Translation by Iran Press Watch
Federica Mogherini expected in Tehran (5 Aug) – Baha’i leadership still imprisoned (press release)
Shortly before the departure of Federica Mogherini for Iran, the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) asked the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to call for the release of the seven imprisoned members of the informal leadership of the Baha’i religious community, as well as the nonviolent Iranian prisoner Mohammad Ali Taheri. The EU politician will be expected in Tehran on Saturday for the presidential inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani.
“For more than nine years, these Baha’is have been in Iranian detention centers, and they have suffered unspeakably. Their only crime is their desire to organize the Baha’i community of the country and to guarantee a life of dignity and freedom to the members of their religious community,” Kamal Sido, the minister of the GfbV, reported on Friday in Göttingen. “We have appealed in our letter to Ms Mogherini to use every opportunity to speak out for the release of Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm, the two women and five men who have been in Iranian captivity since May 14, 2008.
The mystic Mohammad Ali Taheri was arrested in May 2011, and sentenced to five years of imprisonment by Tehran Revolutionary Court for “blasphemy”. In fact, he founded a movement called “Erfan-e-Halgheh” (known in English as “Interuniversalism”) and organized “healing sessions” for his followers. When he had served his sentence, Taheri was not released, but was kept imprisoned without any valid justification.
In multi-ethnic Iran live Azaris, Kurds, Arabs, Baluch, Turkmen, Assyro-Arameans, aside from Persians, as well as other ethnic and religious minorities.
These non-Persian groups represent more than half of the approximately 80 million inhabitants of Iran. As ethnic groups with their own language, culture and history, they are not recognized, but oppressed and discriminated against.