Congress condemns Iran’s persecution of Baha’i minority

Washington, D.C., Dec. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On Thursday, December 1st, House Resolution 744 (H.Res.744), condemning the state-sponsored persecution of the Baha’i community of Iran was passed by the United States House of Representatives. The resolution comes at a time of heightened international outcry against Iran’s human rights record prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the Iranian government’s morality police. 

The resolution condemns the longstanding state-sponsored persecution of the Iranian Baha’i religious minority, and calls on the Iranian government to immediately release the imprisoned or detained Baha’is and all other prisoners held solely on account of their religion; to end its campaign of hate propaganda against the Baha’is; and to reverse state-imposed policies denying Baha’is and members of other religious minorities equal opportunities to higher education, earning a livelihood, due process under the law, and the free exercise of religious practices.

Furthermore, H.Res.744 calls on the President and the Secretary of State to immediately condemn the Government of Iran’s continued violation of human rights and demand the immediate release of prisoners held solely on account of their religion. It also calls for sanctions on officials of the Government of Iran for human rights abuses against the Baha’i community of Iran. 

“I am thrilled that H.Res. 744 condemning Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority passed the House of Representatives today,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “My district, the Illinois Ninth, is the proud home of the beautiful and awe-inspiring Baha’i House of Worship for North America. It is welcoming not just to our Baha’i community, but to all people… I call on the Senate to pass this bill swiftly and for the U.S. government to use all available diplomatic tools to ensure that Iran ends its cruel and relentless campaign against the Baha’i, women, and girls.”

The resolution, introduced by former Congressman Ted Deutch before his retirement and led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), was supported by the bi-partisan co-sponsorship of Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY-5), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO-2), and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC-2).

“We are grateful that Congress has recognized the severe and continual injustice that the Iranian government perpetrates against its Baha’is minority,” said Mr. Anthony Vance, a spokesperson for the Baha’is of the United States. “Since the Baha’is are by no means alone in facing persecution, we hope that this resolution may contribute in some way  to the improvement of human rights for all Iranians.” 

CONTACT: James Samimi Farr US Baha'i Office of Public Affairs 202.833.8990 [email protected] 

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