Baha’is in Iran

Persecution is the wrong word

The situation of Baha’is in Iran is sad, but in this article I want to explain why persecution is the wrong word intentionally used because of political motivation.

In no way I intend to deny that in Iran human rights violations are all over the place.
Persecution however happens in Iran for individuals, this is no matter which religion the individual has, it is actually about if the person is acting against the government. Even publicly criticizing the government, or massing up people who in some way publicly show that they are against the government can lead to the persecution of a single person or that group, regardless what religion these people have.

In the case of Iran there is often talk about Baha’is being persecuted in Iran, but persecution is a word that is used when a person is hunted down, jailed, killed … None of these happens to the group of Baha’is in Iran. The more correct terms are that they are disadvantaged or even second class citizens.
This is still very bad but it is a huge difference to persecution.
Now what happens actually to Baha’is in Iran? They are barred from higher (University) education, and they are not allowed to seek every kind of work. They cannot enter politics, the military and other positions that give you power above others. This is clearly restricting their rights, but is far from persecution.
Comparing Baha’is to other second class citizens in the middle east, it might make you wondering why those groups are not called out as persecuted.

Think about Kurds in Turkey:
The Turkish government and military has actively attacked Kurdish villages. They have killed hundreds of Kurds in a few months, flattend complete villages. Why again is this not called out as persecution? Hint: Turkey is a NATO member.

Think about Bedoon in Kuwait:
They are one third of the Kuwaiti population, and have no citizenship, no rights: long version here at Human Rights Watch: Hint: Kuwait is a partner and big arms importer

Think about Shia in Bahrain:
They are 70% of the population, are not allowed to enter parts of the country. Their religious sites get bulldozed away because they were not built with the right permissions, even if they were built 900 years before there was a state called Bahrain. Hint: Bahrain is a partner and the host of the United States Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf

Think about Palestinians in Israel: They do not have a state. Their own territory (West Bank) nerved by routes and streets that only Israelis are allowed to use. The palestinians and Israelis have different plates on their cars so if they drive on Israeli streets, they get pulled over by the Israeli military, interrogated fined and even jailed. Even inside the West Bank they cannot move from one Palestinian village to the next where they need to reach a hospital, school, university without every day going two times through Israeli checkpoints, where it can take 30 minutes or 3 hours or you are even sent back without a reason. All this not at the border to Israel but in their own territory.
You don’t believe me watch this presentation by a Jewish American lady who describes in clear words how life looks for Palestinians.
The video is just factual and explanatory, Just watch the first 10 minutes:

Now, compare the state of the Bahai’s in Iran with that of all the groups mentioned, and think about who’s state is worse.
Labeling the state of the Bahai’s as persecuted minority in Iran while not doing the same with all the groups mentioned above is just applying double standards because of political reasons or preferences.

Not looking at the Middle East, even an almost perfect state like Germany has problems:
In this case the problems are not rooted in the state or in the law, but rather in the society. Comparing now the society, the society in Iran in its generallity has no problems with Baha’is, hence even Amnesty or HRW cannot list attacks as they can list for a perfect state like Germany, and for example as they list for Christians that are attacked in Egypt, or Rohingya in Myanmar (reigned by Nobel Peace Prize winner: Aung San Suu Kyi but scene of killings, rape and torture of minority Rohingya. Here is the Human Rights Watch report: .

If you read in contrast the reports of Amnesty and HRW on Iran you will find, that there is a lot about Human Rights violations, injustice, … but it is not about a single minority but against anyone who opposes the Regime.

“Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years” sais head of the International Red Cross

Five months of war in Yemen has wrought destruction similar to that seen in Syria after five years, said the head of the International Red Cross on Wednesday.

Returning from a visit to the war-ravaged nation, Peter Maurer told the Associated Press that entrenched poverty, months of intensified warfare and limits on imports because of an international embargo have contributed to “catastrophic” conditions.

“The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria,” said Maurer. “So Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.”


An interesting anecdote from the Iraq-Iran war

Saddam Hussein’s goal for attacking Iran was to conquer Iranian oil fields.

Saddam was thinking that (Sunni) Arab Iranians would be oppressed in Iran (as Shia are oppressed in many Arab countries) and would join forces with their Arab “brothers” from the Iraqi Army, but the opposite was the case Arab Iranians felt more as Iranians than as Arabs and fiercely defended their homeland Iran and stopped the mighty Iraqi Army until the surprised Iranian army could finally send help to the Iraqi border.

This story beautifully shows how Arab leaders speculated and finally invented an oppression of the (Sunni) Arab minority in Iran, and were surprised by the realities on the ground, that these allegedly oppressed minorities felt pretty much Iranian, and nearer to their fellow Shia Iranians than to external Sunni and even Shia Arabs.

Great book that covers the Iraq-Iran war and other conflicts in the Middle East:

Executions in Saudi Arabia on the rise. Nearly half of the executed foreign nationals. Foreigners 8 times more likely to be executed for the same crime.

Saudi Arabia has executed at least 175 people over the last 12 months, on average one person every two days, according to a report released on Tuesday by Amnesty International.
The report said at least 102 people had been put to death in the first six months of 2015, compared with 90 across the whole of 2014.

Saudi courts allow for people to be executed for adultery, apostasy and witchcraft.

People can also be executed for crimes committed when they were below 18 years of age.

In May this year, Saudi Arabia advertised for eight new executioners to cope with an increasing number of death sentences. The role, posted on the civil service jobs portal, was described as “executing a judgment of death” as well as performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences.

Although foreigners make up just one quarter of the oil rich state’s population, Amnesty reported they made up the majority of all those sent to death row. Its report revealed that at least 1,695 executions were carried out between 1985 and May 2008, with the number of non-nationals totalling 830, compared with 809 local citizens. It was impossible to ascertain the nationality of the remaining 56.

But it is in the number of reprieves that the greatest disparity lies. Amnesty claimed that a pardon is granted in one in every four capital cases involving a Saudi citizen but only one in 30 of each foreign case. Many of those foreigners lacked the Arabic skills to understand court proceedings and charges.


Is Iran a problem, or part of the solution?


by Andre Vltchek

Why should I care whether Iran has nukes? It most likely doesn’t, but even if it does… it never attacked anyone, never overthrew any government, and never performed experiments on human beings. It had not committed a single genocide, and never dreamed about conquering the world.

So why should I even bother to think much about Iran’s nuclear program, big or small, “peaceful” or defensive?

If Iran is capable of defending itself – then excellent; I am only happy! At least it will not be wiped out from the face of the Earth, as happened to its unfortunate neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan or to a bit more distant but not more fortunate countries like Libya.

Do I want this great, ancient Iranian culture to become defenseless and to eventually disappear, to be destroyed, or to get replaced by aggressive Western consumerism, arrogance and pathological lack of compassion?…

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Lies, Damnable Lies, and Syria, by Robert Gore


The photo of the three-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, dead, face down on a Turkish beach, will be remembered not just for its emotional impact, but because once and for all it revealed the grotesque and deadly motives of those who press for, and profit from, the never-ending expansion of Western war-making in the Middle East. In a triumph of opportunistic cynicism over truth, restraint, or good taste, they quickly blamed Kurdi’s death on the failure of the US and European governments to depose Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad (“Abusing Dead Syrian Children,” by Daniel McAdams, SLL, 9/4/15).

What is really going on in Syria? SLL posted a good background report, “Unmasking ISIS,” by Washington’s Blog on September 13. Ostensibly, Assad, an Alawite Shiite, is trying to fend off a revolution led by Sunni ISIS, which now controls a large chunk of land in eastern Syria and…

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Executions here, police killings there

Proven death sentences in 2014: 35 (USA), 61 (Iraq), 90 (Saudi Arabia), 289 (Iran).

You hear only about Iran, but there are countries that are worse:

In Nigeria, 659 death sentences were recorded in 2014, a jump of more than 500 compared with the 2013 figure of 141.

In Egypt, courts handed down at least 509 death sentences during 2014, 400 more than recorded during the previous year. This included mass death sentences against 37 people in April and 183 people in June following unfair mass trials.


From all countries above who do you think is on the biggest drug smuggling route of the world?

Correct: Iran.

Afghanistan presently produces 80 percent of the world’s heroin which provides billions of dollars in illicit profits for the powerful drug Mafia. Heroin trafficking and production have flourished under US military occupation and transformed Afghanistan into a dysfunctional narco-colony.

In the past 30 years, 3,734 Iranian border guards have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded in clashes with smugglers.


Iran has a real problem with this:

Iran lies directly in the path of the world’s largest flow of heroin.
There are some analysts who describe Iran’s heroin addiction problem as the “worst in the world.” Estimates of the number of addicts vary widely – from one million to more than three million habitual drug users. A 2006 report estimated that 8 percent of the adult population was addicted to drugs.

Out of the 170,000 people in jail in Iran, 68,000 are there for drug trafficking and 32,000 are there because they are addicts.


So what should a 3rd world country crippled under sanctions do? Build more jails? Hold more costly prisoners? Be more morale than the US and stopping executions at all? Yes, should it? But then why are you not so much upset when there are death sentences in the US? Are death sentences, invasions, meddling in other countries ok when you are a democracy? Don’t you think these are double standards?

Also what do you think about: US police killings headed for 1,100 this year, with black Americans twice as likely to die. (The Guardian)

How convenient isn’t it? No court costs, no prison costs and no bad image, because all people only compare death sentence numbers. Also, let’s try a test: replace in the title of the Guardian article (above in blue) US with Iran, and black Americans by an arbitrary Iranian minority. The conclusion would be clear, right? (White) US republicans would be furious even the UN, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch would be all over the story.

Speaking of all this: Yes, Iran is a dictatorship, and yes every execution is one execution too much, but after reading this article it should be clear that we have clearly double standards here, we comfortably ignore Iran’s hard situation trying to stop drug smuggling (and thus also protecting not only Iran’s youth but also other countries down the road) while being under sanctions. It should be also clear that focusing on just Iran can only have one reason: political motivation.