Young Baha'i would-be students who passed this year’s national university entrance exams in Iran have been hauled in by education officials for questioning.

On Wednesday, November 11, a number of Baha’i candidates were summoned by telephone to the Karaj branch of Sanjesh, the body responsible for organizing and overseeing the annual tests.

Several of those in attendance said that on arrival, candidates were taken into a private room and their mobile phones were confiscated. They were then questioned about their belief in the Baha’i faith, and made to fill out questionnaires on their family members, personal relations and social media activities.

In the end, candidates were told that they would be allowed to enroll and study at Iranian universities on the condition that they sign a letter of commitment.

The document, attendees said, asked them to undertake to obey the laws of the Islamic Republic and refrain from “propagating” the Baha’i faith. They were also asked to agree not to associate with Baha'i organizations and to disregard the edicts of the Universal House of Justice, supreme ruling body for the global Bahaʼi community.

Not one of the candidates reportedly signed. This means, in effect, that they are barred from entering higher education in Iran.

It comes after a welter of complaints from Baha’i students following the 2020 entrance exam in late summer. After the results were announced, Baha’i candidates said, they logged in only to see an error message that read “incomplete file”. This meant, once again, that potentially hundreds of bright young people cannot will not be able to to pursue their studies in their country of birth this year.

 

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