A new United Nations report concludes that the persecution of Christians in Iran is at unprecedented levels. A minimum of 50 Christians are in prison, with the most famous inmate being American Pastor Saeed Abedini. Evangelical ministries see the regime as trying to suppress a rising tide of conversions to Christianity.
The report states that 35 of the 42 Christians arrested last year were guilty of forming “house churches,” where church services, Bible studies and even baptisms happen in someone’s home. The punishment for this crime against Iran’s theocracy is one to 10 years behind bars.
The U.N. report shows that the oppression under the “moderate” President Rouhani is even greater than what it was under the more vocally-extreme President Ahmadinejad. That is because every Islamist believes in Sharia governance, so any increase in Christian numbers will lead to an increase in arrests of Christians.
The number of Christians in Iran was miniscule before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, by some accounts numbering in the low hundreds. Amazingly, the takeover of oppressive theocrats acted like a growth hormone for the faith. By claiming to represent Islam, the mullahs made many Muslims second-guess their faith.