Last May, it was revealed that Iranian authorities detained the leaders of “the Friends”, an informal group that oversaw the needs of the Baha’i community. For months, they were held without charge or access to due process, and as the days and weeks passed, concern was growing for their safety.

Iran, with its history rife with incidents of abuse against the Baha’i minority, is known to target leaders of the faith. In August 1980, all members of the National Spiritual Assembly were abducted and are believed to have been killed. A year later, the Baha’i community was gripped again as members of their newly elected National Spiritual Assembly were executed. Soon after, the government banned all Baha’i institutions, thus leaving the Baha’i community with no other choice but to suspend all organizational and administrative activities.

Now a troubling development has ensued, with Resalat – a conservative newspaper in Iran – publishing a report that claims “7 Israeli spies were arrested”.

Speaking to ISNA (Iranian Students’ News Agency), Deputy of Tehran’s General and Revolutionary Dadsara mentioned the case of illegal Bahai establishment and said: 7 Bahais made an illegal group and had some sort of relations with few countries including Israel, taking directives from them to commit acts against IRI. This led to their arrest and they have admitted their charges including making an illegal group and having relations with Israel. This case is being investigated in First Branch of Security Dadsara.

Allegations that the Baha’i community works hand-in-hand with foreign powers are not new; they have been surfacing since the earliest days of the faith, with the supposed foreign power changing (from Russia, to Britain, Freemasons and now Israel) with every new turn in events.

We at the Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights cannot comprehend the Iranian authority’s ceaseless efforts to persecute a small, peaceful minority, and only shudder when we try to imagine what the motives behind the supposed confessions might be.

We will continue to pray and hope for our brothers and sisters in Iran and elsewhere. This unjustifiable madness must come to an end!