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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 23, 1998


Execution of Baha'i in Iran

The President was deeply troubled to learn of the July 21 summary execution of Iranian citizen Ruhollah Rowhani for the exercise of his Baha'i faith. The United States condemns this action, which violates the most basic international norms and universal standards of human rights.

Furthermore, The United States deplores the gravely flawed process by which Mr. Rowhani was charged and executed, including the absence of due process or the announcement of a sentence.

The world has been encouraged by the recent statements from Iranian leaders about the need for rule of law and the rights of individuals. Such words have little meaning so long as the human rights of the Iranian people, including the right to worship freely, are not upheld, and until the persecution of and violence against Iranians of the Baha'i faith stops. Tuesday's action was the first known execution of a Baha'i since 1992 and is a most unhopeful sign.

The President urges President Khatami to take the necessary steps to ensure that others are not victimized for the peaceful expression of their faith. The United States will continue to monitor closely Iranian treatment of the Baha'i community, and particularly the treatment of those who remain imprisoned or under sentence of death for their religious beliefs.

The President wishes to extend his condolences to Mr. Rowhani's family.