Iran

Plight of Baha’i Leaders Underscores Ongoing Human Rights Violations in Iran

Earlier this week, former State Department official Elliott Abrams wrote about the plight of seven Baha’i leaders who have now been jailed by Iran for six years.

At the Council on Foreign Relations website, Abrams wrote:

They were arrested in 2008 and in 2010 were sentenced to terms of 20 years in prison for non-existent crimes against the state, nonsense like spreading “corruption” and engaging in espionage.

The persecution of Baha’i in Iran is not a new story, although the viciousness of the persecution is worsening.

The persecution of Iran’s Baha’i is part of a broader trend of persecution of minority religious groups and political prisoners in the Islamic republic. In addition Iran has seen a marked increase in the number of executions carried out there since the election of President Hassan Rouhani. In addition the United States State Department accused Iran of being a state sponsor of terror and for destabilizing Iraq and Syria in recently issued reports.

When Rouhani was elected last year it was hoped that his more moderate demeanor presaged moderation of the Iranian government in many areas including its stand on nuclear weapons. As the p5+1 negotiations with Iran resume this week, the plight of the Baha’i leaders is indication that in other areas, Iran shown little sign of reform or moderation since the election.

[Photo: NicholasJB / WikiCommons ]