Iranian Government Destroys Baha’i-Owned Farmlands in Latest Cruel Example of Economic Apartheid

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GENEVA—31 May 2024—Iranian government agents have bulldozed many rice paddies owned by Baha’is in the village of Ahmadabad, Mazandaran province(link is external), destroying crops and irrigation berms in the attack. Local Baha’i residents in this rural area have owned and worked these lands for generations.

The wanton and cruel act of destruction is only the latest example of the Iranian government’s policy of confiscating and destroying Baha’i-owned homes and farms.

During the attack, videos and photos of which were published online, a large excavator moved back and forth over the rice crops, destroying them, and then proceeded to the river where it flattened the water channel to the rice fields.

Officials in military fatigues can be seen in the background. Dozens of villagers—including one stooped and elderly woman with a cane—seem to plead with the officials to stop their destructive work.

“This latest attack against the Baha’is in Iran is yet more cruelty, a form of economic apartheid, and a fresh effort at religious cleansing, designed to drive the Baha’is off their own farmlands,” said Simin Fahandej, Baha’i International Community Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. “The Iranian government is trying to make Iran unlivable for Baha’is.”

“Over almost five decades, the Iranian government has destroyed Baha’i homes, confiscated Baha’i lands, and tried to rob the Baha’is of their right to earn a living. Driving an excavator over the fields of innocent farmers is an affront to the Baha’is, to all hardworking Iranian citizens, and to the government’s own claim to care for its people. The rice fields must be returned to the Baha’is and the authorities must pay restitution for this barbaric act,” Ms. Fahandej said.

Iranian authorities had already fenced off the Ahmadabad lands in January in an illegal operation previously reported by the Baha’i International Community.

A day before the latest incident, when the local inhabitants noticed the presence of the excavator and asked why it had been brought to the village, they were told by officials that it was there for construction work that would be carried out in the area. The local Baha’is therefore did not pursue the matter.


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