US calls on Iran to free imprisoned Baha’i leaders
In a statement released on May 14, the U.S Department of State has called on Tehran to unconditional release of seven leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community and all other prisoners of conscience in Iran.
“Nine years ago, seven leaders of Iran’s Bahai community were arrested and convicted of espionage, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic for activities related solely to their belief in and practice of their faith. They were unjustly sentenced to 20 years in prison,” the statement reads in part.
The Baha’i faith is not recognized in the constitution of Iran, which has been ruled by a conservative Muslim establishment since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Asma Jahangir, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, said in a March report that members of the community in Iran “continue to be systematically discriminated, targeted, and deprived them of the right to a livelihood.”