Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom
Bahais, and those who advocated for their rights, reported Bahais continued to be a major target of social stigma and violence. According to The Bahai World News Service, Farhang Amiri, was stabbed to death outside his residence in Yazd on September 26 by individuals, one of whom stated during the police investigation that he had carried out the killing because Amiri was Bahai.
In March an attacker involved in 2014 acid attacks against women was arrested by authorities and charged with “deliberate destruction, arson, and attacks on women.” The media had reported at the time the attacks were being motivated by the women’s “improper Islamic dress.”
There continued to be reports of non-Bahais dismissing or refusing employment to Bahais, sometimes in response to government pressure, according to BIC.
Yarsanis outside the country reported there was widespread discrimination against Yarsanis in the country. Yarsani children were socially ostracized in school and shared community facilities. Yarsani men, recognizable by their particular mustaches, often faced employment discrimination. Friday preachers often encouraged such social discrimination against the Yarsani. During the year, protests broke out in the city of Eslamabad after police officers were seen mocking Yarsani men’s mustaches in the street.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, converts from Islam faced societal pressure and rejection by family or community members.
Shia clerics and prayer leaders reportedly continued to denounce Sufism and the activities of Sufis in both sermons and public statements.
Sunni students reported professors routinely insulted Sunni religious figures in class.
On May 20, Fars Provincial TV aired a sermon by Shiraz Imam Hojjat ol-Eslam val-Moslemin Razavi-Ardakani, who said the Bahai religion is not a religion but a political party that was created by the United Kingdom and that intelligence and security services should be attentive to Bahais operating in some of the cities in the country.
Bahai representatives in the U.S. reported there were at least three cases of destruction or vandalism of Bahai cemeteries. In July the Bahai cemetery in Ghorveh was completely destroyed and the gravestones razed to the ground. The Semnan Bahai cemetery was also vandalized in July. In October according to Iran Press Watch, vandals attacked the Bahai cemetery in Urmieh for the second time, cutting down trees, burning parts of the grounds, and demolishing graves. Local Bahais reported the incident to the police, who reportedly took no action.