The bar on Baha’i entering Iranian universities has blocked at least 13 hoping to enter higher education following success in national entrance examinations.

Human Rights News Agency (HRANA) reported Wednesday that Tehran resident Negar Sobhani-Azabadi was the 13th Baha’i to be denied third-level entrance this year due to her faith. According to HRANA, Sobhani-Azabadi discovered her rejection on grounds of “general ineligibility” on her school’s website when viewing her exam results.

Since the 1979 Revolution, Baha’is who openly state their faith cannot enter higher education, leading many to profess being Muslims. Any who later identify as Baha’is are expelled, even when on the verge of graduation.

Iranian Baha’is have since 1987 run an underground university, the Baháʼí Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), which despite prosecution of several teachers and students, has gained recognition from over 100 universities across the world who accept its graduates directly into their postgraduate schools.

The 1979 constitution of the Islamic Republic recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. Baha’ism − established as a new religion in Iran in 1863 by Baha’ullah, who claimed to be a prophet following Jesus and Mohammad − has always been deemed heretical by the Shia establishment and subject to intermittent bouts of political persecution.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has on several occasions called the Baha’i faith a cult and in a religious fatwa in 2018 forbade contact, including business dealings, with Baha’is.

HRANA reported in its 2020 annual report, released December 29, that in 2020 at least 45 Bahai’s were arrested, mostly on charges of “harming national security.”

Baha’is, who number around 300,000 in Iran, say their rights are systematically violated, that they are often harassed, forced to leave their homes and businesses, and are deprived of government jobs.

Baha’is are also not allowed to bury their dead in public cemeteries. The cemeteries that they finance privately, usually in remote areas, are often desecrated. “Baha’is have no right to bury their dead, their dead should be collected [like rubbish] by the municipality,” one cleric said in a program on state television (IRIB) in 2017.

There are Baha’i communities in many countries worldwide but there is no reliable figure about the total number of followers.

Source » iranintl