Activists say Iranian security forces have raided the homes of dozens of Baha’is in several cities across the country, confiscating their personal belongings.
The reason for the raids on November 22 was not immediately clear and authorities did not comment on reports of the action.
Simin Fahandej, a spokesperson for the Baha’i International Community, told the BBC that the homes of at least 20 Baha’is in the cities of Tehran, Karaj, Kerman, Isfahan, and Mashhad had been targeted.
The U.S.-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that the homes of 30 to 50 Baha’is had been searched.
Reports say security forces confiscated cellphones, laptops, and religious books.
There were no reports of arrests.
Activists have published the names of a dozen Baha’is whose houses were raided on November 22. Some of them had reportedly been imprisoned in the past.
“Instead of addressing the problems of the people and helping [contain] the coronavirus crisis, authorities seek to further persecute Baha’is,” Fahandej said, adding that pressure on Baha’is has increased in recent months.
Baha’is face state persecution and harassment in Iran where their faith is not officially recognized in the constitution.
In past years, scores of followers have been detained and harassed by Iranian authorities.
On November 18, a subcommittee of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution expressing concern over human rights violations in Iran, including against members of the Baha’i faith.
The resolution calls on Iran to “eliminate, in law and practice… ll forms of discrimination on the basis of thought, conscience, religion or belief, including economic restrictions…the denial of and restrictions on access to education, including for members of the Baha’i faith.”
The situation of Baha’is has worsened in Iran since the 1979 revolution and the creation of an Islamic republic.
“Through various means, the authorities maintain focus on this goal by striving to exclude Baha’is from the public sphere, prevent them from expressing their beliefs, impoverish them economically, undermine their intellectual advancement, erase traces of their history and culture, as well as spread disinformation about them and incite the public so as to create an environment of hatred against them,” Bani Dugal, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the UN in New York, said in a November 19 statement.