May 17, 2013 · 7:30 PM
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This evening's meeting is dedicated to the Yaran on the 5th anniversary of their incarceration. In its annual report on international religious freedom, the United States said religious freedom in Iran has continued to deteriorate over the past year, especially for religious minorities such as Baha'is, as well as for Christians and Sufi Muslims.
Baha'is may not establish places of worship, schools, or any independent religious associations," said the report. "Baha'i cemeteries, holy places, and community properties are often seized or desecrated, and many important religious sites have been destroyed. The Baha'i community faces severe economic pressure, including denials of jobs in both the public and private sectors and of business licenses."
The report said over the last two years, "Baha'is have faced increasingly harsh treatment, including increasing arrests and detentions and violent attacks on private homes and personal property."
It noted that more than 650 Baha'is have been arbitrarily arrested since 2005, and that at least 110 Baha'is were held in prison as of February 2013, twice the number in early 2011.