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Bishops deplore Iran’s human-rights abuses

07 July 2017


Supporting the diaspora: delegates at the annual Iranian resistance (NCRI) meeting, at the Villepointe exhibition centre near Paris, on Saturday

Supporting the diaspora: delegates at the annual Iranian resistance (NCRI) meeting, at the Villepointe exhibition centre near Paris, on Saturday

THE former Archbishop of Canter­bury Lord Williams and other bishops have backed a campaign urging the UK and the United States to put protection for religious minor­ities at the heart of any new deal with Iran.

In a letter signed by Lord Wil­liams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge; a former Bishop of Ox­­ford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard; the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, and others, they de­­plore human-rights abuses in Iran, and the worsening persecution of religious minorities. The petition has been signed by 90 religious leaders in the UK and the US.

”While the majority of the vic­tims of the Iranian regime’s rights abuses are Muslims, members of religious minorities, including members of the Christian and Jewish faiths, have been specifically targeted over their personal reli­gious beliefs over the years,” the letter says.

”In such circumstances, we call on all countries to consider the de­­plorable situation of human rights in Iran, particularly the painful situa­tion of religious minorities, in navigating their relations with Iran. We urge them to precondition im­­provement of those relations on a cessation of oppression of minor­ities and on a halt to executions in Iran.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide re­­ported this week that four Chris­tians had been sentenced to ten years by an Iranian judge for en­­gaging in “missionary activities”.

The annual rally in Paris of the exiled Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran was held on Saturday, and was addressed by senior Republicans in­­cluding a former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. He said that many in the US were working to­­wards making sure that “the Aya­tollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday.”

For the first time in at least eight years, he said, “I can say that we have a President of the United States who is completely and totally opposed to the regime in Tehran.”

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