Iranian regime’s repression of Christians ‘shocks the conscience’

June 26, 2019

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. Please pray for all the Christians of Iran, that they would be protected and strengthened, and that all Iranians would find in the Holy Orthodox Church the full expression of the faith that Iran’s Christians are holding fast to amid so much suffering.

“Iranian regime’s repression of Christians ‘shocks the conscience,’” by Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, June 25, 2019:

A horribly familiar description of the Iranian regime’s persecution of Christians and other minorities emerged from a U.S. State Department report on religious freedom published Friday.

“In Iran, the regime’s crackdown on Baha’is, Christians and others continues to shock the conscience,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The U.S. has classified the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern” since 1999, because its regime violates religious freedom as defined by the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act (1998)….

The 30-page section on Iran appeared in the State Department’s 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom and was reviewed by

The section read in part: “Christians, particularly evangelicals and converts from Islam, continued to experience disproportionate levels of arrests and detention, and high levels of harassment and surveillance, according to Christian NGO reports. Numerous Christians remained imprisoned at year’s end on charges related to their religious beliefs. Prison authorities reportedly continued to withhold medical care from prisoners, including some Christians, according to human rights groups.”

Iran’s opaque judicial system upheld 10-year prison sentences against Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi for practicing their Christian faith. The Iranians were convicted of “acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity” and running house churches.

The State Department report wrote that “authorities took Nadarkhani and the three other sentenced Christians to Evin Prison following a series of violent raids on their homes, which included beatings and electroshock weapons.”

As of May 2018, “Omidi, Mossayebzadeh, and Fadaie still awaited the outcome of the appeal of their September 2016 sentence of 80 lashes for consumption of communion wine.”

Iran’s penal code prescribes the “death sentence for proselytizing and attempts by non-Muslims to convert Muslims, as well as for moharebeh (‘enmity against God’) and sabb al-nabi (‘insulting the Prophet’).”

Alireza Nader, the CEO of New Iran, a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., told Fox News: “Religious freedom and state repression has increased under President [Hassan] Rouhani. Christian converts and Baha’is are under severe pressure in particular. Far from providing a government of ‘moderation,’ Rouhani has instead abetted state repression against all Iranians, especially minorities.”…