TEHRANL: A Bahai missionary has been arrested in northern Iran for indulging in "illicit relationships," hardline newspaper Javan’s website reported on Monday.
It identified the detainee by only his initials, P.P., saying he was arrested in the Islamic republic’s northern province of Golestan.
The newspaper which is close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards did not provide a source, but added that the case was being investigated by the judiciary.
The Bahais, who are barred from higher education and government posts in Iran, are regarded as infidels and have been persecuted both before and after the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
In August, Iran sentenced seven leading members of the community to 20-year jail terms on charges ranging from spying for foreigners, spreading corruption on earth, undermining Islam and of cooperating with arch-foe Israel.
Their jail term has sparked criticism from the international community, including the United States.
The Bahais consider Bahaullah, born in 1817, to be the latest prophet sent by God and believe in the spiritual unity of all religions and all mankind.
The group now reportedly has seven million followers, including 300,000 in Iran, and has a large temple in Haifa, northern Israel.
Bahai leaders believe a total of 47 members of their religion are imprisoned in Iran simply for their beliefs.