Report: Bahai missionary arrested for seducing women in Iran

Report: Bahai missionary arrested for seducing women in Iran

A man belonging to the Bahai religion was arrested in northern Iran, accused of pushing women into having sex with him, a newspaper said Monday on its website, DPA reported.

The man, identified by the Javan daily only as PP, was arrested in the Caspian Sea province of Golestan, where he was allegedly known for missionary work.

Bahaism, a monotheistic creed promoting the unity of all religions and mankind, is not recognized or allowed to be practiced in Iran, whose official religion is Shia Islam. Bahai missionaries are arrested and detained, unlike Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian missionaries, whose faiths are recognized and protected by the government.

Javan said PP was accused of seducing women and girls and having sex with them.

Extramarital sex in Iran is forbidden, and if the two people are unmarried, they could face a death sentence of stoning.

No further details were given by the conservative daily, and there had been no official confirmation of the report by the judiciary.

In another case not yet confirmed by Iran, seven leaders of the Bahai religion - two women and five men - were sentenced last month to 20-year jail terms for espionage and propaganda against the Iranian Islamic system.

The government did say the seven were arrested in 2008 and confessed to their crimes, including having supplied classified information to foreigners through personal contacts with Western diplomats in Tehran.

Several Western countries have expressed concern over the charges and denounced the arrests as persecution of Iran's largest religious minority.

Tehran rejected the allegations and said the issue had nothing to do with religion.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and her legal team were supposed to lead the defence of the seven Bahais, but Ebadi has been abroad since June last year and fears arrest if she returns because of her opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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