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Iran: Baha'i Faith

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 8th November 2011.

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Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Labour, Sheffield, Heeley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the student campaign in Iran entitled Can you solve this? regarding the denial of education to members of the Baha'i faith.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I met with representatives from the Baha'i community in the UK to discuss this campaign and the wider issues of repression against the Baha'i minority in Iran on 15 September. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has so far received, and replied to, over 2000 emails expressing concern for the closure of the Baha'i Institute of Higher Education. The closure of the Baha'i Institute of Higher Education and arrest of members of its staff form part of a wider pattern of harassment of Baha'is in Iran, including the imprisonment of Baha'i leaders. We regularly raise these issues with the Iranian authorities, including when I met the Iranian chargé d'affaires in August this year. We will continue to press the Iranian Government to accord all their people the right to freedom of religion. With our EU partners, the UK has taken co-ordinated action to address Iran's human rights record, imposing travel bans and asset freezes on over 60 Iranians responsible for human rights violations, including Government Ministers and members of the judiciary.

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