Baha’is in Ivel, Iran, Have No Right to Property

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Iran’s systematic persecution of the Baha’is

The Baha’is in Iran, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, have been systematically persecuted by the authorities for the past 40 years. Alarming reports from Iran indicate that the persecution is intensifying. In November last year, a series of raids were carried out around the country to confiscate the homes and belongings of Baha’is. Home raids across Iran indicate alarming increase in human rights violations against Baha’is, says Baha’i International Community

A short history on the Baha’is of Ivel

The Baha’i community in the village of Ivel in northern Iran was founded about 160 years ago. The majority of them are hard-working farmers who earn their living and subsistence solely through the land that has belonged to their families for generations. From the very beginning, they were committed to social, economic and cultural development. Amongst other things, the Baha’is in Ivel built schools and bathhouses. They assisted in earthquakes and in the care of war victims. They have, however, been under constant attack. For example, one attack took place in 1983 when Baha’is were expelled from their homes and barred from returning. Instead, 130 people, including children and the elderly, were locked into a mosque for three days without food or water. In 2010, up to 50 Baha’i homes were burned and destroyed. The homes were razed to the ground with the help of bulldozers and tractors.

Land ownership by the Bahai’s of Ivel has been ruled illegal

On August 1, 2020, a special court issued a final and binding order determining the ownership of the lands belonging to the Bahá’ís of Ivel to be illegal. It is also remarkable how the court decision was made completely without procedural guarantees — without the lawyers of the victims being given the opportunity to prepare a defense or gain access to the documents in the case. Due to the decision, the Baha’is have repeatedly turned to local and national authorities. On October 13, 2020, the Court of Appeal in Mazandaran rejected the appeal of 27 Baha’is and confirmed that their land should be confiscated.

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One Response

  1. Brooks Garis

    February 15, 2021 2:16 pm

    This is akin to the Biblical event -and of course many more recent ones, of depriving the ancient adherents of one God by the Egyptian Pharaoh of land promised to Joseph and his family for Joseph’s careful management of the granaries protecting Egypt during a time of famine. And, too, the Baha’is were long praised by the residents nearby Ivel for their careful management of the lands long-ago assigned to them, and for their generosity in contributing to the welfare of nearby communities. This oppression of innocent people by other people who have actually been the beneficiaries of the Baha’i’s kindness and generosity is a perfect parallel of the ancient broken promise told and retold as a profound example of what a nation state should not do, lest it, itself, should become a lesson in chastisement for posterity.


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