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Iran sentences 18 Xtians to prison in new crackdown on Xtianity

By Ralph Sidway
“Charges include evangelism, propaganda against the regime, and creating house churches to practice their faith,” with prison sentences up to 24 years.

Iran’s persecution of Christians is so harsh and relentless that it’s hard to keep up with it, as a quick search here on Jihad Watch proves. And to think that the Obama administration had a golden opportunity to aid a true democratic uprising against the mullah’s brutal theocracy back in 2009, but instead let protesters be crushed.

“Iran Sentences 18 Christians to Prison for Their Faith in New Crackdown on Christianity,” by Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post, June 3, 2015:
Iran’s revolutionary court is believed to have sentenced 18 Christian converts to prison for their faith in a new crackdown on Christianity in the Islamic Republic, a report said.

Fox News noted that the charges include evangelism, propaganda against the regime, and creating house churches to practice their faith. It added that the total sentences come close to 24 years, but it’s not known how many years each individual received, due to the lack of transparency in Iran’s judicial system.

“The cruelty of Iran’s dictatorial leaders knows no limits,” said Saba Farzan, the German-Iranian executive director of Foreign Policy Circle, a strategy think tank in Berlin.

A number of the imprisoned Christians were arrested in 2013, and sentenced in accordance with Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code, which penalizes threats to Iran’s clerical leaders.

Morad Mokhtari, an Iranian convert to Christianity who fled the Islamic Republic in 2006, added: “Iranian religious authorities prefer that they [converts to Christianity] leave Iran because the authorities can’t control them,” Mokhatari said. “Just their name is evangelism. Imagine someone says he’s a Christian and has a Muslim name.”

Christians in Iran make up a tiny minority of the 78 million-strong population, and often face persecution from the government. Watchdog group Open Doors lists the country at No. 7 on its World Watch List of nations where Christians are most heavily targeted for their faith.

Open Doors points out on its website that almost all Christian activity in Iran is considered illegal, “especially when it occurs in Persian languages — from evangelism to Bible training, to publishing Scripture and Christian books or preaching in Farsi.”

It added: “In 2014, at least 75 Christians were arrested. More Christians were sentenced to prison and pressure on those detained increased, including physical and mental abuse.”


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