The Ministry of Intelligence told the state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) in Fars province that the detainees had been holding a Baha’i ceremony to celebrate the birthday of one of their faith’s primary figures, in order to overshadow the annual Shiite event known as Arbaeen. (Arbaeen marks the 40th day following the death of Shiite’s third Imam in the 7th century, in the city of Karbala, in Iraq.) 

This is a ridiculous assertion. A person peacefully celebrating their holy days does not stop others from doing the same for their religion. Moreover, an estimated two million Iranians and other Shiites from abroad attended the event. How could the Baha’is have overshadowed that? 


The Baha’is are a minority that is dismissed and persecuted by Iran’s ruling clerics across Iran. The Iranian Regime does not recognize Baha’ism as a religion, even though its followers are thought to be over 300,000 in Iran alone. Over the 40 years of the clerical government’s rule, hundreds of  Bahai’s have been arrested, tortured, and imprisoned purely for practicing their faith.


Iran’s Constitution officially only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, although the truth is that even followers of those religions are subject to discrimination, especially if they publically preach or try to convert someone from Islam. 

There have been numerous examples of Christian leaders being arrested and imprisoned in Iran for practicing their faith or conducting baptisms of Muslims. This is especially prominent in the lead up to Christmas because the government wants to stop people from converting as religion is one of the ways that the authorities repress Iranians.