Human rights issues in Iran have been brought further in the spotlight in recent weeks with protests since the death three weeks ago of Mahsa Amini after being detained by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the strict hijab law.
Mr Carmichael referenced the Baha’i communities in both Orkney and Shetland and gave credit to UK and international Baha’i organisations for raising concerns.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Orkney and Shetland are home to two small but very effective, warm and welcoming Baha’i communities, which have demonstrated great fellowship to me and my family over the years, for which I have always been enormously grateful.
“Persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran is hardly new. However, over the summer, we saw a sharp increase in the number of innocent Baha’is facing persecution by the Iranian state. I hope that those who are suffering that persecution will take some comfort from hearing reference made to it in this House.
“Iran does not have a good record on human rights. It would be remiss of me if I were not to mention what we have seen in recent weeks in Iran. In particular, we should mourn the loss of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who tragically died in police custody after being detained for alleged violations of Iran’s strict dress code.
“For many years, Baha’i officers around the world have suggested that the treatment of their community in Iran offered an instructive litmus test on the sincerity of Iranian authorities towards reform and respect for human rights. In addition to the plight of the Baha’is, we witness a wider human rights crisis engulfing Iran and taking the lives of young Iranians, most notably young women. Iran has failed that litmus test.
“The Baha’i community and all other persecuted religious minorities across the globe deserve better. They deserve our support. They deserve our actions and the actions of our Government in calling out the actions of the Iranian Government where they are seen. We will not ignore what is happening. I hope that, if this is heard in Tehran, that is the one message that they will take from today’s proceedings.”