Back home in Iran

Azadeh Perry of Carrboro (third from left), stands with her nieces, Rahil, Maaman and Martha. The three young women were tutoring children in Iran when they and some 70 other members of the Baha'i faith were arrested by Iranian police in May.
Contributed photo

When the phone in Azadeh Perry's Carrboro home rang on the evening of May 20, one of her worst fears was confirmed. Authorities in her home country of Iran had arrested about 70 people in their teens and 20s. Among those picked up were three of her nieces, who were tutoring children as part of a community service project.

Azadeh and her husband, Mark, immediately knew the young people had been arrested because they are Baha'is, members of the largest religious minority in Iran with a long history of persecution there.

The nieces -- Rahil, 18, Martha, 17, and Maaman, 21 -- had been teaching English, math and science to disadvantaged kids. They had documents signed by local officials saying as much. But the Iranian government seized the tutors.

"These are exemplary women," Mark said of the three imprisoned young women. "Their purity, good nature and character make them stand out."

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