Iran has sentenced 26 followers of the Baha'i faith from 2-5 year prison terms each as well as barring them from leaving the country for some years.
According to information obtained by Radio Farda, these 26 people, all of whom are residents of the city of Shiraz in the southwestern province of Fars, are charged with "conspiracy to disrupt internal and external security."
The verdicts was issued on June 8 by a branch of the city’s Revolutionary Court, and pertains to the arrests of numerous Baha'is in Shiraz in 2016.
The 1979 constitution of the Islamic Republic recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. Baha'ism − established as a new religion in Iran in 1863 by Baha'ullah, who claimed to be a prophet following Jesus and Mohammad − has always been deemed heretical by the Shia establishment and subject to intermittent bouts of political persecution.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has on several occasions called the Baha'i faith a cult and in a religious fatwa in 2018 forbade contact, including business dealings, with followers of the faith.
Baha'is, who number around 300,000 in Iran, say their rights are systematically violated, that they are often harassed, forced to leave their homes and businesses, and are deprived of government job and university education. There are Baha’i communities in many countries worldwide but there is no reliable figure about the total number of followers.