2018: an “unprecedented” year of persecution in Iran

By January 31, 2019

Iran (MNN) — Amid news of Iran’s deepening economic woes, a new report describes the regime’s continued crackdown on Christians.

Violations of the Rights of Christians in Iran 2018 was compiled by Article 18, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Middle East Concern, and Open Doors International. It begins by listing rights and freedoms guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), then describes examples of violations by Iranian authorities.

Iran signed on to the ICCPR in 1975, yet continuously violates the rights held by religious minorities.

“Iran is consistently one of the hardest places in the Middle East for Christians, but last year – particularly towards the end of last year – saw a significant rise in arrests and tensions,” notes Middle East Concern’s Miles Windsor.

“It was an unprecedented year in Iran in terms of persecution of Christians.”

What’s happening?

iran

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

It’s no secret: Christians are viewed as “the enemy” in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranian leaders have openly stated their disdain of Christianity, and Open Doors USA describes the following in its 2019 World Watch List Dossier:

Christianity is considered a condemnable Western influence and a constant threat to the Islamic identity of the Republic. This is especially the case since Christian numbers are growing and allegedly even children of political and spiritual leaders are leaving Islam for Christianity.

What concerns Windsor and others is the apparent “spike” in persecution. Last year, Iranian authorities arrested 114 Christians in one seven-day period.  Iran’s intelligence agency closely monitors Christian activity, and it partners with the Revolutionary Guard to raid private homes.

As noted here in the recently-released Violations report:

Most of the reported violations involved converts from Islam, but there were also several instances where members of the recognised Armenian and Assyrian Christian minorities were imprisoned or sentenced to jail terms due to their religious activities.

“It’s quite a scary time to be a Christian in Iran.”

What’s next?

Disseminating information isn’t the only reason to create a report like this, Windsor explains. As Francis Bacon once said, “knowledge is power.”

“I think the point of this report is partly to have a document which catalogs the situation there in Iran… But also, it has gone to politicians and governments so that they…can use that information when it comes to their discussions with Iran.”

Now that you know, could you help us spread the news? The social media buttons below are an easy place to start.

Most importantly, pray.

“[Pray] that God would protect them, that He would sustain them, and that He would continue to grow His Church there. Those prayers would be immensely valued.”

 

 

Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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