Security forces raided the homes of 30-50 Bahai citizens in at least 4 provinces today and confiscated their personal belongings.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, the houses searched were in Tehran, Alborz near the capital, Isfahan in central, and the northern province of Mazandaran. Some of the personal belongings of the Bahais including laptops, smartphones, personal computers, and religious books were confiscated.
The report said some of the raids were carried out without search warrants. The Bahai families have not been identified as yet and it is still not clear why these homes were raided.
The raids have raised alarms among Bahais across Iran.
Bahai persecution in Iran
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 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.