GENEVA—2 August 2022—In a cruel escalation, and just two days after previous attacks on Baha’is across Iran, up to 200 Iranian government and local agents sealed off the village of Roshankouh, in Mazandaran province, where a large number of Baha’is live, and used heavy earthmoving equipment to demolish their homes.
Six homes were destroyed and over 20 hectares of land were confiscated. The home of a Mr. Qulinizhad was fully demolished, and one Mr. Farid Alavi was arrested.
Pepper spray was used to disperse people and gunshots were heard during the operation.
Roads into and out of the village were blocked.
Anyone who tried to challenge the agents was arrested and handcuffed.
Agents confiscated the mobile devices of those present and prohibited filming.
Neighbors were warned to stay in their homes and barred from filming or photographing.
The authorities installed robust metal fences to restrict access of the Baha’is to their own homes.
The Baha’is in Roshankouh and elsewhere in Iran have been targeted many times in the past, most recently in August 2021 and February 2022, with land confiscations and home demolitions. But the latest move follows weeks of intensifying persecution of the Baha’is: over 100 have been either raided or arrested in recent days and dozens of others have been targeted since June.
“We ask everyone to raise their voice and call for these dreadful acts of blatant persecution to be immediately stopped. Every day this week there has been fresh news of persecution of the Baha’is in Iran, demonstrating unmistakably that the Iranian authorities have a step-by-step plan that they are implementing, first blatant lies and hate speech, then raids and arrests, and today land grabs, occupation and the destruction of homes,” said Diane Ala’i, a Baha’i International Community Representative to the United Nations. “Recalling the Iranian government policy documents about persecuting Baha’is, I wonder, what will be next? The international community must act before it is too late.”