Message on the Persecutions and Repression in Iran

May 22, 1983

America and the world are increasingly alarmed and dismayed at the persecution and severe repression of the Baha'i's in Iran. Recently we have learned that the Government of Iran has sentenced 22 prominent members of the Baha'i faith to death. This is in addition to the more than 130 who have been killed since the beginning of the revolution in Iran, including one man executed January 1, 1983, and three hanged in Shiraz on March 12, 1983.

These individuals are not guilty of any political offense or crime, they have not plotted the overthrow of the regime, and they are not responsible for the deaths of anyone. They only wish to live according to the dictates of their own consciences. I strongly urge other world leaders to join me in an appeal to the Ayatollah Khomeini and the rest of Iran's leadership not to implement the sentences that have been pronounced on these innocent people. Sparing their lives would be a step forward for Iran and the world community.