10/29/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) – This week, Article18, a British nonprofit organization fighting for religious freedom in Iran, published two videos of Iranian Christian converts asking the government about their freedom to worship, as part of a campaign to raise awareness regarding the restrictions against worshiping as a Persian-speaking Christian convert in Iran.
The two Christians, Behnam Akhlaghi and Babak Hosseinzadeh, are not alone in their plight. Because Iran’s recognized churches do not allow Persian-speaking Christians to join in their worship, Akhlaghi, Hosseinzadeh, and many others are forced to worship in house churches, for which they have been arrested and imprisoned.
Iranian converts to Christianity face intense persecution from the government, with laws against conversion, evangelism, and distribution of Christian literature in Persian. The update to the penal code in February 2021, in addition to the hardline government currently in power, suggests that religious freedom in Iran will continue to be severely restricted.
As Article18 points out, Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, guaranteeing individuals the right to choose their religion and worship freely, “individually or in community with others, and in public or private.” The case of these converts illustrates Iran’s violation of this international agreement with its regulations on churches, sending Christians to prison as a result.
International Christian Concern joins Article18 in their calls for the Iranian government to give these Christians a place to worship for the advancement of religious freedom in Iran.
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