GENEVA—5 May 2021—The Baha’i International Community is concerned that a recent intensification of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran appears to be underway, signaling the implementation of a larger plan by the Iranian government to increase the persecution of the community, the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the country.
A campaign of raids on Baha’i homes and baseless arrests of Baha’is is currently unfolding across Iran. So far, dozens of Baha’i homes have been raided by authorities in Baharestan, Isfahan, and Shiraz, resulting in the detention of over 20 Baha’is and more who can be called to prison at any time. These raids and arrests are the latest in a long list of recent incidents of persecution, including the confiscation Baha’i-owned properties in the village of Ivel in Mazandaran Province, a confidential directive from the Commission on Ethnicities, Sects and Religions in the town of Sari in Mazandaran Province to monitor and suppress Baha’is, and the banning of the Baha’is of Tehran from burying their loved ones in land previously allocated to them in Tehran’s Khavaran cemetery. Such incidents are nothing less than an extensive government campaign, the aim of which is the systematic eradication of the Baha’i community as a viable entity.
Waves of courageous domestic and international support for the Baha’is in Iran has generated a global outcry in solidarity for the most basic human rights of Iranian citizens. As a result, one facet of the Government’s campaign was reversed, as the Baha’is of Tehran have now been able to bury five of their dead in Tehran’s Khavaran cemetery, returning the situation to the previous arrangement which had been made for the community.
“The recent events have proven that unity and solidarity are at the center of the achievement of human rights for all Iranians,” said Diane Ala’i, representative to the United Nations of the Baha’i International Community in Geneva, “This support and solidarity is now essential in responding to the intensification of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran that is currently underway.”
Baha’is are Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority and have been systematically persecuted for 42 years, as extensively reported by the United Nations and other agencies. More than 200 Baha’is were executed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and since the 1980s they have been denied higher education and livelihoods, regularly vilified in the state media, and even their cemeteries have been desecrated.
The persecution of the Baha’is in Iran is widely documented in the website, Archives of Persecution of the Baha’is in Iran.
- In late April 2021, Iranian authorities banned the Baha’is of Tehran from burying their loved ones in a space previously allocated to them in Tehran’s Khavaran cemetery, leaving the community with the option to either use the narrow gaps between existing graves to bury their loved ones, or to use a mass burial site authorities claim to have recently emptied. As of this writing, the situation for the Baha’is in Tehran has now returned to the previous arrangement put in place.