Another 18 Iranian converts to Christianity have been jailed during the past two months for “evangelism and establishing house churches”, reports Mohabat News.

Between them, their sentences amount to 23 years and nine months in jail.

Mansour Borji, spokesman for rights group Article 18, told Mohabat News that, although the sentences are final, some of the converts intend to appeal to a higher court.

“The Islamic regime of Iran treats Christians cruelly, while Iran’s Foreign Minister claims that no one is in jail in Iran for their beliefs,” Borji said. “Despite President [Hassan] Rouhani’s promises in his campaign, not only do we see no relief of suppression of Christians, but we see an increase in the number of arrests and unfair sentences and the security atmosphere imposed by the Islamic regime on the Iranian Christian community still continues.”

A report in March by Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, claimed that, as of 1 January, at least 92 Christians were being detained.