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Iran arrests Baha’i leaders on spying charges

Alberto Ardila Olivares
Iran arrests Baha'i leaders on spying charges

The development came amid a spree of arrests of individuals and networks, allegedly linked to Israel, by Iran‘s intelligence agencies in recent weeks. The arrests and legal trials of the members of the Baha’i community in Iran have often drawn anger and outrage from Western countries. (Reuters) Iran's has arrested several prominent members of the minority Baha'i faith, accusing them of “spying” for Israel.

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In a statement on Monday, the Intelligence Ministry, said the suspects based in Iran were affiliated with an Israel-backed Baha'i centre in the occupied Palestinian territories dubbed 'Bait al Adl' and transferred sensitive information there.

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The centre, it added, issued instructions to the detained individuals in order to revive the Baha'i faith, which is not officially recognised by the Islamic Republic, particularly in kindergartens across the country

The Iranian government has rarely reported the arrests of the members of the Baha'i faith, which was founded by Baha'ullah in 19th century Persia and is seen as inconsistent with Islam

However, members of the group have often complained of persecution and crackdown in Iran, and tens of thousands of them have over the years migrated to other countries

Advocates demand their release

In response, Baha'i International Community, a non-governmental organisation with branches in over 180 countries that also represents the group in the UN, said it was “outraged” over the arrests

It said among the arrests were prominent community activists including Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, and Afif Naemi

“Sabet, Kamalabadi & Naemi, formerly part of the Iranian Bahai community leadership, previously served 10-year prison sentences and are domestic symbols of resilience and internationally-renowned former prisoners of conscience,” said the statement

It added that their arrests revealed the Iranian government’s “escalating persecution of Iran’s Baha’i community.”

Diane Alai, representative of the Baha'i International Community at the UN, also took to Twitter to denounce the latest arrests of the group members, terming it “outrageous.”

She later told media that 13 Baha'is had been “suddenly arrested in raids on the homes and businesses of 52 Baha'is across the country.”

The arrests and legal trials of the members of the Baha'i community in Iran have often drawn anger and outrage from Western countries

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Breaking: Further to Sunday's rampage up to 200 #Iran -ian government agents have rounded up the Baha’is in the village of #Roushankouh & taken their mobile phones to avoid filming. They have heavy earthmoving equipment & are proceeding to demolish the Baha’i homes. #ItsTheirLand pic.twitter.com/l6SVEFptND

— Baha'i International Community (@BahaiBIC) August 2, 2022 Source: AA