The US House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a draft resolution condemning the state-sponsored persecution of the Baha’i community of Iran in a bipartisan move.
Voices are mounting in Congress criticizing these violations against the Baha’i community.
The Iranian regime and its affiliated militias, like the Houthis in Yemen, are accused of persecuting the Baha’is.
The draft resolution, introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch, condemns the longstanding state-sponsored persecution of the Iranian Baha’i religious minority and calls on the Iranian government to release the imprisoned Baha’is immediately.
Furthermore, the resolution calls on the US President and the Secretary of State to immediately condemn Iran’s continued violation of human rights and calls for sanctions on officials for human rights abuses against the Baha’i community.
The bipartisan resolution also calls on the Iranian government to end its hate propaganda campaign against the Baha’is and reverse state-imposed policies denying Baha’is and members of other religious minorities equal opportunities to higher education, earning a livelihood, due process under the law, and the free exercise of religious practices.
Deutch, who is also the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism, said that the Iranian regime has an “egregious record of human rights violations against its people, including denying freedom of religion and persecuting minorities like the Baha’i.”
The resolution was met with solid support from the US Baha’i community.
Director of the US Baha’i Office of Public Affairs Anthony Vance said that Baha’is in Iran are denied essential opportunities such as education and economic advancement on the grounds of their belief.
“We support the resolution and thank Congress for their efforts in defending the rights of our co-religionists abroad.”
Vince noted that this is not the first time bills of this kind have been introduced in Congress, and an overwhelming majority usually passes them.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the Yemeni Houthi militant group is an “entity of particular concern” for violating religious freedoms.
The State Department also included Iran as a “country of particular concern” for having engaged or tolerated violations of religious freedom.
Washington accuses Iran of “exporting anti-Bahaiism to Yemen” and prompting the Houthis to commit violations against the Baha’i minority there.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned Houthis for summoning 19 Yemen’s Baha’is to stand trial on spurious charges and risk lengthy prison sentences.
“We unequivocally condemn the Houthis’ latest targeting of Yemen’s Baha’i community,” said USCIRF Chair Gayle Manchin.
Manchin warned that this reckless endangerment of people’s lives flagrantly violates freedom of religion or belief.
“The US government must make clear to the Houthis and their supporters that it will not tolerate the systematic oppression of religious minorities.”