Misagh Aghsani Becomes Latest Baha’i to be Denied Educational Opportunity

Posted on: September 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Misagh Aghsani, a Baha’i student at Payam Noor University in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia, has become the latest member of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority to be denied access to education due to his faith.

An informed source confirmed the news to HRANA, adding that Aghsani, who is currently enrolled, “was barred from receiving his degree or advancing his studies.”

The source added that Aghsani’s father Fardin, who fought and was taken prisoner in the Iran-Iraq war, has suffered financial losses due to his faith.

“His business, along with that of Misagh’s 83-year-old grandfather Fereydoun Aghsani, was forcibly closed for the second time 14 months ago, because they are Baha’is,” the source said. “To make ends meet, the father and grandfather are forced to peddle in front of the sealed door of their store, in the cold of winter and heat of summer.”

In July, HRANA reported on the continued closure of Aghsani family businesses and those of 21 other Baha’is in cities across the country.

In direct violation of the law, Baha’is are prevented from pursuing degrees or employment in government offices, per under-the-table directives from the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. Every year, a new cohort of Baha’is is either barred from higher education altogether or thwarted before culminating their degrees.

Baha’i students can be prevented from enrolling in college during the processing stage of results from the nationally-competitive college entrance exam known as “Concours.” Over the past few weeks, more than 51 Baha’i students were stopped short of applying to universities, purportedly due to “deficiencies” in their admissions files, announced via flags on their e-dossiers when checking their test results online. In its close coverage of these most recent cases, HRANA published specimens of the documentation used to block these Baha’i student files from further processing.

HRANA reported on circumstances similar to Aghsani’s on September 18th, when another Baha’i student, Nikan Shaydan Shidi, was expelled while pursuing an associate’s degree in industrial mold making from Tehran Technical University. On September 15th, HRANA reported on the expulsion of Baha’i architectural drafting student Shaghayegh Zabihi Amrie from a university in Karaj.

Since the 1979 revolution, the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Iran has repeatedly protested the Iranian government’s animosity towards its Baha’i population, particularly in preventing these citizens from furthering their studies. According to the UN, such directives demonstrate a blatant disregard of multiple international treaties.

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Intensified Muharram Rituals Becoming Unbearable for Residents

Posted on: September 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Muharram in Iran has so far delivered on its annual promise of month-long public dirges and processionals in honor of the 3rd Shiite Imam Hossein, who died in battle in the 7th century AD. Filling side streets and alleyways with self-flagellation, drumbeats, and wailing, observers of this religious holiday have more recently come to serve the additional purpose of encroaching on religious minority groups.

If noise pollution, traffic jams, and road blockades don’t seem major issues on their face, religious-minority citizens and eyewitness reports describe Muharram as a month-long “psychological persecution” that has enjoyed a history of strong government sponsorship, especially in non-Shiite locales [1].

Ararat, Tehran resident and member of a religious minority he preferred not to name, told HRANA that the eve of Muharram this year turned “ghastly” when the ceremonies reached his home on Ejarehdar Street and jolted his pregnant wife from her sleep.

“Suddenly, the windows started to tremble from the incessant drumming. You cannot imagine how she was woken up, and how she was shaking,” Ararat said. “Worried that something could have happened to the baby, we decided to go to the hospital.”

Making their way through streets clogged with parades, the route to the hospital that night was a long one.

“We moved in with my wife’s parents in Jajroud [north of Iran]. We were worried something terrible could happen, so we escaped for the safety of our baby.”

The Muharram rituals, according to Ararat, were bearable until a few years ago. Over the past decade, due in part to the failing economy, religious hubs have multiplied in tandem with a decreased public interest in worship. To address waning public participation, Ararat said, congregations have purchased audio equipment to broadcast their Muharram lamentations across greater distances.

“Most congregations consist of only a dozen people with flags and drums, slapping their chests or engaging in self-flagellation,” Ararat said. “They are led by a van carrying loudspeakers blasting the monodies [melodic laments].”

Revelations last year that the city of Tehran had given $14 million USD (55 billion IRR) to religious congregations caused such a stir among Iranians that the current mayor and city council have made clear that such funding would not be available this year. According to HRANA reports and eyewitness accounts, however, the disproportionate national and municipal budgets allocated to associations funding Muharram rituals has already mobilized the practice of such rites into a deliberate and systematic violation of religious minority rights.

Through its construction projects alone, city administrators seem to harbor a wish to maintain Shiite presence in neighborhoods where very few of them live. As one Isfahan tourist put it, Christian, Jewish, and other minority localities look deceivingly like the most Shiite-dominated areas of the city. Shiite congregations dot the map of Tehran’s Felestin (Palestine) neighborhood, which is home to many Jewish residents; the Villa neighborhood in Tehran, predominantly inhabited by Christian Armenians, is home to three Shiite mourning congregations; and several Shiite religious associations are housed in Tabriz’s Barnava district, as well as in the Christian-Armenian neighborhoods of Julfa and Isfahan’s Sangtarashha quarter.

As eyewitnesses attest to a growing fervor in sectarian rituals this year, and as religious-minority neighborhoods become host to some of the largest, most cacophonous dirges in the city, the slight against minority residents is twofold: their local taxes are not only being funneled away from projects that would otherwise benefit them, they are also being pooled into the government’s ideological propaganda campaign. Not to mention the noise.

“You cannot believe the horrendous conditions of our street,” said Ararat, who lives on an arterial sidestreet of Tehran’s Imam Hussein Square, one of many feeder streets into a larger collective mourning ceremony that brings loudly-wailing passersby, at all hours of the day and night, to the square. “I tried to reason with the parade administrators, but they told us it was all for Imam Hussein. They claimed there was nothing we could do, and advised us to stay up these nights to reap our benefits in the afterlife!”

An atheist Tabriz resident told HRANA that in order to escape the 24/7 stream of noise this year, he retreated to a vacation home and took a 10-day leave from work.

“Perhaps those who are religious won’t believe me, but I can’t stand even a second of monodies and chest slapping. We have seen enough of this on TV, at school, and at our universities. Every year, the number of congregations [that carry out these activities] increases. It is as though, by virtue of not being Muslim Shiites, we have no rights, and we do not even exist.”

Government backing of these observances not only violates the rights of religious minorities acknowledged in the Constitution–namely Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians–but also infringes on the rights stipulated in constitutional articles 19 [2] and 20 [3] pertaining to all Iranian citizens, including Baha’is, Dervishes, Yareshan, Mandayis, and others not expressly protected by law.

[1] Heya’at, religious associations or congregations, are formed via municipal permit process prior to Muharram, the Islamic month in lunar calendar marked by rituals commemorating Imam Hossein. The rituals include the broadcast of loud monodies broadcast through loudspeakers and processions held in the streets, where participants clad in black walk the streets while slapping their chests and chanting.
[2] Article 19: The people of Iran enjoy equal rights, regardless of the tribe or ethnic group to which they belong. Color, race, language, and other such considerations shall not be grounds for special privileges.
[3] Article 20: Members of the nation, whether men or women, are equally protected by the law. They enjoy all the human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights that are in compliance with the Islamic criteria.

Expulsion of Baha’i University Student Nikan Shaydan

Posted on: September 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Just shy of obtaining his associate’s degree in industrial mold making, Baha’i student Nikan Shaydan Shidi has been expelled from Tehran Technical University for refusing to denounce his faith.

An informed source told HRANA that Shidi was unceremoniously summoned at the end of his third term and asked, given his professed religion, “why he had registered at the university at all.”

“He was told that the university was no place for Baha’is and that the three terms he had spent there was three terms too many. They told him to change his professed religion at the registrar’s office if he wanted to carry on with his studies.”

According to the source, when Shaydan Shidi refused to do so, the security office summoned his father, but the two were unable to gain ground in negotiations with university officials. “No matter how hard [they] tried–writing letters to the education office of the university and visiting the dean–the university wouldn’t give him the necessary credentials to take his final exams. In the end, he was expelled.”

While Iranian Baha’is are routinely banned from pursuing higher education, some manage to surpass initial barriers to enrollment, only to be thwarted before culminating their degree. On September 15th, HRANA reported on the expulsion of Baha’i architectural design student Shaqayeq Zabihi Amrii from Rassam Private University of Karaj.

Baha’i students are often prevented from enrolling in college altogether during the processing of their results on the nationally-competitive college entrance exam known as “Concours.” Over the past few weeks, more than 51 Baha’i students were stopped short of applying to universities, purportedly due to “deficiencies” in their admissions files. In its close coverage of these most recent cases, HRANA published specimens of the documentation used to block these Baha’i student files from further processing.

In direct violation of the law, Baha’is are prevented from pursuing degrees or employment in government offices, per under-the-table directives from the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. Every year, a new cohort of Baha’is is barred in this way from the university enrollment process.

Since the 1979 revolution, the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Iran has repeatedly protested the Iranian government’s animosity towards its Baha’i population, particular in preventing these citizens from furthering their studies. According to the Rapporteur, such directives demonstrate a blatant disregard of multiple international treaties.

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Five More Baha’i Citizens Arrested in Shiraz

Posted on: September 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Authorities associated with Iran’s intelligence ministry arrested five Baha’i citizens this weekend – September 15th and 16th – in the central Iranian city of Shiraz.

The first three Baha’i citizens – Elaheh Samizadeh, and married couple Navid Bazmandegan and Bahareh Ghaderi – were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location on Saturday. On Sunday morning, Baha’i citizens Ehsan Mahboob Rahvafa and Noora Pourmoradian were arrested and taken to a detention center run by the city’s intelligence department.

Bazmandegan was arrested at 6 p.m. while teaching a psychology class, a credible source told HRANA. According to the source, while Bazmandegan was being interrogated in different room, authorities filmed the students, taking their identification cards, computers, flash drives, mobile phones, and the passwords to their mobile devices. All those present were asked to sign a document they were prohibited from reading in its entirety, and told to clear the area within 10 minutes.

Bazmandegan was subsequently escorted to his home, where authorities conducted a search and seized his personal belongings. His wife Bahare was also arrested and transferred to an undisclosed location.

Last month, HRANA reported on the arrest of a number of Baha’i Shiraz residents who were taken to the same detention center.

Baha’is are Iran’s largest non-Muslim minority and are systematically persecuted by the government.

An Imprisoned Student Digs in his Heels as More than 50 Baha’i College Applicants are Denied September Enrollment

Posted on: September 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Four more Baha’i youth anticipating results from their national university entrance exam have received notifications of “deficiency” on their application dossiers, deflating their hopes for enrollment this year. But for one of these four–Rajai Shahr prisoner and human rights activist Vahed Kholousi–this rejection has come to symbolize a tradition of resistance.

Kholousi doggedly reapplies to the entrance exam every year from prison, in continued protest of having been denied higher educational opportunity for 15 consecutive test rounds.

It was Kholousi’s peaceful reclamation of Baha’i educational rights that originally brought him into authorities’ crosshairs, resulting in a five-year prison sentence on charges of “gathering and collusion with intent to commit crimes against national security,” “membership and activity in the Baha’i community and its widespread propaganda,” and “membership and activity in the Right to Education Committee.”

The above ruling from his June 2011 trial, held in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, was presided by Judge Moghiseh and later upheld in an appeals court. Pursuant to the sentence, he was summoned to Branch 3 of Evin Prison court that August, arrested there the same day, detained for 21 days in Ward 2A of Evin Prison (jurisdiction of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)), and finally exiled to Rajai Shahr Prison, where he has since remained.

Kholousi is contesting a larger anti-Baha’i discrimination policy administered by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, by which the e-dossiers of himself, Sahar Mohebpour from Shiraz (ranked # 7000, studying English Literature), Seyed Koosha Hashemi from Shiraz (ranked #6295), and Saba Fazli from Karaj have recently been flagged “deficiency on file,” bringing to 51 the number of Iranian Baha’is being denied college-enrollment eligibility despite successfully passing the national admissions test, according to HRANA cumulative reports.

HRANA previously revealed the identities of 47 Baha’i applicants who were met by the flag “deficiency on file” when checking their test results online:

1. Farhoud Bashi, from Tehran, 2. Sahba Imani, 3.Arman Golzar, 4. Nariman Movafaghi Eiveli from Sari, 5. Faran Talaei Khalajabadi, 6. Sina Talei Joshaghani, 7. Mahsa Sotoudeh, 8. Nima Amini, 9. Hanan Hashemi Dahaj, 10. Hasti Maleki, 11. Aria Ehsani, 12. Tina Hamidi Fard from Tehran (ranked #15000), 13. Rozhan Khooniki (ranked #9477), 14. Foroozan Noordel from Tabriz, 15.Parsa Sheikh Zavareh, 16.Hoda Hedayati, 17.Arian Baghaei Amrei from Sari, 18.Vafa Nobakht from Sari, 19.Adib Rahmani from Sari (ranked #960, studying Mathematics), 20.Parviz Rahmani, 21.Kiana Rastak, 22.Negar Iqani from Shiraz, 23.Hooman Zarei Kadavi, 24.Arsham Hashemi, 25.Nabil Bashi Ardestani, 26. Tara Bahamin, 27.Bita Charkh Zarrin, 28.Nona Ghadiri, 29.Sayeh Aghaei from Tabriz, 30.Pegah Siroosian, 31.Sadaf Misaghi Seysan of Tehran, 32. Parham Mokhtari from Saravan ranked # 397, studying mathematics; 33. Basir Zeinali Baghini from Bandar Abbas ranked # 1506; 34.Yahya Mousavi Tangrizi from Karaj, 35.Anita Rastegar, 36.Shamim Idelkhani, of Ardebil, ranked #139; 37.Farnia Iliyazadeh of Tehran, studying Mathematics; 38.Parmida Hosseinpooli Mamaqani, ranked #4500, studying Mathematics; 39.Sarvin Azarshab of Tehran, studying business,ranked #19000; 40.Parand Misaghi; 41.Shahrzad Tirgar; 42.Melina Ghavaminik, from Tehran, studying mathematics, ranked #10545, 43.Tarannum Mu’tamedi Broujerdi from Shahin Shahr of Isfahan, 44.Faran Abbaspouli Mamaghani from Tehran, 45.Sahand Ghaemifrom Shahin Shahr of Isfahan, 46.Vahid Sadeghi Seysan, 47.Shaghayegh Ghassemi

Blackballed Baha’is: 40 and Counting

Posted on: September 18th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HHRANA) – HRANA has so far confirmed the names of at least 40 Baha’i Iranian citizens who have been denied the opportunity to enroll in university despite successfully placing on the competitive national admissions test.

HRANA has confirmed that the candidate files of Nima Amini, Hanan Hashemi Dehaj, Hasti Maleki, Aria Ehsani, Tina Hamidi Fard from Tehran (ranked #15000 on the national exam) and Rozhan Khooniki (ranked #9477) have all been flagged “deficiency on file” on the National Organization for Educational Testing website. HRANA previously reported the names of 34 other students singled out by the same system.

The “deficiency on file” flag is one known method of the wider anti-Baha’i discrimination politics administered by Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. An informed source confirmed to HRANA that the flag is a go-to excuse to prevent Baha’i students from entering institutes of higher education.

Baha’i College Student Stopped Short of Degree

Posted on: September 18th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRAN)- Baha’i student Shaghayegh Zabihi Amrie was finishing the last semester of her associate’s degree in architectural drafting when the *National Organization for Educational Testing (NOET) stopped her short.

An informed source told HRANA that Amrie’s problems began with a summons to the Azad University Security Office, where she was drilled with questions about her faith. After placing a call to the director of Rasam Non-Profit University of Karaj on the western outskirts of Tehran, where Amrie was a student, authorities had little information with which to push forward and cleared her to continue her studies.

“When she applied to obtain her certificate of completion,” the source related, “she received a letter from NOET informing her that getting her certificate, and advancing further in her bachelor’s studies, would be prohibited.”

While many Baha’i students find themselves held back from ever pursuing post-secondary studies, some are admitted into institutions of higher education only to be blackballed later, per previous HRANA reports.

The highly-anticipated announcement of results from the National University Entrance Exam, known as “Konkur,” has been marred for many Baha’is who, with passing results and on the brink of starting college, are rendered ineligible by the NOET error message “deficiency on file,” a well-known pretext for quashing young Baha’i ambitions the moment they take shape.

The process has been utilized for years, and with a look at this year’s numbers, looks nowhere near abating. This year alone, HRANA has reported on at least 40 prospective college students who have been barred from pursuing their studies because of their Baha’i faith.

Contrary to the provisions of the **law, Iran’s Supreme Council of the ***Cultural Revolution has passed a law barring members of the Baha’i religious minority from both university enrollment and employment in public institutions. Since the 1979 Revolution, UN Special Rapporteurs on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran have protested the anti-Baha’i policies and practices of Iranian authorities, particularly the academic blackballing of Baha’is, deeming these practices a violation of Iran’s international commitments.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private.

Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

* NOET is established with the mandate to develop and implement the rules of admission to higher education with the collaboration of the universities http://www.sanjesh.org/en/aboutus.aspx
** The Islamic Republic’s constitution does not recognize Baha’i followers as a religious minority, but articles of the Constitution guarantees the right to association for everyone
*** The Council was founded in 1984 on the order of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, to ensure the “Islamization” of universities, survey academia to ensure their allegiance to the regime and their adherence to “Islamic” values.

More than 30 Baha’i College Applicants Denied Enrollment for their Religious Affiliation

Posted on: September 16th, 2018

Update: Authorities Continue to Hold Back Aspiring Baha’i Students

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The number of Iranian Baha’is being denied college-enrollment eligibility despite successfully passing the national admissions test has reached 34, according to HRANA cumulative reports.

As part of a larger anti-Baha’i discrimination policy administered by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, the e-dossiers of Foroozan Noordel from Tabriz, Parsa Sheikh Zavareh, Hoda Hedayati, Arian Baghaei Amrei from Sari, Vafa Nobakht from Sari, Adib Rahmani from Sari (ranked #960, studying Mathematics), Parviz Rahmani, Kiana Rastak, Negar Iqani from Shiraz, Hooman Zarei Kadavi and Arsham Hashemi have all been flagged “deficiency on file.”

An informed source told HRANA that “deficiency on file” is the routine excuse for preventing Baha’i students from entering institutes of higher education.

Update: Authorities Continue to Hold Back Aspiring Baha’i Students

Posted on: September 15th, 2018

Baha’i enrollment numbers in Iranian universities are still under threat

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) Additional Baha’i college applicants have had their university entrance exam results invalidated on the National Organization for Educational Testing website, effectively barring them from continuing their studies.

As part of a larger anti-Baha’i discrimination policy administered by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, the e-dossiers of Parham Mokhtari from Saravan (ranked #397), Basir Zeinali Baghini of Bandar Abbas (ranked #1506), Yahya Mousavi Tangrizi from Karaj, and Anita Rastegar have all been flagged “deficiency on file.”

The flagging of results on this nation-wide competitive test, known as “Konkur,” is a well-known technique for repressing Baha’i college hopefuls. HRANA previously reported on a number of Baha’i student test results that were blocked from further processing using the same method. As of the date of this report, sixteen students have been prevented from pursuing higher education because of their Baha’i faith.

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Update: Systematic Religious Discrimination Curbs Twenty-three Baha’i College Hopefuls

Seven more would-be college students have been plucked from the pool of candidates by a government-sanctioned process designed to thwart the educational pathways of Baha’i citizens.

Nabil Bashi Ardestani, Tara Bahamin, Bita Charkh Zarrin, Nona Ghadiri, Sayeh Aghaei from Tabriz, Pegah Siroosian, and Sadaf Misaghi Seysan of Tehran have joined the growing number of Baha’i youth whose results on the competitive National University Exam, known as “Konkur,” have been flagged “deficiency on file” on the National Organization for Educational Testing website, rendering them ineligible to apply to college.

Over the past few days, HRANA reported on 16 prospective Baha’i college applicants who are now at the same impasse: Parham Mokhtari from Saravan ranked # 397, studying mathematics; Basir Zeinali Baghini from Bandar Abbas ranked # 1506; Yahya Mousavi Tangrizi from Karaj, Anita Rastegar, Tarannum Mu’tamedi Broujerdi from Shahin Shahr of Isfahan, Faran Abbaspouli Mamaghani from Tehran, Sahand Ghaemi from Shahin Shahr of Isfahan, Vahid Sadeghi Seysan, Shaghayegh Ghassemi, Shamim Idelkhani, of Ardebil, ranked #139; Farnia Iliyazadeh of Tehran, studying Mathematics; Parmida Hosseinpooli Mamaqani, ranked #4500, studying Mathematics; Sarvin Azarshab of Tehran, studying business, ranked #19000; Parand Misaghi; Shahrzad Tirgar; and Melina Ghavaminik, from Tehran, studying mathematics, ranked #10545.

The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution flags the e-dossiers of Baha’i students as part of an organized effort — in the words of one HRANA source — “to keep them from moving forward.”

The most recent seven targets of this campaign bring the current total to 23 Baha’i students being deprived of the opportunity to pursue higher education because of their faith.

Second Dervish Arrested in Dashti Village

Posted on: September 14th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Hadi Karimi, Dashti village resident and member of Iran’s Dervish religious minority, has been arrested and taken to an undisclosed location, Majzooban Noor reported.

The Dervish-interest news agency reported that Karimi was taken away around 8 p.m. on Monday in Dashti, Isfahan province, when four plainclothes officers pulled up to the village’s body shop in a Samand vehicle and swarmed him.

The identities of the agents and the reason behind Karimi’s arrest remain unknown. It is speculated that his arrest is connected to violent clashes that took place in Tehran this past February, when scores of Dervishes were arrested during protests of restrictions being placed on their spiritual leader, Noor Ali Tabandeh.

Karimi’s detainment marks this summer’s second instance of Dervishes being arrested in Dashti village. On July 3rd, Hossein Ghazavi, also a Dervish, was arrested during a raid on his home in which his personal belongings and spiritual books were confiscated.