Iran arrests 6 Bahai leaders for ‘connections with Zionists’


Iran confirmed on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 that it had arrested six leaders of the Bahai community on charges of “anti-Iranian activities,” including working against Iran’s interests and ‘connections with foreigners, especially Zionists. Intelligence officials had arrested the six at their homes last week.

Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham confirmed the matter and said that “this group worked against the state’s interests and had connections with foreigners, especially Zionists.”

Elham also said that “our intelligence service has acted based on legal criteria and it is pursuing the issue as a duty and as part of every country’s rules.”

bahai

One of the estimations is that the Bahai leaders were arrested as a result of a bombing which occurred last month in a Shiraz mosque that killed 14 people. The bombing occurred while a local clergyman was preaching against the Bahais.

Iran first suspected a local terror organization and arrested more than a dozen suspects, who according to the government admitted that they received funding and instruction from the United States, England, and Israel. However, .

In January, Iran announced that it tried 54 Bahais over propaganda against the regime charges. Three of them were sentenced to four years imprisonment and the rest were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment on probation. Justice officials said that the Bahais held missionary activity in Shiraz under the guise of assistance to the needy.

The Bahai religion developed in Iran in the 19th century, but since the 1979 Islamic Revolution is considered illegal in the Islamic Republic. According to estimations, 300,000 Bahais live in Iran. They are considered infidels according to the government and are practice their religion in secrecy.

The Bahais view the Bahaullah, born in 1817, as their last prophet, sent by divine intervention to the world. The Bahaullah buried in Haifa, Israel, the most sacred place for the Bahai religion.

Iran arrests 6 Bahai leaders for ‘connections with Zionists’

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