GENEVA—2 November 2019-Iranian authorities exerted heightened pressure on Baha’is around the country as people of various backgrounds across tens of thousands of localities around the globe celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith.
Just days ago in Shiraz, the birth place of the Bab, authorities raided a celebration and arrested at least two Baha’is. Several days before, several homes in the same city were simultaneously raided and three Baha’is were arrested. The Iranian authorities publicly confirmed and promoted the religious motivations for the attack on the Bahá’í community in connection with the upcoming bicentenary celebrations. Recently, five shops belonging to Baha’is in Chabahar were sealed by the authorities because the owners observed the Baha’i holy days.
In the days leading up to the 200th anniversary in Yazd, a Baha’i cemetery was vandalized, including the grave of the late Farhang Amiri, who was previously stabbed to death in a religiously motivated attack in front of his home. The event in Yazd represents the most recent in what has become a series of attacks on cemeteries and interference with burials this year. Across Tehran Province, Baha’is were arbitrarily arrested after their homes were thoroughly searched and their belongings confiscated. Further, in Semnan, after experiencing several months of imprisonment, in some cases under harrowing conditions, three young Baha’is were sentenced, based on spurious claims, to 5 to 10 years of imprisonment.