Reports from human rights organizations and the Baha’i International Community show that over the last month, violations of the rights of Baha’is in Iran unfortunately persisted.

Several homes of Baha’is were searched across Iran. On September 27, the house of Sohail Rouhani was searched in Yazd by security forces. They confiscated his computer, cell phone and CDs. On October 17, security forces searched the home of Shahram Azadi in Khorramshahr. They took his identification papers and his mobile phone. In Mahshahr, the house of a Baha’i couple Shokrollah and Sadigheh Hajiani was searched on October 19. Both were detained, and Mrs. Hajiani was later released. On October 21, security forces searched Pejzman Nikooneja‘s house in Babol, confiscated some personal belongings and detained him for two hours.

Several Baha’i citizens were summoned to interrogations by security forces. Four Baha’is in Kashan, Shahrzad Mahjoor, Ruhieh Fanaian, Soheil Husaynipour and Feraydoon Fallah were interrogated by the Revolutionary Court on September 23 and later released. On September 26, another Baha’i resident of Kashan, Rosita Zabihian, was questioned by the Revolutionary Court. She was summoned to the interrogation by the Revolutionary Guards Information Office earlier that month. The same office summoned six Baha’is from the nearby village of Mazgan for interrogation. The six, Nourollah Samiee, Shahram Ehsani, Mr. Heshmatollah Ehsani, Mr. Nourollah Shahidi, Mr. Rahmatollah Shahidi and Mr. Siavash Dabestani, were question in Kashan on September 30.

While many Baha’i students were simply denied the right to start their higher education this year, despite passing the entrance exam, three Baha’i students in Semnan completed one week in the university before they were expelled.

A number of Baha’is have been arrested over the last month and a half. On October 12, Behnam Rouhanifard was arrested in Yazd and taken to an undisclosed location. Four days later, his brother, Sohail Rouhanifard was arrested too. On October 19, Peyman Kashfi, a Baha’i from Tehran was summoned to the Revolutionary Court, and never returned from there. When his family inquired about his whereabouts, they were told that he’s detained in section 209 of Evin Prison (the section reserved for political prisoners). He is not allowed to see visitors and accept packages from his family. On October 31, Yasuj Intelligence Office searched the house of Ali Bakhsh Bazrafkan, confiscated some of his belongings and then brought him to his son’s house, searched that house too and confiscated all religious writings. Ali was later arrested. On November 2, two Baha’is in Mashad were arrested and taken to an unknown location. Security forces arrested the two, Sonia Ahmadi and Mr. Ghanavatian after they’ve entered a religious session of the Baha’is in town that evening and filmed it.

On October 30, Ruhollah Rezaei a Baha’i citizen in Shiraz was kidnapped by unknown men and tortured. He was threatened, hung by a rope to make his believe that he’s about to be hanged, undressed and burned with cigarettes all over his body. Mr. Rezaei was previously jailed for five years in 1981 when he was only 18.

On October 19, nine Baha’is from Mashhad, Davar Nabilzadeh, Kaviz Noozdahi, Rosita Vaseghi, Sima Rajabian, Nahid Ghadiri, Nasrin Ghadiri, Sima Eshraghi, Jalayer Vahdat and Hooman Bakhtavar, were summoned to the Security Office for interrogation. On October 25, the second hearing in their case took place. The nine face different charges, including propaganda against the regime, activities against national security, teaching the Baha’i Faith and insulting religious sanctities.
In Early Novemver, A Baha’i woman from Semnan, Manijeh Monzavian, was sentenced to three and half years in prison for acting against national security by promoting the Baha’i Faith and membership in Baha’i anti-regime organizations. As expected, the trial of the seven Baha’i leaders (the Yaran), which was set to start on October 18, was postponed for the fourth time. According to IRNA, Alireza Avaie, head of Tehran’s justice department, said that he “believes they will be tried in the near future.”

Following the destruction of the Baha’i cemetery of Vilashahr and Najafabad for the 18th time, Azizu’llah Subhi Najafabad, a Baha’i from Najafabad was buried on September 27 in Isfahan without notification to his family. As we’ve previously mentioned, his family was not allowed to bury him in the Baha’i cemetery following its destruction, and his body was held in the hospital since his death on September 15.

Various acts of vandalism against Baha’i property were perpetrated as well. In late September the windows of a car belonging to Mahboub Bandi, a Baha’i from Rafsanjan, were smashed by unidentified men. Only a few days later, on October 2, the car of Farzad Mohebati was set on fire in the same town. Also, On September 27, unidentified motorcyclists smashed the windows of Nezamuddin Fanaian’s car in Semnan. The similar attack was carried out in the city on October 7 against Adel Fanaian’s car. On November 2, a large water tank was stolen from a Baha’i cemetery in Sangar, near Semnan, probably using a crane. As we know from previous incidents, vandalism against Baha’i property is not investigated by authorities, thus affirming to the perpetrators a feeling of impunity.

As a background to this ongoing persecution is the state-supported incitement against Baha’is and their Faith. On October 8, a seminar in the city of Mashad for the “review and critique of sects” called the Baha’i Faith a “pseudo-sect”. Also, On October 10, Ghoranali Dorri Najafabadi, the representative of the Supreme Leader and the leader of the Friday prayer in the city of Arak, spoke to a group of women. In his speech he described Baha’i religious activities as “suspicious, seditious and criminal”. Until a few months ago, Mr. Najafabadi served as Solicitor General and was responsible for the decision to disband the informal local Baha’i councils (the formal ones were banned in 1979).