After postponed several trial dates, Iran’s trial of the Yaran, at long last, commenced on January 13, 2010. The trial process has been characterized by a lack of due process for the accused until now. This closed trial, moreover, is remarkable for its open lack of transparency. In putting the Yaran on trial, Iran is thereby placing itself on trial in the court of public and international opinion. While the Yaran are on trial, Iran — and Iranian Islam — will be under close scrutiny by observers worldwide.
Tertullian’s Paradox, as recited in the epigraph above, may be a fair characterization of the high-profile, showcase trial of the five men and two women — known as the Yaran (the “Friends”), who face criminal charges of espionage and other treasonable charges, each of which may carry the death penalty.
The Yaran served as an informal committee to oversee the needs of the 300,000-strong Baha’i community of Iran, whose collective freedom of religion was summarily removed when, in 1983, the Iranian regime ordered that the Baha’i administration and organization cease and desist, under threat of criminal charges.
In the Baha’i tradition of reform by “civil obedience” — rather than by “civil disobedience” — the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran (a democratically elected body of nine Baha’i men and women) formally dissolved itself in 1983, along with the remainder of the Iranian Baha’i administration. T… >>>