Iran allows Baha'i to attend university, if they renounce faith

Iran allows Baha'i to attend university, if they renounce faith
An Iranian human rights group has claimed that Baha'i students have been told to renounce their faith to attend university in the country.
2 min read
27 September, 2017
Iran's Baha'i remain hugely persecuted, the minority claims [AFP]

Iranian students belonging to the Baha'i minority religion, have been told to renounce their faith if they want to attend university, a human rights group has claimed.

The Centre for Human Rights in Iran said around 100 Baha'i students were rejected from universities this year, despite passing entrance examinations.

Students were told to visit the evaluation department to answer questions about "defects" in their application.

There they were told the university authorities had a problem with their faith.

"The official put two forms in front of me. One form was for personal information and the other contained a statement that I would not follow the tenets of the Baha'i faith - whose leadership is based in Palestine - and agree not to carry out any religious activities," the student, who wanted to remain anonymous said.

He refused to renounce his faith, but agreed to sign a letter stating that he will be discreet about his religious beliefs and loves his country.

It appeared to be not enough for the authorities and the student has not heard back from the university about his application.

Another student was told by the university that he must renounce his faith to continue his studies.

"Authorities said I would have the opportunity to gain a university education if I wrote a statement that I am now a Muslim and repent forever for being a Baha'i. I refused to write it and so I was denied enrollment," the teenager said.

Iran is ruled by a Shia-Muslim theocracy and although some faiths are tolerated the Baha'i minority face persecution.

Baha'i graveyards have been allegedly desecrated by authorities, and the faith is viewed as a political movement rather than a religion.

Iranian authorities claim no religious minority is arrested due to their faith.

The Baha'i spiritual centre is based in Israel, Tehran's nemesis in the region.