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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Iranian Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran released after four years in prison

Maryam Naghash Zargaran

After four years’ imprisonment for “violating national security”, Iranian Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran was released from Tehran’s Evin prison last night (1 August). She was due to be released four days earlier, on 28 July, but, as Mohabat News reported, this was delayed without explanation. Naghash Zargaran, 39, a convert […]

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Jailed Christian on hunger strike to protest against treatment of Iranian converts

Ebrahim Firouzi

Another imprisoned Iranian Christian has begun a hunger strike to protest against the recent rash of sentences against Christians in Iran. Ebrahim Firouzi, 30, who has five years left of his own sentence for “acting against national security”, followed fellow convert to Christianity Amin Afshar-Naderi in writing a statement criticising […]

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‘Thousands’ of Iranians claiming asylum in Europe as converts to Christianity

‘Thousands’ of Iranians claiming asylum in Europe as converts to Christianity

Thousands of Iranian asylum-seekers across Europe are turning to Christianity, though observers are not convinced that all claims of conversion are genuine. A BBC documentary, Praying for Asylum, tells the story of a number of Iranian asylum-seekers in the Netherlands who say they have become Christians and would be exposed […]

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Rash of sentences ‘shows government’s fear of growth of Christianity in Iran’

Rash of sentences ‘shows government’s fear of growth of Christianity in Iran’

Four more Christians received lengthy jail sentences in Iran last week, it has emerged, taking the total number sentenced in the last month to 12. Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie, Mohammad Reza Omidi and Youcef Nadarkhani were each sentenced to ten years in prison. Omidi and Nadarkhani – a pastor who […]

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Jailed Iranian Christian asks authorities: ‘Why do you hate me?’

Jailed Iranian Christian asks authorities: ‘Why do you hate me?’

An Iranian convert to Christianity, sentenced last week to 15 years in jail, has written an open letter to the authorities, asking what he has done to “make you hate me this much” and declaring that he has decided to “terminate my life slowly” through a hunger strike. Amin Afshar-Naderi […]

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Third Iranian convert given lengthy sentence alongside pastor

Third Iranian convert given lengthy sentence alongside pastor

More details have emerged about the sentencing of four Iranian Christians earlier this week. On Wednesday (5 July)*, World Watch Monitor reported that three Christians – a pastor and two converts to Christianity – had been given lengthy jail terms, but now it emerges that a fourth man, another convert, […]

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Iran sentences four more Christians to 10 years in jail for ‘missionary activities’

Iran sentences four more Christians to 10 years in jail for ‘missionary activities’

One Iranian and three Azerbaijani Christians have been found guilty of “missionary activities” and “actions against national security” in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison. World Watch Monitor understands that the three Azerbaijanis – Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov – are unlikely to serve their sentences […]

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