by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A new report on the persecution of Christians in Iran has called on Tehran to end the criminalization of house churches and membership, and for the international community to hold the Islamic regime to account for ongoing human rights abuses against believers, Christian Today (CT) reports.
Written jointly by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Article 18, Middle East Concern and Open Doors International, the report found that in 2021 Christians in Iran were harassed, arrested, imprisoned, CT said. At least 59 Christians were arrested last year, thirty Christians were imprisoned. Moreover, 209 Christians were affected by judicial rulings, 35 of whom said they suffered "intense psychological torture” as a result.
However, the authors of the report attest that the numbers are likely to be higher than recorded," either because no-one raises awareness — arresting authorities frequently issue threats to prevent publicity — or because those involved request confidentiality,” CT said.
The report noted some positive developments, such as the recent Supreme Court ruling that the sentences of nine Christians should be reviewed because "promoting Christianity and 'Zionist evangelism' in private homes is not an example of gathering and collusion against internal or external security as decided in the original verdict,” CT reports.
At the same time, the report warned, the Supreme Court itself then went on to deny the appeal of two Christians who were sentenced to 10 years in prison over their involvement in a house church.
Iran ranks nine of the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.