Christian Today: Bishops warn against growing persecution of Christians in Iran

Christian Today: Bishops warn against growing persecution of Christians in Iran

Published by on July 14, 2016

Church-IranNearly 80 church leaders from the UK and US have backed a powerful call to action against the Iranian theocratic regime, a year after Western powers lifted economic sanctions on the regime, Christian Today wrote on Thursday.
The report said the church leaders urged their governments to demand improvements in how Christians and other persecuted minorities are treated in Iran.
“In a statement released ahead of Saturday’s ‘Free Iran’ protest in Paris, the Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek, the Bishop of Stepney Adrian Newman, the Bishop of Selby John Thomson and the former Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard issued a joint statement with others setting out their ‘grave concern’ at how Iran’s rulers are mistreating Christians,” Christian Today wrote.
They say: “Repression of Christians has not only continued but intensified during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani.”
They continue: “In such circumstances, we call on all Western countries to consider the deplorable situation of human rights in Iran, particularly the painful situation of Christians and the intensification of their oppression, in navigating their relations with Iran.
“We call upon them to precondition improvement of those relations on the cessation of oppression of Christians and on a halt in executions.”
The report by Christian Today added:
The leaders pledge to support the international protest in Paris on Saturday “to promote freedom and human rights in Iran.” The demonstration marks a year since the P5+1 group of world powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia plus Germany – signed the Iran nuclear deal, lifting sanctions on Iran in return for a restriction of its nuclear activities.
Sir David Amess, MP for South end West, backed the church leaders in an article in Forbes on Wednesday and said it was “up to us in the West to fight for the rights of those who do not have a voice around the globe and perhaps nowhere is that more important and with more of a potential positive effect than Iran.”
The co-chair of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom wrote: “We must not ignore Iran.”
More than 100,000 people are expected to join the event including church leaders and a number of politicians from other Muslim nations.
Donya Jam is Iranian-American who fled Iran as a child after her father was briefly arrested for opposing the regime. Now a student in the US, she told Christian Today it was her “responsibility” as a Christian to oppose “the evil of the regime” in Iran.
“Jesus resisted evil and he wanted to bring and love to people,” she said. “Therefore as a Christian it is our responsibility to bring peace and to bring love.
“The regime just brings hate. It has created such a dark atmosphere.”
Jam, 21, went on to say that no opinion against the regime was allowed. “It is stoning people and amputating their hands. If that isn’t evil I don’t know what is.”
The demonstration comes in the same week as a barrage of more than 50 missiles hit Camp Liberty. At least 40 residents have been injured in the attack and a number of buildings destroyed.


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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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