Petition for Iranian Baha'is

Petition on Behalf of the Baha'is of Iran

His Excellency Mohammad Khatami
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Presidency
Pastor Avenue
Tehran, Iran
Phone No: +98(21) 6161

His Excellency Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei
Islamic Republic of Iran
Tehran, Iran

His Excellency Hadi Nejad Hosseinian
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Ave. New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 687-2020 / Fax: (212) 867-7086

We, the undersigned educators and students, have become aware that at the beginning October, 1998, execution threats were made against two imprisoned Baha'is, and that over 30 Baha'i home-schooling teachers were arrested throughout Iran in an attempt to close down the Baha'i Open University. As educators, people of faith, and believers in freedom of conscience and expression, we call upon the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to honor the teaching of the holy Qur'an that "there is no compulsion in religion."

As members of the educational community, we deplore any state interference in home schooling and condemn in the strongest terms any arrest of persons merely for teaching students, whether the teaching is of secular or religious subjects. We further deplore the closing of the Baha'i Open University. We also note that Baha'is are forbidden by law from attending or teaching in state universities, and we call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to end such discrimination, which violates Islam's emphasis on the need for a broad education for all. Has not the Prophet Muhammad himself called upon all human beings to "seek knowledge, even unto China"?

President Khatami has called for a dialogue between the ordinary people of Iran and those of the nations of the West. In the spirit of openness and non-governmental dialogue, we must with love and fellowship bring to the attention of our Iranian sisters and brothers that the de jure persecution of the Baha'is, and indeed, of any religious or other minority, is deeply offensive to us and can only cast Iran in a poor light, worsening its relations with the fair-minded peoples of the world, as well as besmirching the name of the great, universal and just religion of Islam.


1) The Honorable Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, C/O Permanent Mission of Czech Republic to the United Nations, New York, Fax # (212) 772-0586
2) The Honorable Mary Robinson, UN Human Rights Commission/Geneva, Switzerland Fax # (01141-22-9170123)
3) The Honorable Gerhard Henz, Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations
600 Third Ave., 41st floor New York, N.Y. 10016
Tel: (212) 856-6200 Fax: (212) 856-6280; email:
4) The Honorable Alain DEJAMMET
Représentant Permanent de la France auprès de l'Organisation des Nations Unies
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
254E 47Th Street, #44 - New York, NY 10017
Tel. (212) 308-5700 - Fax (212) 421-6889, e-mail:
5) Mr. Arthur Miller, PEN American Center, Fax # (212) 334-2181
6) Amnesty International: New York (Fax # 212-627-1451), San Francisco (Fax # 415-291-8722), Chicago (312) 427-2589, Washington DC (202) 546-7142,
7) Human Rights Watch/Middle East: Fax # (212) 972-0905

To add your name to this petition please fill out the following form. Note that you *must* write "I support this petition" in the "Comments" box for your signature to be added.

The etiquette of human rights petitions to governments as practiced by Amnesty International and other organizations is to phrase one's appeal politely. Please avoid extreme or insulting language.

The US and Canadian NSA's have said that there is no bar to individual Baha'is signing a petition such as the present one as long as they do not identify themselves by religion. Those who are interested may read the letter from External Affairs as an addendum here

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