Persecution of the Bahais: a letter from an imprisoned Iranian to his deceased wife

Keyvan Rahimian, 59, is an Iranian translator and psychologist incarcerated in Evin prison, Tehran, since June 2023 for his Bahai faith. He had already been imprisoned twice, in 2004 (with his wife, Ferecheh) and in 2012, after the latter’s death. He is particularly known for having translated the works of the American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg in Persian.

Keyvan’s father was executed in 1984 because of his religious affiliation (the Bahais have been more persecuted since the establishment of the Islamic regime in 1979). In a letter to his wife, Ferecheh, who died twelve years ago, Keyvan returns to his own history and the discrimination suffered by the Bahais in Iran.

My dear Ferecheh,

After seven or eight years (since my last letter), I am writing to you again from prison about what happened to us during these years. Since you left, many changes have taken place in our personal, family and social lives.

I’ll start with the most important ones: our daughter, Jina, started her life with Ehsan. They built their love nest together. This day was a turning point in his life and, of course, in mine (…).

Even when, on July 18, 2023, I was taken to Evin Prison, I felt happiness (for Jina) and a certain serenity. I was less worried about our daughter this time than the two previous times, in 2004, when you and I were arrested together. Jina was only 3 years old then. Then in 2012, seven months after your death, when I was imprisoned with my brother Kamran and his wife. Jina was only 11 years old then.

My dear Ferecheh, I was arrested for religious proselytism. I spent forty-five days in solitary confinement cells

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