Local Baha’is were happy to learn the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that condemns the Iranian regime’s continued persecution of its Baha’i minority. S.Res.75 gained strong bipartisan support with 35 senators cosponsoring the resolution, including California Sens. Boxer and Feinstein.
Nevada City resident Shiva Kahodadadeh Reader said she was pleased with the passage of the resolution. Reader is a member of the local Baha’i community who was born in Iran and immigrated here more than 40 years ago with her mother and siblings.
Her cousin, Keyomars Khodadadeh, a university professor in Iran and later a member of the local Spiritual Assembly of Kermanshah, was imprisoned and pressured to recant his faith, which he refused to do.
He was later released and appointed to the ad hoc leadership group for the Bahá’í community in Iran. He was also instrumental in establishing the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, an organization formed to advance the education of Bahá’i youth who were denied entrance to higher education due to their faith.
Not only did he teach chemistry and physics, he also made his basement into the chemistry lab. His house and lab were confiscated by the revolutionary guard several times. He was only 61 when he died suddenly of a heart attack.
The bipartisan resolution condemns the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of members of the Baha’i Faith and calls on the regime to release Baha’i political prisoners. It urges President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to designate Iranian officials and other individuals as being directly responsible for egregious human rights violations in Iran.
“We must never turn a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s true nature, as typified by its ongoing persecution of members of the Baha’i Faith,” Kirk said.
“The U.S. Senate stands in solidarity with the Baha’i community, and today we have sent a strong message that the U.S. must hold the government of Iran accountable for violating the most basic human rights of the Baha’is.”