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Iran: Baha’i Faith

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Iranian authorities on the recent arrests of Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Neimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, members of the Iranian Baha'i community, on 14 May; and if he will make a statement. (212086)

The Government are deeply concerned by the arrests of the informal Baha'i leadership in Tehran on 14 May and the ongoing persecution of the Iranian Baha'i community. On receiving reports of these arrests, and following a recommendation by the UK, the EU issued a public declaration on 21 May which reiterated the EU's serious concern about the harassment of Iranian Baha'is on the grounds of their religion and called on Iran to

“uphold fully the right to adopt and practise a religion of choice, to end the persecution of the Baha'i community, and to release the detained individuals”.

We will continue to raise this issue with the Iranian authorities and have recommended that the EU presidency should do so again in its next meeting with the Iranian authorities in Tehran.

We regularly raise our concerns about human rights, including the treatment of Baha'is in Iran, in our bilateral contacts with the Iranian authorities and through the EU. We raise human rights with the Government of Iran through the EU in order to emphasise that our concerns are shared across a range of countries