Parliamentarians call on Iran to stop “illegal” destruction of Bahá’í cemetery in Shiraz

Parliamentarians have called on Iran to stop the “morally repugnant” destruction of a Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz. In the letter published by The Independent, the Parliamentarians also called on others to hold Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to account on Iran’s treatment of religious minorities.

The cemetery is, among other things, the resting place of ten Baha’i women whose cruel hanging in 1983 came to symbolise Iran’s deadly persecution of Baha’is. 

Stop these assaults on Baha’i faith in Iran

We were deeply troubled to learn in recent reports that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is destroying an historically important Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz. Nearly a thousand Baha’is are buried in this cemetery – including ten women whose 1983 hanging came to symbolise Iran’s barbaric persecution of the community. More than 200 Baha’is have been executed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The violation of this site is illegal under Iran’s own laws. Desecrations of Baha’i cemeteries are just one morally repugnant part of a state-sponsored campaign to eliminate Iran’s Baha’is as a viable entity.

The Baha’is number some 300,000 people – the country’s largest religious minority – but they enjoy no rights under the constitution. Baha’is are denied jobs and education, they are vilified in the media, and they are harassed in their daily lives. More than 100 Baha’is are in prison on trumped-up charges.

President Rouhani has promised to respect the rights of all Iranian citizens. But the human rights situation for Baha’is has only become worse, while Christians and other minorities also continue to suffer. We hope that our voice, as a group of British Parliamentarians, will remind others to hold the President to account. Deeds, Mr Rouhani; not words.

Baroness Berridge, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom, Louise Ellman MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Baha’í Faith, Lord Alton, Sir Tony Baldry MP, The Lord Bishop  of Coventry, Baroness Cox, Mary Glindon MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, Baroness Hussain-Ece, Naomi Long MP, Neil Parish MP, Adrian Sanders MP, Andrew Selous MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Mark Williams MP. 

The Independent, 25 May 2014