The website www.iranian.com is a pretty neutral place where Iranians of all persuasions (political, religous, etc.) come and exchange ideas. iranian.com does care about human rights and under this concern have previously published articles about the Faith in Iran. Recently it posted a letter addressed to the IRI which is purported to be written by the Baha’i community in Iran. I’m not sure though if this was leaked to them by the Baha’is in Iran, or the IRI which received it, or whether it is simply a fake.The introductory section in English states:
This is the first time the Bahai community inside Iran has written an open letter to the government of the Islamic Republic seeking an end to human rights abuses. For this fact alone, it is of great historical importance.
If not a hoax, this is indeed a very rare document because in it, the Baha’i community addresses the government of Iran openly. It must have been done either through consultation with or from the orders of the UHJ.
To me this is yet another letter in the trend that was started recently by the UHJ in addressing Iran, the country, its present government and the Baha’is there as well as their relationship with Baha’is elsewhere. For some reason their attention is really drawn to Iran right now. Perhaps they sense a change coming and are positioning the community for it. Who knows.
In recent years the IRI’s stance on Baha’is and their rights has been downright civilized compared to the post revolutionary fanaticism which wreaked havoc on the lives of so many innocent men, women and children. Nowadays, Baha’is are basically free to live their lives and are able to hold feast and meetings, have non-Baha’i friends, socialize, marry, divorce, have children, gain employment, even openly mention that they are Baha’is. The only thing which is still a no-no is teaching the Faith or any such behaviour which would call attention to oneself as a Baha’i (such as breaking the law). So, I wonder, what is the aim of this letter?
I know there obviously could be improvements in the way Baha’is are treated in Iran (and in other Muslim countries) but one can only realistically expect so much under such a harsh theocratic regime as the IRI. So what possible positive consequences can they expect from such a public display?
As I understand it, the letter is addressed to Khatami in his capacity as president of the IRI. But everyone knows that he is not the person who holds the power in the government. That person is Khamenei and the Guardian Council, which he himself appoints. It is this authority which commands the hooligans on the street which harrass people for infractions of their version of Sharia law and which allows judges to be harshest and most unforgiving to Baha’is brought before their benches. But even if we assume that Khatami is somehow imbued with the authority to implement the changes requested in the letter, there is simply no time as Iran is gearing up for the election of a new president in 6 months.
More importantly, I’m still waiting for confirmation that this letter is real, and for a translation to English. I must point out that since this letter’s existence has not been reported within the official Baha’i communication channels, it is quite possibly a hoax.
It turned out the letter was real.