12 March 2011
TEHRAN (AFP) – A number of Bahais who were “promoting their faith in kindergartens” have been arrested, a prosecutor in the southern city of Bam was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying on Saturday.
“A number of Bahais who were promoting their programmes under the guise of kindergartens in Bam, Kerman and Tehran were arrested by intelligence agents after nine months of intelligence work,” prosecutor Mohammad Reza Sanjari said.
“This group had also infiltrated a local newspaper in Kerman province and were weaving Bahai views into children’s stories,” Sanjari added without naming the publication.
He did not say how many people had been arrested or when.
The Bahais, who are barred from higher education and government posts in staunchly Shiite Muslim Iran, are regarded as infidels and have been persecuted both before and after the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
In August, Iran sentenced seven leading members of the community to 20 years in jail on charges ranging from spying for foreigners, spreading corruption on earth, undermining Islam and cooperating with arch-foe Israel.
The French Bahai community later said its lawyers had been told the sentences, which had sparked criticism from the international community, had been halved.
The Bahais consider Bahaullah, born in 1817, to be the latest prophet sent by God and believe in the spiritual unity of all religions and all mankind.
Bahai leaders believe a total of 47 members of their religion are imprisoned in Iran simply for their beliefs.