Iran Human RightsBahais detained in Iran contact families

Bahais detained in Iran contact families

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ImageCNN: Seven Bahai leaders detained by Iranian authorities have contacted their families for the first time since their arrest more than a month ago, the Bahai movement said Thursday.

Image(CNN) — Seven Bahai leaders detained by Iranian authorities have contacted their families for the first time since their arrest more than a month ago, the Bahai movement said Thursday.

They were allowed brief phone calls to their families.

Six of them were seized on May 14 in police raids in Tehran, and one was arrested in March in Mashhad.

The detainees, who are in prison in Tehran, have not been charged with any crime, the Bahais said.

Bahais have long been persecuted in predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran, and many said they believe the seven were arrested because of their faith.

The government has said the people were detained for "security issues" and that the Bahais are members of a group working "against national interest," an allegation the Bahais deny.

The Bahais said the latest arrests are part of a pattern of religious persecution that began in 1979 when the shah of Iran was toppled and an Islamic republic created.

The Bahais have said they have been killed, jailed and "otherwise oppressed" because of their religion.

Along with the seven leaders, the Bahais said about 15 others are detained in Iran, "some incommunicado and most with no formal charges."

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