Source: A Statement of the BahÃ¡’Ã International Community
The fears of BahÃ¡’Ãs worldwide over the intended fate of their coreligionists in Iran have heightened in the light of occurrences since the arrests, three months ago, of the “Friends in Iran,” the seven BahÃ¡’Ãs who coordinate the affairs of the 300,000 BahÃ¡’Ãs across Iran. Reports published in government-run news outlets point to an effort on the part of the authorities to use the mass media to spread accusations that the seven prisoners have engaged in subversive activities, and to continue to deprive these BahÃ¡’Ãs from any access to legal counsel by maligning Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the well-known Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner who, together with her colleagues, has stated her readiness to defend the BahÃ¡’Ãs.
Meanwhile, BahÃ¡’Ãs throughout Iran are being terrorized in acts of ever-intensifying violence that have in recent weeks extended to a string of arson attacks on their homes and properties. They also continue to be demonized in an unrelenting campaign of propaganda that has been ongoing in the mass media for the past three years; subjected to summary arrests, detentions, interrogations, and searches of their homes; denied the means of livelihood; barred from the nation’s institutions of higher learning; vilified from pulpits; and insulted in their schoolrooms. Their cemeteries are being systematically destroyed and the graves of their loved ones desecrated.
These latest developments are especially disturbing when viewed in the light of an established pattern whereby the authorities make or purvey false statements about the BahÃ¡’Ãs, then deliberately repeat and widely disseminate these falsehoods and misrepresentations to give them credence. The intention, of course, is to foment hatred and mistrust of the BahÃ¡’Ãs so that there exists within the general population an atmosphere wherein egregious violations of the BahÃ¡’Ãs’ human rights are either condoned or not questioned. Moreover, having themselves done everything possible to rouse the population, the authorities have been disingenuously telling the BahÃ¡’Ãs that they will be incapable of protecting them when mob violence erupts.