A shocking new report from the British government details that the violent persecution of the Christian minority population continues unabated in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Just being a Christian is enough to get you arrested” in the Muslim-majority country, notes the UK study of Christians and Christian converts in Iran. The report states that “numerous arrests reportedly took place during police raids on religious gatherings” and that “Christians, particularly Evangelicals and converts to Islam, continued to face disproportionate levels of arrests and detentions”.
Late last month, the UK published its study detailing the severe mistreatment of Iranian Christians, who make up between 500,000 and 800,000 people out of an estimated total population of 86.7 million in 2022. The number of Iranian Christians could exceed 1 million, according to other estimates. , notes the study.
According to the report, 99.6% of Iran’s population identify as Muslim, with Iran classifying Twelver Ja’afari Shia Islam as its state religion.
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When asked what the United States and other world powers could do about the crackdown on Iranian Christians, Mansour Borji, an Iranian Christian who is the director of the religious freedom NGO Article 18, wrote in an email to Fox News Digital: “We believe that world leaders can play a positive role in helping persecuted religious communities and ending religious apartheid in Iran. One of the effective measures Western governments can take to help are sanctions targeting Iranian oligarchs and their families close to the regime, living abroad, freezing their assets, imposing travel bans on them.
Borji, who converted from Islam to Christianity, added: “Many of them played an important role in shaping and implementing the discriminatory and oppressive policies of the current Islamic regime. They can also impose Magnitsky sanctions against those involved in human rights abuses.
In 2016, the United States implemented a law called “The Magnistsky Sanctions”, named after the late Russian anti-corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, to punish perpetrators of human rights abuses.
Asked about the UK government’s report and what can be done to end the persecution of Iranian Christians, a US State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital: “We constantly call for action against Iran’s human rights abuses in the United Nations and other multilateral forums. We are also coordinating closely with Allies and partners, including the UK, to share information on potential sanctions targets. The Department of State regularly announces sanctions against perpetrators of these violations and urges like-minded partners to hold perpetrators accountable. However, as a practice, we do not announce these actions in advance.
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“Since 1999, the United States has annually designated Iran as a country of particular concern for committing or condoning ‘particularly serious violations of religious freedom.’ The designation is based on information from all relevant sources, including the annual International Religious Freedom Report.
However, critics of the Biden administration argue that the White House is prioritizing a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, over human rights, and that it will enrich the coffers of a totalitarian regime in Tehran.
According to Iranian expert from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Saeed Ghasseminejad, “the new nuclear deal would allow Tehran to access up to $275 billion in financial benefits in its first year of operation. application and $1 trillion by 2030”.
Veteran critics of the Islamic Republic say the money from sanctions relief will bolster the clerical regime’s domestic and foreign apparatuses of repression. Both the Republican and Democratic administrations have rated the Islamic Republic of Iran as the worst state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
The September UK study was released amid widespread protests against the existence of the Islamic Republic over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Iranian morality police allegedly murdered Amini for not properly covering her hair with a hijab.
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Current examples of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to weaken the Christian faith abound. The organization Middle East Concern (MEC), which defends the religious freedom of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, reported in August that two Iranian Christians were imprisoned in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.
MEC said Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife, Sara Ahmadi, were arrested on August 13 after previous incarcerations for practicing their Christian faith. In 2019, Zhaveh spent a month in jail and Sara was imprisoned for 67 days where “she was under extreme psychological pressure,” MEC wrote. In 2020, the Iranian regime’s opaque court system sentenced Sara to 11 years in prison “for her alleged role in leading a house church and Zhaveh to two years for membership in a house church”, MEC said.
Fox News Digital has sent press inquiries to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
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On Friday, Iranian pastor Hekmat Salimi, his wife Shirini and their daughter Sama left Turkey to seek asylum in the United States. According to a statement from the Anglican Office for Governmental and International Affairs, “An Anglican minister who fled Iran six years ago due to constant harassment by intelligence officers and multiple arrests has won his freedom as the United States United approve an emergency request to move the family from Turkey, where they live in hiding.