Top Iran leader issues edict on Baha’i faith

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader is urging Iranians to avoid all dealings with members of the banned Baha’i sect in a possible prelude to further crackdowns on the minority.

Iran already bans the Baha’i, which considers a 19th century Persian nobleman as the final prophet. The fatwa, or religious edict, by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is his latest against the group. It supports similar fatwas in the past by other clerics.

An Iranian news website, Tasnim, reported Wednesday that Khamenei called the Baha’i “deviant and misleading.”

Baha’i followers are frequently under pressures from Iranian authorities, which has prompted outcry among international human rights groups.

Iran allows non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews to worship, but has strict laws against seeking converts. It also has waged crackdowns on other religious minorities.

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