The Corner

Religious Freedom Also Taking a Hit in Iran

Amidst the emboldened opposition in Iran today, and the regime’s corresponding attempts to crack down brutally, religious minorities face special peril. In recent years, the regime has singled out Christians, Jews, and Bahai’s for special humiliation, and now it does so again.

On January 12, the trial of the seven Bahai’s about which I have blogged before will reconvene. The charges include “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” The government later added the charge of “spreading corruption on earth,” punishable by death.

In recent days, anti-Bahai rhetoric and activities has increased. Over the past weekend, security forces arrested 13 young Baha’i in Tehran, ten of whom remain in prison. The daily Kayhan pretty much serves as the voice of the Supreme Leader, who appoints its editor. On Jan. 5, 2010, the newspaper’s headline read, “The So-Called God-Loving Mousavi’s Men Turned Out to be Baha’is and Terrorists.” So now, it appears, the government with the highest sanction will use religious hatred to justify its own repression of political opposition. The Baha’i International Community has issued a statement, here.

The Obama administration has sent a couple letters to the Supreme Leader. They remain secret, and so we cannot see how obsequious President Obama was. Still, in recent days, the Obama administration seems to have begun to come around on issues of human rights in Iran, although there are surely still those inside the administration and State Department who believe that moral clarity hampers engagement. During the last administration, John Limbert, now deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran, served on a board of advisors for an organization that repeatedly threatened to sue Radio Free Europe, various Iranian television stations in Los Angeles, and Voice of America for airing criticism of Iran.

Still, Iranians — with the exception of some clerical factions and Shi’i populists — have always embraced diversity, at least relative to Iran’s neighbors. Iran is a nation that predates Islam, and predates nationalism based on ethnic identity. Let us hope that U.S. officials will not stand aside while the Iranian regime works to unravel this, and that the Obama administration will stand tall for religious freedom.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

Most Popular

Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Should Approach the Final Debate

The so-called mainstream polls of the swing states show the race narrowing. If the trend continues at the current rate, President Trump could poll even in two weeks—in addition to the “other” polls that show him near there already. So Trump’s mission at the final debate on Thursday is to continue to ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Should Approach the Final Debate

The so-called mainstream polls of the swing states show the race narrowing. If the trend continues at the current rate, President Trump could poll even in two weeks—in addition to the “other” polls that show him near there already. So Trump’s mission at the final debate on Thursday is to continue to ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

Biden Can’t Tax the Rich

Joe Biden’s tax plan is based on a deathless myth: that taxes are actually paid in economic terms by those upon whom they legally fall. The obviousness of this nonsense is clear enough if you put the proposition into plain English: “Don’t you worry, now, we’re not going to raise taxes on you, Bubba — ... Read More

Biden Can’t Tax the Rich

Joe Biden’s tax plan is based on a deathless myth: that taxes are actually paid in economic terms by those upon whom they legally fall. The obviousness of this nonsense is clear enough if you put the proposition into plain English: “Don’t you worry, now, we’re not going to raise taxes on you, Bubba — ... Read More