* This article has been updated to reflect new information on the number of arrests in connection with the BIHE raids.
GENEVA — A coordinated series of raids have been carried out on the homes of several Iranian Baha’is, active in a community initiative to provide a higher education program for young members who are barred from university.
Reports indicate that raids took place on Saturday 21 May on as many as 30 homes in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, and Shiraz. It is now understood that some 14 Baha’is have been arrested.
“All of the targets were homes of individuals closely involved with the operations of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education,” said Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.
The Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established in 1987 as a community initiative to meet the educational needs of young Baha’is who have been systematically denied access to higher education by the Iranian government. The BIHE has been described by the New York Times as “an elaborate act of communal self-preservation.”