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09/22/2020 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Today marks the anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980, an event which Iran is intending to use to showcase their so-called religious diversity. However, this messaging misses the mark for promoting religious freedom.

The Tehran Times published an article about how those killed during the invasion who belonged to religious minorities symbolized national unity. The article states that 400 Christian Iranians immediately volunteered for the frontlines, which portrays “Iranian unity at that time.” Iran’s media is under the control of the government, who maintains a strict interpretation of Islam and is internationally recognized as one of the world’s top-ten abusers of religious freedom.

As an English-language article, the target audience is obviously foreigners. Within the Persian community, there is little question about how Iran treats those whose religion is different from the government’s strict interpretation. The Iran-Iraq war occurred one year after Iran’s Islamic Revolution, which pushed most Christians out of the country.

Since then, the church has moved primarily underground because of intense persecution. Though this persecution continues, the church in Iran is the fastest growing church in the Middle East. This is in spite of the continued trend of persecution causing many Iranian Christians to flee the country.

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