Members of the Iranian regime’s intelligence service in the northern Gilan province had announced the discovery of a “Baháʼí spy network” arrested in the province, Iranian pro-regime media claimed.
Iran’s religious regime has persecuted Baháʼís for decades.
The latest report at Tasnim News says that Iran’s regime members in the city of Rasht on the Caspian Sea had issued a statement claiming to uncover a cell of “Baháʼí” who were part of a “spy party.” The article claims that those arrested “were directly and indirectly related to a Zionist center.”
The article claims that the people who were arrested had sought to revive the Baháʼí religious group in the Gilan province and they had used “aggressive propaganda.”
Regime: Baháʼís seeking to colonize local Iranian culture
The article goes on to accuse the Baháʼís of seeking to “colonize” the local culture and spread educational assistance to people. They were accused of targeting “music schools for children and teenagers” and accused of the crime of working in the field of “theater” and “acting” and even “directing.” The charges appear to be entirely fictitious and an attempt to slander and smear the Baháʼí minority in Iran.
Many people in Iran in recent years have sought to distance themselves from the regime via protests and also by seeking to even look to other religions and ideologies as a way out of the regime’s all-encompassing attempt to control people. The article reveals how much the regime is afraid that people will use music and theater to escape the country’s religious extremists.
The article claiming a Baháʼí conspiracy is part of a larger context of Iranian media claiming that the regime has busted various “dissidents” involved in “terrorism” and “sabotage.”
Iran also claims these groups are linked to “Zionists.”
Tasnim News condemned “the false sect of Baha'i [that] believes that propaganda is one of its main commands and an integral part, but in the presence of ignorant people, they introduce Baha'i as a heart belief that does not need to have any special outward appearance in order to instill their desires in people after involving them with the subject through brainwashing.”
Baháʼís in Iran and the Israeli connection
The Baháʼí faith began in Iran in the 19th century. In that era it also faced persecution and members of the group went to other areas in the Middle East.
The location of the Baháʼí World Centre in Haifa is a legacy of that, as are the Baháʼí gardens in Israel. That center is linked to the place where a Baháʼí religious figure was banished during the 19th century and where he was imprisoned in the 1860s.
Iran uses this connection to Haifa and Israel as a way to accuse the Baháʼí of not only being a religious sect that the regime persecutes, but also spreading claims they are connected to Israel or “Zionists.”