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Iran Says Dozen Arrested Baha’i Members Were Spying for Israel

Officials says two of 14 detainees were trained at Baha’i center in Haifa, formed network in region; religious group says they were studying social causes.
View of the Bahai gardens, located on Mount Carmel, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. (Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90)
View of the Bahai gardens, located on Mount Carmel, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. (Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90)

Iranian intelligence said a dozen members of the Baha’i religious group it arrested last week were detained because they were spying for Israel, according to Iranian media reports Saturday.

The General Intelligence Department of Mazandaran Province in the north of the country claimed in a statement that two of those arrested were “trained” at the Baha’i center in Haifa, Israel, the religious group’s global center.

It said they formed a network of spies throughout Mazandaran.

Although the statement referred to just 12 suspects, last week the Baha’i International Community, which represents members of the faith, said that 14 people in total were detained — 13 of them youths — and that they were “studying and discussing together the role of education in social progress” at a home in the northern city of Qaem Shahr.

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