January 20, 2018

January 1982: Summary of Actions taken by the Baha'i International Community and National and Local Baha'i Institutions in connection with the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

The Baha'i International Community
  • Issued official statements to the press;
  • kept the Secretary-general and appropriate offices of the United Nations apprised of developments as they occurred;
  • cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, the President and Prime Minister of Iran, and the President of the Iranian Supreme Court, urging their intervention and refuting accusations made against the Faith;
  • prepared materials and made statements in connection with the adoption of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the European Parliament, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;
  • made statements at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the Question of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances;
  • contacted the Iranian representative to the United Nations in New York in order to repudiate falsehoods made about the Faith and provide him with the true facts; and
  • prepared the "White Paper" and "Update" and arranged for their translation in three languages, the "Chronological Summary of Individual Acts of Persecution in Iran," and other documents for submission to high- ranking officials, government and United Nations offices, and world-wide distribution to National Spiritual Assemblies.
Baha'i Institutions
  • National Assemblies throughout the world cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini on four occasions, the Prime Minister and Head of the Iranian Supreme Court three times each, and the Secretary of the Revolutionary Council of Iran once.
  • 118 National Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Secretary-general of the United Nations, as did thousands of Local Assemblies, Baha'i groups and isolated centres.  It was estimated that some 10-15,000 cables reached him, protesting the execution of seven Baha'is in Hamadan.
  • Over 10,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, urging his intervention regarding the expropriation of Baha'i properties in Iran.
  • Most National Assemblies contacted by letter or delegation, or sent cables to their respective Iranian Embassy or Consulate, on five occasions and kept their government officials continually informed of developments.
  • Selected National Assemblies cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, the President and the Prime Minister of Iran, and the Secretary of the Revolutionary Council on several occasions. They also cabled or contacted their respective Iranian Embassy or Consulate at least eleven times; approached humanitarian, business or professional organizations; and were in constant touch with government offices and the media.
  • A large number of National Assemblies pursued a well-organized campaign of approaching the mass media, providing them with accurate information about the Faith and refuting false accusations made by enemies of the Cause. As a result, an unprecedented volume of publicity occurred in leading newspapers and periodicals throughout the world, as well as in newspapers having modest circulations. Well-known journalists wrote articles, some of which were distributed through international news agencies. Interviews were held with families of the martyrs, individual Baha'is wrote letters to editors of newspapers, and many radio and television programmes were aired, including "Iran's Secret Pogrom" on W5 TV in Canada, and "Day One" and "John Craven's Newsround" on BBCl TV.
  • Many National Assemblies contacted immigration authorities and appropriate government offices in efforts to assist the displaced Iranian Baha'is in extending their visas and obtaining work permits and travel documents. They established special committees to work specifically to assist the Iranian friends, and they set up Persian Relief Funds on a national scale to aid deserving cases.  The National Assemblies of Australia and Canada worked out with their respective immigration offices procedures whereby the process of immigration by Iranian Baha'is would be facilitated.
Baha'i communities the world over have assisted Iranian students abroad, who have been faced with the termination of their education because they are unable to receive funds from their families in Iran whose assets in Nawnahalan Company were frozen, or did not receive funds because the Iranian government prevented the transfer of money from Iran to Baha'i students abroad.  In some areas, Iranian embassies have refused to extend the visas of Baha'i students. Certain universities and colleges have allowed the Baha'i students to continue their studies, and in some instances their tuition fees have even been waived. 
(Prepared by the Baha’i International Community and accompanied a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World, 26 January 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)