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09/25/2019 Iran (International Christian Concern) –  The Tehran City Council will no longer consider churches and synagogues as eligible for tax exemption, according to new media reports. Before this decision, these non-Islamic institutions were eligible for tax exemption so long as they were purely religious in nature. The city’s decision has been heavily criticized by Assyrian parliamentarians on the basis that it preserves these buildings as a cultural heritage of Iran.

Iran’s constitution recognizes the freedom of religious practice only for those who can prove that their families belonged to certain non-Muslim faiths prior to the 1979 revolution. These means that, technically, Assyrian and Armenian Christians should have some (albeit limited) freedom of religious expression. The reality, however, is that Iran does not follow its own laws. All Christian groups, as well as other religious minorities, face heavy persecution from the authorities.

The economy in Iran is greatly suffering, and the regime has taken a number of desperate measures intended to maintain their own wealth. Removing the tax exempt status is both a new way to persecute recognized Christian groups, and an attempt to further shore up the economic suffering of the regime.

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