[Newspaper:] New York Times

[Date:] 29 May 1983


Khomeini assails U.S. over appeal on Baha'is

Beirut, Lebanon, May 28 (UPI) – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader, has criticized President Reagan for supporting members of the Bahai faith in Iran, who he said were agents for foreign powers, the state-run Teheran radio said today.

"We wonder since when Reagan cares so much for the welfare of human beings and humanity?" the Ayatollah was quoted as saying. "How come," he asked Mr. Reagan, "you support a bunch of people who do not even belong to any religion and are only here at the order of their masters to work for them?

"How come you care so much for humanity in their case but you never said anything about Iraqi crimes against Iranian and Iraqi people?" Mr. Khomeini said. "Are they not human beings?"

Last Sunday Mr. Reagan issued a statement saying the Unites States was "alarmed and dismayed" at the persecution of Bahais in Iran and urged the Iranian Government to halt the planned execution of 22 prominent Bahais in Iran. At least 150 Bahai men and women have been hanged or shot by the Iranian Government since the Ayatollah came to power in 1979.

In a dispatch from Tehran today, the Iranian press agency said, "Bahais in Iran was in fact spies whose activities were dictated by their Zionist masters." The agency dispatch said "the idea behind Bahaism was in fact to undermine Islam."

















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