Under Pressure from Security Forces, Samsung Company Fires Baha’i Employee

Posted on: October 18th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – In continued efforts to marginalize the Iranian Baha’i community, Yazd security officials put pressure on the administrator of a Samsung subsidiary to fire marketing representative Sahar Rouhani on the grounds of her faith.

An informed source told HRANA that Rouhani was already being commended by Samsung executives as one of the best employees in the company after working there for little more than a year.

Rouhani’s university photography studies were cut short for the same reason in 2009, the source added. “She was expelled from the university in the middle of the fourth semester, after paying full tuition fees, because of being Baha’i.”

In August of this year, HRANA reported on the sudden and permanent dismissal of Baha’i Shiraz residents Sabah Haghbin, Samira Behinayeen, and Payam Goshtasbi from their private companies. Their company’s executives, like those at Samsung, had been harried by security agents to fire them.

Ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when Baha’is were fired from public-sector positions en masse in a process known as Paksazi (cleansing), state authorities have consistently quashed the efforts of Baha’i citizens to improve their social status, shuttering their bodegas, confiscating their property, blackballing them from schools, and pulling strings to terminate their employment.

UN Human Rights Rapporteurs have repeatedly objected to Iran’s history of repressing Baha’is, citing it as a token example of the regime’s neglect of human rights treaties.

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.

Baha’i Student Shaghayegh Shoghi Expelled from University for Religious Beliefs

Posted on: September 28th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – In her sixth semester of study at the Isfahan University of Technology, Baha’i student Shaghayegh Shoghi has been expelled for her religious beliefs.

While Shoghi is among the few Baha’i students to have made it past the systemic barriers blocking most Baha’i students from enrolling in the first place, she has been denied the right to continue to the culmination of her degree.

In the past two weeks, the following four Baha’i students have been expelled from their universities, denied the right to obtain degrees they have earned, or prohibited from furthering their studies:  Anahita Horr and Shaghayegh Zabihi Amrie, associate’s students of architectural drafting at Rasam non-profit University in Karaj on the western outskirts of Tehran; Nikan Shaydan Shidi, third-semester student of industrial mold-making at Tehran Technical University; and Misagh Aghsani, student at Payame Noor University in the northwestern city of Urmia.

Throughout the month of September, HRANA reported on 58 Baha’i students who were rendered ineligible to apply to college when their results on the 2018 National University Entrance Exam, known as “Konkur,” were flagged “deficiency on file” on the National Organization for Educational Testing website. 
 
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.

UN special rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran have continuously protested against the Iranian authorities’ anti-Baha’i policies and practices – in particular barring Baha’i students from university education – and deemed these practices as instances of the Iranian authorities violating their 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.

Baha’i Student Expelled from University for Her Religious Beliefs

Posted on: August 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Romina Asgari, who was enrolled in a Master’s program in Tehran’s Islamic Azad University (IAU) (1), has been expelled for her Baha’i faith. She was enrolled for four semesters before being barred from continuing her education.

In a letter by the IAU, the reason for her expulsion was cited as “non-conforming social behaviour and attempts to disturb the country’s security, peace and order”. However, Ms Asgari was reportedly absent from the University for the past six months and had been on academic leave for one semester.

Contrary to the letter of the law (2) , the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (3) has adopted a policy that bars members of the Baha’i religious minority group from university education and employment in public services. Every year, many reports are published about Baha’i students who have been barred from university. The ban includes students who have been accepted to university but have not yet started the school year.

UN special rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran have continuously protested against the Iranian authorities’ anti-Baha’i policies and practices – in particular barring Baha’i students from university education – and deemed these practices as instances of the Iranian authorities violating their international commitments.

Based on unofficial reports, there are 300,000 members of the Baha’i faith in Iran, but lack of recognition of their religion by Iran’s constitution has been used as justification for the systematic denial of their rights. Systematic infringements on the rights of Baha’is contravenes Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (4) and Article 18 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (5) , both of which guarantee the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

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(1) Islamic Azad University is a network of universities established after the 1979 revolution with branches all across Iran. Unlike Iranian public universities, they charge, at times hefty, tuition fees, and they impose much stricter disciplinary and Islamic dress code. However, they provide access to university education in remote areas. It is governed by a board of trustees who have been taken over recently by hardliners close to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader.

(2) Iran’s constitution does not recognize Baha’i followers as religious minorities, but articles of the Constitution guarantee the right to association for everyone.

(3) The Council was founded in 1984 on the order of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic, to ensure Islamization of universities, survey academia to ensure their allegiance to the regime and their adherence to Islamic values.

(4) http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
(5) https://www.ohchr.org/…/professionalint…/pages/ccpr.aspx