US Slams Iran for Destroying Graves of Minority Baha’is

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The United States has denounced the desecration of over 30 graves of the Baha’i religious minority in a Tehran cemetery, condemning the Islamic Republic’s persecution of the community.

“We condemn the destruction of 30 graves by authorities at the Khavaran Cemetery near Tehran this week. Baha’is in Iran continue to face violations of funeral and burial rights,” the State Department Office of International Religious Freedom said on March 7.

“We have also seen the regime dramatically increase Baha’i property seizures and use sham trials to subject Baha’is to extended prison sentences. We will continue to use all available tools to confront the regime’s human rights abuses,” it added.

According to a statement issued by the Baha’i International Community (BIC) on March 5, the Islamic Republic’s authorities removed grave markers and used bulldozers to flatten the resting places, effectively erasing any evidence of the burials.

The government’s action follows a pattern spanning two years of forcibly burying deceased Baha’is at Khavaran Cemetery, denying families the right to conduct funeral rites, and not adhering to Baha’i burial customs.

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Tehran’s Baha’i community owned an 80,000 square meter cemetery at Khavaran and a 1.5 million square meter cemetery property in the Kabirabad area of the capital.

Both properties were confiscated in the 1980s by the new Islamic Republic, and at least 15,000 graves were demolished at Khavaran.

The government has intensified its crackdown on members of the Baha’i faith, imprisoning dozens of them on spurious charges over the past year, denying them access to higher education and livelihoods, and confiscating or destroying personal properties.


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