Congress Passes Resolution Condemning Iran’s Persecution of Baha’i Community

Washington, D.C., Dec. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 823, condemning the Iranian government’s persecution of the Baha’i community. The resolution, which enjoyed strong bipartisan support, called on the Iranian government to release all Baha’i prisoners, end its campaign of state-sponsored persecution, and reverse discriminatory policies against the Baha’i community. 

The resolution, introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), was originally co-sponsored by Representatives Joe Wilson (R-SC), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Steve Chabot (R-IL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Ann Wagner (R-MI). It enjoyed strong bipartisan support among its 93 cosponsors. 

“Today, my colleagues joined with me to resoundingly condemn the Iranian regime’s egregious record of human rights violations and unjust repression against its own people. The regime’s practice of denying freedom of religion and persecuting minorities like the Baha'i must end," Congressman Deutch said. "This bipartisan resolution sends a clear message: that the regime’s actions are a violation of the principles and values for which our country stands. I am proud to have introduced this resolution condemning Iran's state-sponsored persecution of the Baha'i people, and I applaud its passage in the House of Representatives.” 

Members of the Baha’i Faith have been persecuted in Iran since the religion’s founding there in 1844. This persecution intensified after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with hundreds of Baha’is executed and tortured in the years after the Revolution. Currently, the Iranian government denies Baha’is access to higher education, government jobs, permits to work in twenty-five professions and occupations, and subjects them to arbitrary arrests and imprisonment. 

“The passage of the resolution comes at a particularly trying time for the Baha’is of Iran,” said Mr. Anthony Vance, Director of the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs. “In late November, government agents raided at least twenty homes and shops of Baha’is in coordinated raids across the country, demanding that they hand over their property deeds, as well as computers, mobile phones, and other personal property. In October, in the village of Ivel in Mazandaran province, the land, buildings, and homes of 27 Baha'is were confiscated by order of a provincial appellate court, the latest step in a long series of confiscatory actions taken to eliminate the presence of the Baha'is there. Moreover, since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a surge in criminal judicial proceedings brought against the Baha'is, threatening to add to the dozens of already incarcerated Baha'is, who are endangered by the pandemic in overcrowded Iranian prisons."

“Persecuting, arresting, and imprisoning a peaceful minority on the basis of their Faith at any time is a moral outrage. During a pandemic, it is barbarous,” Mr. Vance added.


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