ICC Note: While Iran’s president has made promises to increase the rights and freedoms of its citizens, the condition for Christians remains as difficult as ever. The reports of arrests, beatings, and other forms of abuse continue. More than 90 Christians are known to be currently imprisoned in Iran, with new raids happening on a consistent basis. Though Iran’s constitution appears to provide rights for Christians to freely practice their faith, the reality for many Iranians, especially converts, is something much different.
03/11/2015 Iran (Christian Today) Persecution of Christians in Iran is as bad as it was three years ago, in spite of the pre-election promises of the president, according to a new report.
Christians continue to be arbitrarily arrested and interrogated because of their faith. Some face “severe physical and psychological torture” during detention, and simple prayer or Bible study meetings are regarded as political activities that threaten the national security of Iran, the report says.
Churches can be closed down if they use the national language, Farsi, and Christians are regularly given long prison sentences and beatings. The worst punishments are reserved for those who convert to Christianity from Islam, when they are caught gathering in their informal house churches, and for their pastors.
Two all-party parliamentary groups, Christians in Parliament and International Freedom of Religion or Belief, joined forces to investigate the persecution of Christians in Iran.
The report details the case of one man sentenced to death simply for questioning some of the tenets of Islam on social media. Sadeq Saba, editor of BBC Persian, told the inquiry: “I hear from some people that the reason the regime is taking such a tough line against people like him is because a lot of people are becoming disappointed with Islam as a religion because of what the regime is doing.”
Many cases are kept secret, but more than 90 Christians were known to be behind bars in Iran at the end of 2014. Raids and arrests in Christian homes are common, and recently a 12-year-old boy was physically abused during such a raid.