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.”