August 15, 2019
The Islamic Republic security agents have arrested at least seven Iranian Baha’is in the past ten days, reports say.
While confirming the reports, the Geneva-based Baha’i International Community says it is not yet clear which state-run entity is behind the arrests, or what are the charges against the detainees.
At least four Iranian followers of Baha’i faith have been arrested in different cities of the country within the past three days, the international community says.
The Islamic Republic intelligence agents arrested Monireh Bavil Saqlaei, Minou Zamanipour, and Gholamhossein Mazloumi, on August 10, at their homes in the capital city, Tehran. They were all taken to the city’s notorious prison, Evin.
Meanwhile, Sohaila Haqiqat, a Baha’i resident of Shiraz, southern Iran, was also arrested at her home and taken to an unknown place.
Farid Moqaddam is another Baha’i who was arrested in the city of Birjand, eastern Iran and taken to the intelligence building of the town.
Days earlier, on August 3, two more Baha’i citizens, Abolfazl Ansari, and Rouhollah Zibaei were detained in the city of Karaj, 26 miles west of the capital.
The intelligence agents have ransacked the homes of all detained Baha’is, taking away their personal effects, including laptops, smartphones, IDs, and bank statements.
Nevertheless, authorities have not announced any charges against the detainees.
Furthermore, four days ago, intelligence agents stormed the house of one of the Baha’i leaders, Jamaloddin Khanjani, interrogated him and his family, and confiscated his personal effects.
Khanjani, along with six other Baha’i community leaders, was arrested and sentenced to ten years, in 2008. He was released in early 2017, after serving his term.
The Baha’i are a peaceful religious minority, who adopted their faith in the 19th century but are viewed by the clerical establishment of Iran as deviants and are persecuted.
According to Article 1 of Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council’s Student Qualification Regulations, approved by Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 1991, students who take the national enrollment exam must either be Muslim or followers of other constitutionally sanctioned religions. Article 3 states that if a student is discovered to be a Baha’i after enrolling in a university, he or she will be expelled.