Iran’s campaign to deny higher education to Baha’is

Profiles of Baha’i educators

Among the Baha’i educators who have been recently detained in Iran are:

Mahmoud Badavam

58-year old Mahmoud Badavam holds a degree in electronic engineering from Tehran Polytechnic University and a postgraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A. The manager of civil engineering projects and a lecturer for the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education, Mr. Badavam is married with one child. In 1986, Mr. Badavam was incarcerated for a period of three years for being a Baha’i. He has been in prison since his arrest on 22 May 2011, and first appeared in court on Tuesday 27 September 2011. He is now serving a four-year prison sentence.


Faran Hesami

Faran Hesami, 37, worked as a psychology instructor with BIHE and has also been involved in private practice. After completing their undergraduate education at BIHE, she and her husband – Kamran Rahimian – graduated in December 2003 with Master’s degrees in Educational Counseling from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Mrs. Hesami was summoned to court and arrested along with her husband on 13 September 2011. She was told that her Master’s degree is illegal and therefore her work as a counselor is also illegal. She was sentenced to four-years imprisonment.


Nooshin Khadem

Nooshin Khadem, 48, gained a General Studies degree – the only major available via correspondence course from Indiana University, U.S.A. She also later received a postgraduate Masters of Business Administration from Carleton University, Canada. Ms. Khadem worked in an administrative capacity with BIHE. She was arrested on 22 May 2011 and first appeared in court on Tuesday 27 September 2011. She is currently serving a four year prison sentence.


Vahid Mahmoudi

Vahid Mahmoudi, 48, studied sociology at BIHE and had been working as a director of the Institute. He is married with two children. In 1982, at the age of 19, he was arrested and served six years in prison for being a Baha’i. Sentenced in October 2011 to five years in prison, he was released on 8 January 2012 after his sentence was reportedly suspended.


Kamran Mortezaie

Kamran Mortezaie, 59, is serving a five year prison sentence. He holds a degree in electronic engineering from Áryámihr University – now the Sharif University of Technology – in Iran, as well as a postgraduate degree from George Washington University in the U.S.A. Having been denied the right to practice his profession for being a Baha’i, he worked in the building industry. He was a director of BIHE and a lecturer in computing. He was among 36 members of BIHE’s faculty and staff who were arrested during a series of raids carried out in 1998 by the Iranian authorities. He is the father of one child.


Amanollah Mostaghim

Amanollah Mostaghim, 63, completed his early education in Shiraz and went to the United States for higher education; he holds a BSc degree in Civil engineering from Texas Tech University. He returned to Iran in 1980, and worked in the area of civil engineering in several provinces, before eventually settling in Shiraz. He was arrested on 22 May 2011 and released on bail after 38 days. On 16 June 2012, he was summoned to court and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. He is married with three children.


Foad Moghaddam

Foad Moghaddam, 62, has a Medical degree in general medicine from the Medical school of Tabriz. He practiced medicine for 33 years and has been involved with BIHE for 17 years. Dr. Moghaddam was arrested on 22 May 2011. On 25 June 2011 he was released on bail. On 16 June 2012, he was summoned to court and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. He is now serving his sentence. Dr. Moghaddam suffers heart problems. He is married and has three children.


Shahin Negari

Shahin Negari, 44, is a BIHE graduate in pharmaceutical science. He also received his M.SC in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Until his arrest, Mr. Negari had worked in Tehran as a technical advisor, while being involved with the operation of BIHE. He was arrested on 22 May 2011 and was released on bail after a month. He was sentenced to four zears of imprisonment. On 13 January 2013, Mr. Negari was taken into custody without prior notification. He is married and has two children.


Kamran Rahimian

Along with his wife Faran Hesami, Kamran Rahimian, 42, worked as a psychology instructor with BIHE. After completing his undergraduate education at BIHE, he graduated with Master’s degrees in Educational Counseling from the University of Ottawa, Canada in December 2003. He was summoned to court with his wife and two other Baha’is on 13 September 2011. The other two were released on bail soon afterwards. Mr. Rahimian was sentenced to four-years imprisonment and is serving his sentence at Gohardasht prison, some 50 kilometers west of Tehran.


Kayvan Rahimian

Kayvan Rahimian, 48, is a BIHE graduate in psychology and had been involved in private practice as a counselor. He also worked as a psychology instructor with BIHE. He was arrested on 14 September 2011 and was released on bail on 21 September 2011. Mr. Rahimian was told that his Master’s degree is illegal and therefore his work as a counselor is also illegal. On 30 September 2012, Mr. Rahimian was summoned to begin his five years’ imprisonment sentence. He is the father of a 13-year old daughter and has recently lost his wife, Fereshteh Sobhani, to cancer.


Farhad Sedghi

Farhad Sedghi, 64, has a degree in accountancy and financial management. He was expelled from his postgraduate mechanical engineering studies for being a Baha’i. A lecturer with BIHE, he also worked as an accountant and financial adviser. He is married with three children. He was arrested on 22 May 2011 and first appeared in court on Tuesday 20 September. He has recently begun a four-year prison sentence.


Riaz Sobhani

Arrested on 14 June 2011, Riaz Sobhani holds a post-graduate diploma certificate in building industry. He worked for BIHE as a building industry consultant and manager. Married with three children, he appeared in court on 1 October 2011. He was given a four-year jail term.


Ramin Zibaie

Ramin Zibaie, 44, has a postgraduate degree in psychology from BIHE where he worked as a director and a lecturer in psychology. He is also an educational counselor. Married with two children, Mr. Zibaie reportedly first appeared in court on 1 October 2011. He is currently serving a four year prison sentence.


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