Oldest and youngest members of Baha’i leadership group complete 10-year prison sentence

March 20, 2018

Contact: James Samimi Farr
Phone: (202) 833-8990, Email: USBahaiMedia@usbnc.org

WASHINGTON —After a decade of unjust imprisonment in Iran, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, 85, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, 44, were released on Friday and Monday, respectively. Both were members of the former leadership group of the Baha’is in Iran known as the Yaran, who were jailed on false charges in 2008. Only one member of the Yaran, Mr. Afif Naeimi, 55, now remains in prison.

“Although we are overjoyed at their release, Mr. Khanjani and Mr. Tizfahm lost a decade of their lives solely because of their faith, and sadly, the government of Iran has not changed its harsh treatment of Baha’is,” said Mr. Anthony Vance, Director of Public Affairs for the Baha’is of the United States.
During the decade of their imprisonment, Mr. Khanjani and Mr. Tizfahm missed many important events in the lives of their families. Mr. Khanjani’s wife passed away and the government barred him from attending her funeral.
Ms. Monir Khanjani, Mr. Khanjani’s niece and a resident of Maryland, was thrilled by the news of his release.
“I was in tears of joy, and almost couldn’t believe it. I’ve been waiting so long,” she said. “I was at work, and my coworkers started hugging me and congratulating me.”
“I’m a little worried too,” she added, “because we still have to pray and be diligent with the situation in Iran.”
Immediately after his release, Ms. Khanjani added, her uncle dressed in a suit, visited his wife’s grave, and knelt in prayer.
For more information about religious persecution and the rights of the Baha’is in Iran, please contact the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs at 202-833-8990, or visit publicaffairs.bahai.us.