Religious Persecution of Bahá'ís under the Islamic Republic of Iran

Authored by: Siyamak Zabihi-Moghaddam

The World of the Bahá'í Faith

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138367722
eBook ISBN: 9780429027772
Adobe ISBN:


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While in the past, the Bahá’ís of Iran were periodically subjected to religious persecution, since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 they have been incessantly and systematically persecuted as a matter of state policy. This chapter examines the state-sponsored persecution of Bahá’ís and their response to it. In the first years after the victory of the revolution, the community experienced a reign of terror. Since the early 1990s, however, the persecution has proceeded according to a clearly defined strategy, the objective of which is to destroy the Bahá’í community as a viable entity in Iran. Iranian Bahá’ís have responded to oppression in a principled manner. In compliance with a government ban, they disbanded Bahá’í institutions across Iran, but did not cease to live their lives in accordance with the Bahá’í teachings; they have accepted to refrain from teaching their Faith in public, but have refused not to share their beliefs in private; they have shunned partisan politics and activities that might undermine the Iranian regime, but have continued to use legal means to secure their basic human rights; and they have established and operated their own institute for higher education in response to the authorities’ exclusion of young Bahá’ís from universities.

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