Saturday, January 5, 2013

Iran’s Imprisoned Baha’i Infants

by Michael Rubin

President Obama’s outstretched hand has been a death knell to human rights in Iran. First, Obama chose silence against the backdrop of the Iranian regime’s worst abuses in the aftermath of the 2009 post-election uprising. What he had not announced at the time was that he had sent the Iranian supreme leader not one but two letters seeking dialogue, and did not want to upset the self-professed Deputy of the Messiah on Earth by speaking out in support of the Iranian people.

While the press turns to the human rights abuses suffered by ordinary Iranians in the aftermath of the occasional uprising, be it the 1999 student protests, the 2001 football match fixing riot, or the 2009 election unrest, the minority Baha’i community suffers continuously. The problem for the Baha’i boils down to the fact that Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet God would send to man, but the Baha’is believe that God rewards man with new revelations as mankind evolves to the point where he is about to receive them, and so they recognize a couple prophets who have revealed themselves after Muhammad. To be a Baha’i in Iran is to be, from the regime’s point of view, an apostate worthy of imprisonment or death. Iranian Baha’is are often denied entry into universities unless they renounce or deny their faith, and Baha’is who meet together for the purpose of worship or community organization are often imprisoned for years under harsh conditions.

Alas, when the Iranian regime targets young mothers, they often imprison their infants under the same harsh conditions. Hence the latest news out of Iran:
Two Baha’i infants imprisoned with their mothers in Semnan Prison, were transferred to hospital due to health deterioration. According to the reports by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Two Baha’i infants suffering from lung and ear infections, imprisoned with their mothers in Semnan prison’s Women Ward (one of the worst prisons in Iran), were transferred to hospital. Zahra Nik-A’in and Taraneh Torabi, Baha’i citizens who were sentenced to 23 and 20 months in prison, respectively, are serving their sentences at Semnana Prison despite being mothers of infants. Zahra has an 11-month old son, and Taraneh has a five-month old son. All of them are severely sick and need immediate medical care.

The Iranian regime has become masterful at stringing the Obama administration and State Department along: Hold out the hope of talks, and know that U.S. officials will self-censor their criticism out of desperation for a dialogue which Iran only insincerely embraces. Let us hope that someone in the White House will at least take the time to see the faces of Iran’s youngest victims.

Michael Rubin


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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