By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
Although the Iranian government claims to respect the rights of religious minorities, the report found that Christian converts and members of unregistered churches can face extrajudicial punishment and even execution for apostasy. In fact, the Islamic Republic hasn’t permitted a single new church to be built since its revolution. Instead, many churches have been closed as attendance is restricted, members are monitored and their Bibles and other religious literature are routinely confiscated.
The report also reveals a systematic pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention for purposes of state security; for example, Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini was recently arrested for planting house churches that officials claimed were “intended to undermine national security” by turning Iranian youth away from Islam.
When detained, Christians are often denied basic rights: they are held without charge, denied access to proper legal advice and are ill-treated, yet as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obligated to safeguard these freedoms.
“The egregious violations of Christians’ rights,” said Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “which include not only the inability to freely practise their religion, but also the threat of torture and death at the hands of state officials, go against all international law. The international community must let the Iranian government know this is unacceptable.”