Ongoing Persecution within Iran

Ongoing Persecution within Iran







Imagine being unable to attend college or hold a job simply because the government does not approve of your religion. That is the obstacle that faces every member of Iran’s Baha’i community. The government has been persecuting the Baha’is for more than thirty years.




For more than twenty years, the male head of one Baha’i household earned a living by standing on a street corner and selling various items. Then in 1999 a thief broke into that man’s home. When that gentleman confronted the thief, he paid for that action with his life. Now his wife and daughters have no source of income, other than the money received from the person who rents one floor of their home.



On June 18, 1983 Iran hanged a group of women in the City of Shiraz. Their crime had involved carrying out an act that a number of American men and women perform each week, while teaching Sunday school classes. However, those women had not been teaching about Jesus or Mohammed. Each of their lessons had sought to offer a few details about the life and teachings of Baha’u'llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith.




He was born at a time when Persians were awaiting the appearance of the 12th Imam. His message called for the establishment of unity amongst the citizens of the world. He asked his male followers to work in harmony with the female Baha’is. He also announced that God wanted mankind to abandon those practices that reflected any amount of racial prejudice. At the same time, he called on all of the religions to put aside their differences.




The religious leaders in Persia at that time, and those in Iran today rejected the teachings of Baha’u’llah. In fact, Baha’is are branded as apostates, because they follow the teachings of a man who claimed to be a successor to Mohammed. That is why the Baha’i community has been persecuted by the government.




On March 29, 2012 the U.S. Senate passed a Resolution that condemned that persecution. Referred to as Resolution 80, it was passed by unanimous consent. Introduced by Illinois Senators Mark Kirk and Richard Durbin, it asked for the release of all Iranian prisoners who are being held for their religious beliefs.




That Resolution encouraged the President and Secretary of State to sanction those Iranian officials who were responsible for the named human rights violations. In addition, it made reference to the arrest in 2008 of seven Baha’is, a group known as the Yaran, meaning friends of Iran. During their trial, those five men and two women had been defended by Shirin Ebadi, the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She had rejected the government’s claim that the Yaran had been spying for Israel.




The Yaran may well have received documents from Haifa, Israel. That is the World Center of the Baha’i Faith. That is where the Baha’i Universal House of Justice Meets. It helps Baha’i groups, such as the Yaran plan religious ceremonies, like those that take place at a wedding or a funeral.