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: Wife of convicted pastor gets jail sentence of her own

Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz

The wife of an Iranian pastor sentenced to ten years in jail has been given a five-year sentence of her own. Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz, was convicted of “acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training […]

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Iran: 2 Christians given 8-year prison sentences

The outside of the Evin prison in Tehran. Photo: Flickr/ SabzPhoto

Two Iranian Christians in the southern city of Shiraz have been sentenced to eight years in prison for “action against national security”, proselytising and holding “house-church” meetings. Eskander Rezaie and Soroush Saraei, who have both spent time in prison before, will appeal their sentences, according to Christian advocacy group Middle […]

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Iranian Christian women describe ‘world’s most brutal prison’

Iranian Christian women describe ‘world’s most brutal prison’

Two Iranian Christian women who once faced the threat of execution for their faith have described the conditions inside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, calling it “the most brutal prison in the world”. Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, who spent eight months there in 2009/10, now live in the US, where […]

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Iran: Christian convert loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘missionary activities’

Iran: Christian convert loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘missionary activities’

An Iranian convert to Christianity has had his 10-year prison sentence upheld after losing his appeal. Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was sentenced in May alongside three Azerbaijanis. All four men were given 10-year sentences for “missionary activities” and “actions against national security” in Iran. However, the three Azerbaijanis – Eldar Gurbanov, […]

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Iranian Christian convert released on bail days after threat of ‘indefinite’ incarceration

Iranian Christian convert released on bail days after threat of ‘indefinite’ incarceration

An Iranian convert to Christianity arrested on unspecified charges has been released on bail just days after his family was told he would be detained indefinitely. Mohammed Ali Torabi, 39, was ordered to pay 200 million tomans (around US $57,000) to secure his release from prison in Ahvaz, capital of Iran’s […]

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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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