A shocking new British government report details that the violent persecution of the Christian minority population continues unabated in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Simply being a Christian is enough to get you arrested” in the country with a Muslim majority, notes the UK study on Christians and Christians converts in Iran. The report states that “many arrests would have occurred during police raids on religious rallies” and that “Christians, especially evangelicals and converts from Islam, continued to suffer disproportionate levels of arrest and detention”.
Late last month, the UK released its study detailing the severe mistreatment of Iranian Christians, which in 2022 made up between 500,000 and 800,000 people out of an estimated total population of 86.7 million. The number of Iranian Christians could exceed 1 million, based on other estimates, the study noted.
According to the report, 99.6% of the Iranian population identifies as Muslim, with Iran ranking Twelver Ja’afari Shia Islam as the state religion.
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Asked what the United States and other world powers can do about repression of 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 the 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 against Iranian oligarchs. and their families who are close to the regime, who live abroad, blocking their assets, imposing travel bans on them “.
Borji, who converted from Islam to Christianity, added: “Many of them have played a significant role in shaping and implementing the discriminatory and oppressive policies of the current Islamic regime. They can also impose Magnitsky sanctions against those who are involved in human rights violations “.
In 2016, the United States implemented legislation called “The Magnistsky Sanctions”, named after the late Russian anti-corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, to punish human rights violators.
Asked about the British government report and what can be done to stop the persecution of Iranian Christians, a US State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital: “We are urgently calling for action against human rights violations by of Iran in the United Nations and other multilateral fora. In addition, we coordinate closely with allies and partners, including the UK, to share information on potential sanctions targets. The State Department regularly announces sanctions on perpetrators of these violations and urges like-minded partners to hold violations accountable. However, as a practice, we do not announce these actions in advance. “
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According to the US State Department spokesperson, “Since 1999, the United States has annually designated Iran as a Country of Special Interest for committing or tolerating ‘particularly serious violations of religious freedom.’ The designation is based on information from all relevant sources, including the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom “.
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 Foundation for Defense of Democracies Iran expert, Saeed Ghasseminejad, “The new nuclear deal would allow Tehran to access financial benefits of up to $ 275 billion during its first year in effect and $ 1 trillion by 2030” .
Veterans critics of the Islamic Republic say that the funds for aid to sanctions will strengthen the internal and foreign repression apparatus of the clerical regime. Both the Republican and Democratic administrations have ranked the Islamic Republic of Iran as the worst sponsoring terrorist state in the world.
The September British study was released during the outbreak of widespread protests against the existence of the Islamic Republic over the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini. Iranian morality police allegedly killed Amini for not adequately covering her hair with hijab.
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Current examples of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to undermine the Christian faith abound. The Middle East Concern (MEC) organization, which defends the religious freedom of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, reported in August that two Iranian Christians were imprisoned in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison.
The 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 prison and Sara was imprisoned for 67 days where she “endured extreme psychological pressure,” the MEC wrote. In 2020, the Iranian regime’s opaque judicial system sentenced Sara to 11 years in prison “for her alleged role in leading a house church and Zhaveh to two years for belonging to a house church,” the MEC said. .
Fox News Digital has sent press requests to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran 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 Government and International Affairs, “An Anglican minister who fled Iran six years ago due to continued harassment by intelligence agents and multiple arrests gained his freedom as states United approves an emergency request to transfer the family from Turkey, where they lived in hiding “.