Iran: Converts summoned to begin prison sentences for ‘spreading “Zionist” Christianity’

February 14, 2022

The Iranian government is stepping up its persecution of Christians, in violation of the fact that its constitution guarantees Christians the right to representation in the Iranian Parliament, the right to produce non-halal food, and more. Despite this, Christians in Iran not infrequently suffer expropriation of their property, the forced closure of churches, and other forms of persecution.

Most of the roughly 300,000 Christians in Iran are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, an ancient Church that broke off communion with Holy Orthodoxy after the fourth ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Other Christians in Iran are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Roman Catholic Church; there is also a growing number of Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and other Protestants. 

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Converts summoned to begin prison sentences for ‘spreading “Zionist” Christianity,’” Article 18, February 9, 2022:

Three Christian converts from the northern city of Rasht have been summoned to begin serving prison sentences of between two and five years for “acting against national security” by attending a house-church and “spreading ‘Zionist’ Christianity”.

Ramin Hassanpour, his wife Saeede, and another woman, Sakine (Mehri) Behjati, have until the end of February to hand themselves in to Branch 1 of the Office for the Execution of Judgments in Tehran’s 33rd district.

The two women are to serve two-year sentences, while Ramin’s sentence is five years.

A fourth member of their group, Hadi (Moslem) Rahimi, is already serving his own four-year sentence.

The four Christians, all members of the non-Trinitarian “Church of Iran”, were first arrested in February 2020.

In May 2020, they spent a week in Lakan Prison in Rasht, having been unable to afford the 500 million toman bail ($30,000) set for them after the charges against them were read out at Branch 10 of the Revolutionary Court in Rasht.

They were eventually released on reduced bail of 200 million tomans ($11,500).

However, they were sentenced in August 2020, and their appeals were rejected in September 2020….