The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), an organization controlled by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which controls extensive assets across Iran, is thought to be orchestrating an increasing number of confiscations of properties belonging to Iranian Baha’is.
The Baha’i International Community (BIC) disclosed earlier today the latest example of this trend, in the province of Semnan, where a Revolutionary Court has ordered that properties belonging to six Baha’is should be transferred to the EIKO organization. Semnan Province manager for EIKO Hamid Ahmadi initiated the action to secure a court order for the confiscations.
Last month, IranWire reported that a group of Baha’i citizens in the village of Ivel, in Mazandaran province, which has also seen a number of confiscations of properties owned by Baha’is, had sent a public petition to the Iranian government to cease these actions.
“The seizure by the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order of Baha’i properties is a novel and very worrying development for Iranian Baha’is,” said Diane Ala’i, Representative of the BIC to the United Nations in Geneva. “This development demonstrates that the highest levels of Iran’s leadership are orchestrating the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran.”
Last month, an apartment in Mazandaran Province belonging to a Baha’i, Sheida Taeed, was ordered to be confiscated; in December of last year, thirteen irrigated farmland plots belonging to Baha’is in the village of Kata in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province were appropriated in the midst of a water crisis; and farms owned and cultivated by Baha’i families for over a century in the village of Roshankooh, also in Mazandaran, have been seized.
Last year a global campaign called #ItsTheirLand brought attention to years of official efforts to uproot dozens of farming families in Mazandaran.
The properties in Semnan have been ordered to be transferred to EIKO by a judge of the Special Court for Article 49 of the Iranian Constitution, Muhammad-Qasim Aynu’l-Kamali. Article 49 requires the government to prove the legitimacy of such seizures under Islamic law – which the BIC insists has been misused in this case and motivated by religious discrimination.
“Iran’s leadership is enriching itself while impoverishing and displacing the Baha’is,” Ala’i said. “Seizures in Semnan, Mazandaran and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad provinces may be just the beginning. The risk is that more properties will continue to be seized, in a piecemeal fashion, in an attempt to evade the notice of the international community. Supporters of human rights inside and outside Iran must condemn this outrageously unjust ruling and demand that it be rescinded without delay.”
The BIC has previously said that seizures in Semnan, over several decades, have been notable for their intensity and for the involvement of official and unofficial elements, including police, courts, local authorities and the clergy, and for persecution ranging from hate speech to economic strangulation, arrests and physical attacks.