Monday, March 15, 2010
Agence France Presse (AFP) /
The United States is "increasingly concerned" over the persecution of the Bahai and other religious minorities in Iran, a State Department spokesman said Friday. "The United States is increasingly concerned about the Iran's ongoing persecution of Bahais and other religious minority communities," spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement. He added that Washington was also concerned about the ongoing espionage trial in Iran of seven Bahai leaders, who have been denied access to their lawyers. The trial, Crowley added, fails to meet its "obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." Crowley reminded Tehran that last month it pledged to abide by international law during a review of human rights records of UN member states by the UN Human Rights Council.
"Therefore," he added, "we are deeply disappointed that the Iranian government rejected a UPR recommendation to end discrimination against its Bahai religious minority. "We join the international community in urging Iran to uphold its obligations to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its people," Crowley added.Followers of the Bahai faith, founded in Iran in 1863, are regarded in the Islamic republic as infidels and suffered persecution both before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Bahais have a sprawling temple in Haifa, in northern Israel, which is the Islamic republic's arch-foe.