Exposed: The Iranian leadership's plan to enrich itself by seizing Baha’i properties

Evanston, Illinois, UNITED STATES


Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Baha’i International Community is gravely concerned that an organisation entirely controlled by Iran’s leadership—a parastatal body called the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO, also known as Setad), which controls extensive assets across Iran—is orchestrating a rising trend of confiscations of properties belonging to Iranian Baha’is.

In this latest example, a Revolutionary Court in the province of Semnan has ordered that properties belonging to six Baha’is should be transferred to EIKO. Semnan Province manager for EIKO Mr. Hamid Ahmadi, initiated the action to secure a court order for the confiscations.

“The seizure by the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order of Baha’i properties is a novel and very worrying development for Iranian Baha’is,” said Diane Ala’i, Representative of the BIC to the United Nations in Geneva. “This development demonstrates that the highest levels of Iran’s leadership are orchestrating the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran.”

Last month, an apartment in Mazandaran Province belonging to a Baha’i, Sheida Taeed, was ordered to be confiscated; in December of last year, thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Baha’is in the village of Kata in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province were appropriated in the midst of a water crisis; farms owned and cultivated by Baha’i families for over a century in the village of Roshankooh, also in Mazandaran, have been seized; and last March, a global campaign that trended under #ItsTheirLand brought attention to years of official efforts to uproot dozens of farming families from the Mazandaran village of Ivel.

The properties in Semnan have been ordered to be transferred to EIKO by a Judge of the Special Court for Article 49 of the Iranian Constitution, Mr. Muhammad-Qasim ‘Aynu’l-Kamali. Article 49 requires the government to prove the legitimacy of such seizures under Islamic law. Misusing this law to justify the confiscations demonstrates the religiously-motivated purpose behind the seizures.

“Iran’s leadership is enriching itself while impoverishing and displacing the Baha’is,” Ala’i said. “Seizures in Semnan, Mazandaran and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad provinces may be just the beginning. The risk is that more properties will continue to be seized, in a piecemeal fashion, in an attempt to evade the notice of the international community. Supporters of human rights inside and outside Iran must condemn this outrageously unjust ruling and demand that it be rescinded without delay.”

The BIC has previously called attention to the fact that Semnan—where asset seizures stretch back decades—has been used as a laboratory for preparing systematic campaigns of persecution against Baha’is across Iran. Attacks on Baha’is in Semnan have been notable for their particular intensity, for the mobilisation and coordination of official and unofficial elements, including police, courts, local authorities and the clergy, and for persecution ranging from hate speech to economic strangulation, arrests and physical attacks.

Background

  • The Baha'is are Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority and have been systematically persecuted by the government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
  • More than 200 Baha'is were executed in the years after the Islamic Revolution.
  • A 1991 policy document signed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for the progress and development of Iran’s Baha'i community to be “blocked” and for Baha'is to be denied education and livelihoods. Thousands of articles of propaganda against the Baha'is are published in Iran’s state media each year.
  • Hundreds of Baha'i-owned private properties, including homes, small businesses and farms, have been confiscated since the Islamic Revolution.

See BIC.org for comprehensive information on the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran: https://www.bic.org/focus-areas/situation-iranian-bahais

 

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