Human Rights Groups Condemn Persecution Of Iranian Christians

Iranian Christians at a church in TehranReuters

The treatment of Christians by the regime in Iran has been condemned by 19 human rights and religious organisations, reports World Watch Monitor.

The groups say there are opportunities to rectify the situation presented by the nuclear deal – which was opposed by conservative elements in the USA and the Middle East.

They add that the opportunity for governments and companies to trade in Iran as a result of the deal now presents a chance for them to pressure the Iranian administration on its treatment of Christians and other religious minorities.

The statement issued by the human rights groups says that persecution of believers has gone up recently. "In the summer of 2016, Iranian authorities increased their persecution of Christians, honing in on converts from a Muslim-background," it says.

Christians have a long history in Iran but have been vulnerable to persecution since the revolution of 1979. Despite ongoing deprivation of freedom, the Church in Iran is said to be growing – with both house churches and more recognised denominations flourishing.

The groups who have released the statement suggest that the persecution of Christians not only contravenes the country's legal obligations, but also its own constitution. The statement is aimed to gain attention from international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations.