Pleasanton Spokesman for Baha'i Faith Awaits Court Ruling

February 5, 2010

Author: Sophia Kazmi

Source: Contra Costa Times

After seven Baha'i leaders were arrested in Iran in 2008 and accused of being spies, Farhad Sabetan got a phone call.

It was from Voice of America — a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government — seeking comment on the arrests.

The human rights violations against the seven who share his faith thrust the Pleasanton resident into the international spotlight. The 51-year-old is now a spokesman for the Baha'i community, and in the past two years has spoken to National Public Radio, the BBC and a number of Persian media outlets about the situation.

It's not a role he was trained for. Sabetan has a Ph.D in economics, but to his surprise, has found the transition to spokesman very easy.

"I'm very comfortable (in front of) a camera or behind a microphone," Sabetan said.

The seven religious leaders will be tried in a closed court Sunday in Iran.