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Iran Launches New Crackdown On Devoted Christians; Several Detained

“Iran’s constitution, which is anchored in fundamentalist Islamic Sharia, states that Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians, except for converts from Islam, can worship ‘within the limits of the law.’”

What those limits of the law actually are is all too often determined arbitrarily by local authorities, with converts from Islam to Christianity often bearing the brunt of their wrath. The Order requests that the government of Iran grant full religious freedom to all of its citizens, not interfering with their freedom of worship in any way.

“The U.S. State Department has classified the Islamic Republic as a ‘country of particular concern’ under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 ‘for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.'”

We hope this classification will lead to greater awareness of the plight of Iranian Christians, and concerted international action to alleviate that plight.

“Iran Launches New Crackdown On Devoted Christians; Several Detained,” BosNewsLife, March 12, 2019:

TEHRAN, IRAN: March 12, 2019. (BosNewsLife)– Concerns are mounting over devoted Christians in Iran after three more believers were detained in the city of Rasht in Gilan province, as part of what activists view as an “ongoing official campaign of repression” against the country’s Christian community.

Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) told BosNewsLife that those detained included members of the Church of Iran, one of the largest evangelical church movements.

Two men, identified as Babak Hosseinzadeh and Behnam Akhlagh, were reportedly taken into custody by security forces while attending a church service late Saturday, February 23. Another man, Mehdi Khatibi, was arrested on the same day, following a summons from the secret police, Christians said.

The arrests bring the total number of Christians detained in Rasht over the past five weeks to six, according to activists. Earlier Christians Hossein Kadivar (Elisha) and Khalil Dehghanpour were arrested on January 29. Soon after, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad was detained on February 10 by members of the feared Islamic Revolutionary Guard force who entered the gathering where he was leading a service, CSW said.

Since 2006, Pastor Haghnejad has been arrested and tried on several occasions in the cities of Rasht, Shiraz, and Karaj. It was not immediately clear what prompted the latest reported government crackdown, but Islamic leaders are known to have expressed concerns about the spread of Christianity which they view as undermining the foundations of the state.

CHRISTIAN WOMAN APPEALS

The developments came while news emerged that an appeal by a Christian woman, Shamiram Issavi, against a five-year jail sentence imposed in January 2018 for “acting against national security” was postponed after an initial hearing on February 19 at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, the capital….

But Iranian authorities have denied wrongdoing. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani recently claimed: “Christians have the same rights as others do.”

Iran’s constitution, which is anchored in fundamentalist Islamic Sharia, states that Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians, except for converts from Islam, can worship “within the limits of the law.”…

There are at least an estimated 360,000 Christians in Iran, according to church groups, while the government’s Statistical Center of Iran reports 117,700 Christians in a country of just over 82 million people.

The U.S. State Department has classified the Islamic Republic as a “country of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 “for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

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