Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Two Baha’i residents of Karaj, a northwestern suburb of Tehran, became the latest victims of the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on the Baha’i community when they were arrested October 16, 2018.
Parvan Manavi and Elham Salmanzadeh became the seventh and eighth Baha’is to be arrested in their city after authorities confiscated some of their books and personal belongings during a raid of their homes.
A close source told HRANA that security forces first searched the workplace of Manavi, a greenhouse operator, before escorting him to his home where they carried out a search and seizure. “They raided Elham Salmanzadeh’s home at the same time, and then arrested her afterward too,” the source added.
On September 16th, HRANA reported on the arrest and transfer to Evin Prison of four Baha’i Karaj residents: Peyman Manavi, Maryam Ghaffaramanesh, Jamileh Pakrou, and Kianoush Salmanzadeh. HRANA also reported on the arrest of two more Baha’i Karaj residents, Hooman Khoshnam and Payam Shabani, on September 24 and 25, 2018. In recent weeks, HRANA also reported on the arrest of a number of Baha’i citizens in Shiraz and Isfahan.
Over the past month, members of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority have faced increased pressure across the country from Iran’s security and judiciary establishment.
Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.
Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. Iran’s constitution, however, recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.