House Condemns Iran for Persecution of Baha’i
In one of the last acts of the 112th Congress, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 134, “Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” The resolution, which passed with bipartisan support, is the 12th of its kind to pass the house since 1982.
The Baha’i faith, which is not recognized by the government of Iran, is considered to be the most persecuted religion in the Islamic Republic. The Baha’i faith was founded by Baha’u'llah in 1860, and followers of Baha’i consider their founder to be a prophet. The faith was outlawed in Iran following the revolution, as followers of Islam (the official religion of Iran) consider Muhammad to be the last prophet.
In addition to facing general discrimination, many Baha’is have been arrested after being accused of participating in counterrevolutionary religious networks. In December, 28 Baha’i followers were arrested in Iran, just the latest in a string of arrests raising flags in the international human rights community.
The United Nations passed a resolution condemning the persecution of Iranian followers of Baha’i shortly after the December arrests. The resolution, which was sponsored by Canada, and which passed by a vote of 86 to 32 with 65 abstentions, called on Iran to end the abuse of Baha’i followers, and to cooperate with international human rights organizations to ensure the safety of the Baha’i community. It was the 25th resolution of its kind to pass in the United Nations General Assembly.
The resolution that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, which was sponsored by Representatives Robert J. Dold (R-IL), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and Brad Sherman (D-CA), called on President Obama and the U.S. State Department to pressure the Iranian government to treat B’hai Iranians more fairly.
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