Buildings belonging to Baha’is in Roshankooh, northern Iran, are destroyed earlier this month. (Social Media)

August 24, 2022

A group of UN rights experts have called on Iranian authorities to stop the persecution and harassment of religious minorities and end the use of religion to curtail the exercise of fundamental rights.

“We are deeply concerned at the increasing arbitrary arrests, and on occasions, enforced disappearances of members of the Baha’i faith and the destruction or confiscation of their properties, in what bears all the signs of a policy of systematic persecution,” the experts said in a statement published on August 22.

The UN experts said the acts were not isolated but formed part of a broader policy to target any dissenting belief or religious practice, including Christian converts, members of the Gonabadi dervish order, and atheists.

“The international community cannot remain silent while Iranian authorities use overbroad and vague national security and espionage charges to silence religious minorities or people with dissenting opinions, remove them from their homes, and effectively force them into internal displacement,” the experts said.

Baha’is face systematic persecution in Iran, where their faith is not recognized in the constitution.

In past weeks, Iranian authorities have ramped up their crackdown against Baha’is, arresting about a dozen individuals and raiding the homes and businesses of many others across Iran.

On August 2, the Baha’i International Community (BIC) reported that authorities had also destroyed six Baha’i homes and confiscated 20 hectares of land in the northern province of Mazandaran.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry accused some of those arrested of being involved in espionage. The ministry did not provide any evidence to back up its claim, which was dismissed by the Baha’i International Community as “outright fabrications.”

The UN experts called for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals detained on the basis of their religious affiliation, and accountability for the systematic persecution of religious minorities by Iranian authorities.

RFE-RL

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.