Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA, the news agency for Human Rights Activists in Iran, in three separate accounts reports of the arrest of three Baha’is across Iran. Farid Moghadam Ziraki of Birjand, Sohaila Haghighat of Shiraz, and Parisa Sobhanian Najafabadi of the village of Mehrabad Rud-i-Hen in Damavand were arrested by security forces on August 3 and August 10, 2019.
Farid Moghadam Ziraki, who had previously been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence office in Birjand and interrogated in 2017 and 2018, is accused by that office of being active in support of “the intensification of sanctions” and “membership in the misguided sect”, a term used for followers of the Baha’i Faith. Upon his arrest on August 3, 2019, Farid Moghadam Ziraki was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention center, and has only been able to make contact with his family once since then.
On August 10, 2019, Sohaila Haghighat of Shiraz was arrested and taken to an unknown location, following a raid of her home by seven masked members of Intelligence officers, who searched her home and confiscated some of her personal belongings, including computers, identification documents, bank IDs as well as her birth certificate and passport.
At the time of her arrest Ms. Haghighat was hosting a class, and all class participants were also interrogated and their personal information recorded.
Parisa Sobhanian Najafabadi, a resident of the village of Mehrabad Rud-i-Hen in Damavand in Tehran province, was arrested on August 10, 2019, following an early morning raid of her home by officers of the Ministry of Intelligence. The arrest followed a search of her home and the confiscation of her books and personal belongings.
As of the time of this reporting, no information is available about the reason for her arrest or her location.
On Saturday, August 3, 2019, two other Baha’is, Ruhollah Zibaie and Abolfazl Ansari, were arrested in Karaj. Media outlets close to the government claimed the reason for Ruhollah Zibaie’s arrest was his activity in support of “the intensification of sanctions”.
Baha’is in Iran are denied freedom of religion, a systematic exclusion, in contravention of article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to both of which Iran is a signatory, which state that everyone has a right to freedom of religion and to religious conversion based on personal belief, as well as the freedom to express it, individually or collectively, in public or in private.
According to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is; however, the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith. For this reason, Baha’i rights in Iran have been systematically violated over a number of years.