In September 2013, some Baha’i women who are currently incarcerated in Evin Prison wrote a letter to Hasan Rohani——the president of Iran——to request the investigation of Mr. Ata’u’llah Rezvani’s murder (full story here). Below is my attempt at a translation of this letter. I am grateful to my mother, Farnaz Masumian, for helping me with this translation.
To the Honorable President of Iran
While nearly 35 years have passed since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, we now face—with the utmost disbelief, abounding regret, and immense sorrow—the tragedy of the harrowing murder of one of Iran’s pure-hearted citizens.
Throughout the rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the restoration of the inalienable rights outlined in the country’s constitution has been forestalled for the followers of this religion, who comprise the largest religious minority group in Iran. Despite the Baha’is’ complete abstinence from participating in the country’s political affairs; their insistence on remaining non-partisan in times of political upheaval; and their decision to walk the path of sincere service to their ancestral land, unlawful pressure towards this community has escalated over the past eight years. The extent of arrests and issuing of judicial sentences has increased. Threats and ever-increasing restrictions have jeopardized their lives.
It was hoped that with the rise of the new government—who called their rule one of wisdom and hope, and made the unequivocal promise to abide by the constitution in their treatment of all Iranians—the Baha’is of Iran could, like their fellow countrymen, enjoy the rights outlined in the nation’s constitution as well as their citizenship rights. Thus would the Baha’is be able to enjoy the right of service to their hallowed homeland while protected by law and justice. Thus would they be able to pursue a life and livelihood rooted in the moral and spiritual teachings of their religion. Yet, regrettably, with the dawn of the government of “wisdom and hope,” an unusual, unlawful, and inhuman act has left us in bitter bewilderment and turned hopes into sorrow.
Now, along with our condolences to the beloved and noble family of Mr. Ata’u’llah Rezvani—as well as to the entire Baha’i community and our dear compatriots—we urgently ask the honorable president, Mr. Hasan Rohani, to identify the reasons and factors that led to this inhuman act and to force those responsible to face law and justice.
We sincerely hope that every drop of the pure blood of this noble martyr will flow through the veins and arteries of this sacred land, and that the seeds of brotherhood, equality, and love will be sown in this frozen garden so that the pleasant springtime will come and variegated flowers will bloom and adorn the land of Iran.
–The Baha’i prisoners of the women’s ward of Evin Prison,
Faran Hesami, Nooshin Khadem, Leva Khanjani, Zhinous Rahimi, Mahvash Shahriari, Fariba Kamalabadi