Paris, 8 Aug. (IPS) In a revival of the worse Stalinian methods of suppressing dissidents, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran IRNA claimed that the daughter of Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the outspoken Iranian lawyer, human rights campaigner and winner of the prestigious Nobel Peace in 2003 has converted to Baha’ism, a fate outlawed in Iran and considered as a “seditious sect”.
Quoting an “informed source, IRNA reported last Wednesday that “the daughter of Shirin Ebadi has converted to the seditious sect of Baha’ism since a year ago, and now Mrs. Ebadi is trying, with claims that her life is in danger, to get further help from the West for herself and her daughter”.
The allegation is a very serious accusation in the Islamic Republic of ran, for not only the Bahai faith is outlawed but any conversion away from Islam, especially to this religion, is regarded as apostasy, an offence punishable by death.
The allegation is a very serious in the Islamic Republic of Iran, for it can lead to death
In an interview with Radio Farda, the 24 hours Persian service of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty, Mrs. Ebadi denied the information and described it as a “total lie, fully invented”.
Asked about the possible reasons that the official news agency of the regime has made such a dangerous accusation against her, Mrs. Ebadi said it must be because the families of the seven Baha’is arrested three months ago have asked her and two other colleagues, Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani and Mr. Esma’ilzadeh to defend them.
Ms. Fariba Kamal Abadi, Jamaleddin Khanjani, Afif Na’imi, Sa’id Resa’i, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm have been detained on 14 of May 2008 by security forces, accused of being Bahai and plotting against the regime on order from Israel and other foreign powers. Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, the seventh member of what has been described as bering a leader of the Baha’i community of Iran, was arrested early in March in the holly city of Mash-had, in north eastern Iran.
“Some officials in the Judiciary are afraid that in case I enter in this case, it would became cases like those of Zahra Kazemi or Mrs. Zahra Bani Ya’qoub and make such noise inside and outside the country that they could no more hide the truth from the public”, she point out, referring to the assassination of the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist killed by interrogators while in custody and the medical doctor who died in a prison in the city of Hamadan at the hands of moral police.
She is right, for, in fact, in a lengthy article carried by IRNA on 8 August, certain Dr. Alireza Heydari (it is good to mention that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the most number of officials, civilians, clerics or militaries with the title of “doctor” than any other country in the world) has put every thing he could grab, including articles from Keyhan, a mouthpiece of the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i known as the most dangerous of all Iranian media, not only to prove that Mrs. Narges Tavakkolian, (the elder daughter of Mrs. Ebadi), “a graduate of a Canadian university run by the Bahais” has converted to Baha’ism, but also to denounce the courageous lawyer herself, by alleging that she too, might have converted to that forbidden fate.
Because the biggest center of the Baha'is is situated in Haifa, Israel, the Iranian Baha'is are often accused by the regime of working for the Israelis.
After having criticized Mrs. Ebadi for having received the “infamous” Nobel Peace Prize, “which has been also given to the butcher of Vietnam (Henry Kissinger) and the champion of normalization with Zionism (Anwar el Sadat), a paper that in our eyes, carries no pride”, Doctor Heydari says that “in the last year, Shirin Ebadi had concentrated the greatest volume of her activities to purify the seditious sect of Baha’ism, to the point that the Beyt al Adl, the highest office of the Bahais, situated in Israel, congratulated her actions in favour of the Baha’is”.
In his calumnious article, Mr. Heydari never mentions that in her speech to the Nobel Peace Committee, like all other conferences outside and inside Iran, she insisted on being a “Muslim woman”.
“I and my family are proud to be Shi’a Muslims and it is as a Shi’a Muslim and for demonstrating that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance that I have accepted to defend the right to citizenship of Iranian Baha’is”, she told the Kargozaran newspaper, a moderate daily close to Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s number two man after the Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.
Before her, the (dissident) Grand Ayatollah Hosenyali Montazeri had, in a fatwa, stated that “the Baha’is are citizen of this country and as such, they must enjoy all the rights provided by the Constitution to all Iranians”.
Already in the “eye of the cyclone” because of defending political dissidents or campaigning for the progress of human rights in Iran and her efforts to promote the situation of the Iranian women who, under Islamic laws, are considered as second class citizens, the ruling clerics became very angry after she became an international celebrity in 2003 by becoming the “first Iranian and Muslim woman” to receive the world’s most prestigious awards.
In her interview with Kargozaran, Mrs. Ebadi reiterated that she would go ahead with defending the seven Bahai’s, observing: “Defending a criminal does not mean that one has become criminal or defends criminality. This is exactly the same with defending political dissidents or members of the minorities”, she said, adding that the aim of the "dirty campaign" launched against her is to prevent her to go ahead with defending the accused persons.
Some people in the Judiciary are affraid to see me defending the accused Bahai's and they want to prevent me at any cost, including the most terrible lies
The question on every one’s lip is why the official organ of the regime, -- under the chart of Iranian Administration, IRNA is under the ccontrol of the Islamic Guidance and Culturer Ministry -- must carry such a calumnious article? Who has ordered IRNA to write such stupidity against a prominent lawyer with an international stature? What is the aim of the “bag of lies”, committed by Mr. Heydari, if not reverting to the infamous Stalinian type of persecution of dissidents, serving as pretext to their physical elimination?
"Every time the regime is under international pressures, like now because of its confrontation over the nuclear issue, it uses the Jews or the Bahai's to divert public attention, by accusing them of intelligence with foreign spy agencies, mostly American, English and Israeli, or all of them together", noted an Iranian pol;itical analyst. ENDS EBADI BAHAI 8808