Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Board Demands Immediate Release of Faculty and Staff of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education in Iran

By Scholars For Peace In The Middle East, PRNE
Sunday, July 10, 2011

CHICO, California, July 11, 2011 -

The following was written by Scholars for Peace in the Middle
Board of Directors:

The undersigned members of the Board of Directors of Scholars
for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), a worldwide organization of
academics, denounce the recent raids on homes and the imprisonment
of faculty and administrators of the Baha’i Institute of Higher
Education (BIHE) and demand the immediate release of the 12 faculty
and staff members still imprisoned.

BIHE was founded in 1987 in response to the Iranian government’s
policy of requiring universities to expel or deny admission to
Baha’is. On May 21, 2011, the government of Iran raided and
searched the homes of 30 individuals associated with BIHE,
arresting 14 individuals in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, and Shiraz.
Over the next several days, the number of homes raided reached 40
and the number of arrests reached 17. Although some of those
arrested were subsequently released, 12 BIHE faculty and staff
remain in prison. On May 23, 2011, Agence France Press quoted a
government-run Iranian newspaper announcing the raids and arrests.
That was not the first such incident. Raids conducted in 1998,
2001, and 2002 also resulted in arrests of BIHE faculty and staff
and the confiscation of BIHE equipment and records. These acts are
part of the Iranian government’s explicit and well documented
campaign to “block the progress and development” of the Iranian
Baha’i community.

Iran’s actions with regard to Baha’i students and the faculty
and staff of BIHE violate the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes “the right of everyone
to education,” and access to higher education. Iran is a signatory
of this Covenant and should be held responsible for the ongoing
unlawful persecution of the Baha’i community.

We encourage faculty from around the world to endorse our demand
for the immediate release of the imprisoned BIHE faculty and

A petition will soon be released for signing, but SPME is
requesting that faculty members from around the world and others
who support this statement and initiative to write personal letters
to the Iranian Permanent Representative to the United Nations,
protesting the violations of human rights of the BIHE Faculty and

The contact information is:
Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United
622 Third Ave. New York, NY 10017
Tel: +1-212-687-2020 / Fax: +1-212-867-7086

Approved by the SPME Board of Directors July 8, 2011

Peter J. Haas, President, SPME; Case Western Reserve

Stanley Dubinsky, Vice President External Relations, SPME;
University of South Carolina

Judith Jacobson, Vice President Internal Relations, SPME;
Columbia University

Ruth Contreras, Secretary SPME; University of Vienna and Vienna
Natural History (ret.)

Shlomo Dubnov, Treasurer; University of California - San

Edward S. Beck President Emeritus, SPME; Walden University

Leila Beckwith, UCLA

Richard Cravatts, Simmons College

Steven Albert, University of Pittsburgh

John Cohn, Thomas Jefferson University

India Garnett, United Church of Christ, Central PA Synod

Kenneth Marcus, Institute for Jewish and Community Research

G.S. Don Morris, California Poly Tech Institute and Wingate
Institute, IL

Donna Robinson-Divine, Smith College

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, University of California-Santa Cruz

Philip Carl Salzman, McGill University

Ralf Schumann, Charite Berlin

Ernest Sternberg, University of Buffalo

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed
expert(s), click appropriate link.
Sam Edelman

Samuel Edelman, Executive Director, SPME, sedelman at, +1-530-570-8137

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