The Iranian government is one step closer to eradicating discrimination against those deprived of higher education, but a cloud of uncertainty still hovers over the fate of Bahais.
Iranian students study as they wait for a bus in central Tehran, Jan. 16, 2016.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani has approved a bill on the right to further education and tabled it to the Iranian parliament. According to the Reformist daily Etemad, if ratified, the bill could decide the fate of so-called “starred students.” The term refers to university students barred from pursuing degrees for allegedly engaging in political activities deemed illegal and against national security. These activities could range from posting on social media to attending protests and leading student unions. Once marked as starred, these students are officially denied the right to move up the educational ladder despite having passed highly competitive entrance exams.
The widespread use of the practice brought the issue to greater light during the past two presidential elections in Iran, where candidates from both conservative and Reformist camps tried to appease the public by criticizing the policy.
Historian and university professor Gholamreza Zarifian described the practice as an oppressive measure that “after implementation turned into a political and social issue.”
Now, based on what has been approved by the Rouhani Cabinet, no one should be deprived of continuing education for reasons other than “lacking educational qualifications.” There are exceptions — namely with reference to “those convicted of organized crime, human trafficking, waging war against God and espionage.”
“If passed, the bill will fully consolidate the basic right to education as enshrined in chapter 3 of the constitution,” Rouhani’s deputy for legal affairs Laya Joneidi told Etemad.
The official Iran daily hailed the Cabinet decision as a crucial step toward eliminating educational discrimination, “a policy pursued by the administration of prudence and moderation” — the slogan of Rouhani’s government.
Interviewed by the same paper, Shahindokht Molaverdi — who serves as Rouhani’s special assistant for citizenship rights — also welcomed the step, saying, “With the new measure, no student will be deprived of education.”
But the key implication of the bill could be seen in the potential impact on Bahais, a faith that is outlawed by the Islamic Republic and whose followers are subjected to severe persecution. For decades, members of the Bahai community who openly endorse the faith have been denied higher education. That has, in consequence, forced a large number of them to seek education abroad.
Outspoken Reformist parliament member Mahmoud Sadeghi, a lawyer himself, was quick to react to the Cabinet measure. “Seemingly good news but bad news in reality,” he tweeted. Sadeghi added, “It is an unprofessional amendment, which turns the law against itself. Depriving people of the right to education on the basis of charges even for serious offenses violates the constitution.”
Sadeghi was notably challenged by one user, who tweeted, “How about Bahais whose right to continue education was denied by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution 28 years ago?”
“This is also in breach of the right to education and is against the constitution,” Sadeghi replied.
The Rouhani Cabinet measure has yet to be ratified by the parliament and the conservative supervising body, the Guardian Council. Even if it overcomes the two hurdles, the original proposal has left out the fate of Bahais and has made no effort to abolish the old law approved by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, offering little promise for Bahais who have long complained of educational oppression among other forms of discrimination.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.