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Iran: Baha'i Faith

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent representations he has made to the Government of Iran on the seven person informal leadership group of the Baha'i community in Iran; and if he will make a statement; (310282)

(2) whether he has requested the Iranian authorities to guarantee the safety of the accused informal Baha'i leadership in Iran and for any trial to be held in public; and if he will make a statement.

Alongside our EU partners we have made clear to the Iranian authorities our concerns at the charges of ‘espionage' and “corruption on earth” levelled against the seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned for over a year without trial, most recently through the EU presidency, which summoned the Iranian Ambassador on 10 July 2009. In recent days we have learnt that their trial has been scheduled for 12 January 2010. We have already spoken to EU partners who share our belief that we should collectively make clear to Iran in advance of that date that they have international obligations to ensure that, if it goes ahead, it is a fair trial.

We have been active in using multilateral forums to call for the Iranian authorities to respect the rights of Baha'is and other religious and ethnic minorities. On 18 December 2009, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution on human rights in Iran for the seventh consecutive year. The Resolution condemns ‘attacks on Baha'is and their faith in state-sponsored media, increasing evidence of efforts by the state to identify, monitor and arbitrarily detain Baha'is, preventing members of the Baha'i faith from attending university and from sustaining themselves economically'.

We will continue to urge Iran to respect the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.