Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA – Following the recent arrests of several Baha’is in Tabriz, in mid-November five more Baha’is were detained in Tabriz by security forces.
According to the HRANA, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, today, Sunday November 18, 2018, two Baha’is were detained by security forces in Tabriz and transferred to an unknown location. They have been identified as Monika Alizadeh (Aghdasi), and Khairullah Bakhshi. HRANA had reported earlier on the arrest by the security forces of three other Baha’is, also in Tabriz, identified as Farzad Bahadori, Shahriar Khodapanah, and Kambiz Misaghi, raising the number of Baha’is arrested to 5. As of the time of this report, no information has been made available on the reasons for detention or the location of those detained.
It is of note that this is not the first time some of these Baha’is have experienced repercussion from authorities. Farzad Bahadori, who was previously tried in a series of five court sessions, was arrested in July 2014 with his wife, Simin Rasooli and their two children, Nasim and Sahar Bahadori. All were released after posting bail on July 28 of that same year. Last year the business of Kambiz Misaghi and Shahriar Khodapanah was shut down by order of the judicial authorities. After a while, the business was allowed to re-open.
UN human rights reporters on Iran have repeatedly objected to antagonism towards Baha’is over the life of the Iranian regime and, in particular depriving the Baha’i students of their right to education, which is an obvious sign and clear indication of Iran’s neglect of human rights accords.
Baha’i citizens in Iran are systematically deprived of freedoms related to religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation is in direct contradiction to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Iran is signatory, “all persons have the right to religious freedom, the right to change their religion or belief, and the freedom to express their belief individually or collectively in public or private.”
Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith as a religion. The Regime has used this to justify systematic denial and violation of the civil rights of the Baha’is over the years.
As the Iranian Regime has forced the Baha’i community to disband its administrative bodies, it is difficult to accurately assess the number of Baha’is in Iran. However, based on unofficial sources, it is believed there are over 300,000 Baha’is currently living in Iran.