Iranian authorities have denied issuing new identity cards to its Baha’i minority. As per the report submitted by UN special rapporteur to Iran, Javaid Rehman, Iranian law acknowledges only Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians as the country’s religious minorities. Rehman mentioned in his July 2019 report that Iran considered Baha’is as “unprotected infidels”.
The regime has removed the option of ‘other religions’ from the application process, depriving the minority group of its basic civil rights. Not having national identity implies that the people of the religious community could not apply for credit cards, loans, driver’s licenses, passports, and doesn’t hold the right to buy property, right to education and work. Basically, it deprives the community of a decent life and above all the right to citizenship.
Iran, which mainly consists of Shiite Muslims, considers the Baha’i religion as a dissident. Since Iran’s revolution in 1979, hundreds of the followers of this minority group have been jailed or executed. It reflects Iran’s selective religious tolerance, which has been highly criticized by international human rights groups, including the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
“The exclusion of the Iranian Bahai community from national identification cards is unconscionable, and we are disturbed to see how this action against the Bahais fits into a broader pattern of heightened persecution over the past few months,” Anthony Vance, director of the US Bahai office of public affairs, told The National.
Vance requested the Iranian regime to “reconsider this religiously motivated exclusion”.
He also highlighted the issue of persecution of Baha’is in Iran among international communities, which he said has increased of late as they are routinely arrested over vague charges, denied school and their property gets seized by the government through a court order issued by state because of their faith.
As per the UN reports, Baha’is from Iran’s biggest religious minority with the numbers of the followers nearing 350,000.
A UN report unveiled how the Iranian government executed an organized persecution plan to eliminate Baha’is from the country.
The report reads, “In 1991, a secret official document was prepared with a view to the gradual elimination of the Baha’is as a recognizable entity in Iran. The document set out specific guidelines on how to deal with the ‘Baha’i question,’ including instructions that they are expelled from schools and denied employment and positions of influence.”
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