Homes demolished in campaign to drive Baha'is out of Iranian village

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Baha’i World News Service– Homes belonging to some 50 Baha’i families in a remote village in northern Iran have been demolished as part of a long-running campaign to expel them from the region.

The action occurred in Ivel, Mazandaran, when inhabitants – incited by elements inimical to the Baha’i community – blocked normal access to the village, while allowing trucks and at least four front-end loaders to begin leveling the houses.

Amateur video, shot on mobile telephones and posted by Iranian human rights activists on the Internet, showed what appeared to be several buildings reduced to rubble as well as fiercely burning fires.

The demolitions are the latest development in an ongoing, officially-sanctioned program in the area which has targeted every activity of the Baha’is.

“They’re being forbidden to associate with Muslims, or even offer service to their friends and neighbours,” said Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.

“Even the smallest acts of good will – such as taking flowers to someone who’s sick in hospital or donating gifts to an orphanage – these are being seen as actions against the regime.”

Most of the Baha’i homes in Ivel have been unoccupied since their residents fled after previous incidents of violence or as a result of official displacement.

Members of the Baha’i community have made repeated complaints both before and after the latest incident to local government officials, including to the provincial governor in Sari. In every case, knowledge of the demolitions or the motive behind them was denied.

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