The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has been attempting to smooth international relations and internal support for the government by making promises of reform within the nation. He has done this by trying to reach out to the United Nations, Jewish leaders, and the United States. Within Iran, he set many political prisoners free and promising greater freedoms to his citizens. However, this article points out that if he is to stay true to his intentions he must work on the relations within Iran with the Baha’i people. Iran has a long history of abusing people of the Baha’i faith. Baha’i is a world religion with its origins in Iran and Shiah Islam. After the creation of the Iranian republic in Nineteen Seventy Nine the Baha’i faith was not even recognized as a legitimate religion. Over the years many have been imprisoned and some have been executed for practicing the faith because it is seen as heretical. Students of Baha’i faith have been kept out of schools and the government has often shut down businesses owned by followers of Baha’i.
The promises that President Rouhani has made to further the rights of his people are a step in the right direction considering the historical restrictiveness of Iran. However, the abuses of the Baha’i should be stopped. To treat another group horribly due to ascribed statuses such as religion goes against the vein of human rights. As a human being, according to the Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”. To not offer them the same protection under the law or to threaten their economic well-being is a huge injustice. To harm someone or to go as far as to kill members of a group for their beliefs trends toward genocide and as seen in history that has not ever ended well. Not only do these types of abuses fare badly in a historical context but violate the very basic human right that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Hopefully, the President will remain true towards his promises and will aid Iran in moving along the continuum of intergroup relations closer to the multicultural ideal, because if the abuses are allowed to continue who is to say they will not go as far as genocide just because of this groups differing beliefs.