The Same Song and Dance

On July 17, 2020, An individual wrote a letter to the Irish Times about religious persecutions in Iran, specifically about Iranian Baha’is during the pandemic. Someone decided to defend the dignity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is the Iranian ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Masoud Eslami, who took it upon himself to support the government of Iran in their violations of human rights. I want to share the letter to the Irish Times in reporting Religious persecution in Iran first, and then I will share the translation of Dr. Eslami’s response.

Religious persecution in Iran

Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 00:08

Link: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/religious-persecution-in-iran-1.4306348

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Sir, — An important lesson to be drawn from the Covid-19 pandemic is those authoritarian regimes that disregard the human rights of citizens will take advantage of any crisis, even a global health crisis.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a case in point. Iranian authorities are using this period to intensify persecutions against the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the country– the Baha’is. Amid the pandemic, we have seen a wave of anti-Baha’i propaganda and arbitrary arrest. Last month at least 77 arrests were made across the country of people whose only “crime” is their belief. The sentences that follow are absurdly harsh and send them to prisons where the Covid-19 virus is rapidly spreading.

Indigenous to Iran, the Bahá’i faith is a world religion which recently celebrated the bicentenary of the birth of its prophet-founder, Bahá’u’ lláh. The central tenant of His teaching is the essential unity of humankind. Baha’is in Ireland are gravely concerned by the state-sponsored dehumanisation and campaign of persecution faced by fellow believers in the cradle of the faith. We are also proud of the fact that more than 60 Irish TDs, Senators, and leading medics have signed a statement calling on the Iranian government to cease arrest and imprisonment of their Baha’i citizens.

As matters stand today, the safety of an entire community relies completely on the vigilance of the international community. — Yours, etc.,

AODHÁN RILKE FLOYD

Then, Dr. Eslami writes a letter in response to which it has not been published in the Irish Times but on two Iranian national news agencies unsecured website in Iran, Iran online ion.ir, and Isna.ir. Here is the translation of Dr. Eslami’s note, which follows the ignorance and denial of all Islamic Republic of Iran representatives at all levels, including the past and present judiciary human rights representatives. There are continuous attacks against Baha’is in Iran posted on all human rights websites, which the Iranian government has turned a blind eye. Since the Revolutionary Courts are genuine tribunal for dissidents and the one’s government wants to punish quietly in Iran, the news about the Baha’is is not published in daily censured newspapers or broadcast on the government-run TV, I leave the reader to be the judge of the truth. You can read the current human rights report here under treatment of minorities: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/iran#

You can read Dr. Eslami’s letter in Farsi, here: http://www.ion.ir/news/599784

And here: https://www.isna.ir/news/99051410498/

The ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ireland stated in a note to the Irish Times that Iran has a thousand-year history of respecting the rights of religious minorities. In a letter to the Irish Times, Massoud Eslami, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ireland, responded to the allegations against Iran in a July 17 note in the newspaper. It seems like the news agencies have added an introduction to this note to defend the Islamic Republic of Iran, making the letter more confusing.

“The letter published on July 17 entitled ‘Religious persecution in Iran,’ about the people (meaning Iranian Baha’is) who were arrested, and claiming that it was because of their religious beliefs, is full of ridiculous allegations. From the beginning of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, all major religions have not only been able to practice their religions freely, but they have also been represented in the National Assembly (Majlis). There is no government-sponsored religious discrimination or segregation in Iran, and there are hundreds of churches, synagogues, and temples in Iran where religious minorities practice their religion. The Iranian ambassador’s response to the Irish newspaper: Respect for minorities in Iran has a millennial historyMassoud Eslami, Iranian Ambassador to IrelandCovid-19 (Coronavirus), has been a deadly challenge to all of humanity in general and without discrimination, and recognizes no religion, nationality, ethnicity or other affiliations. The honorable people of Iran are now facing the challenges of this epidemic, as well as the maximum pressure of Donald Trump’s destructive economic sanctions. They are tired of these political clichés, and they are upset. Unfortunately, while hateful voices are reflected in the media, what seems to be as cruel as the virus (corona) is to blame the political game on someone else. This political game seeks only to divert attention and slander the image of one of the most ancient nations on earth, where religious diversity has a thousand-year history and continues to do so. Under the current circumstances in which the world is facing high anxiety, what we all need is to allow real voices to be reflected, and words of sympathy to resonate around the world.

Dr. Massoud Eslami,

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran”

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Foaad Haghighi

A Baha’i husband & father, Tech-savvy new media marketing strategist, Biz consultant, print-web-social designer, photographer, calligrapher, and chef.