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ICC Note:

Iran is constitutionally defined as an Islamic Republic, and the state dedicates a significant amount of resources in support of advancing Islamic teachings within the country. Authorities systematically engage in violating the religious freedom of Christians, many of whom practice their faith underground. Christians who convert from Islam are especially at risk, as these individuals are often imprisoned or worse. Despite this intense persecution, reports indicate that Iranians continue to come to Christ and that youths in particular are converting from Islam to Christianity. The Iranian government has responded by intensifying religious persecution, specifically by targeting churches and Christian leaders.

 08/25/2017 Iran (Evangelical Focus) – The massive rise of Christianity in Iran, especially among youths, continues despite the Islamic government’s efforts to suppress the faith. Even Islamic leaders admitted that more and more young people are choosing to follow Christ. According to Mohabat News, which reports on the persecution and state of Christianity in Iran, the “exponential rate” of Christian growth has been a factor for the last couple of decades. Now even leading Islamic seminary officials, such as Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, have pointed to “accurate reports indicating that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches.”

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has also been raising alarm over the number of Iranian youths becoming Christians, and has blamed “foreign influence” for the conversions. Other ayatollahs, such as Wahid Khorasani, have slammed government officials “for their negligence in preparing counteracting strategies to stop the spread of Christianity.”

Mohabat News pointed out that “this high rate of conversion of Iranian youth to Christianity is in spite of rigorous Islamic indoctrination of the youth in their families and educational system.” “The Islamic government of Iran dedicates massive budgets to the support of Islamic organizations that promote Islam among the youth within and without Iran’s borders. Such efforts to attract Iranian youth is much more noticeable in Islamic cities such as Mashhad and Qom,” it added. “Regardless of such efforts, Iranian youth seem to become increasingly distant from Islam, which is a cause of great concern for the Iranian Islamic government.”

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a report in July that Iranian authorities are increasingly cracking down on Christian converts in the country, arresting and imprisoning believers in their attempts to suppress Christianity.

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