Our Fellow Baha’i Citizens Must be Set Free

Six members of the Baha’i National Assembly have been arrested. Another member of this assembly was arrested on March 5, 2008. As such, all of the Baha’i society officials are in the Islamic Republic prisons. On May 20, 2008, Gholamhossein Elham, spokesperson for Ahmadinejad’s government confirmed their imprisonment and claimed that they have been arrested for “security” accusation not for ideological reason.

Accusing them of security charges has raised concerns about their life security. The Islamic Republic has a dark past on slaughtering, imprisoning, torturing, and imposing various social deprivations on Iranian Baha’is. From the 1979 revolution days, and even before assuming power by a religious government, Iranian Baha’is have been under attack of the Islamic fundamentalist forces. Hundreds of them were executed and many of them were kept imprisoned for years by the Islamic Republic. Properties of many of our fellow Baha’i citizens were confiscated. Tens of thousand of them had to leave their home land.

Under the international pressures and for the sake of repairing its bad reputation in the international community, in mid 1990’s, the regime tried to keep Baha’i oppression in a low profile. But it has been intensified after Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Nowadays, hostility with the Baha’i religious minority is increasing. In addition to the governmental institutions acts against Baha’is, the state media has also started a new campaign against them. By quoting an unacquainted “expert”, Right wing Fars press invited people to follow the government in putting more pressures on Baha’is. This act reminded us of those dark days that rogues, who were provoked by the clergies in various cities, attacked our fellow Baha’i citizens’ homes. The new anti Baha’i wave started when some of the ruling faction media pointed their fingers to the Iranian Baha’is and accused them of being behind the “Society of Meeting Wayfarers” March 2008 explosion in Shiraz.

Our fellow Baha’i citizens are paying the price of having a different religious faith than the Iranian official religion. Hundreds of thousand of Baha’is, only because of the traditional hostility of the Shi’e clergy with them, have been suffering the worst types of prejudices and oppressions.

The Iranian freedom loving forces must advocate our fellow Baha’i citizen rights. Regretfully, these forces have not paid enough attention to this crucial issue within the last thirty years. Nowadays, advocating Iranian Baha’i human rights is one of the criteria of being loyal to the universal human rights. Our organization invites all the Iranian political forces to join us in demanding the release of all the arrested Baha’is and an end to the new wave of suppression against them. Iranian Baha’is must regain all their citizen rights. To be able to make these demands practicable, we must ask the international institutions and the world governments to ask the Iranian regime to stop oppressions against Iranian Baha’is.

The Executive-Political Board of the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian – Majority (OIPFM)

May 20, 2008

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