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U.S. Calls On Iran To Immediately Release Jailed Baha’i Leaders

  • RFE/RL

The United States has called on Iran to immediately release jailed Baha’i leaders along with other prisoners of conscience.

Seven leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community were arrested by the Iranian authorities eight years ago and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment.

They were reportedly sentenced to 20 years in prison. Their sentences were later reduced to 10 years.

“We join the international community in condemning their continued imprisonment and calling upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to release them immediately, along with all other prisoners of conscience in Iran,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a May 14 statement issued on the anniversary of the arrest of the Baha'i leaders.

The statement added: “We call upon Iranian authorities to uphold their own laws and meet their international obligations that guarantee freedom of expression, religion, opinion, and assembly for all citizens.”

Baha’is face state persecution in Iran, where their faith is not officially recognized.