Iran steps up persecution of its Baha'i minority

Published date05 August 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
For more stories from The Media Line go to themedialine.org

In the village of Roushankouh, in Mazandaran Province on Tuesday, about 200 Iranian agents destroyed six homes, confiscated over 20 hectares (50 acres) of land, and arrested more than 100 Baha'is, the Bahá'í World News Service reported, added that this followed weeks of intensifying persecution.

Diane Ala'i, the representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, urged the international community to intervene.

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"Given the Iranian government policy documents persecuting Baha'is, the international community must act immediately before it is too late," she said.

Dr. Ariane Sabet, deputy secretary general of the Baha'i International Community, stressed that the Iranian persecution is nothing new.

"For the past 44 years, there have been accusations about the Baha'is spying for Israel or other foreign powers. There has never been any proof of that," she told The Media Line.

She added that the character of the persecution has changed over time.

In the early days of the Islamic Republic, the Baha'i community experienced many killings and executions. Later, the mistreatment became more of a silent persecution that includes economic strangulation, exclusion from higher education, demoralization, and banishment of institution officials, Sabet explained.

"There is a pattern of systematic persecution, there's a plan for persecution that has been both formalized in government documents of the Iranian government and also been felt by the Baha'i community," she said, adding that lately, the level of persecution has increased and has become more open.

The number of incidents, the arrests, the land grab, and the demolition of homes, all show a direction that could be further stepped up, Sabet said. The state-run media is very much in line with this with anti-Baha'i propaganda pieces, disseminating hate speech and incitement to hatred and possible violence.

The Baha'i faith is a monotheistic religion that emerged from Islam in Persia in the 19th century. Its founder, Mírzá Ḥusayn-'Alí Núrí, known as Baháʼu'lláh, was imprisoned and then banished from Persia to the Ottoman Empire in 1853. He went through several stages of exile and...

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