Aryaei Community News Agency – The office of the World Baha’i Community in Geneva expressed its concern regarding the confiscation of the property of Baha’is in Iran and, referring to the recent actions of the Islamic Republic to confiscate the lands of six Baha’i citizens in Semnan, requested the United Nations and the international community intervened It is stated in this statement, in case of seizing Semnan’s properties, these fields will be transferred to the organization “Imam Khomeini’s Command Implementation Headquarters” which operates under the supervision of the leader of the Islamic Republic.
The full text of the Bahá’í World Community regarding the confiscation of Bahá’í properties
“A new wave of economic suffocation against the Baha’is of Iran has started with the action of the Iranian government authorities to confiscate lands in Semnan province belonging to six Baha’i citizens. In the past four decades, confiscation of assets and properties has been one of the methods of suppressing Iranian Baha’is because of their beliefs.
In this case, the World Baha’i Community has written several official letters to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs and has asked the United Nations and other international activists to intervene and ensure that the Iranian government does not deprive the Baha’is of their property.
At the beginning of November, the Judiciary’s website announced the imminent confiscation of Baha’i properties. This notification has been issued while in November 2020, a number of properties and lands belonging to Baha’is throughout Iran were seized by the security forces. In these attacks, a large number of property documents belonging to the Baha’is were collected, including property documents of Semnan, which is about to be confiscated. Last year, Baha’i lands in the village of Eyol in Mazandaran were also confiscated by government officials.
The “accusation” cited by the court as the reason for the seizure is that these properties belong to Bahá’í institutions. This is while Baha’i institutions were closed by the Islamic Republic in 1979 and officially dissolved in 1983. Also, all lands and properties belonging to Baha’i institutions were confiscated after the Islamic Revolution, and as a result, no property in Iran currently belongs to these institutions.
In case of seizure of Semnan’s properties, these fields will be transferred to the governmental and quasi-governmental organization “Imam Khomeini’s Command Implementation Headquarters”, which operates under the supervision of the leader of the Islamic Republic. According to Article 49 of the Iranian Constitution, which is misused to justify these detentions, the government is required to prove the legitimacy of such detentions based on Islamic laws.
The use of this law against the Baha’is clearly shows that the acquisition of these properties is done with a religious motive. These detentions are a clear example of economic strangulation, which is in violation of international laws on non-discrimination.
Now, the world Baha’i community demands an immediate reaction from the United Nations and the international community to stop these measures to take over the personal properties of Baha’is. The arrests that took place last year in the village of Ivel were also based on the same discriminatory interpretation of Article 49. This law has also been used to justify the confiscation of agricultural lands that belonged to Baha’i families in the village of Roshan Koh for more than a century.
Previously, Iranian government officials have used Semnan as a “laboratory” to implement systematic campaigns to suppress Iranian Baha’is. Attacks on the Bahá’ís of Semnan in terms of severity, level of mobilization and coordination of official and unofficial agents, including the police, courts, local authorities and clerics; Also, it has been significant in terms of the range of harassment from spreading hatred to economic pressures, arrests and beatings.
The international Baha’i community considers the seizure of Baha’i properties in Semnan as an example of the government’s campaign of economic suppression of Baha’is in the entire country.
History of confiscation of Baha’i properties
The confiscation of the properties of the Baha’is of Eyol village in Mazandaran province began in the early years after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and in October of last year, despite the Baha’is’ great efforts and without the case being seen by the lawyers so that they could prepare a defense, the Court of Appeal approved The decision of the special court in favor of the executive headquarters of Imam Khomeini’s decree, which operates under the control of the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei, gave the authority to sell lands belonging to Baha’is to that headquarters.
Confiscation of Baha’i properties – holy places as well as personal properties – has been part of the Iranian government’s systematic campaign of economic, cultural and social repression against Baha’is. This is only part of a long four-decade long effort to destroy the Baha’i community as a living and dynamic entity in the country.
Baha’i citizens in Iran are deprived of the freedoms related to religious beliefs, this systematic deprivation while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, every person has the right to freedom of religion and change of religion with conviction, as well as have the freedom to express it individually or collectively and publicly or secretly.
According to unofficial sources, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is in Iran, but the Iranian constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize the Baha’i religion. For this reason, the rights of Baha’is have been systematically violated in Iran over the past years.