Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior adviser to the Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenai and head of the human rights council in the judiciary recently sat down for an interview with Iran Press TV, an English-language network of the Iranian regime that has previously carried anti-Baha’i propaganda. In the interview, Larijani addressed the issue of the Baha’i community in Iran (full transcript of the section below).

Larijani claimed in his November 22nd interview Baha’ism is a “closed-door cult” that prevents people from leaving it, and therefore the Iranian regime needs to protect people against this “exclusive” and “dominating” cult. Larijani stated that the treatment of the Baha’i “cult” is similar to the treatment of any other closed-door cult, whether it’s Sunni or Shia. According to him, members of the Baha’i “cult” are affluent people and “there are more than 300 Baha’i students in universities”. This means that according to Larijani’s own admission, Baha’is are discriminated against since only 0.1% of Baha’is (300 out of 300,000) attend Iranian universities and 4.8% of the general Iranian population do (3.5 million students out of a population of 72 million). This is assuming Larijani doesn’t think that Baha’is are inherently intellectually inferior compared to Muslims.

Full transcript:

Baha’ism is not a religion in Iran. The Jews are minority and they even have members in the parliament. The Christians are minority; they have members in the parliament. Zoroastrian’s are minorities.

Bahia’s are a cult and they are governed by the law which deals with different cults and as far as this cult is not preventing its follower from going out of the cult they are tolerated.

So you can find Bahai’s in universities as students as teachers. There are more than 300 Baha’i students in universities. They are professors. They are very affluent people; they have big factories and companies so they are protected by law according to the law which we call Citizenship Contract.

Regardless of their religion as far as it is within the law, they get all the protections. But the trouble starts when they start to act as a cult which is a closed door cult. It means that people can get in but cannot get out.

And we had numerous cases, some young Baha’is, they wanted to leave this cult; they said it doesn’t make sense to us. So they had been summand in meetings and they had been warned that if you leave this cult you will be punished and deprived from all the ancestral will, you will be put under pressure.

So here the law will come in and the law will prevent the use of this much exclusive or kind of dominating called procedure; any cult, being Baha’i or being Shia doesn’t matter, it will be prevented by law.

We had numerous cases of cults’ practices even with Shia groups. People have been jailed because they were putting people in some farms and not letting them to go out so we will fight with any cult activity which prevents its followers from the freedom of living the cult, being Shia or being Baha’i doesn’t matter.