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Observers of the situation in Iran have noted an increase in the intensity of persecution against the Baha’i minority of Iran in recent months. The above map depicts known reports of arrests and raids since October 2008 that have come to our attention. Arrests are denoted with a red placemark, while raids (which often result in arrests) are denoted with blue placemarks.

Most of the recent incidents are centered in the northern province of Mazandaran, where the chief of the Ministry of Intelligence is said to have personally instigated the attacks.

The most recent incidents occurred in Tehran and in Kish Island, a popular tourist destination. In Tehran, 10 residences belonging to adherents of the Baha’i Faith were raided, and personal belongings were confiscated. The raids resulted in the arrest of 6 Baha’is, one of whom is a former employee at the Defenders of Human Rights Center.

In Kish Island, 8 women were arrested (some of the women are reported to have been visiting from abroad) and accused of acting as missionaries. According to the semi-official news service Tabnak, the Baha’is have actively “used attractive women as bait” to lure young women into the Faith. Under normal circumstances, such accusations against a major world religin would be laughable.

But the Baha’is of Iran do not live under normal circumstances. Their most basic of rights are denied, the sanctity of their belief is not respected and perpetrators of abuse against Baha’is are not prosecuted. In fact, according to law, Baha’i blood can be spilled with impunity.

Update: In the light of the recent report from Human Rights Activists in Iran, we’ve updated the map to reflect incidents that have just come to our attention.