On July 9, 2009, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia made the following statement, urging the Obama administration “to make human rights and religious freedom, including the persecuted Baha’is, an integral part of the dialogue” with Iran.
“Madam Speaker, May 14 marked the one-year anniversary of the imprisonment of the seven-member national committee of the Iranian Baha’is. They have been unjustly held for over a year without formal charges or access to their attorneys.“According to The New York Times, the seven Baha’is are scheduled to face trial this Saturday, July 11.
“They will reportedly be charged with “espionage for Israel,” a crime which is punishable by death.
“The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recently released their 2009 report which recommends that the State Department designate Iran a country of particular concern due to its gross violations of religious freedom.
“Such violations include the execution of over 200 Baha’i leaders since 1979, the desecration of Baha’i cemeteries and places of worship and the violent arrest and harassment of members of the Baha’i faith.
“As the administration seeks diplomatic engagement with Iran, I urge them to make human rights and religious freedom, including the persecuted Baha’is, an integral part of the dialogue.
“Human dignity and freedom must not be relegated to the sidelines.”