Multiple arrests of members of the Baha’i community took place in Iran over the past week. In Shiraz, Hayedeh Forootan and her son Mehran Mosalanejad were detained last Thursday by the security forces. According to Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the pair had attended the police station in person before being arrested. It came a day after security agents raided their home while Hayedeh Forootan was out, seizing some of their personal belongings.
That same Wednesday, two other Baha’i residents of Shiraz, Moin Misaghi and Negareh Ghaderi, were arrested and taken to an unknown location. The agents searched their home and confiscated some of their property as well.
The abrupt detention of Baha’is without explanation and the seizure of their property has accelerated in recent months, causing human rights organizations to sound the alarm. Simin Fahandej, the Baha’i International Community’s Representative to the United Nations, tweeted that together with a new campaign of hate-mongering against Iranian Baha’is, the regime appears to be targeting particularly young parents and their children with arbitrary arrests.
Earlier the Baha’i International Community had warned that the Islamic Republic has launched a project to systematically eliminate the Baha’i community in Iran. This has included the confiscation of assets and destruction of cemeteries, another example of which was also seen this week.
Baha’i Woman Arrested for Third time in Mazandaran
IranWire has also learned that on Thursday, September 23, a Baha’i resident of Ghaem Shahr in Mazandaran province by the name of Sheida Taeed was arrested by the agents from the Intelligence Ministry.
A person close to Taeed told IranWire: “At 11 in the morning of Thursday, eight agents of Mazandaran Intelligence Bureau got into the building by ringing a neighbor’s doorbell, then entered Ms. Taeed’s home. After searching the home for two hours, and confiscating personal items like her mobile phone, laptop, computer, letters, family pictures and passport, they arrested Sheida Taeed without a warrant.”
A few hours after the arrest, Taeed was allowed to call her brother and told him that she had been taken to Kachooei Prison in the provincial capital of Sari. Iran Human Rights reports that this is the third time Taeed has been targeted; she was previously arrested in February 2013 in the northern city of Noor and sentenced in 2015 to one year in prison, which she served in Babol. She was also detained by Sari Intelligence Office for 25 days in 1989 together with her mother, Farideh Taeed.
Rural Baha’i Cemetery Vandalized
Earlier this month, HRANA also released a video showing the part-destruction of a Baha’i cemetery in the village of Kata, in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province’s Dena County.
In a manner that would have been difficult without machinery, much of the cemetery’s exterior wall and bathroom had been knocked to the ground and stone shrines were smashed. The attack is thought to have occurred overnight on Wednesday, September 8.
The destruction of religious minorities’ burial sites and places of worship in Iran has been ongoing for years, usually at the hands of either the Islamic Republic’s so-called security agencies or extremist Shia Muslim citizens. Baha’is are also prevented from burying their dead in public cemeteries.