December 2, 2009

Senate Denounces Treatment of Baha’is in Iran

Washington DC – The Senate passed a resolution yesterday condemning the persecution of Baha’is by the government of Iran. Senate Resolution 71 (S. Res. 71) was sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), and passed by unanimous consent. The resolution condemns the Iranian government for violating the rights of members of the Baha’i minority, and also calls on Iran to release seven leaders of the Baha’i community who were arrested in the spring of 2008.

In the resolution, the Senate calls on the President and Secretary of State to condemn Iran’s ongoing human rights infractions. S. Res. 71 also demands the Islamic Republic to uphold its commitments to the International Covenants on Human Rights.

Sen. Wyden, speaking in support of S. Res. 71 in March, said, “although Baha’i teachings emphasize equality, unity, and peace, Iranian authorities have viewed the religion as an apostasy and have treated it as a threat since the beginning.”

Seven Baha’i community coordinators, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Mahvash Sabet, Vahid Tizfahm, along with three teachers, Raha Sabet, Sasan Taqva, and Haleh Roohi, were arrested by the Iranian government and accused of being linked to foreign elements. However, the Baha’i International Community has maintained that they were detained as a result of their religious affiliation.

Members of the Baha’i faith represent Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious group. Iranian Baha’is have suffered from government persecution since the 1979 Revolution. S. Res. 71 is similar to a House of Representatives resolution that passed on October 19, 2009.




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