White House blasts Iran for deaths sentences to Baha'is
WIRE:02/11/2000 18:46:00 ET
White House blasts Iran for deaths sentences to
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Clinton administration criticized Iran on Friday
for sentencing to death three Baha'i men who the White House said were
condemned because of their religious faith.
President Clinton was deeply troubled by the sentences
given Sirus Zabihi-Moghaddam, Hedayet Kashefi-Najafabadi and Manuchehr
Khulusi, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
"In all three cases, it is clear that the individuals were
arrested, charged and sentenced to death solely because of their
religious beliefs," Lockhart said. "Executing people for the practice
of their religious faith is contrary to the most fundamental human
The Baha'is draw their religious principles from the
Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths. They are considered heretics by
many Muslims, including Iran's fundamentalist Islamic government.
Iran is among seven countries identified by the State
Department last year as engaging in "particularly severe" violations of
religious freedoms. It has implemented policies to eradicate the faith
through imprisoning Baha'i adherents, confiscating and desecrating
their holy places and denying them the right to assemble.
Lockhart said the United States will monitor Iran's
treatment of its Baha'i minority for signs of persecution.
"President Clinton continues to hold the Iranian government
responsible for the safety of the Baha'i community of Iran and strongly
urges that these executions not be carried out," Lockhart said. "We
condemn Iranian government persecution of all minority faiths."
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