Quiet strangulation. Islamic Republic’s treatment of Baha’is since 1991

Mina Yazdani


This article first provides a survey of the history of the persecution of the Baha’i community of Iran since the inception of the religion in the mid-nineteen century, and a summary of the analyses of other historians on the roots of anti-Baha’i discrimination. It then focuses on the Islamic Republic’s treatment of Baha’is since 1991, the year a secret memorandum regarding “the Baha’i Question” redefined the government’s previous policy of “overt” suppression to one that would be henceforth “covert.” It demonstrates that the government, having learned from its experiences in the 1980s, has, since the early 1990s, carefully orchestrated and pursued plans to suppress the Baha’i community in all areas of life, in ways that have deliberately sought to generate the least amount of international outrage and sympathy as possible. It proposes that the real yet hidden root of the brutal treatment of Baha’is is the insecurity and threat the theocratic government and its clerical leadership feel about the spread of the rational, outward-looking, world-embracing and highly ethical ethos of the Baha’i Faith.

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Iran; Baha'i faith; human rights; religious freedom; United Nations

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