Baha’is Arrested in Iran

My sources have confirmed the news that Wahid Azal (nee Nima Hazini) broke on his blog and talk.religion.bahai.Eleven Baha’is have been arrested recently in Iran.

Their only crime is being Baha’is in a country whose government has devoted itself to the persecution of Baha’is inside and outside its borders.

Six were arrested in Shiraz and five in Tehran. Those arrested were prominent members of their communities and active in Ruhi courses and other Baha’i activities (I’ve been informed that Ruhi, since it is new, so systematic and regimented, makes the Mullah’s very nervous). They were all simultaneously arrested at their respective homes in the early hours (6 am) of May 25th 2005. As far as I can tell they were made targets because of their leadership role in the community.

These Baha’is were not young adults or youth but were middle aged and mature members of their respective communities. Among them were both men and women (as well, atleast one of them had already lost a spouse to martyrdom in the past). The group from Shiraz has been moved to Tehran (probably Evin prison) where they are being interrogated. There has also been news of sporadic acts of vandalism and arson targeting the homes of Baha’is in Shiraz and surrounding areas.

The fact that they were all arrested at the same time, in different parts of the country (Tehran in the north and Shiraz in the south) and at their homes means that this was a very centralized and coordinated operation. The Office of Information was the official Iranian government branch which made the arrests. The Office of Information, in case you are not familiar, is an Orwellian titled branch of the IRI which spies on Iranians inside Iran. There is no doubt that Baha’is are under similar observation in other cities.

This event, coupled with the previous arrests and expulsions, points to an escalation in what was an otherwise quiet lull in the IRI treatment of Baha’is. I have strong doubts that these eleven Baha’is will be put to death (either immediately or at a later time). I think the IRI is sensing a new development rising from within the Baha’i community and it is making them nervous. This may just be their way of “putting Baha’is in their place”. And then again, maybe I hold this belief because I hope that they will not be harmed.

There has been no official response from the Baha’i community that I know of. The only reaction that I’ve been informed about has been a restriction of travel to Iran. All Baha’is wishing to travel to Iran must now write to their National Assemblies and request permission. Only those with urgent and special circumstances will be allowed to go. Failure to abide by this may result in removal of administrative rights.

I would like to ask for prayers on behalf of the eleven Baha’is and their families.

  • Sigmund Effendi

    I do not think the completely over the top, extremely thoughtless, and completely unnecessary anti- Islamic statements by Glenford Mitchell and Douglas Martin just after 911 were NOT useful at all in trying to protect the Baha’i Communities in the Middle East.

    These speeches are still all over the Internet for anyone to discover.

    Does anyone at the highest levels in the Faith know how to play poker or at least chess? Either Texas hold’em or five card stud? Perhaps we should offer some kind of remedial course in strategy for them? It is completely unnecessary to unthinkingly put people’s lives at work by thoughtless completely egotistical talk. Any five year old kid can tell you that under the present world conditions the Islamic governments of the region are going to try to portray the Faith as being an agent of the Western powers. Duh! Loose lips get people killed in this world. We should concentrate on doing good deeds as a humanitarian organization as a protection for us. Not provoke fights by mere words said at the level of a Toast Master Meeting. But we won’t because we are led by very, very immature men.

    We need people with real military experience in their life’s journey where they have fully realized that the lives of human beings under their care might be at stake under their personal command at the highest levels of the Faith. So people will think before they thoughtlessly open their bourgeoise mouths.

    I have family in harms way in the region so I will pray for these souls along with them. To die for the authentic Words of Baha’u’llah is Holy and Sacred blood. To die for the Ruhi Cult Thinking is truly a delusion and a tragedy of immense proportions. We certainly don’t need any Ruhi martyrs. Oh God! Please no! No! No! No! Not for this! No martyrs for this utter crap that is going to take the Baha’i Faith to utter ruin in the long run.

    I shall deeply pray for them.

    Sigmund

  • Sigmund Effendi

    I do not think the completely over the top, extremely thoughtless, and completely unnecessary anti- Islamic statements by Glenford Mitchell and Douglas Martin just after 911 were NOT useful at all in trying to protect the Baha’i Communities in the Middle East.

    These speeches are still all over the Internet for anyone to discover.

    Does anyone at the highest levels in the Faith know how to play poker or at least chess? Either Texas hold’em or five card stud? Perhaps we should offer some kind of remedial course in strategy for them? It is completely unnecessary to unthinkingly put people’s lives at work by thoughtless completely egotistical talk. Any five year old kid can tell you that under the present world conditions the Islamic governments of the region are going to try to portray the Faith as being an agent of the Western powers. Duh! Loose lips get people killed in this world. We should concentrate on doing good deeds as a humanitarian organization as a protection for us. Not provoke fights by mere words said at the level of a Toast Master Meeting. But we won’t because we are led by very, very immature men.

    We need people with real military experience in their life’s journey where they have fully realized that the lives of human beings under their care might be at stake under their personal command at the highest levels of the Faith. So people will think before they thoughtlessly open their bourgeoise mouths.

    I have family in harms way in the region so I will pray for these souls along with them. To die for the authentic Words of Baha’u’llah is Holy and Sacred blood. To die for the Ruhi Cult Thinking is truly a delusion and a tragedy of immense proportions. We certainly don’t need any Ruhi martyrs. Oh God! Please no! No! No! No! Not for this! No martyrs for this utter crap that is going to take the Baha’i Faith to utter ruin in the long run.

    I shall deeply pray for them.

    Sigmund

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/6395477 Wahid Azal

    Dear Bacquia,

    I thank you for quoting me as a source from time to time. However I must say that the situation you potrary is not entirely accurate. The arrests have nothing to do with any escalation by the mullahs sui generis. They have much to do with the rashness of the international Baha’i administration itself and certain ongoing activities inside Iran which have deliberately put innocent individuals in harms way. This is what my insider Baha’i contacts in Iran itself are telling me, and I believe them. One contact has even contended that they believe, based on some information, that the 12 (not 11) individuals arrested were taken by IR authorities based on tips provided by high placed individuals inside the ad hoc administration in Iran (i.e. Ma’arif). In other words, they have claimed these arrests to have an origin from the inside and not some spontaneous or knee-jerk reaction by one faction of the IRI wishing to put the Baha’is in their place. The so-called genocide argument initially authored by Moojan Momen has not helped matters much, either.

    Like I have said before, the Baha’i faith no longer poses any real ideological threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The fact that IR authorities allowed the formation of an ad hoc Baha’i NSA (i.e. Ma’arif) in the ’90sn ample proof that this is the case. Another subtext of these arrests has to do with internal power struggles among the various IR factions leading up to this month’s presidential elections.

    Wahid

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/6395477 Wahid Azal

    Dear Bacquia,

    I thank you for quoting me as a source from time to time. However I must say that the situation you potrary is not entirely accurate. The arrests have nothing to do with any escalation by the mullahs sui generis. They have much to do with the rashness of the international Baha’i administration itself and certain ongoing activities inside Iran which have deliberately put innocent individuals in harms way. This is what my insider Baha’i contacts in Iran itself are telling me, and I believe them. One contact has even contended that they believe, based on some information, that the 12 (not 11) individuals arrested were taken by IR authorities based on tips provided by high placed individuals inside the ad hoc administration in Iran (i.e. Ma’arif). In other words, they have claimed these arrests to have an origin from the inside and not some spontaneous or knee-jerk reaction by one faction of the IRI wishing to put the Baha’is in their place. The so-called genocide argument initially authored by Moojan Momen has not helped matters much, either.

    Like I have said before, the Baha’i faith no longer poses any real ideological threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The fact that IR authorities allowed the formation of an ad hoc Baha’i NSA (i.e. Ma’arif) in the ’90sn ample proof that this is the case. Another subtext of these arrests has to do with internal power struggles among the various IR factions leading up to this month’s presidential elections.

    Wahid

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    Nima,

    I was just giving credit where credit was due.

    As to the other matters that you brought up, you of all people should know that Iran is an incredibly difficult place from which to extract factual and timely information. Just as you, I and others rely on the information given to us by insiders.

    Finally, it is not accurate to state the position of the IRI as if it is one single bloc. There are a myriad factions within and each has its own fluid and ever changing agenda. So it is entirely possible that certain sub-groups do indeed regard the Baha’i Faith as an ongoing and real threat.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    Nima,

    I was just giving credit where credit was due.

    As to the other matters that you brought up, you of all people should know that Iran is an incredibly difficult place from which to extract factual and timely information. Just as you, I and others rely on the information given to us by insiders.

    Finally, it is not accurate to state the position of the IRI as if it is one single bloc. There are a myriad factions within and each has its own fluid and ever changing agenda. So it is entirely possible that certain sub-groups do indeed regard the Baha’i Faith as an ongoing and real threat.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/6395477 Wahid Azal

    Dear Bacquia,

    I do understand that extracting information from sources in Iran can sometimes be difficult — excruciatingly difficult, in fact. I know. However, the issue is who the sources are, and given that my sources seldom if ever have failed me to date, I do put full confidence in them.

    You are also correct that the IRI is not a single bloc and there are several (if not dozens of) loci of power under that system. We are not talking about a singular, monolithic dictatorship, but one which is an octupus, as it were, but in practice an octopus without a head. Yes, there are sub-groups who consider the Baha’is a threat. But they are not ones with any reins of power in their hands or in any position to do anything about it. In fact the the old Hojjatiyyeh & Shaykh Khiabani types were cut to size way back at the beginning of the revolution by Khomeini himself. Believe it or not, the group calling itself Vesal-i-Shirazi is actually considered a nuisance by the regime. This information simply floored me.

    The central issue for the IR elite today is survival by any means – and this usually entails economic survival. To that end, the IR elites are dealing with virtually everyone while at the same time reining in any groups bent on upsetting such relationships. As such the Baha’is in Iran are very much in the same position that are groups ostensibly friendly to the regime, i.e. the various Hezbollah groups. This the reality of the situation from the ground. Therefore, I would not place too much stock on anything Haifa is saying at this time. At this time it is more in their best interests to embellish and exagerrate the situation of the Iranian Baha’is, rather than give accurate appraisals. If you doubt what I say, I would encourage you to make contacts among the Baha’is yourself inside Iran. This is what they’re telling me. There is seathing resentment by many of the Iranian Baha’is towards the AO, what it represents and its embellishments and its underhanded agendas, but that is another more involved, convoluted story….

    Yours,
    Wahid

    p.s. My name legally as of August 2004 is Wahid Azal and no longer Nima Hazini.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/6395477 Wahid Azal

    Dear Bacquia,

    I do understand that extracting information from sources in Iran can sometimes be difficult — excruciatingly difficult, in fact. I know. However, the issue is who the sources are, and given that my sources seldom if ever have failed me to date, I do put full confidence in them.

    You are also correct that the IRI is not a single bloc and there are several (if not dozens of) loci of power under that system. We are not talking about a singular, monolithic dictatorship, but one which is an octupus, as it were, but in practice an octopus without a head. Yes, there are sub-groups who consider the Baha’is a threat. But they are not ones with any reins of power in their hands or in any position to do anything about it. In fact the the old Hojjatiyyeh & Shaykh Khiabani types were cut to size way back at the beginning of the revolution by Khomeini himself. Believe it or not, the group calling itself Vesal-i-Shirazi is actually considered a nuisance by the regime. This information simply floored me.

    The central issue for the IR elite today is survival by any means – and this usually entails economic survival. To that end, the IR elites are dealing with virtually everyone while at the same time reining in any groups bent on upsetting such relationships. As such the Baha’is in Iran are very much in the same position that are groups ostensibly friendly to the regime, i.e. the various Hezbollah groups. This the reality of the situation from the ground. Therefore, I would not place too much stock on anything Haifa is saying at this time. At this time it is more in their best interests to embellish and exagerrate the situation of the Iranian Baha’is, rather than give accurate appraisals. If you doubt what I say, I would encourage you to make contacts among the Baha’is yourself inside Iran. This is what they’re telling me. There is seathing resentment by many of the Iranian Baha’is towards the AO, what it represents and its embellishments and its underhanded agendas, but that is another more involved, convoluted story….

    Yours,
    Wahid

    p.s. My name legally as of August 2004 is Wahid Azal and no longer Nima Hazini.