President Rouhani's UN speech and the question of human rights in Iran 25 Sept 2013

Apr 2011
484
Sydney
"NEW YORK — Having heard Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's address to the United Nations today, the world will be watching to see how he will, beyond his general call for hope and moderation around the world, address the essential question of human rights in Iran.

The Baha'i International Community is eagerly waiting to see what practical steps President Rouhani and his government will now take to redress human rights violations faced by Iran's ethnic and religious minorities, including Baha'is, the country's largest non-Muslim religious minority, as well as other sectors of Iran's population.

"In particular, we are hoping that President Rouhani will take steps to accord to the Baha'is their full rights as Iranian citizens," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community.

"A first step would be to revoke the provisions of the 1991 secret memorandum issued by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council and signed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. That document calls for the Baha'is to be treated in such a way that 'their progress and development are blocked' and it sets out policies aimed at eliminating the Baha'i community as a viable entity in Iran.
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President Rouhani's UN speech and the question of human rights in Iran - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Apr 2011
484
Sydney
"Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the United Nations on Tuesday signaled the possibility of a thaw in relations between Iran and the United States. Indeed, President Rouhani has been diligently trying to improve Iran’s image abroad by, for instance, reaching out to the Jewish community over social media and to Americans through an NBC interview and a Washington Post op-ed. At the same time, he has fostered hope for reform at home by freeing political prisoners and promising greater freedoms for Iran’s young and restive population.

But if President Rouhani is truly serious about repairing Iran’s image in the world and living up to his promises for greater rights, he must address the proverbial third rail in Iranian politics: the horrific human rights abuses aimed at Iran’s small yet historic Baha’i community.

The Baha’i faith teaches that all of the world’s religions are the result of an unbroken line of divine messengers sent by God to different peoples at different times. The Baha’i believe that the prophet Baha’u’llah, who founded the faith in the 19th century, is merely the most recent in this prophetic chain and that his revelation is universal. This belief, coupled with the fact that the Baha’i began as an offshoot of Shiah Islam, has opened the faithful to horrific attacks from conservative Muslims – and Shiah, in particular – who deem the religion to be nothing more than a heretical form of Islam.
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For Iran’s Rouhani, the human rights of Baha'i are ultimate test of reform