European Union Calls on Iran to End Persecution of Baha’i Faith Members

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The European Union, joined by over 50 members of parliament and senators from several European countries, has called on Iran to cease its systematic persecution of Baha’i faith members.

In a joint statement issued June 27, the MPs and senators highlighted concerns over human rights violations and targeting of Baha’i women in Iran.

“In light of the alarming targeting of women in Iran, we, Members of Parliament and Senators from across Europe express our profound dismay at an escalation in the attacks against Baha’i women who face dual persecution, as women and as Baha’is,” the statement read.

The joint statement pointed out that since March this year, 72 out of 92 Baha’is summoned to court were women. “We urgently call upon the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the persecution of Baha’is, release all Baha’i prisoners, and ensure the protection of their full spectrum of human rights,” it added.

“The Iranian government must know that their crimes against the innocent Baha’i community in Iran have become evident to all —and that in Europe, and across the world, their abuse of the human rights of women and minorities and systematic persecution of Baha’is is laid bare for the world to see,” said Rachel Bayani, the Baha’i International Community (BIC) Representative to the European institutions in Brussels in a statement.

In April, more than a dozen Iranian Baha’i women from Baharestan, in the central province of Esfahan, were summoned to court on arbitrary charges of propaganda against the state and participating in activities contrary to Islamic law.

In March, Anisa Fanaiyan, an Iranian Baha’i, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges including “establishing and managing a group with the intention of undermining national security,” and “deviant educational and propagandistic activities contrary to Islamic law.”

Iran is home to over 300,000 Baha’is, making them the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the country. They have faced systematic persecution since the 1979 revolution, with over 200 Baha’is executed in the early 1980s.

The current Iranian constitution recognizes only four religions: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, thereby excluding the Baha’i faith and subjecting its followers to widespread discrimination and persecution.


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