Middle East

No New Day For Iran's Baha'i Leaders

April 1, 2012 marked the 10,000th day the two women and five men have collectively spent behind bars.

Iran Baha'i Leaders
Iran Baha'i Leaders

Multimedia

Audio

The spring festival of Nowruz, celebrating rebirth and new beginnings, is now over. But there was no “new day” for the seven Baha’i leaders who languish in prison in Iran. Instead, April 1, 2012 marked the 10,000th day the two women and five men have collectively spent behind bars.

Arrested in 2008, the seven Bahai’s who saw to the spiritual and social needs of their religious community, were falsely convicted of espionage and propaganda against the Islamic Republic in August 2010, after summary judicial proceedings.  They are currently serving a prison sentence of twenty years.

Although all religious minorities are subject to persecution in Iran, Baha’is  are regarded as heretics by the Iranian regime, and are particularly targeted and repressed. The most recent report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom notes that since 1979, Iranian authorities have killed more than 200 Baha’i leaders and dismissed more than 10,000 from government and university jobs.

Baha’is are banned from higher education and the community faces severe economic pressure.  The Commission reports that in recent years, Baha’is have faced increasingly harsh treatment, including a surge in the numbers of arrests and detentions and violent attacks on private homes and personal property.  

At a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted and deplored the now over 10,000 combined days of incarceration the Iranian regime has visited on the seven Baha’i leaders because of their religious beliefs:

“We condemn Iran’s ongoing persecution and arrests of Baha’i community members, and we continue to be deeply concerned by the harassment and intimidation of all religious minorities in Iran, including its significant Sunni and Sufi populations, Christians, like Pastor Yousef Nardakhani [sentenced to death for apostasy],  the Zoroastrians and others.”

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Valerie Smith
04/05/2012 5:39 PM
Thank you so much for your coverage of the Baha'is of Iran, especially this difficult and protracted situation; it is greatly appreciated.

Reflecting the Views of the U.S. Government as Broadcast on The Voice of America

View from Washington

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
View From Washington: A Comprehensive Nuclear Deal with Irani
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
07/24/2015
The comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran offers the opportunity for a new and different path for Iran, “one that leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive.”
Video

Video View From Washington: A Comprehensive Nuclear Deal with Iran

The comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran offers the opportunity for a new and different path for Iran, “one that leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive.”
Video

Video View From Washington: Severe Human Rights Problems in Iran

The U.S. State Department says that Iran has severe human rights problems, including harsh restrictions on civil liberties and an alarming number of executions after flawed legal proceedings.
Video

Video View From Washington: The Peril and Protection of Journalists

As violence against journalists continues to rise, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted Resolution 2222 which calls on all countries to protect journalists, and affirms that a free an independent media is essential to a democratic society.
Video

Video View From Washington: Iran Continues to Sponsor Terror

In 2014 Iran continued to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, principally through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force.
Video

Video View From Washington: Implementing a Blueprint for Religious Freedom

Yet around the world religious minorities, including Christian, Shia, Sunni, Yezidi, Ahmedi and Baha’i communities, face discrimination and violence at the hands of State and non-State actors.