Baha’is everywhere work for the betterment of society. In Iran, too, Baha’is strive to contribute where possible to the peaceful development of their country. Unfortunately, the Iranian government has blocked them at every turn, solely because of their religious beliefs.
Baha’is, who are Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, are routinely arrested, detained, and imprisoned. They are barred from holding government jobs, and their shops and other enterprises are routinely closed or discriminated against by officials at all levels. Young Baha’is are prevented from attending university, and those volunteer Baha’i educators who have sought to fill that gap have been arrested and imprisoned.
“Iranian Baha'is deeply love their homeland, despite all the suffering they have endured. Regardless of the restrictions imposed on them, they fulfil their spiritual and social responsibilities. Through participation in constructive discourse with neighbours, co-workers, friends and acquaintances, they nonetheless continue to contribute to the advancement of their nation and its people.”
Campaign of incitement
This systematic persecution, which has been ongoing since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, has been further inflamed by a campaign to incite hatred against Baha’is in the official news media. Although most Iranians are not deceived by this campaign, it has been associated with a series of violent attacks on Baha’is and their properties—including an extensive campaign to vandalize or destroy Baha’i cemeteries.
Striving to call attention to their plight
Because Iranian Baha’is are unable to speak out internationally, our Office acts as the official outlet for information on the situation of Iranian Baha’is. We also seek to use all available international mechanisms to call attention to their plight. Such efforts include advocacy and support of resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council and in the General Assembly, cooperation with other human rights NGOs, and outreach to the international news media, along with the coordination of various campaigns to raise awareness about the ongoing human rights violations against Iran’s peaceful and nonviolent Baha’i community.