U.S. Pressure Mounts as Iranian Religious Freedom Conditions Continue to Deteriorate
08/19/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Despite Afghanistan taking most of the attention of the United States in recent weeks, the administration continues to be poised against the growing hostility of Iran in the Middle East. This month, the United States investigated the destruction of a tanker in the Arabian Sea and announced that an Iranian drone strike was behind the attack. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later discussed this brazen attack with the Saudi Arabian foreign minister and emphasized the need for “bolstering security cooperation” against Iran in the region.
This is not the only time the State Department has condemned Iran in public statements in recent weeks. Last month, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price released a statement regarding protests in Iran over water shortages. In the statement, Price celebrated the rights of Iranian citizens to “voice their frustrations and hold their government accountable” and urged the government to “allow its citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression.”
Iran’s new hardliner government has been increasingly abusing human rights and specifically targeting the growing Christian population in the country. President Ebrahim Raisi, elected back in June amidst election manipulation by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, has a long history of horrific human rights abuses that many expect to continue under his presidency. New legislation in Iran already puts Christians in the government’s crosshairs as officials continue to persecute the minority Christian community.
The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom also recently published a report on religious freedom in Iran, specifically outlining Iran’s targeting and harsh persecution of Muslim background believers.
Many advocates believe that the United States is poised to stand up to Iranian human rights abuses against Iranian Christians. Amidst these recent public condemnations of Iran’s crimes and recent strikes against Iranian-backed militias operating in Iraq, the United States must keep up the pressure against the Iranian regime in order to protect the Christians in Iran.
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