The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Iranian Supreme Court Rules Inconsistently Against Christian Converts,” Article 18, January 26, 2022:

Iran’s Supreme Court has finally agreed to review the case of a Christian convert serving a 10-year prison sentence for “acting against national security” through his involvement in a house-church.

Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh has spent the past four years in Tehran’s Evin Prison, and during that time has pleaded on numerous occasions for a review of his case, only to be repeatedly refused.

He has also twice appealed for parole, having served more than one-third of his sentence. Again, these appeals were both rejected, after objections from the Ministry of Intelligence.

But now Nasser’s lawyer, Iman Soleimani, has confirmed his latest appeal for a review of his client’s sentence has been accepted by Branch 9 of the Supreme Court.

It is not yet known when Nasser’s case will be heard, and there is of course no guarantee the court will rule in his favour, but the news is still most welcome for the 60-year-old prisoner of conscience, who has grown increasingly frustrated about his situation in recent months.

On his birthday in August last year, Nasser’s elderly mother, for whom Nasser was the primary carer before his imprisonment, recorded an emotional plea for her son’s release, saying she was “very lonely” and that her son had “done nothing; he only became a Christian”.

Earlier this week, Nasser wrote the latest of several open letters from prison – this time for the International Day of Education, to protest against the denial of education to Persian-speaking Christians.

In the letter, he said: “They want to wipe us [Persian-speaking Christians] out, and make it seem as though we never existed.

“… We have endured suffering and persecution for such a long time now, but we have not given up.”…