Mahvash Sabet

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Mahvash Sabet (February 4, 1953) was one of the seven members of the group known as the Friends in Iran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on the 5th of March, 2008 in Mashhad. She remains in prison with her colleagues awaiting trial.


Mahvash Sabet is a teacher and school principal who was dismissed from public education for being a Bahá’í. For the last 15 years, she has been director of the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education, which provides alternative higher education for Bahá’í youth. She also served as secretary to the Friends.

Born Mahvash Shahriyari on 4 February 1953 in Ardestan, Mrs. Sabet moved to Tehran when she was in the fifth grade. In university, she studied psychology, obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

She began her professional career as a teacher and also worked as a principal at several schools. In her professional role, she also collaborated with the National Literacy Committee of Iran. After the Islamic revolution, however, like thousands of other Iranian Bahá’í educators, she was fired from her job and blocked from working in public education.

It was after this that she became director of the BIHE, where she also has taught psychology and management.

She married Siyvash Sabet on 21 May 1973. They have a son, Foroud Sabet, 33, and a daughter, Negar Sabet, 24, both born in Hamadan.

While all of the other Friends were arrested at their homes in Tehran on 14 May 2008, Mrs. Sabet was arrested in Mashhad on 5 March 2008. Although she resides in Tehran, she had been summoned to Mashhad by the Ministry of Intelligence, ostensibly on the grounds that she was required to answer questions related to the burial of an individual in the Bahá’í cemetery in that city.