Australian farmers rally in support of Baha’i ‘farming brothers and sisters’ in wake of Iran land seizures

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Source: www.abc.net.au

Soori Naeimi Iveli's family has owned farmland in Ivel for generations.(Supplied)
Soori Naeimi Iveli’s family has owned farmland in Ivel for generations.(Supplied)

Australian and New Zealand farmers have launched a campaign in support of Baha’i families in northern Iran after a court order declared their ownership of farmland — which has been in their families for generations — to be illegal.

The mass seizure of farms in the town of Ivel and ongoing efforts to expel farmers from the land has left dozens of families internally displaced and economically impoverished.

Members of the Baha’i religious minority said they continue to face oppression across the country.

In an open letter to the government of Iran, 81 farmers said they were “highly disturbed by the ongoing persecution of the peaceful Baha’i community” and the confiscation of their homes and properties.

“We stand in solidarity with our farming brothers and sisters in this country and call on the Iranian government and judiciary to reverse the unjust rulings … and return the farming lands of Baha’is of Ivel to their rightful owners,” the letter, which is still gathering signatures, said.

Carrying the campaign through to social media, the Australian farmers, along with other farming communities, activists and politicians from around the globe have used the hashtag #ItsTheirLand.

Baha’i families — including several that are now Australian residents after fleeing Iran — say they have owned farmland in Ivel for around 160 years and the community has played a large part in social, economic and cultural developments.

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