(CNN) — In their latest communique regarding the fate of seven arrested members of the Baha’i religious minority in Iran, Amnesty International has expressed grave concern they may face the death penalty if they are found guilty of the charges of “espionage for Israel,” “insulting religious sanctities,” and “propaganda against the system.”
As the Islamic Republic of Iran experiences the most serious challenge to its legitimacy in its 30-year history, the vulnerability of religious and ethnic minorities is the most accurate barometer of the crisis that all Iranians face in these dire circumstances.
Of all the various Iranian minorities, the Baha’i community historically has been the weakest and most vulnerable. The world’s attention is rightly drawn to the fate of prominent reformists charged with treason, and to the arbitrary arrest, torture, rape and murder of young Iranians. But the fate of the Iranian Baha’is should not be eclipsed under the cloud of other civil rights abuses, for they represent much more than their own small community.