Mohammad Javad Larijani*, the secretary-general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, has rejected “any form of discrimination and violation of rights, due to being a Baha’i” in Iran, and said that people are not deprived of education or put on trial solely because of being Baha’is.
According to the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), on Sunday April 6, Mr. Larijani, referring to reports of violations of the rights of minorities in Iran, said “reports on Iranian human rights stating that the rights of minorities are being violated are blatant lies, are racist and sectarian, and are contrary to human rights standards.”
He emphasized that the Baha’i Faith is not a recognized religion, saying: “officials have never oppressed anyone because of being a Baha’i, as they believe that under the constitution every Iranian citizen has some rights, and they cannot be deprived of their rights, as stated in the constitution.”
This statement is despite the fact that the international Bahai community and minority rights activists in Iran say that after the revolution, Baha’is have been barred from attending universities and from holding government jobs .
Padideh Sabeti, a spokeswoman for the Bahai community, rejected Mr. Larijani’s statement, and told BBC Persian: “All those who are in prison and are Baha’is are in prison because of their religion. The Baha’i community is not the only one who says this — the lawyers who defend them also say that there is not the smallest shred of evidence supporting the arrest and imprisonment of these people; it is solely based on religious bigotry. Mr. Larijani needs to study this issue to see what is the problem.”
The Iranian government does not recognize the Baha’i Faith. Based on reports from the Baha’i International Community “tens of Baha’is” are currently in prison in Iran because of their beliefs. Iranian officials, on the other hand, make other charges such as relations with Israel against these people.
* A short biography of Dr. Larijani can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad-Javad_Larijani
Translation by Iran Press Watch