2/25/2022 Iran (International Christian Concern) – According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the United States and Iran are nearing a deal to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement. Despite this cooperation between U.S. negotiators and their Iranian counterparts, Christians throughout the country continue to suffer under the harsh policies of the Iranian regime.
The deal is a revitalization of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which President Barack Obama signed in 2015 and President Donald Trump withdrew from the U.S. in 2018. Although the deal kept in place human rights sanctions on Iran and many of its officials, the JCPOA gives Iran the ability to pursue nuclear work under restrictions to curb their ability to produce a nuclear weapon and allows them to bring in more revenues from lifted sanctions on oil.
As negotiators near agreement on the deal, Iran’s Christian community continues to suffer severe persecution. In particular, Iranian authorities have targeted Christian converts recently, arresting several for their membership in house churches. Iran only recognizes churches for Christians of Armenian and Assyrian descent, leaving Persian converts without an option for congregational worship.
Several Christian converts were also recently forced to participate in re-education classes led by Islamic clerics, most of whom were cleared of all charges.
Last year, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that Iran be named a country of particular concern (CPC) by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Following this recommendation, the State Department designated Iran as a CPC last November for “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.”
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