As we in Ireland begin to be released from lockdown, the Iranian authorities are locking up dozens of Bahá’ís. More than 60 Irish people including politicians, medical professionals and society wide experts, have added their names to a statement calling on the Iranian government to stop the arrests and imprisonments of their Bahá’í citizens.
“The Iranian government must end the state-sponsored dehumanisation and persecution of their Bahá’í citizens. We call on them to end their current campaign of arbitrary arrests and imprisonments and allow Bahá’ís their basic human rights.”
- John Paul Phelan TD
- Cian O’Callaghan TD
- Joan Collins TD
- Senator David Norris
- Thomas Pringle TD
- Thomas Byrne TD
- Noel Grealish TD
- Joe O’Brien TD
- Mick Barry TD
- Louise O’Reilly TD
- Sorca Clarke TD
- PaulineTully TD
- Malcolm Noonan TD
- Senator Pauline O’Reilly
- Pa Daly TD
- Cathal Crowe TD
- Seán Haughey TD
- Senator Sharon Keogan
- Neasa Hourigan TD
- Cllr. Lettie Mc Carthy
- Cllr. Kazi Ahmed
- Cllr. Tom Murphy
- Cllr. Jim Gildea
- Cllr. Séafra Ó Faoláin
- Cllr. Jim O’Leary
- Cllr. Paddy Holohan
- Cllr. Donna McGettigan
- Cllr. Joe Costello
- Cllr. Clare O’Byrne
- Cllr. Eoin Ó Broin
- Cllr. Peter Kavanagh
- Cllr. Kieran O Hanlon
- Cllr. Elena Secas
- Cllr. Tom Fortune
- Cllr. Alan Edge
- Cllr. Mags Crean
- Cllr Denis O Callaghan
- Professor Afshin Samali BSc, PhD, MRIA
- Professor Adrienne Gorman BA Mod, PhD
- Dr. George Rahmani M.B., B.Ch, B.A.O., M.Ch, MSc.
- Dr. Daniel Cunningham BA, B.Dent. Sc
- Gita Nezamabad RGN
- Dr. Sarah Sabour-Chadwick F.A.O.I., Ph.D
- Dr. Cillian McNamara M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., MSc.
- Dr. Negin Reyhani M.D., M.I.C.G.P.
- Dr. Neysan Chah BA, B.Dent.Sc
- Sahar Rahmani MSc., T.M.C., BSc (Hons)., Lic. Ac
- Dr. Denis Linehan,UCC
- Dr. Katharina Swirak, UCC
- Professor Kieran Sheahan UCD, School of Medicine
- Dr. Brendan McNamara, Study of Religions Dept., UCC
- Assoc. Prof. Iarfhlaith Watson, MSocSc, PhD, UCD School of Sociology
- Caroline Smith M.I.A.H.I.P.
- Dr. Lua Saba Rahmani Dip MB BCh BAO MCAI
- Dr. Vivien Hick, PhD
- Professor Seosamh Watson MA, MLitt, PhD, DLitt
- Dr. Lawrence Staudt B.Sc., M.Eng, C.Eng
- Ann O’Sullivan M.I.A.H.I.P.
- Ann Carri M.Sc Couns Psych
- Grainne McMurrow (SC, Rep. Council of Europe Venice Commission)
- Ann O’Neill, (ECP) MICP MEAP MIAHIP SIAHIP
- Dr. Mansi Mkarimi MD
- Dr. Hooman Reyhani, Ph.D., M.Eng., B.Eng
- Dr. Thomas Kennedy
- Dr. Ruth Moloney
- Dr. Ehsan Chah B.E., PhD
- Dr. Ian McCabe Clinical Director JIFACA
- Dr Seán Conroy
The Iranian government has been trying to destroy the Bahá’í community for more than 40 years. In 1991, a UN official discovered a secret memorandum signed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, calling for the “progress and development” of the Bahá’í community to be blocked. This memorandum is still in force. As well as suffering severe discrimination, Bahá’í are also commonly arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges. At any given time there are 50-100 Bahá’ís in prison in Iran – simply because they are Bahá’ís.
Heiner Bielefeldt, former UN Rapporteur, described the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran as, “…one of the most obvious cases of state persecution.” Now, in the face of an escalating health pandemic, the Iranian authorities have ramped up their persecution of Bahá’ís, targeting at least 77 people across the country.
Among the Bahá’ís recently sentenced to prison is an elderly man who will clearly be at great risk if he contracts COVID-19 while in prison. The authorities have also arrested and charged a couple who have been caring for their daughter who has cancer. These parents are deeply concerned for their daughter’s care should they be sent to prison.
In addition to the arrests and imprisonments, the government has also ramped up its practice of vilifying and dehumanising Bahá’ís in the media. Slanders and falsehoods about Bahá’ís are being disseminated in state-controlled and state-sanctioned media. Bahá’ís have become an all-purpose scapegoat, so much so that the Iranian government can smear its opponents by accusing them of being Bahá’ís, as if that were the most heinous crime.
Why the Iranian authorities have escalated the persecution of their Bahá’í citizens is unknown. It may be that they hope they can invisibly mistreat Bahá’ís while the world’s attention is on the global health crisis. We want to sincerely thank all the people who are helping us to shine a light on these arbitrary arrests and imprisonments protect innocent Bahá’ís in Iran.