Zafar Iravan

When he was discharged in 1980, Zafar Iravan had served the Iranian Navy for 15 years, was the commander of a minesweeper, and was training to head the beast of the Iranian fleet, a destroyer. His dismissal papers named his religion. You are relieved of duty because you are Baha’i.

Both Zafar and his wife, Mahnaz, are Baha’i and both were engineers in the Iranian Navy. Zafar had studied in Italy to become a naval officer and rose quickly through the ranks until Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power in 1979. New laws did not recognize the minority Baha’i religion, and adherents of the Ayatollah’s brand of Islam treated Baha’is like heretics. They were barred from schools and government jobs. In the early years of the Islamic Republic, Baha’is also began to disappear, some imprisoned and others executed.