An estimated 200 Iranian government agents sealed off the village of Roushankouh, in Iran’s Mazandaran province, destroying six homes in the most recent escalation of the country’s persecution of the Baha’i, according to Baha’i International Community (BIC), an international nongovernmental organization representing the members of the Baháʼí Faith. At least 13 Baha’is were taken into custody.
Iranwire reports the Ministry of Intelligence described those detained as members of “the Baha’i espionage party,” and claims that are “spying for Israel” and discouraging women from wearing the hijab.
Roushankouh has been targeted in the past with land seizures and demolitions. The latest onslaught comes after weeks of intensified persecution of the Baha’is. More than 100 have seen their homes raided, been arrested, or both in recent weeks.
“We ask everyone to raise their voice and call for these dreadful acts of blatant persecution to be immediately stopped,” Diane Ala’i, a Baha’i International Community Representative to the United Nations, said of the recent events.
“Every day there has been fresh news of persecution of the Baha’is in Iran, demonstrating unmistakably that the Iranian authorities have a step-by-step plan that they are implementing: first blatant lies and hate speech, then raids and arrests, and today land grabs, occupations and the destruction of homes. What will be next? The international community must act before it is too late.”
The persecution of the Bahá’ís has intensified significantly since the 1979 Islamic revolution, as a result of official government policy. When the new Republic’s constitution was drawn up in April 1979, certain rights of the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian minorities in Iran were specifically mentioned and protected. However, no mention whatsoever was made of the rights of the Bahá’í community, Iran’s largest religious minority.
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