Dec. 29, 2019
Three of the Islamist judges known to preside over the trials of Christians are Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, Mohammed Moghiseh, and Ahmad Zargar. The international community needs to consider imposing sanctions on them.
Converts to Christianity from Islam, according the Iran’s Islamic law, can face the death penalty. The Iranian Islamist judges generally resort to verses from the Quran and Hadith (Muhammad’s sayings and acts) to justify their verdicts.
Iran systematically violates the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act and this is why, since 1999, the U.S. has designated the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern.”
Under international law, the Iranian government has an obligation to respect freedom of religion. Yet, while Christians are being increasingly persecuted and their rights are violated in Iran at an unprecedented level, the international community still remains silent.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is unleashing a sweeping crackdown on Christians, particularly those who have dared to convert from Islam to Christianity.
Most recently, nine Christians in Iran, possibly converts, have been convicted by the Islamic court, and each sentenced to five years in prison. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested them for attending church services at a private house. According to a report by Article 18, an Iranian NGO which promotes religious freedom:
“The arresting officers introduced themselves as agents from the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).
“They stormed the Christians’ homes in a coordinated operation at around 9am, confiscating Bibles, Christian literature, wooden crosses and pictures carrying Christian symbols, along with laptops, phones, all forms of identity cards, bank cards and other personal belongings.