‘This used to be a Christian cemetery … but all the graves have been dug up’

‘This used to be a Christian cemetery … but all the graves have been dug up’

A video has been posted online showing a desecrated Christian cemetery in Kerman.

“I’m in Kerman and this used to be a Christian cemetery… But all the graves have been dug up and the bodies taken away,” says the journalist reporting for Manoto TV, a Farsi-language station that broadcasts internationally.

The short video clip was posted to Manoto’s social media accounts earlier today.

It is not clear from the report whether this is the same hundred-year-old cemetery that was desecrated in 2012.

That historic cemetery, in the Ghal’e-Dokhtar area of Kerman Province, was reportedly destroyed to “free up land around Ghal’e-Dokhtar and Ghal’e-Ardeshir”, Mohabat News quoted the head of public relations at the Cultural Heritage organisation of Kerman, Mohammad Mehdi Afzali, as saying. 

Afzali later denied the claim, in an interview with the state-sanctioned IRNA news agency.

A year prior to the desecration of the Ghal’e-Dokhtar cemetery, an historic church in Kerman was bulldozed.

The Church of St. Andaryas had been registered as a protected national site in 2009, but it was then torn down overnight in 2011, without explanation, and the site has since become used as an office for a taxi company.

The church, pictured below, had been designed by famous local architect Ali Mohammad Ravari and was considered a work of art.

Several other Iranian churches have been desecrated or demolished in recent years.

In 2017, an Armenian member of the Iranian parliament, Robert Biglarian, reported that a “group of extremist Muslims” had destroyed an Armenian church in Sava, near Marivan County, Kordestan Province.

In 2016, St. Mary’s Church in Salmas County, West Azerbaijan Province, was desecrated by a group of vandals, who smashed a cross and statues of the Virgin Mary, and tore down pictures from the walls.

The Church of Haftvan, also in Salmas County and registered as a protected site, was also vandalised; an historic evangelical church in Mashhad, registered as a protected site in 2005, was destroyed; and vandals removed crosses from an historic cemetery in Bushehr that had been used by members of Iran’s Armenian Christian minority. 

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