The Baha’i community in Iran
The government of Iran considers the Baha’i faith to be heretical and has systematically persecuted the Baha’i community since 1979. Adib Vali lost his place in 7th grade when the school discovered he was Baha’i.
Themes: Government violations, denial of social and economic rights
The Iranian government continues to systematically crack down on religious minorities, people who leave Islam, and members of the majority community who do not conform to the regimes interpretation of Islam, including women who refuse to wear head coverings and the LGBTQ+ community.
Persecution of the Baha’i community is particularly severe. The government of Iran considers the Baha’i faith to be heretical and has systematically persecuted the Baha’i community since 1979. In January 2020, Iran removed the “other” option from the religion category on national ID cards, forcing members of the Baha’i community to either deny their religion or be denied this crucial document. The government arrested scores of Baha’is across Iran in 2021. Many of those detained were denied access to communications or taken to undisclosed locations.
State persecution affects many areas of life including the right to education. Baha’is are not permitted to attend university. In 2019 alone, 22 students lost their university places after it was discovered that they were Baha’i. On some occasions the right to lower level education is denied.
On July 8th, 2020, the principal of Salam School in Tehran telephoned Adib Vali to tell him he could not enrol in seventh grade. Adib is a high achiever having received medals in robotics and Artificial Intelligence contests for his school. Vali’s expulsion was a direct result of his Baha’i faith – the week before his expulsion he had filled out a student form identifying his religion.
In August 2021, officials demolished the homes of three Baha’is without warning. In November of the same year government agents closed six Baha’i businesses and in December thirteen Baha’i farms were auctioned off by the state. The government of Iran also continued to deny Baha’is the right to bury their deceased in empty plots at the Golestan Javid cemetery outside Tehran which the community has used for decades. Instead, Baha’is are being forced to use the Khaveran mass grave site where victims of the 1988 prison massacres are buried.