting that there are currently some 80 Baha’is in prison for their religious beliefs, while more Baha’is continue to be arrested.”
If these four arrests have been reported in any Western news outlets, I haven’t been able to find it. They must be too busy with all the faux human rights violations in Israel.