Iran’s Christians face renewed fears ahead of Christmas

December 19, 2020

Persecution of Christians in Iran: it is unfortunately no surprise that Christians would be fearful in the run-up to Christmas. According to the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, in 2018, 150 were arrested in the weeks before Christmas.

We pray that the international community will take the persecution of Christians in Iran seriously and move to protect the embattled Christians and other religious minorities of that country. Please join us in prayer for an end to the persecution of Christians of Iran, and for the protection and strengthening of the Christian communities of that beautiful country.

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Iran’s Christians face renewed fears ahead of Christmas,” by Joe Snell, Al-Monitor, December 18, 2020:

In 2009, Iran began a crackdown on its religious community that led to the arrest of Dabrina Bet Tamraz. The government eventually shuttered her family’s Assyrian Pentecostal church.

Today, Evangelical and Protestant Christians in the country are largely restricted in worship, and the pressure to remain silent is only increasing.

In 2014, the Tamraz home in Tehran was raided by Iranian intelligence officers. Her father, Victor, was taken and held in solitary confinement for 65 days. By 2017, he was formally convicted on charges of illegal church activities and threatening national security. A year later, Dabrina’s mother, Shamiran, was also convicted of attending seminaries abroad and teaching spies against Iran.

“We call [the charges] a salad,” Dabrina said. “Interrogators put in as many accusations as they can and then finally out of them you get maybe two, three or maximum four.”

The couple has since fled the country and are now in hiding.

The regime has claimed to support religious groups in the past. In December 2016, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani released a charter that promised recognition of all religious identities without discrimination. However, global monitors argued the language provided no specific enforcement guarantees, and some religious minorities said this charter was only in rhetoric.

As we near the celebration of Christmas, there is renewed concern over the safety of Christians in the country as security forces routinely drum up charges leading up to the holiday.

In 2018, 150 Christians were taken between November and December alone, including 114 arrests during the first week of December, according to a report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom….