Baha’is have been ruthlessly persecuted by Iran since 1979. The government itself stated its aims in 1991: to “block” the “progress and development” of the Iranian Baha’i community.

🧵The latest phase of this campaign is court-ordered land theft. 1/

#IvelBahais #ItsTheirLand
Late last year, two courts of appeal issued “final and binding” orders to confiscate land owned by 27 Baha’is in the village of Ivel.

These decisions uphold court rulings that show clear religious bias, and they have impoverished and displaced local farmers from their lands. 2/
The story doesn’t begin there, however.

It goes back to the origins of the Baha’i Faith in the mid-19th century. Ivel is in the region Mazandaran, the birthplace of the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah.

More than half the population of Ivel was once Baha’i. 3/
The Baha’is of Ivel have contributed to the prosperity of their neighbours. They established a school for children of all religions, built a bathhouse for use by all, and modernized the local reservoir to serve the health of the village. 4/
The religious animus towards Baha’is, stoked by extremist clerics, periodically erupted into violence.

In 1941, outside gangs roused local citizens to attack Baha’is. Many were arrested, beaten, and had their homes looted. Some fled and returned months later. 5/
In 1983, the Baha’is of Ivel were rounded up onto buses with the purpose of exiling them. However, the mayor of the nearest major city, Sari, turned them away.

130 Baha’is were brought back to Ivel and imprisoned in a local mosque for three days without food and water. 6/
Many Baha’is fled after these brutal attacks, but returned in the summers to plant their crops and tend to their properties.

They were required to obtain written permission from the police to return. However, this didn’t protect them from regular harassment. 7/
Published police documents say that the presence of Baha’is “creates a kind of pollution” in the village.

They say that if the Baha’is became Muslim “there would be no problem about their settlement”. 8/

Again in 2007, six of their houses were torched by unknown arsonists. The cases have gone unprosecuted.

👇 The remains of the home of Mr. Ata'u'llah Movaffaghi and the late Seyyed Mahdi Sadeghi 9/
In 2010, homes belonging to another 50 Baha’i families were demolished or burned.

Reports at the time said that 90% of Baha’i-owned homes were demolished.

The intention of local authorities was to expel Baha’is from their land so they could never return 10/
Baha’is have sought legal remedies for more than three decades. Numerous complaints have been lodged with authorities at all levels.

As recently as 2013, court decisions found that “Baha’is have no right to cultivate land” in the village. 11/

The latest court decisions mark a conclusion to this legal process, which has finally ended the appeals of Baha’is to secure the rights to their own lands. In many cases these are multi-generational farms.

This is not an isolated or local case. 12/
On November 22 last year, more than 100 government agents raided Baha’i homes and shops. They demanded they turn over their property deeds.

There was no legal justification given, no crimes committed by the Baha’is. 13/

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