by Wahid Azal
A few people have been writing me asking about the brouhaha in Iran over the meeting and selfie of Faezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani (daughter of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani) with the paroled Baha’i leader Fariba Kamalabadi who is one of 7 leaders of the ad hoc Iranian Baha’i administration known as the Yaran: all of whom were tried and imprisoned for espionage in 2008. This brouhaha has spilled into the world press and is — no surprises — currently being used as propaganda fodder (or, rather, a bludgeon) by the usual suspects against Iran. One does need to go into all the convoluted specifics and details of this case to realize what is going on and where the proverbial rooster’s tail is jotting out and who benefits from it.
Be that as it may, for the record, the Islamic Republic of Iran — while it does not constitutionally recognize or accord legitimacy to Bahaism as a creed — has no state sponsored policy of persecuting Bahaism either. Baha’is as Iranian citizens are accorded full citizenship rights. Nevertheless, besides the fact that at all stages of its history Bahaism has been consistently sponsored and supported by the forces of Anglo-European imperialism and colonialism, the issues the Islamic Republic of Iran has with the activities of Bahaism inside Iran have to do with the fact that organizationally its leadership — who are headquartered in the heart of the Zionist entity in Haifa, occupied Palestine — have consistently enjoyed a very tightly knit relationship with the state of Israel and its establishment: the Israeli establishment who have quite literally protected the Baha’is since 1948 and to whose existence the Baha’is themselves have been the biggest beneficiaries (take one good look at their architectural megalomania in the Hanging Gardens of Babylonia on Mt Carmel which they have constructed for themselves to see what I mean — google either ‘Baha’i World Centre’ or ‘Baha’i Gardens Haifa’ and behold).
As such the Haifan Baha’i organization and its representatives — and not Bahaism as a whole, since there are schismatic Baha’i sects around who are not connected or loyal to the Haifan organization at all (groups which the IRI has no interest in whatsoever) — represent a national security threat to Iran in a similar fashion as various radical Islamist terrorist organizations would theoretically pose national security threats to Western governments and their internal national security interests. It should be noted as well that France banned Scientology and proscribes its activities by law, and to some extent Germany as well, and the situation of the Haifan Baha’i organization in Iran is legally similar to the situation of Scientology or the Jehovah’s Witnesses in France and Germany. The Western media often likes to blow the Baha’i issue in Iran beyond all reasonable proportions while conveniently remaining silent or otherwise downplaying similar parallels existing in Western countries.
That said, precisely for the reasons specified above, Faezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s public meeting with Iranian Baha’i leader Fariba Kamalabadi — the representative of a proscribed organization (with deep ties to Israel and the US) who was found guilty in 2008 of facilitating espionage against the Islamic Republic of Iran and so imprisoned (now paroled) — would be somewhat analogous to a public figure in the West meeting and taking selfies with one of the high inner circle members of Daesh or some such. Individuals who have met with Edward Snowden since his flight to Russia in 2013 have been harassed by American and British political and law enforcement authorities in far, far worse fashion than anything currently happening to Faezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani in Iran. She is being denounced in the hardline press. Her political enemies are blowing lots of steam in the papers, and that’s about it. She may have a date with the judiciary, but it is unlikely that anything further will happen to her given who her father is. And let us not forget that an individual belonging to a proscribed organization which is tied to an enemy country who has murdered Iranian nuclear scientists — an individual who was tried, sentenced and imprisoned for espionage — is currently out and enjoying some semblance of freedom within Iran itself.
On the day when Julian Assange can come out of that hole in the Ecuadorian embassy in London he’s been sitting in since 2012 without being nabbed immediately by the MET police and sent to Sweden or when Edward Snowden can return safely home to the US from Russia, is the day when either the American or British governments and corporate media can wax indignant about Iran and its issues with the proscribed Haifan Baha’i organization (which, incidentally, Western social science itself has contextualized as being an NRM cult like Scientology etc).