UN asked to act for Christians in Iran facing persecution

31 January 2020

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A fresco inside Vank Cathedral in Isfahan, Iran

A fresco inside Vank Cathedral in Isfahan, Iran

CHRISTIANS in Iran continue to face arrests, interrogation, and the denial of their rights to education. Converts from Islam are most at risk, and the United Nations should investigate religious persecution in the country, says a report from the human-rights char­ities CSW, Article 18, Middle East Concern, and Open Doors.

There are believed to be between 500,000 and 800,000 Chris­­­­­tians, mostly con­­verts and members of house churches. These churches are watched and often raided by the Revolutionary Guard. Christians are arrested and Bibles are confiscated. Worship­ping Chris­tians have been sentenced to up to five years in prison on charges of “Acting against national security”, the report says.

The Iranian constitution permits Assyrian and Armenian Chris­­­­­­tians as a minority to “exer­­cise their reli­­gious cere­­mon­­­ies within the limits of the law”, but ac­cess to church ser­vices is re­­stricted. Many churches have been closed, and their property has been con­­­­­­­­fiscated. Christian graves have been desecrated. Chil­dren of con­verts have also been told that they cannot continue their educa­­tion un­­less they attend Islamic classes, the charities report.

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