ABN NEWS- A political storm has erupted in Iran after the daughter of former President Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani visited a leader of the persecuted Bahai religious minority while she was on
leave from prison.
Senior conservative clerics denounced Faezeh Hashemi following her meeting with Fariba
Kamalabadi, a mother-of-three who was temporarily released and allowed home to see her
Iran’s religious establishment regards the Bahai faith, which emerged in Iran in the 19th Century,
as a heretical sect.
Bahais, who number approximately 300,000, are often denounced as unclean and accused of
being agents of the US and Israel.
In response to the criticism of Ms Hashemi’s visit and calls for her to be prosecuted, her father
issued a terse public reprimand saying she had made a big mistake that had to be rectified.
He described the Bahai faith as “a deviant sect”, which “we disavow and have always done”.
Observers say Mr Rafsanjani might have come under pressure to act.
While the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has not commented publicly on the issue, his
website this week reposted a fatwa, or legal ruling, denouncing Bahais as unclean.
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