Evin Prison

Iranian security forces have shut down a science and research centre operated by the Bahai’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) at Iran’s Open University and arrested a number of its staff and faculty members.

The Human Rights Reporters Committee reports that Iranian security forces searched the homes of several BIHE acadmic staff and arrested at least nine people connected to the distant learning university.

Confirmed arrests include : Shaheen Negari, Ramin Zibai, Kamran Mortezai, Favad Moghaddam, Vahid Mokhtari, Mahmood Badavam, Afrooz Farmanbordari and Soheil Ghanbari.

BIHE site reports that "buildings used as laboratories and for academic purposes in Tehran have also been closed."

The officers have also confiscated dozens of computers, books and personal belongings.

The BIHE was founded by Iranian Baha’is in 1987 and now offers online access to higher education for Bah’is who are denied university access on account of their faith.

Last March a number of Iranian Baha’is were arrested in Kerman and Tehran, accused of “promoting and spreading their programs under the guise of cultural and educational programs in a number of childcare facilities.”

Although Baha’ism was founded in Iran, where there are still more than 300,000 followers, Iran does not recognize Baha’ism as a legitimate religion. Baha’is face extensive discrimination in the Islamic Republic.