In Iran, over 100 Baháʼís have been either raided or arrested in a fresh wave of raids.The Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence justify the raids on the homes and businesses of 52 Bahá’ís across Iran and the arrest or imprisonment of 13 individuals. The Ministry of Intelligence issued a formal statement about the moves—which came after weeks of escalating pressure on the Baha’is—and claimed the arrests were against members of the “Baha’i espionage [political] party” and that those arrested were “propagating the teachings of the fabricated Baha’i colonialism and infiltrating educational environments” including kindergartens. The mention of kindergartens is an apparent pretext for the targeting of a number of Baha’is who are preschool teachers.The Baha’i International Community rejects these absurd and preposterous allegations as outright fabrications. What the Iranian government is doing is simultaneously an act of gross oppression and a brazen example of the worst kind of hate speech. The report says that the Iranian government and local agents have sealed off the village of Roushankouh, in Mazandaran province, where a large number of Baháʼís live, and are using heavy earthmoving equipment to demolish their homes. Roads into and out of the village have been blocked, said the report. The Baháʼís in Roushankouh have been targeted many times in the past with land confiscations and home demolitions, it said.
It is said that thirteen individuals—among them Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi and Afif Naemi, formerly part of the community’s leadership and prisoners of conscience who each spent a decade in jail—were arrested during the raids. One is being held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison and the whereabouts of the other two are unknown. “We are outraged that a significant number of Baha'is, among them Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi and Afif Naemi, have been detained again in Iran,” said Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) to the United Nations. “Iran’s government has for more than 40 years alleged that Baha'is are spies for foreign countries but, in all that time, has failed to produce a shred of credible evidence. Now they are reduced to attacking kindergarten and daycare teachers as a threat to national security,” Ala’i added.