The following announcement was published recently by Gooya News, an opposition website, and translated by Iran Press Watch.

Announcement from: the implementation committee of the revolutionary work force organization of Iran (Rah-e kargar).

The court hearing of the Yaran, who are taking care of the affairs of the Baha’i community in the absence of the dismantled National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, was convened on Tuesday January 12, 2010 at branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. This branch had previously charged Roxanna Saberi (Iranian American Journalist) with espionage and had sentenced her to eight years of imprisonment. After being used for propaganda purposes, she was released and allowed to leave Iran. The court’s prosecutor, who is the successor of the investigator, is an agent of the Intelligence Ministry. The Yaran is: Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. They have been languishing in jail since May 2008 (Mrs. Mahvash Sabet has been incarcerated since March 2008 – translator).

The Yaran’s court hearing is underway, yet their lawyers have not been given the opportunity to access their files (or meet) with their clients. The charges against them are: “espionage for foreign countries”, “propaganda against the Islamic regime”, “association with Israel”, “assisting in the gathering of classified information and forwarding such information to foreign powers with the aim of undermining the country’s security” and “corruption on earth”. The Tabnak site (a pro Islamic Government site) has described the Yaran as “seven Baha’i terrorists who have been accused of terrorist acts including planning and carrying out the bombing of Hojjatieh Rahpouyan mosque in Shiraz and spying for the occupant regime of Israel”. Tabnak has added, “the arrested individuals have never denied their association with the occupying regime of Israel and the Baha’i headquarters is in Haifa – Israel”.

The ruling court with a previous questionable history, is using a Ministry of Intelligence agent as its prosecutor, and is not allowing the Yaran’s lawyers access to their files. This court is only being convened to broadcast a pre-determined outcome with a specific political and security agenda in mind. The accusations are organized in a way that the verdict could be execution for the Yaran. Under the present atmosphere, faced with fear of annihilation, the Islamic regime is clinging to severe suppression; the outcome of which can cost the lives of the prisoners.

Needless to say, it’s clear that the fabricated charges are the work of the intelligence and security organizations of the Islamic regime. The Baha’is only crime is their belief in a different religion. The Baha’i community of Iran, from its inception over 150 years ago, has been inflicted with the worst manner of tyranny and repression in the hands of prejudiced shia Muslims; whether at the time of the Ghajar dynasty when the Babis (forerunner of Baha’is) and the Baha’is had burning candles placed in their carved flesh while forced to walk in alleys and streets, or in the current Islamic Republic Regime, in which so many of the followers of the Baha’i Faith have been executed, that this religion can befittingly be called the “religion of martyrs”. Hatred and revulsion against Baha’is, combined with the harshest forms of suppression during different governments of the Islamic regime, has taken a more ruthless dimension now that power is in the hands of Mesbah Yazdi [1] and Hojjatieh Society’s [2] followers.

Our organization strongly condemns the suppression of the Baha’i community on groundless charges and considers it a harsh subjugation of those that think differently and believe in a different religion. The suppressive policy has not been limited to the Baha’is but has also been inflicted on Sunni Muslims. Freedom to believe in any religion or no religion is one of the basic principles of democracy.
Our organization strongly condemns the efforts of the Islamic revolutionary courts in sentencing Baha’is and other political prisoners to jail terms or execution to soothe their shameless hatred. We urge all freedom fighters, defenders of equality, human rights organizations and foundations to wholeheartedly object Islamic regime’s merciless and suppressive policy.

Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Long live freedom, long live socialism.

The implementation committee of Revolutionary Workforce Organization of Iran

[1] Mesbah Yazdi is a hardline Iranian cleric and politician who is widely seen as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s spiritual advisor. He is also a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, the body responsible for choosing the Supreme Leader, where he heads a minority ultraconservative faction. He has been called “the most conservative” and the most “powerful” and “influential … clerical oligarch” in Iran’s leading center of religious learning, the city of Qom. []

[2] Hojjatieh Society — is a semi-clandestine traditionalist Shia organization founded in Iran in 1953 by Shaikh Mahmoud Halabi (a Tehrani mullah from Mashhad; 1900-1998) with permission of Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi. The organization was founded on the premise that the most immediate threat to Islam was the Bahá’í religion, which they viewed as a heresy that must be eliminated. In March to June 1955, the Ramadan period that year, a widespread systematic program was under taken cooperatively by the government and the clergy. During the period they destroyed the national Bahá’í Center in Tehran, confiscated properties and made it illegal for a time to be Bahá’í (punishable by 2 to 10 year prison term.) Founder of SAVAK, Teymur Bakhtiar, took a pick-ax to a Bahá’í building himself at the time.

Halabi is said to have worked with SAVAK security agency under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, offering his full cooperation in fighting “other heathen forces, including the Communists.” By doing so he was given freedom to recruit members and raise funds, and by 1977 Hojjatieh is said to have had 12,000 members. However, since the Shah’s regime, in Halabi’s view, allowed the Baha’is too much freedom, he then supported Khomeini’s movement to overthrow the Shah. []