Security forces in central Iran arrested an Iranian Baha’i couple and confiscated their belongings including their cars. Houshmand Talebi & his wife Mozhdeh Eghterafi live in Villashahr in Isfahan Province.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, after their arrest on Sunday, August 23, security forces also raided their home and confiscated their belongings, including laptops, smartphones, books, and their daughter’s acoustic piano. Two of the family’s cars and their truck was also confiscated.
A source who was informed of the arrest said that Houshmand and his wife Mozhdeh were told on the phone to get their belongings that were confiscated in 2018.
“They were summoned by a security institution and went there in their car. Security agents detained Mozhdeh once they reached the building and took the car. Afterward, five of the agents brought Houshmand with them to search their house.”
After the search they told Houshmand to drive his Isuzu truck behind them. He was also arrested once they reached the institution, and his truck was confiscated.
It is still not know why the Baha’i couple were arrested and where they were taken.
Iranian Bahais are deprived of freedom of religion as stated in Article 18 of the Core International Human Rights Treaties.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
Unofficial sources say that there are more than 300,000 people following the Bahai Faith in Iran. However, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize Bahaism.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iranian Bahais have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. During the first decade of this persecution, more than 200 of Iran’s Bahais were killed or executed. Hundreds more were tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief.
The persecution of Iran’s Bahais is still ongoing with dozens of Bahais languishing in prisons throughout Iran.