Bahai News - NUMBER OF IRANIANS LEAVING AT ANY CONDITION UNPRECEDENTED
NUMBER OF IRANIANS LEAVING AT ANY CONDITION UNPRECEDENTED
By Safa Haeri
BONN 8TH Jan. The tragic death of some thirty Iranian immigrants
trying to reach Germany from Serbia has alarmed both Iranian and
international authorities, with a number of Iranian experts and sociologists
warning about the dramatic consequence the desertion of such a large number,
among them many brains and young, presents for the future of the nation.
As the Italian authorities announced the expulsion of more than six
thousand illegal Iranian immigrants from Italy, authorities in several
European countries like Britain, Germany, Austria, France, Scandinavia but
also Australia, New Zealand and Philippines reported a noted increase in
the number of Iranians seeking political asylum but mostly trying to enter
Western immigration officials confirmed the number of Iranians among
illegal immigrants is rising steadily, making them one, if not the largest
British immigration authorities put the number of Iranians seeking political
asylum in the last month of the last year at more than seven hundreds.
In Germany, where conditions for acquiring citizenship have eased, the
number of Iranians registering for political asylum reached the record of
more than six thousands.
Official statistics released by other European governments confirm the same
trend, forcing the authorities to enforce tighter measures at their borders
preventing illegal entries, organized by unscrupulous networks of
international smugglers, some of them ruthless, not hesitating to abandon
the poor immigrants in wrecked ships, or in some cases killing them when
intercepted by local guards, as it happened recently in the former
Yugoslav smugglers when caught by German border patrols gunned down more than
70 immigrants, including 30 Iranians, among them women and children, said a
shocked Iranian woman who saw her husband and two children shot, told an
Iranian psychotherapist in Germany.
More than one hundreds Iranians lost their lives in the Sava River separating
Bosnia-Herzegovina from Croatia when their ship sunk under fire from Croatian
Survivors from a Georgian-owned ship that broke in two parts after it hurt
rock in Turkey said at 50 immigrants who lost their lives were Iranians.
There were Iranians among the hundred immigrants arrested two weeks agon an
Some hundred others are in custody at the French port of Calais, main
crossing points for thousands of immigrants from poor third world countries,
including China, Sri-Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraqi and Turkish Kurdistan.
Philippine authorities turned back last week a group of one hundred
Iranian immigrants using faked European passports. Manila newspapers
described the group as Iranian "terrorists" en route to the
Muslim-dominated Jolo island to join Al Sayyaf organization, the Muslim
terrorists that kidnapped a dozen of French, German, Finnish, Malaysian and
Philippine tourists as well as 4 French journalists.
Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the Iraqi Kurdistan are the main points of
passage for Iranians seeking to reach foreign destinations, mostly Europeans
but also as far as Australia and New Zealand.
Western experts say each illegal immigrant pay between 1000 to 5000 US
Dollars to passers, most of them totally unscrupulous, who often rob their
clients, rape women and kill others before abandoning them in high seas.
Experts observes that the number of Iranians, the majority of them ordinary
people, young ones of both sexes, middle class and in some cases aged ones
has augmented to unprecedented levels after a period of stagnation that
followed the surprising victory of Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami in the May
"Not only people started to hope, expecting better days and brighter future
as promised by the new president, but also some Iranians who had left after
the creation of Islamic Republic returned", observed Dr. Fariborz
Ra'is-Dana, a professor of political science at Tehran University.
But as Mr. Khatami failed to implement his promises and as the
conservatives tightened the rope, the economic, social, cultural and
political situation worsened. The "pioneers" who had returned packed again,
dismayed by bureaucratic bottlenecks, insults, deliberate provocations by
hard-line controlled pressures groups, jalousie of the nouveaux riches,
frustrations and above all restrictive measures imposed on the society by
the zealots and encouraged by the lamed and fundamentalist leader of the
regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i.
Officials revealed that some ninety percent of young Iranian "brains"
awarded in various international Olympiads leaves Iran, employed by Western
companies and governments.
And while they have also admitted that the age for female prostitution has
lowered from over twenty to under eighteen and the number of hard drug
addicts among the young ones has more then doubled, independent experts put
the "starting age" for young prostitutes at 12, not taking into account the
"temporary marriage", a form of religious-sanctioned prostitution named
Qasem Sho'leh Sa'di, a former deputy from Shiraz and a jurist said twenty
years of systematic official propaganda and billions spent to raise the
young generation in so-called Islamic values, the sad result is that not
only a great majority of our young force that presents the future of any
nation would leave for other destinations if doors were open, but
prostitution, corruption and drug addiction have reached unprecedented
Mr. Behruz Afkhami, an MM (member of the Majles, or the Iranian
parliament) from Tehran who is also a movie director, faced a storm of
criticism after he confessed that his son of twelve is urging him unabatedly
to leave Iran for the United States.
"When I asked him why he so eager to go to the States, he said because every
thing is there and nothing here", Mr. Afkhami explained to angry colleagues
who accused him of treason.
"Faced by the tragic realities, authorities reversed their attitude from
official silence to official acceptance of the facts", observed Mrs.
Mehranguiz Kaar, a respected but dissident lawyer, human rights
activist specializing in family affairs.
One of the most tragic aspects of this trend, encouraged in this case by the
"apartheid" of a tiny minority of ruling Shi'ite fundamentalists led by
Ayatollah Khameneh'i is the flight of religious minorities from a country
that was a symbol of religious tolerance and togetherness throughout the
The number of the Jews, who's written history in Iran dates to at
least four thousands years has dwindled from over 100.000 before the Islamic
revolution of 1979 to between 20.000 to 30.000 and continue unabated,
specially after the condemnation of 13 Jews accused of espionage for Israel.
Even though, not only the Iranian Jewish community is still the largest
among all Middle Eastern and Muslims-dominated nations, but also free to
perform their rites.
The Baha'is, a religion that was born in Iran in the first years of
the past century and unlike the Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, has never
been officially recognized, even under the previous regime, suffers utter
repression and hardship, their temples destroyed by the authorities, facing
imprisonment and assassination and forced to convert to sh'ism, have seen
their number down from over a million before the revolution to a mere
While about half of the 350.000 strong Christian community has left
Iran, mostly for France and the United States, the Zoroastrians,
probably the world first monotheist religion and Iranians first official
faith before Islam are also living Iran.
"If this tendency continue and Iran loses its religious minorities, it would
be Iran's most devastating tragedy", said Mr. Sadeq Saba, the BBC's
senior commentator on Iranian affairs.
Experts cite unemployment, inflation, economic fiasco, worsening political
situation, bundle closure of outspoken independent publications, imprisonment
of influential journalists, intellectuals and popular politicians, endless
feuding between opposing factions, President Khatami's tergiversations and
hesitations, but above all harsh social and cultural restrictions imposed
on the people, mostly the young ones, by religious zealots keen to impose
outdated, inadequate Islamic dogmas as the main reason for Iranians to
leave. ENDS IRANIAN IMMIGRANTS
©Copyright 2001, Iran Press Service
Page last updated/revised 011501
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