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

New York Times6 May 2011

HOUSTON - On a blustery night the week before Mother's Day, a woman and her daughter sat together on the sofa at a hair salon here. Nica Sabet had come to the beauty parlor after school, because it was where her mother, Nahid Sabet, worked. By this time, past 8 o'clock, the doors were locked and the customers gone, and Mrs. Sabet could tell the story that Nica had never heard in its entirety...The story, as revealed over several hours by Mrs. Sabet, began on the day 40 years earlier in Tehran when, as a 15-year-old, she converted from her family's Muslim faith to the Bahai religion...

The Wall Street Journal3 April 2011

The Islamic Republic is strangling its Bahai community—and it has gotten personal. The authorities are destroying the lives of the seven Bahai leaders, and have taken their campaign against all Iranians to the edge of barbarity. Events in the rest of the region have moved too quickly in the last three months for the world to look away. But the lengths to which Tehran is going to maintain the country's chilling status quo desperately needs our attention...

EUbusiness2 April 2011

The European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton said she was "disturbed" by Iran's reported doubling of a jail term for seven leaders of a religious minority, and demanded their freedom.”I am disturbed by recent information that the original 20-year prison sentences against seven former Bahai leaders may have been reinstated," the bloc's foreign policy chief said in a statement…

ABC, Australia1 April 2011

Iranian prison authorities have told seven jailed Baha'i leaders that their twenty-year sentences which had been halved by an appeals court have now been reinstated. The two women and five men were members of a national-level ad hoc group that attended to the needs of Iran's Baha'i community with the full knowledge and tacit consent of the Iranian authorities until they were rounded up and jailed in 2008. Two of the leaders have siblings in Australia, and others have other relatives here. Australian Baha'i Community spokesperson Tessa Scrine said the reinstatement of the sentences has "stunned and appalled" Australian Baha'is.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty1 April 2011

The United States and rights groups have condemned Iran's reported decision to reinstate 20-year prison terms for seven jailed Baha'i leaders… In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States remained concerned with the "continued persecution of Baha'is and other religious minority communities in Iran." …In a statement, Amnesty International condemned what it called a "vindictive" and "outrageous" decision and made a renewed call for the Baha'is' release.

AFP1 April 2011

The United States said Thursday it is "deeply troubled" by reports that Iranian authorities have reinstated 20-year jail terms against seven leaders of the Bahai religious minority. London-based human rights group Amnesty International said the authorities have reversed a decision by an Iranian appeals court to cut their sentences to 10 years.

ABC, Australia28 March 2011

The Baha'i New Year's day on 21 March is usually a time for celebration but for one South Australian Baha'i the festivities this year were tinged with sadness. Adelaide businessman Amin Tavakkoli spent the day with family and members of his local Baha'i community but he could not help his thoughts turning to his brother Behrouz, who is incarcerated in a crammed cell in a notorious jail in Iran. He has been locked up for his faith for nearly three years. Before their arrest, Behrouz Tavakkoli, 59, and six colleagues had been serving as leaders of the 300,000 members of the Baha'i Faith in Iran with the knowledge and tacit consent of the authorities…

Reuters24 March 2011

The U.N. Human Rights Council has established a special investigator on Iran, a move spearheaded by Washington that will subject Tehran's record to U.N. scrutiny for the first time in nearly a decade. Activists welcomed the move as historic, underlining the need for a focused investigation into widespread allegations of abuse, including arrests of political opponents and torture…[T]he Baha'i religious minority, which had seven leaders in Iran sentenced to prison last year for alleged espionage after a trial it said was unfair, welcomed the vote as historic.

iPolitics24 March 2011

Canada pledges to maintain its annual "diplomatic" assault on Iran at the United Nations — even though the world body's Human Rights Council earlier Thursday resumed direct scrutiny of the Islamic republic after a nine-year hiatus…Members of the international Baha'i community, which is 30,000-strong in Canada, were among groups who welcomed the council move as they continued to campaign for an end to persecution of Baha'is in Iran. The faith began there, but Iranian authorities consider those practicing it to be apostates. "They've been abusing the human rights of Baha'is for many decades, but for some time they've also been doing the same to the Muslim population," Bani Dugal, the community's chief representative at the UN, said from Geneva. "The international community is indicating they have had enough," she added, highlighting that "even Malaysia," a Muslim state, abstained instead of opposing the resolution — in defiance of traditional Muslim solidarity.

Radio Zamaneh19 March 2011

In a letter to the Iranian parliament, a Dutch parliamentary commission has urgently called for the release of seven leaders of the Baha’i community...The commission called on Iran to recognise the Baha’i faith as a religion and grant its followers full religious freedom. The MPs also called for the release of Yousef Naderkhani, a Christian priest from Gilan, and Sadegh Khanjani, both converts from Islam to Christianity.

The Times of India18 March 2011

In India, over 90 prominent citizens from all corners of the country have raised their voices in a written response to the government and leadership of Iran. A joint statement issued by three major organisations has called upon the international community to act with urgency for the release of seven Bahais…

VOA News16 March 2011

In a newly published report, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern regarding human rights abuses in Iran, including reports of "increased executions, amputations, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, and possible torture and ill-treatment of human rights activists, lawyers and opposition activists."… As an example of the ongoing repression in Iran, an undisclosed number of people have recently been arrested for supposedly preaching the Baha'i faith in several Iranian cities…As noted in Secretary General Ban's report, the Iranian authorities' treatment of Baha'is and their continued repression of human rights in Iran offer strong evidence of the need for the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish a special rapporteur on Iran to gather more information on conditions there and to raise international pressure on the government to stop violating the rights of the Iranian people…

CNN Belief Blog11 February 2011

It is a bad time to be a Baha'i in Iran, American adherents of the faith say. The religion, founded in Iran in 1844, is now considered heretical by Iranian authorities. Its 300,000 adherents in the country "may face repression on the grounds of apostasy," according to the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. On Wednesday, Iraj Kamalabadi and other Baha'is came to Washington to tell the commission just how bad things are for his sister, Fariba Kamalabadi, and six others who have been imprisoned because of their faith since 2008.

Agence France Presse9 February 2011

Prison conditions are worsening for seven leaders of Iran's Bahai community who are staying in cramped cells with poor sanitation alongside common criminals, US-based relatives said Wednesday… Leonard Leo, the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, called Iran's treatment of the Bahai community "outrageous" and supported intensified pressure by the United States. Leo pointed to the Iran Sanctions Act signed last year by President Barack Obama. The law takes aim at Iranians involved in human rights abuses, adding the issue to US concerns with the Islamic republic such as its nuclear program."There are many other things, hopefully, that we can do in waging a broad-based campaign to stop the repression and to defend the rights of not only your family members and brethren but any other Bahais," Leo said.

Voice of America News28 November 2010

The U.S. State Department has released its annual global report on religious liberty, and Iran is ranked once again as one of the world's worst violators of a fundamental freedom. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained why the U.S. publishes such a report: "The United States cares about religious freedom. We have worked hard to enforce religious freedom. We want to see religious freedom available universally. And we want to advocate for the brave men and women who around the world persist in practicing their beliefs in the face of hostility and violence." In Iran, that hostility and violence are profound. Members of Iran's minority religions, especially Baha'is, are targeted. Since January 2010, 50 Baha'is have been arbitrarily arrested and scores remain in prison. Baha'i students are denied a university education. Baha'i burial grounds have been repeatedly desecrated; the 7 leaders of the Baha'i community in Iran have been convicted of national security crimes and sentenced to 10 years in prison. …