Iranian authorities have escalated persecution of the Baha’i community, targeting at least 77 individuals across the country in recent weeks, despite a second wave of coronavirus infections, according to a global organisation representing the faith.
At least 77 Baha’is across eight Iranian provinces have been arrested, summoned to court, tried, sentenced and imprisoned in the past month “under baseless accusations and for no rea- son other than a deep-seated antagonism to the Baha’i faith”, the Baha’i International Community said.
The Baha’i faith, which was originally founded in Iran, is seen as heretical by the Islamic Republic. Baha’i shops and cemeteries have been vandalised, and some of its followers blocked from universities and jobs.
“Baha’is are used to persecution, however, this is almost unprecedented numbers in the matter of a month,” Bani Dugal, principal representative to the UN for the BIC, told reporters.
While dozens of religious and political groups have been hurt by the Islamic Republic’s 41year rule of Iran, the Baha’is are widely considered to be one of the most persecuted.