Iran: Bahai leaders spied for Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Iran has accused seven Bahai leaders of spying for Israel.

The men were arrested in Iran eight months ago, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. An indictment will be issued next week, according to the state Islamic Republic News Agency. The charges, which include  "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic," could mean the death penalty if the men, members of a religion banned in Iran, are convicted.

Bahai leaders say they have about 300,000 followers in Iran, which does not consider the Bahai faith as a religion. The Bahai International Community says hundreds of Bahais have been jailed in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Post reported.

The Bahai international headquarters is located in Haifa.

Iran’s prosecutor general, Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, wrote in a letter to the country’s intelligence minister made public Sunday that "All evidence points to the fact that the Bahai organization is in direct contact with the foreign enemies of Iran," the Post reported.

"The ghastly Bahai organization is illegal on all levels, their dependence on Israel has been documented, their antagonism with Islam and the Islamic System is obvious, their danger for national security is proven and any replacement organization must also be dealt with according to the law," the letter continued.

Lawyers for the jailed Bahai leaders told the Post they have not been allowed to meet with their clients.  

Recommended from JTA