Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

Chronology for Baha'is in Iran

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Baha'is in Iran, 2004, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Feb 1990 The sentences of many prisoners are reduced in honor of the 11th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. The Baha'is were excluded from this sentence reduction.
Feb 12, 1990 The UN Commission on Human Rights reports that the situation of Baha'is in Iran has improved. Business licenses are easier to obtain but most property still remains confiscated. In one case, an owner petitioning for the return of his property was arrested. However, the pattern of discrimination continues. This slight improvement of the situation of the Iranian Baha'is coincides with the death of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
1991 The 1991 State Department report on human rights in Iran reports that the situation of the Baha'is has improved slightly. There has been some return of property but only a fraction of what has been confiscated and none of the communal property has been returned. Most Baha'is can now obtain ration books but some are still denied. There are problems in some areas burying their dead. Baha'is can now attend grade and high schools but not universities. Also, the number of arrests and detention is much lower than the levels in the 1980s and there have been no executions since 1988. However, the pattern of discrimination continues. The Iranian government issues a directive on the treatment of Baha'is. This directive calls for: blocking the progress of the development of the Baha'i community; only allowing them to enroll in schools "provided that they have not identified themselves as Baha'is"; enrolling them in schools with "a strong and imposing religious ideology"; expelling Baha'is from universities; cutting off Iranian Baha'is' foreign ties; restricting Baha'i employment; and denying Baha'is "positions of influence" including the education sector. The directive also accused the Baha'is of engaging in espionage activities. However, the directive does state that Baha'is should not be expelled, arrested, imprisoned or penalized without cause and that they should be permitted "a modest livelihood as is available to the general population...[and] general rights...such as ration booklets, passports, burial certificates [and] work permits." Of course, the Iranian government called this directive a forgery. Although this directive is nothing new, this document is important because it confirms that this discrimination is official policy.
Mar 18, 1992 A leading Iranian Baha'i, Bahman Samandari, is executed after having been arrested and held without charge. Iranian officials later claim he was a Zionist spy.
Nov 23, 1992 Iranian Baha'is are not allowed by the Iranian government to attend a congregation of the Baha'i religion in New York.
1993 The 1991 State Department report on human rights in Iran reports that the situation of the Baha'is has continued to improve slightly. The return of Baha'i property has continued but it is still negligible. Otherwise the situation remains unchanged.
Jul 22, 1993 France's Baha'i community accuses Tehran officials of razing an historic Baha'i cemetery. A US State Department report confirms this and notes that the Iranian built a cultural center on this grave site.
Sep 1993 An Islamic judge announces that he has found 2 brothers guilty of the abduction and burning to death of a Baha'i man. However, the judge will not be sending them to jail nor will he award the dead man's family the traditional blood money as compensation because the murderers are Muslims and the victim was a member of the "heretical" Baha'i sect.
Oct 24, 1993 In an apparent refrence to the Baha'i faith, the Iranian parliament outlaws membership in religious cults and freemasonry groups.
Dec 24, 1993 During a Friday sermon, an Iranian ayatollah told worshipers that a senior nineteenth century Shi'i cleric considered killing Baha'is part of his day to day activities.
Jan 1994 The 12-year-old daughter of a Baha'i religious leader is kidnapped and tortured in what is believed to be a government-sanctioned instance of religious persecution.
1996 Baha'i continued to suffer repression and a number of them were continually detained. They have no permission to teach their faith. The universities refuse to admit them and they are discriminated against in courts and in employment. They have suffered confiscation of property and are given no unemployment insurance. (US Department of State Report for 1997)
Mar 10, 1996 Reformers gained a majority of seats in first round polls. (ABC CLIO)
Apr 21, 1996 Conservative parliamentarians in Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly lost seats in the run off elections held on April 19. (ABC CLIO)
Feb 25, 1997 A man was sentenced to death because he is a Baha'i. (BBC)
May 23, 1997 Khatami, a moderate was elected president with 69% of the vote. Khatami promised in the campaign to reduce censorship and support a diversity of attitudes. (ABC CLIO)
May 25, 1997 The UN special representative for Human Rights lodged a complaint with the Iranian Government over the persecution of the Baha'is.
Aug 12, 1997 Systemic discrimination in employment of Baha'is was reported. (MENI)
Sep 24, 1997 Human Rights Watch asked the Iranian Government to stop persecuting Baha'is. (IPS)
Jul 24, 1998 The US government protested the hanging of a Baha'i. (Chicago Tribune)
Jul 25, 1998 The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday protested Iran's execution of a Baha'i for converting a Muslim woman to the Baha'i faith. Three other Baha'is were under arrest for the same offense. (Los Angles Times)
Oct 25, 1998 Conservatives dominated the election to the Council of Experts when many of the reformist candidates were disqualified. (ABC CLIO)
Oct 29, 1998 Last month, Iran closed a covert university run by the Baha'is and arrested dozens of people. The university had been created when Baha'is were banned from Iranian universities. (The New York Times)
Mar 8, 1999 Moderates won in the first local elections in 20 years. (ABC CLIO)

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