In god's country

The oppression of religious minorities, especially the Baha'i faith, is not incidental


In god's country
by Jahanshah Rashidian

The Islamic Republic of Iran places the Shiite sect of Islam at the heart of the state apparatus. The Islamisation of all life, based on Khomeini's own interpretation of Islam, is the central policy of the Islamic ruling elite.

Religious minorities, which include the Sunnite sect of Islam, Christian, Jews, Zoroastrians and Baha'is compromised about 10 % of the population after the Iranian revolution, most of them Sunnite Muslims who also suffer from discrimination as national minorities. In addition, increasing numbers of Shiites, especially after the inception of the IRI, are non-believers.

In an interview with United International on November 8, 1978, Ayatollah Khomeini said: "In an Islamic Republic, all religious minorities can freely celebrate all of their religious ceremonies and the Islamic government will protect them to the best of its ability." Later he said again, "The religious minorities, such as the non-Shiite Muslim population, are Iranians and must be respected."

Masses of religious minorities joined the revolution against the Shah's regime, despite the religious character of its leadership, with the understanding that tolerance would prevail.

Short after the revolution, their schools have been closed and their teachers dismissed--Christian schools were initially closed, then reopened due to pressure, while the harassment of Christians continues. According to the IRI's Constitution, religious minorities are not allowed to hold high-ranking government jobs. According to the interpretation of the Constitution, they are rejected from lower level jobs as well, even factory work. They are subjected to Shiite dress codes, holidays, and prohibitions on liquor and music. They are under the jurisdiction of the Islamic tribunals.

The IRI's Constitution enjoins Muslims to respect the rights of
non-Muslims, unless they "conspire against Islam or against the Islamic
Republic of Iran." It is up to the Shiite clergy to decide what
constitutes a conspiracy.

The regime has issued decree forbidding non-Muslims from renting the upper story of a house where Muslims live the lower floor. It has forbidden the use of Muslim cadavers for medical research while recommending the use of non-Muslims. It has enacted a new tax structure in which non-Muslims pay dues, called "jazyeh", an echo of the old laws of tribute. Religious minorities are forbidden to enter barber shops, communal baths, grocery stores and other public places.

The Bill of Retribution, a criminal law which mandates stoning, the amputation of limbs and the gouging out of eyes as punishment, regards the lives of religious minorities as worth half those of Muslims.

The 75,000 members of the Jewish community have been suspected of being pro-Zionist. Many Jews have been forced to leave the country and some have been executed.

Zoroastrians, adherents of the ancient Persian faith and representatives of the pre-Islamic culture, are also systematically persecuted. In their capital city of Yazd, young girls have been kidnapped by Pasdaran, taken to the home of the Ayatollah Soddoughi, gang raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Their families' complaints went ignored and they were not allowed to visit them. In one case, the announcement was made of a marriage between a girl and a Pasdar.

In November, 1979, the Assembly of Experts declared Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism the only officially recognised minority religions, leaving the Baha'is without constitutional protection. The Baha'I faith was founded in Iran in the 19th century and believes in the essential oneness of all great religions, honouring all of their prophets, including the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. After the Sunnite sect of Islam, they are the largest of the religious minorities, numbering a half million. Because of its root in Islam, Baha'I faith is viewed as heretical and particularly threatening by the Shiite clergy.

Baha'I faith actively seeks converts and has attracted a predominantly prosperous and modernised membership. Organised opposition to the Baha'is has existed since before the IRI. The Hojatyyeh sect, to which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad belongs, has started their "holy" war against them under the Shah. At that time, a number of Bah'ais had important commercial holding, such as Pepsi-Cola; they also preached non-intervention in politics.

Since the inception of the IRI, the Baha'is' religious centres and property have been confiscated and their shrines destroyed. Their members in the armed forces have been given choice of converting to Islam or being dismissed. In August, 1980, their entire governing board was kidnapped and disappeared; six moths later, their successors were arrested, charged with treason and executed. Other Baha'is have been fired from their jobs, driven into exile, and arrested for conspiring against Islam and killed.

The oppression of religious minorities, especially the Baha'i faith, is not incidental; it is part of the nature of the IRI and continues today.


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Translation to Portuguese

by Marco Oliveira (not verified) on

Thank you.
The translation to Portuguese is here.

Jahanshah Rashidian

Dear Mr. Marco Olivera,

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Thank you for your interests for my article, you are of course authorised to translate and post it on your blog.


Jahanshah rashidian



Translation to Portuguese

by Marco Oliveira (not verified) on

Dear Mr. Jahanshah Rashidian,

I would like to have your permission to translate this article to Portuguese any publish it on my weblog.

Jahanshah Rashidian

Kamran / Manoucher

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Kamran: thanks for your sympathy for other ethnic and minority groups. The piece has not exaggerated, many repressive and humiliating measures are non-constitutional under totalitarian regimes. I know it when the Nazis ruled over Germany. For example, trades with Jews were banned. Sports, public contacts...with Jews were not allowed from 1933, Nazi inception, although the meassures were not not written in the German law.

Manouchehr: Thanks four your support until now. Please correct my "lopsided" mistakes. I appreciate your helps.

Jahanshah Rashidian

Dear Mr. Farhad Kashani

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Thank you for encouraging support. I learn a lot from your comments in the comment section. Your writings are informative and balanced. Hopefully, we can see your articles on the site as well.

I will be pleased if you send me an email in the next days.




Double Standard!

by VivaIran on

After posting the following post in “Six Bahá’í leaders arrested in Iran” not only my post got deleted again, but I lost the privilege/ability to post any other comments in that discussion. You be the judge are these people any better than the current regime in Iran.


 """I'm aware of at least 4-5 posts that have been deleted from here today. Two of them were from me, and the other ones from another user (that I did not even know - now go ahead and say that was me too!) that has emailed me after seeing my previous post. The hypocrisy is overwhelming here. The people that complain about being oppressed and not given their freedom in Iran, once they have the ability to manage/modulate something as simple as this discussion, become the oppressors and can’t take any opposition. What it shows is that you guys are no better than the akhounds, you are just powerless. If you had the power in Iran, you would probably be worse."""


Mr. Rashidian

by Kamran T (not verified) on

Thank you for this post. It is very informative... I always see posts about the persecution of Bahais, but not too much about other minorities.


Up until this article

by Manouchehr - (not verified) on

Up until this article I used to agree with many of your concepts and thoughts, but quite unfortunately
I see that you are now definitely lopsided.
Regretfully I will have to commence reading between the lines.


Excellent writing Anonymous-2

by Anonymous 22 (not verified) on

Excellent writing Anonymous-2 in exposing the features of the true enemies of Iran disguised as 'delsouz' (khaleh kherseh-type) friends.

Have absolutely no doubt that these people who have lots of time writing anti-Iran articles (because they have no other job but that )are in fact being paid by foreign services to demonize our country and pave the way for its destruction.

For sure we have problems in today's Iran and the IR is not a good regime, but these foreign paid liers and demonizers are exaggerating some points while totally ignoring the many crimes their bosses are perpetrating around the world because their 'job' is to pave the way for...


Mr. Rashidian, thanks for a

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Mr. Rashidian, thanks for a great article as always. Please keep up the good and important work of exposing the brutality and evil of the Islamic Regime.


Anonymus2, wow! IRI should

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Anonymus2, wow! IRI should be the luckiest government in the world since it has people who justify its brutal existence like this. You said : “The Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians are free to worship their religion as they wish, there is absolutely no discrimination against them, their synagoues, churches, and fire temples exist and there is no disruption whatsoever. They are all represented in the Iranian Parliament”. Wow, where do we need to start? This is just a few examples out of thousands: Does any of the above mentioned minorities have the right not to wear Hijab in public? Isnt that freedom of religion? Is it in Zarostrianism that women should wear Hijab? Do you think Zarostrian women in Iran don’t wear Hijab in the streets? Second example: Name me one, just 1, IRI official who belong to one of the above mentioned 3 religions since 1979? According to the IRI’s own so called “constitution” and the realities in Iran for the last 30 years, only a “shite cleric” can become the leader and almost all important political positions. You don’t believe that’s discrimination against everyone else? Even against “non-cleric” shites like me???? The fact that IRI has staged a show to delegate 1 seat for every minority is a joke and discrimination in itself. Why should they have a specific seat in their so called “parliament”? If they are really not discriminated against, they should run freely and let people chose, right? Third and final: Just go ahead and talk to those thousand of Bahais who, in front my eyes, were kicked out of school and universities in the beginning of revolution (And still do) for one simple reason: that they’re Bahai. Anonymus2, please remember that Iran will one day be free and I just wonder how would guys like you act when this regime is gone!


JR ?

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

JR, there has been systematic persecution of Bahais in Iran and we all should advocate the stop to that, but I believe with respect to other religious minorities you are exaggerating. This was posted in not too long ago:

I suggest you write more objectively.


I was gonna say something

by Mehdi on

But I could never be as polite as Anonymous-2, and my comment would be removed - rightly so :-) So, I am going to say what souri said to Anonymous-2:

100% agree & 100% approved.

Apply also to your first comment.

... and add:

Also, applies to your future comments :-)


They are not all the same

by Alborzi (not verified) on

Its really wrong to think of IR as a homogenus
planned since 1979. In fact it has gone through several liberal/conservative ebbs. There is no question that civil rights are not protected the way it is in most of west. An individual authority or a group may be pursuing his own agenda, Khalkhali tried to destroy perspolis after revolution, but except for bahaiis the other minorities are relatively safe, most of the time.


Amir Taheri wannabe

by Jaleho on

Live with it, the Islamic form of the government has been VOTED by will of OVER 95% of the Iranian people.

The current president is elected with far more percentage VOTE than ANY of the western elections whose candidates are vetted by BIG MONEY.

That makes you what? A FRINGE whiner.

Iranians are good fighters and they make the corrections they need INTERNALLY without foreign paid elements coming from Bush and Zionist country.


re: Anonymous b (not verified)

by Iranian- on

Are you stupid? Are you illitrate? Are you a moron? Are you blind? I guess the answer to all those questions is yes, but there is more good news. The truth is that you are deliberately telling lies to promote your agenda and now you have logged in cowardly to attack my post using this Anonymous b login.

But fortunately for all of us, anyone can use the Track opion for this author and go back and read all of his past articles. You can't fool anyone moron. 

As I said before to you and others, my name will remain Iranian- because it burns Mofsed's asses.


Re: Anonymous-2

by Souri on

100% agree & 100% approved.

Apply also to your first comment.


Tahirih Jan - you should look at all the articles he has written

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

Not only on, but on IPS (Iranian Press Services). This is where all the opposition groups like Taheri post their articles. All of those who provide misinformation (remember the yellow badge article printed by Taheri); and all who are proponents of toppling the regime.

I have no love loss for IRI, but I sure do not want foreign interference in the affairs of Iran.

As I have said, Iran's problems should be dealth with by Iranians.

Rashidian says he is against sanctions, however go read his articles, he promotes that the West and U.S. impose sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil. Iranian oil provides 80% of the revenue that feeds the Iranian people.

He further takes every opportunity he gets to take a stab on Islam and promote isolation of Iran. When one is (a) proponent of sanctions; (b) proponent of isolating Iran politically and economically; (c) is against dialogue to resolve disputes and conflicts; (d) says Iran is the greatest sponsor of terrorism (when there is absolutely no proof of this whatsoever; (e) discusses that Islam is a religion of hate and that Iran wants to spread its Islamic Revolution (all false with no proof) - and when others provide him with proof he totally disregards it) - what else is left?

Isn't this what the warmongers, the Bush Admin, John McCain and the rest of the neocons are saying? These are all the same saber-rattling that were used by the Bush White House to invade and demolish Iraq and kill over a million of Iraqi civilians.

Of course Rashidian is not going to say BOMB Iran - he knows that if he says this he is going to blasted by all peace loving Iranians. However, one does not need to use the word bomb - you can state the same thing when you remove all potential solutions for a peaceful resolution.

When they bomb Iran, no one will be spared, not Jews, not Christians, not Muslims, not Bah'ais, not Kurds, not Lors no one. Furthermore, as I have repeatedly stated sanctions are another form of warfare, in fact a silent form of warfare. Don't forget that it was the sanctions imposed on Iraq that killed over 500,000 innocent Iraqi children.

Rashidian knows this I have provided him with his double talks in detail in the past!

The Bah'ai articles have become the most talked about issues on, no one is paying attention to any other article published. Because we are concerned. Mr. Rashidian noticed this when his articles went unanswered.

All I am asking him is to be fair, balanced, and not to use the current Bah'ai situation to serve his own interest.


R: Iranian

by Anonymous b (not verified) on

You should stop labelling the authors who do not make campaign fur mollahs. The author of this article in not on your side, but he has repeatedly opposed to any attack or sanctions on Iran, Islamophobia, western eyes on Iran and other topics you blindly accuse him of.
Please read his posts before bashing him. His current article is about religious minorities, and has nothing to do with your hateful attacks! You bear a false name "Iranian" to side yourself with the non-Iranian mollahs. Shame on you! Conflicts between Iranians and mollahs will never come to a peaceful conclusion until one or the other side gives up. On which side do you stay Mr. "Iranian"? Once again shame on you and other mollahs' supporters on this site.


Anonymous_2 , I have not read anything from Mr Rashidian ....

by Tahirih on

Indicating his desire for bombing Iran ,Or him encouraging US attack on our beloved homeland.

What you are saying about abolition of prejudices is a well known fact for Bahai's and is what we believe,  it should be extended to true spiritual Muslim believers who are peace loving.

But accusing Mr rashidian of something to that extent is not fair.




Dear Seagull I agree with your statements - what I don't

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

appreciate is when others try to take advanatage of the current situation to promote their own biases.

We have all witnessed how many Iranians have been demonstrating their unity with the recent capture of the Bah'ai people, which is not only appropriate, but a must!! It is our obligation no ifs and buts about it. And it is our obligation as you rightfully pointed out from a moral and human stand point, and not merely because they are Bah'ais.

However, the same mistatements that are being said about the Bah'ais are constantly said about Islam and its teachings. The West has now found a new enemy to replace the Soviet Union, the new cold war is the West against Islam. This is extremely dangerous and it leads to people being unjustly labeled as terrorists, their activities watched, people put in prison with no right to counsel, and an entire people practicing a particular religion to be discriminated against. The intention is to implant fear and hatred.

As we fight injustices we have to fight for all people who are facing discrimination and are falsely accused solely because they practice a particualr religious belief or because the West does not like their form of government.

True justice does not discriminate amongst any people because of color, creed, ethnic background or their faith!

As such, when other people take advantage of the current Bah'ai situation to lie about others; this is a cheap shot! Rashidian should know that as we do not tolerate what is going on with the Bah'ais we are also not going to tolerate what some opposition groups, and what the U.S. and Israel are doing to promote another war of aggression against Iran and 70 million people.

That's what I intended to say.

Jahanshah Rashidian

To All

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Thanks for your comments even to those who routinely attributed such articles to the propaganda agenda of CIA / MEK...

The IRI pretended that 98, 2% of Iranians confirmed the form of Islamic Republic in 1979. Yet, more than 10% of population were religious minorities, a number of other Iranians were left, Shahi, non-believer and etc. The first article of IRI's Constitution is based on this false premise.

Article 4 says: all civil, penal financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria. This principle applies absolutely and generally to all articles of the Constitution as well as to all other laws and regulations, and the fuqaha' of the Guardian Council are judges in this matter.

Article 13 limited the constitutional rights to Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian as the only recognised religious minorities, who, within the limits of the "Islamic" law, are free to perform their religious rites and ceremonies, and to act according to their own canon in matters of personal affairs and religious education.

Article 14 wordily protects other minorities, implicitly the Bah'i Faith, under the conformity of "principles of Islamic justice and equity" This principle applies to all who refrain from engaging in "conspiracy or activity against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran"

The Constitution recognised Jews as an official religious minority and accorded them the right to elect a representative to the Majlis. In deed, a Jewish representative must be a holocaust denier like those Jewish Holocaust deniers who would give hug to Ahmadinejad.

Unlike Baha'is, Zoroastrians have not been persecuted, they have not been persecuted because of their religious beliefs, but are hated by Islamists because of their pre-Islamic representative and their portray for a non Islamic Persian culture.

Under totalitarian regimes like Nazi regime, Stalinist Soviet or now the IRI, psycho-pressures are the mechanisms in gear that even out of constitutional discriminations can easily encounter individuals with most prejudice. These mechanisms are so emerged that outsiders, including ethnic and minorities groups, are forced to bow to any humiliation if not obedience of the ideological elite.

The ethnic groups and religious minorities are the victims of such psych-measures under any totalitarian regime. Their rights --civil rights, profession rights, education rights, participations in the routine and daily life of the society... are further trampled or affected by non-written laws.

In the case of any resistance, they can be more attacked, harassed, humiliated or even arrested for banal pretexts. For example, under Nazi regime, those Jews who hoped to save themselves collaborated with the Nazis even in the camps of concentration and some of them could survive.

Royalty of religious minorities to the IRI analogises to the Jewish collaborators (Mitarbeiter) with their Nazi salute for the Nazi authorities or those few Orthodox priests who shed tears in Stalin's funeral!



David ET

by Iranian- on

Iranian people are too honorable to 'allow' violations as you put it. Maybe the Iranian people are not as 'well informed' as the people in this Free World.

Even so, there are billions of American tax payer money and support of the Western people behind the much more severe violations of human rights in Palestine or here in the U.S.'s Guantanamo Bay and other overseas prisons.


A Human Question

by sarajevo (not verified) on

Thank you Seagull for your comment. Before any of us can label ourselves Muslims, Jews, Baha'is or adherents of any other Faith, we are all labeled by the Creator as human. We are first and foremost human and we are connected to eachother, no matter what our Faith or ethnicity, through our common humanity. While being religious is no easy task..being human is even more difficult. Being human requires us to transcend our differences, put ourselves in eachother's shoes and treat eachother as we would like others to treat us. What is happening to the Baha'i community in Iran is an example of inhumanity but what is encouraging is that so many Iranians both in Iran and in diaspora communities have taken a stand to defend them and have proven their humanity to their brothers and sisters. Us and them is a lie. There is only us.


Biased opinion

by Iranian- on

I think we that we all know that Bahais should be treated better in Iran. But this is not a black and white thing as he writes. Not all religious minorites are under 'oppression' as he indicates. 

This author means nothing well for Iranian Muslims or Islam in general (Sunni, Shia  ... etc) and he lacks truthfulness in his words. This has been clearly demonstrated this in his previous postings.

You never know what he says is truth or not. So even though some of the things he says are true, there is a good deal of misinformation imbeded in it to make it attractive in order to fool the people who are hungry for information.

For example it is known that Jewish Iranians can not leave Iran easily in contrast to what he says that "Many Jews have been forced to leave the country "



by Seagull (not verified) on

It is unfortunate that the present actions of those in charge is closely tied to Islam. I believe any religion or group they use as base is going to suffer some of the negative consequences.
However it is totally up to the wise Muslims to condemn the type of behavior in peaceful, respectful ways so that those who perpetrate do not feel that they have the support of the silent majority, or get the impression that they are doing justice. Again it is unfortunate that much of the wrong doings is done in the name of the religion, but the good side is that here is an opportunity to defend what is decent and right in whatever name you deem.


Injustice towards Bahai has roots in Shia

by nemah (not verified) on

Fellow countrymen
There will not be, ever, any democracy in Iran if we Iranian don't stand up and speak up against injustice toward Bahai’s of Iran today. If the majority of the population remains a witness to the atrocities committed against Bahai’s, as have been in the past, we have not yet understood the meaning of democracy we fervently seek for our beloved country.
It's time to open our eyes and accept others who don't worship God we do, if we want to be accepted in this country. Maybe some day we will just do that and defend our human right as a big human family.


You are not stating the entire truth and you know it!

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

Your problem unfortunately, is that you take position on behalf of everyone so long as it is against Iran, and Islam.

I neither find your articles balanced or unbiased. You always manage to squeeze into your articles something about Islam and lies about IRI.

The Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians are free to worship their religion as they wish, there is absolutely no discrimination against them, their synagoues, churches, and fire temples exist and there is no disruption whatsoever. They are all represented in the Iranian Parliament and I have to say in comparison to the ratio of their constituents vis a vis 95%+ Muslims majority their representation is pretty high. You don't find this in the U.S., in Israel, or in any other country in the Middle East.

I don't like Bah'ai bashing, Christian bashing, Jewish bashing, and nor do I appreciate your constant Muslim bashing.

One more thing you should remember for every Bah'ai there have been hundreds and thousands of Shiite Muslims who have been persecuted.

Furthermore the persecution and the descration of the houses of worship of the Bah'ais did not simply start during the IRI - but it was conducted throughtout the 1900s including under the Shah. This by no means is to refer that we are condoning what is taking place, but if you intend to write a credible article - don't write leave half truths and half misinformation.

ebi amirhosseini

Well written

by ebi amirhosseini on

Thanks for sharing your unbiased writing once more with us.I wish you would write more on this subject,especially as your style is,give more data,info.......


You are a LIAR

by IRANEEE (not verified) on

Your article is filled with lies and you know it.

If you want to defend one group (such as the Baha'is), that is FINE, as long as you don't slander and commit libel against another group.

To claim for example that IRI forbids Jews and Christians from entering "grocery stores" or that Christians are "not allowed to have liqour" are blatant lies to anyone who knows the laws of the Islamic Republic, or has even lived there.

Watch the movie, "Jews of Iran", recently created in the US. It shows that yes, some Jews receive discrimination by fellow peers at times, but it is neither systematic, nor top down.

You claimed that the law considers religious minorities as having "half the blood of Muslims."

However, you seem really OUT OF TOUCH with post-revolutionary Iran you scoundral.

Parliament successfully passed (and with the approval of the Gaurdian Council) a law in 2000 that made the blood-money of religious minorities as EQUAL to Muslims.

Why are you lying Rashidian?

Do you get your news from that other liar AMIR TAHERI? He has been exposed countless times, and so have you.

You must be getting plenty of money from the CIA these days to spread FALSE propoganda about Iran, to demonize it in the eyes of everyone, including your fellow hamvatan (but you have committed treason through your lies, and we do not consider you from the same country anymore).

An IRANIAN cannot be someone who lies to get what they want. The end does not justify the MEANS.

You must be MKO, since only they lie so much, not even the monarchists steep so low.