Three Iranian Christians released from prison

A report released this year said the government of Iran "continues to engage in egregious violations of religious freedom".Reuters

Three Iranian Christians have been released from prison after being arrested during a prayer meeting.

Mehdi Ameruni, Seyed Bijan Farokhpour Haghigi and Eskander Rezai have been granted temporary leave from prison, according to Middle East Concern.

It is thought they will not be required to return, but official confirmation has not yet been given.

However, official confirmation is of this is yet to have been given.

The three men were among six arrested during a raid on a prayer meeting in Shiraz in October 2012 and charged with action against national security and propaganda "against the order of the system".

They were eventually sentenced to a jail term in Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz in July 2014.

Another of their contemporaries, Suroush Saraie, was released early on November 11 of this year. Their house church leader, Mohammad (Vahid) Roghangir, and Massoud Rezai remain in jail.

Iran has a long history of human rights abuses and violence is rapidly escalating across the country, facilitated by laws which allow the legal persecution of minority communities such as Christians and Baha'i Muslims, who have been condemned by Iranian authorities as an "illegal cult".

Christian converts are forbidden from praying in public churches and American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight year prison sentence for "threatening the security of the state," remains in jail in Iran for his involvement in developing home church communities.

According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, conditions for minority faith groups has continued to deteriorate.

A report released this year said: "The government of Iran continues to engage in egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused".

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, there has also been a sharp increase in the number of executions under Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, under whom the human right situation has deteriorated.

He was due to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican last month, but suspended the visit as a result of the terror attacks in Paris.