Ethnic Iranians are seen as being Muslim, and carrying out any Christian activities in their Farsi language is illegal. An Iranian man who leaves Islam can be sentenced to death and a woman to life imprisonment, although such sentences haven’t been carried out for more than 20 years. However, in 2017 over a dozen Christians – most of them converts to Christianity – were given prison sentences of between 10 and 15 years for “acting against national security”. According to religious freedom watchdog Article 18, such political charges attempt “to avoid international outcry at religiously motivated charges”. Several imprisoned Iranian Christians have undertaken hunger strikes in protest.

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Iran: appeal due for Christians given 10 years for ‘missionary activities’

Iran: appeal due for Christians given 10 years for ‘missionary activities’

The appeal hearings will take place on Sunday (12 November) for an Iranian and three Azerbaijani Christians sentenced in May to 10 years in prison for “missionary activities” and “actions against national security” in Iran. The three Azerbaijanis – Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov – were allowed to […]

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Iran MPs want to change law so people can only vote for candidates from their own religion

Iran MPs want to change law so people can only vote for candidates from their own religion

Conservative MPs within Iran’s parliament are proposing that Iranians should only be allowed to vote for members of their own religious group. In Iran, where 90-95% of the population is Shia Muslim, this will essentially mean that it will be impossible for members of religious minorities to be elected. The […]

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Iran: another Christian convert ‘arrested, beaten and told to renounce faith’

Iran: another Christian convert ‘arrested, beaten and told to renounce faith’

An Iranian convert to Christianity has been arrested in the western city of Dezful, the fourth such convert arrested in the city in recent weeks. Abdol-Ali Pourmand was arrested on Saturday (21 October) after a raid on his home two days before, during which materials including Bibles and Christian CDs […]

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confiscates Christian literature as ‘publicity stunt’

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confiscates Christian literature as ‘publicity stunt’

Photographs released by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard showing large quantities of confiscated Christian materials were a “publicity stunt” that reflected the Iranian regime’s fear of Christianity, says religious freedom advocate Mansour Borji. Borji, from advocacy group Article 18, told World Watch Monitor that the photographs, which were initially released in July, […]

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Christian children in Iran told: ‘study Islam or leave school’

Christian children in Iran told: ‘study Islam or leave school’

Christian children in two large Iranian cities have been told to either study Shia Islam or leave school. The children are members of the non-Trinitarian ‘Church of Iran’ denomination in the northern city of Rasht, near the Caspian Sea, and the historical southern city of Shiraz, respectively. Until recently the […]

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Freed from prison after 4 years, Christian woman ‘banned from leaving Iran’

Maryam Naghash Zargaran

An Iranian Christian woman, who recently completed a four-year jail sentence for “violating national security” through her work with “house churches”, says she has been banned from leaving the country for six months. Maryam Naghash Zargaran, 39, who undertook several hunger strikes in prison to protest against being denied medical […]

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Iran’s clerics concerned by spread of Christianity among youth

Despite the efforts of Iran’s government to promote Islam among young people and a crackdown on newly converted Christians, many young Iranians continue to convert, saying they are willing to face the consequences. (Photo: Open Doors International)

Christianity is spreading fast among young people in some of Iran’s most religiously conservative cities, causing concern among leading Islamic clerics, who blame foreign influence, according to Mohabat News. One high profile cleric, Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, said recently that “accurate reports indicate that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom […]

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