Situation of Iranian Bahá’ís

Situation of Baha’is in Iran

Media reports

Reports in the news media about the situation of Iranian Baha’is

Foreign Policy Association6 May 2013

“…human rights groups should work towards further educating the Iranian population about the Baha’i Faith so as to counter the aggressive propaganda campaign that the Islamic Republic has instilled in the country’s schools and institutions, enforcing a fabricated and ideological view that Baha’is are heretics and members of a cult

Jornal Do Brasil5 May 2013

“Seguidores da religião Bahá’i fizeram hoje (5) no Rio de Janeiro uma manifestação em defesa da liberdade religiosa no Irã e pela libertação de fiéis bahá’is presos na república islâmica. O protesto, na Praia de Copacabana, na zona sul da cidade, faz parte de uma mobilização internacional, que prevê manifestações em várias cidades do mundo nas próximas duas semanas.”

O Globo Mundo5 May 2013

“Cerca de 30 seguidores da religião Bahá’í e participantes de grupos ligados à defesa dos direitos humanos se reuniram nas areias de Copacabana neste domingo para protestar contra o Irã.”

Chicago Tribune20 January 2013

"One skinny scar lies just to the side of Minoo Panahi's left eye from when a Muslim classmate threw a rock at her. Several round spots mark her face — the result of a nervous scratching habit developed after years of stress. An emotional ache lingers decades after her father was murdered, shot in the head when he opened the front door. The River North resident is one of an estimated hundreds of Chicago Baha'is who share the pain of a persecuted past." ...

The Times (South Africa)30 November 2012

A UN committee has expressed concern about ongoing human rights violations in Iran. The General Assembly's Third Committee called upon Iran to stop such violations, release prisoners of conscience and open its doors to international rights monitors. South Africa is one of 68 states that abstained from yesterday's vote, which was passed 83 to 31. …

Deutsche Welle24 September 2012

“The medals won by Iranian athletes at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 was impressive. With a total of 12 medals, including four gold, Iran ranked in the top quarter of participating countries. It could perhaps have been more – but to be a professional athlete is not sufficient in Iran if you belong to the "wrong" religious group. This was the case of judoist Khashayar Zarei. In his age and weight class, the 19-year-old is one of the best in Iran. But participation in international competitions is denied him by the Islamic Republic. Because Khashayar Zarei belongs to the Baha'i Faith. Now he has been excluded because of his religion from studying architecture at the University of Shiraz…This is only a recent example of the various discriminations against Baha'is in Iran, which also includes bans on assembly, business closures, and finally incarceration.”

Frontline14 September 2012

"Having grown up with the indignities of the apartheid system in South Africa," writes Professor Winston Nagan, "I bristle whenever I hear anyone equate a government's treatment of a portion of its citizenry to apartheid. Usually, the claims are exaggerated. But in Iran today, the government's treatment of the Baha'i community bears striking similarities."

Open Democracy9 September 2012

“Iranian government officials and state-sponsored media routinely accuse groups they dislike of committing crimes and posing security threats,” writes Omid Memarian. “Over many years, such charges rarely have proven true, yet Iranians have also tended not to challenge these narratives. Today, a cultural shift is visible, as discussions within civil society about human rights increasingly contest the old, dominant perceptions.”

Chicago Tribune15 July 2012

Highland Park resident Nasrin Nakhaei learned in May that her 85-year-old father, Muhammad-Husayn Nakha'i, had been arrested and jailed in his home country of Iran. The government has not said why it arrested him, Nakhaei said, but the family suspects it's because of his Baha'i faith.

Screen Comment2 June 2012

“Iranian documentary filmmaker Reza Allamehzadeh has exposed the plight of Bahá’ís in Iran with a new documentary called “Iranian taboo.”” writes Ali Naderzad. “Adherents of the faith have been persecuted by the Iranian Islamic Republic because they are considered un-Islamic. Banned from Iran himself (but not a Bahá’í) Allamehzadeh enlisted the help of friends in the country who recorded footage clandestinely. Bahaism is a modern-day religion founded in Iran in the 19th century which counts around six million adherents…Aside from its humanness as faith, Bahá’ísm also typifies what iranianness means: to be egalitarian, magnanimous, in control of one’s own faith, and always seeking to improve himself and the world he lives in.” ...

Frontline1 June 2012

"I spent two and half years of my life unjustly imprisoned in Iran," writes Kamiar Alaei, who with his brother was running a public health program for people with HIV/AIDS and drug addicts. "I'm fortunate I was released in the fall of 2010. But for my former cellmates, members of Iran's imprisoned Baha'i leadership group, freedom has proved elusive."

Corriere della Sera24 May 2012

“’A cultural genocide perpetrated with widespread indifference’”. This is how Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi defines the repression carried out by Iran’s Ayatollah regime against the followers of the Baha’i religion, which for years has continued to grow more severe, according to a report by Amnesty International in 2012 in the chapter on freedom of religion. Unlawful seizure, dozens of arrests, dozens of disappearances, unpaid pensions, vandalized or destroyed cemeteries, prohibitions on hiring Baha’is, incitement to hatred by mullas, burned homes, blocked access to university for those who do not claim to be Muslim on admissions forms, coercion of students to recant their faith, which they refuse to do, with the result that young Baha’is are banned from pursuing a higher education…”

Huffington Post22 May 2012

Sarah Shourd was captured by Iranian forces while hiking near the border between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan in July 2009 and then held in solitary confinement for 14 months at Evin Prison, Tehran. "During the 410 days that I spent inside the closed walls of Evin Prison, I often wondered what the human beings alongside me were being punished for," she writes. "I now know exactly who the people next to me were, and that many of them are still there. They are…women like Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet, members of the Baha'i leadership who have now been held unjustly for a total of 10,000 days without legal representation or a trial. While in prison, I once had the extraordinary experience of meeting Fariba Kamalabadi..."

The Chronicle of Higher Education13 May 2012

The rule barring Baha’is from Iran's colleges and universities is "enforced with particular vigor by the hard-line government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," writes Sohrab Ahmari, an Iranian-American journalist and a nonresident associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. Baha'i efforts to educate their youth are “a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of this embattled group...Sadly, however, a severe regime crackdown begun last year threatens to finally realize Golpaygani's dream of culturally erasing Iran's Baha'is."

Kuam News14 April 2012

“Extreme religious intolerance and persecution in Iran against Baha'is in that country have resulted in an outcry from the international community and on Guam,” writes Kuam News, Guam’s news network. “A legislative resolution has been introduced to join with many others, condemning the Iranian government for the persecution and for denying the Baha'i's basic human rights and education in Iran…The U.S. Senate and Congress as well as the United Nations have all passed resolutions condemning the actions of the Iranian government. And on Monday, the Guam Legislature will hold a public hearing on a similar resolution to express the island's disdain with what's happening in Iran.”