Iranian intelligence forces have launched a wave of house searches against Baha’is in the southern city of Kerman in an apparent escalation of recent crackdowns by the authorities on the Baha’i community.
Kerman Intelligence Department agents searched the homes of Nasrin Dowlat and Hedayat Hakimian on Thursday, seizing their electronic devices, including mobile phones, laptops, and tablets, without accusing the Baha’i citizens of any specific charges.
Hakimian blindfolded and handcuffed, though later released, and the homes of several other Baha’is in Kerman, including Pouran Zand, Soroush Kholosi, Haydeh Fatahi and Milad Misturi have also been searched.
IranWire reported yesterday that Pouran Zand went into a state of shock and lost consciousness during the search of her home. The agents had presented a warrant to search the house, confiscating various items including mobile phones, movies, CDs and books.
The Baha’i community in Iran has faced persecution and discrimination since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with the government inflicting arbitrary detentions, confiscation of properties, denial of livelihoods and access to higher education, and constant official hate speech.
In July last year, a crackdown on Iranian Baha’is began with the arrest of Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, and Afif Naimi, followed by dozens of other arrests and trials, and the destruction of several homes.
The detained Baha’is are often charged with “propaganda against the system,” “gathering and collusion with the intention of committing a crime,” “acting against the security of the country,” and “membership in an illegal group,” as well as the capital crime of “spreading corruption on earth.”